In this 21st century era of brunch parties, Urban League happy hours and Diva Dudes™, the dating game has changed. Instead of guys trying to impress you, the onus is on women – shout out to the black professional gender ratios! The cocktail dresses are tighter, the bras push upper, and the “arbitrary quality that gives off that one-of-the-guys appeal” press is on full blast; anything to stand out from those regular girls off in the corner. I mean, how else do you get the attention of the 6’2 big hunk of chocolate with letters after his name and a job title like “Senior Operations Facilitation Consultant” who you bumped into at Park?
Now, I’m not here to kill anyone’s vibe. Whatever works for you is a-okay with me. I do want to give a gentle piece of advice, however: in your quest to find that je ne sais quoi as your claim to male accessibility fame, your piece de resistance… you may want to refrain from proclaiming a deep and abiding love of all things sports.
As a self-declared former “early Ciara years” style tomboy - I played ball and couldn't be found without extra-large sweats prior to 2004 – let me let you in on a dirty little secret.
Eighty percent of men who claim they would love a chick who loves sports don’t actually want a chick who loves sports. This is true sixty percent of the time, every time.
Whenever the average man says “I love a woman that likes sports”, what they really mean is: “I would really love a woman that doesn't mind that football is at least two days out of the week, sometimes three, and even four if I care about college football. Then right after it is basketball season, where there’s a game pretty much every other day until June. You know what’d also be neat? If she rooted for my team with me, sometimes walked around in nothing but my favorite player’s jersey, and maybe even offered a little afternoon delight during halftime. Yeah, that’s the dream.”
What a man who ends up actually dating a sports fan gets is something like this: “Why is she cursing louder than me? There’s more spit coming out of her mouth than mine right now. Is she really talking smack in our fantasy football match up? I will never hear the end of it if her team beats mine. Who’s gonna make the damn wings if we’re both posted on the couch???” Ask my boyfriend how he knows. (I’m on a two year streak of kicking him out of the playoffs in our league, by the way. Don’t hate the player hate the game.)
I write this all to say that in my twenty-some odd years of existence, being an avid sports fan has NEVER given me a leg up romantically. No one has ever been turned on by the fact that I know the difference between a nickel and dime defense, or that I would fight Reggie Miller on sight if I ever saw that buster in person. The fact that I loyally root for a team is cool, until it becomes clear that I would root against theirs in a match up. It’s not sexy that I can argue them down on who really belongs in the top three shooting guards list, or explain why the Kobe vs. Lebron debate is nonsense, and that’s okay with me. I truly love every moment I spend watching athletic greatness and I wouldn't trade it for all of the mangoes on the eastern seaboard – so I found me a man who can respect that my passion for sports is for me and not for him…even if he is a Chicago Bulls fan.
Sports watching is a commitment. In our 40 hour workweek, you can end up spending a big chunk of extracurricular time faking the funk on something that you may care little about. There’s nothing wrong with getting involved in your partner’s interests, but you should feel comfortable standing in your truth and understanding that sports fandom isn't the chick asset that it seems. Besides, if a dude is really into you, he couldn't care less if you don’t know who his team’s quarterback is. Trust me on that.
…but it may not hurt to find it out for Jersey-wearing purposes.