One Lump Or Two?
I can’t remember exactly when it occurred, but I know it came just after our high streets were redecorated with green corners and smelling of Gareth Hunt’s right hand. For younger readers, please Google Gareth Hunt and his coffee bean manipulating right hand. After Starbucks, came Costa Coffee, Coffee Republic, Mocha Do About Nothing and many more coffee shops. They became the tyrant of the charity shops, as they themselves had become the tyrant of the grocers and butchers before them. As a non coffee drinker, I was safe. This fanatical approach to beverages that would not make me fall over was a little scary, but at least at work I could rest easy knowing that people would only ever be able to handle what ever the thimble like portions the machine spewed out.
Then came the thermal cup. This was a cup that kept the drink warm! Imagine that! Like a flask! But a drinkable flask. So now you could go about your daily work knowing that the coffee that you had only just made, would not be stagnant and cold when Jeff from accounts tasked you to “give him a hand” with the fire alarm test. And they made them double the size of an ordinary mug! And Portable! Aside from the perils of the breather hole in the top being blocked by the drinkers nose and suddenly clearing to allow gallons of super heated, nuclear coffee to shoot up a persons nose, it was a veritable coffee utopia.
But not for me. I was not a coffee drinker. Tea from a plastic and titanium portable mug did not interest me. If I am having a brew, I will take it in a proper mug, sitting down and eating into my paid hours, thank you very much. But I am a convert. Someone bought me a thermo-mug and now I will drink coffee from nothing else. It would seem that anything and everything can change. The divide is crumbling. Nothing is sacred.
Last month saw the release of Sex And The City 2. Carrie, Prudish, Cougar and The Ginger One are back and taking over our big screens. And our Friday nights. And I do mean our. Despite the protestations of legions of men, if tortured for an honest answer, we do quite like the TV series. Not as much as 24 or Dr Who, but we can watch it without truly despising you for making us. We probably will not have admitted this to you or to our friends though. There is a huge unspoken lie glowering over mankind, and it begins with a jaunty theme and 30 second soft focus views of Manhattan. But if you drive past any cinema this month and you will see a liberal supply of men trying to look as though they would rather not be seen within 70 miles of the queue. Many will have resorted to their 2004 wardrobe in a vain attempt to disguise themselves. But look closely. We will be there. I mean they. They will be there. And the lady folk will be happy to have them as company. While the men will be happy to show just enough resistance to earn them a “get out of jail free” card when they want a night in the pub with their mates.
And here comes the problem. Men have been dragged, kicking and screaming (well sulking petulantly at least) into the world of equality, openness and socially responsible relationships. We have earned our “get out of jail free” cards and have the perfect opportunity to invoke its power. Somehow the Gods have conspired to place the release of the ultimate “Chick Flick” within a stockings length of the ultimate testosterone fueled spectacle that is the Football World Cup.
Now I am not the type of person to ordinarily restrict any activity to one particular type of person. If there is an event taking place, then I feel that it is down to the discretion of Martha and Arthur individually to make a value decision about their participation. Even in deciding to join the other half in the queue to feign interest in Sarah Jessica Parker’s flip flops, there is a quid pro quo payoff in that you are almost certainly guaranteed a crafty glimpse of a Cattrall full frontal boob shot. Despite this being adolescent in nature, it is undeniably true. Other than this small and ultimately disappointing backhander, if you ask the vast majority of men if they would honestly want to accompany you to see SATC 2, the answer would be no and the fact that they do is a selfless act that you should remember come kick off time.
So we can make the assumption that men are not getting into a frenzy about the lunching ladies and, if asked, will gladly leave you to enjoy this feast with your sisters. All that we ask is that you allow us to form our packs and mark our territory in the local boozer while 22 men run, dive, kiss and cry for our pleasure. After all, it is only for one month in every forty eight. Surely we have accrued enough GOOJ cards (Get Out Of Jail, we see your SATC and raise you a GOOJ) to carry us uninterrupted through the entire tournament.
But it ultimately doesn’t matter. Even if we manage to break free of the marital shackles, we will walk into the pub and not be able to get to the bar. We won’t be able to get near the newly installed 3D “Mega Screen”. We won’t be able to hear the commentary. Every four years, girls decide that they luuurrrvvveeee football, squeeze into a football shirt clearly two sizes too small, or two sizes too big; take every good seat in the pub and chat with their friends all the way through any game, occasionally shouting “Kick it Wayne” and “Why don’t England buy that Messi, he’s good”. It happens every time a tournament is on. And despite the cunning timing of the SATC release, it will happen again.
I don’t mean to be rude, but football in a pub full of women sounds fabulous. And so do oven chips, in principle. But oven chips don’t taste like chips. And football in a pub full of women doesn’t taste like football. The problem is, I can’t remember what real chips taste like anymore. Is nothing sacred?
As with coffee, thermo mugs, changing social expectation from our partners and chips; everything changes. From a Mocha Latte to a Costa Rica Away strip, the same question arises. How do you want that…with one lump or two?
N.B. As always, there is an exception. And that is if you are one of the Brazilian female fans that the TV directors always find. You can stay. Would you like a drink?