Don't Hate The Game 3: How To Deal With His Football Obsession

couples football
Love, Self

Score big points with your sweetie this football season using tips from our resident guy's guy.

Thanks to our resident male editor Tomfoolery for educating us on the psychological and social reasons so many guys need football in their lives...we even understand the fantasy football thing now! In Part 3 of our Don't Hate The Game series, we dig into the most important info women like us need to survive all the way to Super Bowl Sunday—check out Tomfoolery's tips on understanding your guy during what may be the most frustrating season of the year. Don't Hate The Game 2: Fantasy Football & Guys Demystified

Faye: Here's the subject I'm interested in: the actual watching of the games. Do you want girls in the room...or no?

Tomfoolery: That's a tough one. I feel like I enjoy football enough that if anyone—a girl—wants to watch too, the more the merrier.

Faye: But for girls who don't understand football really well, is it okay if we ask questions?

Tomfoolery: Is it during plays or between plays?


Faye: Let's say during a commercial break.

Krissy: He's going to say, "Not if it's a funny commercial."

Tomfoolery: Between plays is okay. If I'm pissed off at the game, I'm going to be quick with my answers. When you're team's losing, you're frustrated and trying to concentrate. There are a lot of balls in the air.

Natalie: Balls in the air?

Tomfoolery: Some pun intended.

Faye: So in a perfect world, what should a woman do when you're watching football?

Tomfoolery: In a perfect world, everyone can watch football together. There's a solid chance that a guy will have significantly more tolerance from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. or later on a Sunday (than a woman will).

Faye: So should we just make snacks and then leave, or...what?

(Group laughter.)

Tomfoolery: Well no, I don't think you necessarily have to make snacks— Love Bytes: If You Cook It, He Will Propose

Krissy: So just leave!

Tomfoolery: No, no, you don't have to leave either. But if you see something else is on TV and you think I should just change channels, that's not gonna be super welcome. Which is probably why a lot of guys go to a bar.

Jessica: But what guys need to realize is, that's 20 hours in a weekend that we have time off, that we're not doing anything together, every weekend for what, four months?

Faye: And when you're planning our time together around it, I'm sorry, I have no tolerance for that.

Krissy: Yeah, when you're rushing me through brunch because we have to go home and turn on the game? I would be happier to sit at the bar and eat wings with you, you know? Fantasy Football May Save Your Marriage

Tomfoolery: Yeah, we know.

Krissy: So, my brother tells me that almost no matter what, a guy is going to put football before me. Is that true?

Tomfoolery: Oh, I feel like this is a "bros before hos" situation. Pardon my language, but I mean, let me break it down. Someone's not necessarily putting football before you, it's more about hanging out with their buddies. And chances are if you just started dating someone, they're not gonna want to necessarily invest the time in being with you because they don't know if it's gonna work out. The thinking is, "No, I'd rather hang out with my buddies."

Natalie: Well if we feel like you're ignoring us, then it's not gonna work out!

Tomfoolery: Well, yeah, good call. I started dating a girl in the spring once, and she had no idea I was a die-hard Clemson Tigers fan. She'd grown up in the Northeast—where I feel like people aren't as crazy about college football as they are in the South where I'm from. And she was like, "Oh gosh, he wouldn't look at me all afternoon because he was so angry about the game." So my buddy told her, "Well, yeah, that's gonna happen. His takes winning and losing really personally." I'm an otherwise totally rational person—and this might sound silly—but some portion of my value is determined by how well this group of 60-some odd 18- to 22-year-olds performs every Saturday in the fall.

Natalie: But I don't feel like women need to change our behavior when it comes to your football habits. Can't you guys do something to make it easier to be around you during football season? Maybe like once an hour you could look over and go, "Hey! You look nice today!"

Faye: "Oh wow, you're here?!"

Jessica: Right, we know Clemson's your team, and I know you have to watch the Clemson game, but you should give up another game [and spend more time with us].

Tomfoolery: [Laughs.] Well, one thing I try to do—and this might even sound a little bit demeaning—but I always assign a player on the team to someone I'm going out with so they get a little invested in the team.

Krissy: Aha, someone actually did that with me recently. That's good.

Tomfoolery: I give her the backstory: "Okay, this is where this guy grew up in Atlanta, super bright guy, great football player, blah blah blah."

Jessica: What if a girl just really doesn't like sports?

Tomfoolery: I feel like I might a guy might get a little more alone time. I mean obviously, we do need to keep in mind a reasonable amount of time. Twenty hours of football a weekend is a lot. It's basically half a work week, and every daylight hour of the weekend. I think most guys would be pretty reasonable about it or picking their battles...or finding "together" stuff to do in the hours he's not watching football. Play Together: Top Sports For Couples

Faye: Now, girls who know football—is that the biggest turn-on ever?

Tomfoolery: Yeah, I mean...it doesn't really make any difference, but it is kind of cool.

Natalie: It proves she's not trying too hard?

Tomfoolery: Right. I feel like a girl who's very interested in something is automatically attractive.

Krissy: Interested in anything?

Tomfoolery: Yeah, very good or very knowledgeable about something is kind of a turn-on. And I guess some dudes think that a girl wearing a pink Tony Romo jersey is pretty cute too. I've actually never bought someone a jersey...although I did buy a cheerleader outfit for my niece and it's adorable.


Faye: I'll admit, if a guy is too much of a hot-head about football, that's a big turn-off. But on the other hand, if he loves it, that's kind of hot. If he's out watching it with his friends, that means he's social, enjoys a good time and if he's passionate about it, then he could be passionate about other things...like me.

Tomfoolery: Good attitude. I have a friend whose wife made him bean bags in his team's colors. When he's angry during a game, he can just throw them.

Faye: What are things girls can do to help you get through if your team loses the game?

Tomfoolery: Measure our level of our dejectedness. Taking it too seriously makes it feel like a mockery, but not taking it seriously enough makes it feel like our feelings are invalid. Maybe say something like, "Wow, we played awful in that game. I'm mad too." Or, have a sense of humor and make a little bit light of it if he doesn't take the game too seriously. "It's just a game, nobody died" kind of thing. Despite it being childish, we really do take it seriously.

Krissy: So we should empathize.

Tomfoolery: Yeah. I had a girlfriend who tried to cheer me up with sex

(Girls go wide-eyed.)

Tomfoolery: It doesn't always work.

Girls (in unison): It doesn't?!

Jessica: I thought that would be the sure thing!

Tomfoolery: "Well I'm gonna take this out on you."

Girls: Ohhhh.

Tomfoolery: The big thing is to not take someone's feelings too lightly. Despite knowing how silly it is, football is important to us. 

Check out parts one and two of our Don't Hate The Game series to learn why football is so inherent to manhood and why fantasy football is so big right now. Also sign up for our newsletter to register to win a $550 prize package from Henri Bendel, one of New York City's chicest shopping destinations.