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How to Survive a Euros/World Cup Summer Without Being a Pick Me

Once every four years, in this case five thanks to the pandemic, football fans across Europe go crazy. Why? The Euros. The UEFA European Championship is a competition featuring senior men’s national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations. Although fifty five teams are eligible to enter qualification, only twenty four are finally selected. This year’s Euro 2020 is the 16th UEFA European Championship, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The championship was originally supposed to take place in the summer of 2020, but is instead being played in the summer of 2021.

Whether you’re a football fan, or not, the Euros are a hectic time. Particularly as a girl. It can be difficult to stay grounded during the biggest mansplaining season of the year, after American elections, so here is a guide to staying away from the dangerous pick-me waters drifting closer this summer.

  1. Rule #1: If you don’t like football, don’t lie about it.

Understandable, it’s not the most exciting of games to some people, and sports are all a matter of opinion. However, if you don’t like football, there’s no reason to pretend you do, just so people will be impressed. First of all, it’s pretty obvious that you haven’t seen a game since that one time it was showing on the television in that one restaurant you went to with family friends, and had nothing better to do than watch. Very few football fans can’t name a single player, or don’t know basic rules. It’s better to just admit you don’t like the game, than suffer the embarrassment of being called out for lying. Second of all, if you do pretend to like it, take a moment to sit down and think about what you’re doing. Why exactly are you researching the tournament’s top scorers and memorising them just to seem intelligent and informed? I can guarantee you, 99% of the football crowd is neither, so you’d just be standing out even more. Although some people will judge you for not watching, at least you aren’t torturing yourself for 90+ minutes every day. If you’re not enjoying it, there’s no use in pretending.

  1. Rule #2: Don’t wear random shirts with players you’ve never heard of on the back.

Do I even have to explain why this is a bad idea? I mean, you’re just giving fuel to the forty year old failure who’s prime excitement in life is to harass teenage girls for their shirt choices. Obviously people have the right to wear whatever they want to wear, but if you’re wearing a football shirt just so that people will notice you and think you’re so different for being into football as a girl, that’s just embarrassing for you. Also have we really gotten this far in our lives without realising it’s a bad idea to support people without knowing who they are? Besides, you’re making it much more difficult for the girls who actually like football to be respected. I have not been asked “What’s the offside rule?” or “Name ten players,” as many times as I have for you to be exactly the type of person they are hoping to find when they ask me.

  1. Rule #3: Don’t make fun of other girls for not watching.

Football isn’t for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. Watching football doesn’t somehow make you superior to other girls, just because it gets you male attention. The next time you sit down to make a TikTok, think about whether talking about football with ‘the boys’ is really the biggest flex. Besides, if you have to post about it, clearly you’re not that genuinely interested. Also, this misconception that to be a feminist you have to enjoy masculine things is absolutely ridiculous. Women are allowed to like stereotypically feminine things, and not be interested in stereotypically masculine things, as well as the other way around.

  1. Rule #4: Don’t make excuses for the misogynists.

There is no reason you should be excusing blatant misogyny and sexism, and brushing it off as banter. Women are already excluded enough from sports, and you allowing your brother’s friends to make fun of you for watching matches is not helping anyone. There’s no reason you should be answering anyone’s questions, you don’t have to “prove yourself,” especially not to someone who falls asleep with twenty different players staring at them from posters on the wall (and I’m the one supporting them because I think they’re cute?)

  1. Rule #5: Don’t let anyone mansplain football to you.

Whether you like football or not, never, ever, let any of the male species try to belittle you by explaining it in a patronising way when you didn’t even ask. There is a time and a place to learn how football works, and that is not when surrounded by teenage boys living their football dreams out by channelling their non-existent talent through mildly successful twenty year olds with bad haircuts. If you want to learn, great, look it up, or ask somehow who is going to explain it to you without telling you how much you deserve your rights taken away. There is no reason why men should think that they’re the only people on this planet capable of explaining, or understanding football, and you allowing them to talk down to you in a condescending way is just helping them believe so.

So, if you follow these tips and tricks, you’ll be sure to have a mildly enjoyable, if not spectacular summer, without making everyone hate you for your irritating personality. They’ll hate you for something else, I’m sure, but at least not for that! Football is, and can be an enjoyable sport, and while the whole of Europe is obsessed with it, you can at least try and enjoy it, if that doesn’t work, don’t resort to lying about it, for more information, see Rule #1. Don’t let supercilious men get in your way of either liking, or disliking, the Euros, and refer to this guide next year, for the World Cup, where the rules and guidelines will only be slightly modified depending on my passions and aggressions that year! Have a great summer, and good luck to the four teams left!

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