Wales 21-18 Australia
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 30th 2008
I was lucky enough to be amongst the 74,000-odd people wrapped up in the Millennium Stadium’s grand tiers last Saturday, to see a hard-running, big-tackling Wales team deservedly, albeit narrowly, beat the Wallabies. And what a game: a see-sawing contest that saw the best and worst of attacking and defensive rugby, with refereeing decisions consigned (mostly) to the sidelines, as they should be.
But what struck me most about this game was the abundance of women in attendance. They were everywhere: in the stands; at the stadium bars; running amok on the streets outside the ground; at the pub for the post-game revelry. And they all looked quite happy to be there, despite the fact that it was, you know, sport and, er, women supposedly dislike sport.
So what were they doing there? Is my previous comment that women don’t like sport hideously outdated? Maybe in Wales it is. But it just felt as though there was something else going on. After all, women don’t gather anywhere en masse unless something seriously worthwhile is going on, like Brad Pitt giving out free kisses whilst wearing a kilt.
A sneaking suspicion grew in my mind that they were, in fact, on the pull. The Welsh girls had figured out that the sport – in this case the rugby – is a perfect hunting ground. They were gathering to hunt, and hunting to gather eligible, drunk bachelors. Or just drunk bachelors.
But there’s a Man Drought on isn’t there? For those of you unfamiliar with the idea, the Man Drought started circa 2000 when women generally started complaining that there were no good men around, or available. Really what had happened was they had spent their 20s (during the late nineties and early naughties) working their way up the corporate ladder, drinking their bodyweight in champagne and watching Sex And The City, and when Mr Big didn’t suddenly appear to sweep them off their Manolo Blahnik-clad feet, they quickly cried ‘Man Drought!.’
But that’s beside the point. According to social commentators, the Man Drought is real and it’s happening RIGHT NOW and it’s serious. Serious enough for Aussie social boffin Bernard Salt to create what he calls a Fella Filter in his book The Big Picture, so women can know exactly what locations and what professions are most likely to yield husband material. Incidentally, he reckons accountants are the best bet. Yikes.
But I’m going to save you women the 15-odd bucks for Salt’s book and tell you where to go to find a husband, or at least to start looking for one where there are all kinds of blokes to choose from. I gave it away in the heading already, but hold onto your clutch purse anyway: it’s the sport.
The Welsh girls know it. And the more you think about it, the more the logic becomes glaringly obvious. As far as I can discern, here are the Top 5 reasons the sport is a great hunting ground for wannabe committed lasses:
1. It doesn’t matter if you’re into the game being played or not. The fellas there will mostly just be impressed that you’re there. You can feign interest in it all the way to five champagnes; all the way to a pub snog; all the way to the bedroom even. It’s the same as when a bloke goes shopping with you. You know he doesn’t give a rat’s about which dress goes better with which shoes, but you’re pleased with the gesture and are happy to reward him for his behaviour. Hopefully.
2. You’ve got a ready-made ice-breaker. Consider these openers: ‘Come here often?’; or ‘Can I buy you a drink?’ Then consider these ones: ‘That tackle on Stirling Mortlock was an absolute disgrace’; or ‘too much respect is given to the Haka these days. Do the All Blacks think they’re bigger than Rugby Union?’ It doesn’t take Sir Clive Woodward to tell you which game-plan will have a better outcome. And for the truly daring take Simeon De La Torre’s and Sophie Brown’s suggestion from their book Everything A Girl Needs To Know About Football, by trying an opener that stumps your would be suitors, then watch as a bunch of instantly aroused men clamber to buy you booze.
3. You’re in the minority. Simple laws of probability apply here. If you’re in a room with 67 blokes and about five girls, your chances of getting some attention are pretty good. Maybe too good. But anyway, the boys are not expecting to meet a comely lass like you at the sport, so they’re not doing their usual peackocking nonsense. In fact, they’re doing the exact opposite, which is not giving a second thought to what women are thinking. And weirdly, you’ll find their polar fleeces, uncombed hair and ratty sneakers completely refreshing.
4. Sport is an aphrodisiac. Men won’t admit it, but the sight of 30 burly boys bashing each other around the park is a turn-on. But then so is Beach Volleyball. It’s a win-win situation, really.
5. All kinds of men go to the sport. From City boys to White Van Men, the spectrum of men at the sport provides a veritable cornucopia of professions and perspectives from which to pick and choose. Live it up with the Eventing boys or slum it at the darts. Sip Pimm’s or slurp lager. Meet Mr Tall, Mr Teary, Mr Loud and Mr Sporty as well as Mr Big.
Sounds alright? Then get yourselves tickets and get to the game quicksmart. But take your umbrella; it’s raining out there.