Dear Dude Whisperer,
I’m devastated. My personal dude whisperer, a dude I had hooked up with in the past and am now buddies with, told me that the reason it didn’t work with us is because it’s weird dating someone who likes sports as much as a guy does. This is totally true, isn’t it? I knew it. I love bantering about sports, I love sports. Is this only solution really to keep my mouth shut and put the sportsfandom at only like 65% of what it is? Now what?
Dear Sports Fan,
This seemed like a good one for the DW to tackle in the midst of March Madness which, according to the ongoing poll, at least half his readers might not loathe. In case you were wondering, and the DW knows you were, the DW’s brackets look pretty good this time around. Why? For once, he picked a bunch of favorites, including UNC to win the whole thing. Granted, this made his picks look less like a dude’s and more like those of the proverbial Woman in Accounting Who Hasn’t Seen a Game All Year, but you know what? The DW has never won a bracket contest. And, as everyone knows, the Woman in Accounting has. Repeatedly.
Incidentally and apropos of nothing, two random things made the DW feel old-ish while watching the games this weekend. One was that a gangly kid he used to play baseball against in the summer is now the head coach of a team in the tournament. Head Coach! That little gangly kid! The other was that right after admiring the dance routine of a University of Texas stripper, er, cheerleader in chaps (yes, chaps), the thought briefly flashed through his mind, “She’s probably just 19! Her poor father!” Also, he thought a couple of the players’ moms were hot. At least the DW doesn’t need any of the enlarged prostate pills from those advertisements they were running eight times an hour with older dudes high-fiving in kayaks 128 miles from civilization. Yet.
But without further comment on the DW’s prostate, let’s head to the couch with our Doritos and beers. Is it weird to date a woman who likes sports? In the sense that ‘weird’ is unusual, sure. It’s unusual. But ‘weird’ as in off-putting? Er, no. Finding out the woman you’re really into is a huge sports fan would be about as off-putting as finding an extra slice of bacon on your cheeseburger. Think about it this way. Would a woman find it off-putting if her dude remained the same in every way except he liked to shop for shoes with her? And the DW means really browse, take his time, try on several pairs, discuss the merits of each, look for bargains.
But here’s where things might get weird. Let’s take the shoe shopping from above into a more specific situation. Imagine there’s a private runway show at the Macy’s shoe department with free wine and snacks. Your dude is busy late at work, so you and a couple close girlfriends plan a night of it. You’re thinking half price happy hour sushi at Wolfgang Puck, the runway show, then maybe a walk to a movie your dude refuses to attend on the grounds of It Has Drew Barrymore In It. Maybe you duck into a bar where you can see if any cute dudes will notice how hot your shoes are even though you know dudes (except for your special shoe loving dude) wouldn’t notice your shoes unless they had goldfish in the heels or you were wearing them on your boobies. Throw in some gossiping about your dudes and your bitchy coworker (you know the one the DW’s talking about) and possible detour to browse for fancy soaps and the more you think about it, the more this is going to be a perfect evening. Then you get a call from your dude. Turns out he loves shoes so much he’s leaving work, anyway, damn the consequences, and says he can join you. But do you still want him to?
You probably don’t. But if you don’t want your dude to come along this particular evening, it’s not that you’ve grown tired of his deep love of the shoe. It’s that you were kind of looking forward to a girls’ night out. Same with dudes and sports. You want to make the case Baron Davis should have been on the NBA All-Star team? Bring it on. Who wins the NL West this year? The dude will talk about it anytime. Go to a Giants game together? Pick the night. You want to be in the dude’s fantasy football league? Yeah, okay, that might be weird. Not because you love sports enough to want to be in a fantasy football league, but because a fantasy football league is beer and farts and watching games with dudes and profanity and insults and fantasy teams names that are unclever yet somehow excellent puns about enormous penises. It’s time to scratch and spill with impunity. It’s dude time. And dudes need dude time to be for only dudes.
This is all to say that it’s not your love of sports that’s the problem. The only thing to manage if you’re a woman who’s a sports fan is making sure the dude gets enough purely dude sports time. And there’s not anything tricky about it. Maybe you don’t watch every game with him. Maybe sometimes let him talk to his friends about the big trade before you do. Just plan ahead with your dude how the sporting calendar works out between you and the dudes. Say direct things like, “Look, dude. I want to watch Game One of the World Series, so if you really have to go have your little dude thing at Frank’s let me know now so I can make other plans. But if you go, we’re watching Game Two together, alright?” or some such extremely straightforward compromise offer.
Which brings us back around to your former whisperer. The DW thinks that dude’s giving you a polite and easily digestible line of B.S. Perhaps you two weren’t doing a very good job of managing his dudespace regarding sports, but that’s not a dumpable offense. What, you’re undatable because you have an opinion about the Shaq trade last month? Because you think Dale Murphy should be in the MLB Hall of Fame? Please. That’s like saying the DW’s wife would divorce him if he developed a sudden and passionate interest in matching pillow cover and duvet sets. That dude had other reasons for why it didn’t work.
Now what? Now nothing. Don’t tone down the sportsfandom to 65% or even 95%. All that happened was some dude didn’t work out. Another one will. And he’ll probably sit back and smile at how lucky he is that he found a woman who will get half drunk and scarf nachos and swear at the referee of a televised sporting event full voice at 8 on Tuesday just like him. Love like that is a rare and beautiful thing.