Till Football Do Us Part? It Doesn't Have to Be So.

Football widows, take note: This year's Super Bowl drew a substantially larger female audience than the Oscars did.
Football widows, take note: This year's Super Bowl drew a substantially larger female audience than the Oscars did. (By Gary Hershorn -- Reuters)
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By Neely Tucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 30, 2008

Darling, in lo these many months of marriage, I have been good. On Saturday afternoons of marital bliss this spring and summer, I have cheerfully attended matinees of chick flicks. I sat through "What Happens in Vegas," with Ashton Kutcher, and did not vomit on the seat in front of me. We have, on a weekend afternoon and evening, strolled arm in arm, shopping for rugs, curtains, kitchen utensils, dahlias and a new couch for the family room. I have come to learn -- and appreciate! -- the difference between "window treatments" and "drapes."

But, angel, it is time for our relationship to enter a deeper phase. Yes -- I am not afraid to say the word -- I speak of commitment. I speak of trust, devotion and a sense of renewal.

I speak of football season, love.

College hits full stride today. The pros on Thursday.

Yes, romantic fall afternoons of third-and-sevens, decapitated quarterbacks, screaming at large men in tight pants whom we do not know. Lovely autumn dusks of dappled leaves, the coming chill of nightfall, the slight and lovely sting of bourbon on the tongue, while praying to a benevolent God -- any benevolent God -- for us to convert fourth-and-one late in a losing game.

I know we have quarreled, that we have not always seen eye to eye. This is inevitable in a long-term, committed relationship such as we enjoy. But we must join hands and remember what is actually important in life: becoming bowl-eligible.

There used to be the term "football widows." This referred to a time in the late Paleolithic, like in the 1980s, when women did not watch football so much.

This was before there were a million games on cable, before GamePlan, and Sunday Ticket, and "SportsCenter," before TiVo and before you could get game updates on your cell. This was when there was, like, one Saturday afternoon college game on television and two pro games on Sundays, then "Monday Night Football." You had to be sitting in front of the television at that time, or you missed it all, and husbands and wives parted ways.

But no more!

This past February, more women watched Super Bowl XLII than watched the Academy Awards! Almost twice as many watched little brother Eli stick it to evil Bill Belichick compared with those watching, as the Oscar Web site puts it, "Jessica Alba on the red carpet in a plum strapless Marchesa gown accented with feathers and draped empire waistline."

And let's go to the bookshelf. In just the past few years:

"Snot Bubbles! A Football Primer for Moms, Wives, & Significant Others." "Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game! A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football." "The Chicks' Guide to Football: A Complete Guide to Tight Ends." "Game-Day Goddess: Learning Football's Lingo." "The Girlfriend's Guide to Football."

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