Tuesday, 13 June 2006

World Cup of Football for Girls!

MK: It has only been 4 days but I have "officially" had enough of the World Cup 2006. Our lives centre on 3 main times: 15:00-17:00, 18:00-20:00, and 21:00-23:00. JK "claims" he is not concerned with every single match being played. But even when a "leisure" stroll in the afternoon sun turns into JK ducking into every bar and café with a TV to catch a glimpse of the match, I am not convinced! The cars driving down our street at 1am continuously honking their horns (take it easy Portugal fans, you only beat Angola who has seen nearly three decades of civil war and political paralysis!) only adds to my frustration.

For those of you who feel the same way I do, there is a flickering light at the end of the sweaty, yellow card-laden, tunnel. Read on:

"For gals who get no kick from the game"
By Doreen Carvajal - International Herald Tribune SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2006

Paris - Some women jam the remote control. Some release rage by shopping. But with the World Cup fast approaching, entrepreneurs have another strategy. For soccer widows facing temporary abandonment by their sports-obsessed partners, companies are poised to offer sympathy at a price.

There's the "lifesaving Kettering Park Hotel & Spa" in Northamptonshire, England, that promises Champagne and canapés on arrival for £99, or $185, a night, or the "Ladies Power Weekend" in Basel, Switzerland, at a four-star hotel starting at 113 Swiss francs, or $93, a night. EasyJet, the cut-rate airline, is promoting women-only World Cup getaways to the Mediterranean island of Gozo, far from Germany's soccer fields.

In England, the Grand Hotel Brighton intends to bar soccer from its Victoria Lounge for afternoon tea, while the Linthwaite House Hotel in the Lake District promises a free glass of Champagne in apology for any staff member who dares to blurt the "f- word": football. The inn will also offer guests non-cup television fare with DVDs of "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Pretty Woman."

The Swiss Tourist Board has appealed even more aggressively to women with an "Alternative Ladies Program" that captured the imagination of nonfans of soccer even before television advertisements aired in France, Germany and Switzerland. An Internet clip, downloaded more than 100,000 times from the board's Web site, www.myswitzerland.com/en/movies/wm/, features muscular Swiss men, including Mr. Switzerland 2005 - a dairy farmer and part-time model who leans laconically against a cow. The message couldn't be more blunt: "Dear girls, why not escape this summer's World Cup to a country where men spend less time on football and more on you?" She said the clip had been downloaded all over the world with mostly positive reactions, except for a few critics who complained that the ad was promoting more than mountain-hiking adventure. "Our response was that it's a pity that someone who sees a man without a shirt can think we're talking about sex tourism."

Kirsten Jensen, 27, a secretary from Rotterdam, remains unconvinced. "I'm part of a group of women who think that there's just too much about soccer on television and that we have to do something against it," she said. Jensen and a group of five friends are behind two new Web sites in English and Dutch that promote the rebellious notion of soccer-free zones. On the sites, www.wegmethetwk.nl and www.stoptheworldcup.co.uk, they have published new rules of engagement. Rule No. 1, "Stop the World Cup," is something they do not expect to achieve, Jensen admitted, though she is more hopeful about Rule No. 5: "Each and every hour of televised football must be compensated with two hours of 'Sex and the City' or 'Desperate Housewives.'" Her boyfriend, she said, tolerates her protests but is not pleased with her demand for remote-control dominance.

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