Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 November 2015

Why Terry’s treachery is a soap opera for men only

By Liz Hoggard

Published 05/02/2010

I feel like I'm living in a parallel universe. Or at least a male romantic comedy. Normally taciturn men phone and email me every day.

“Isn't it terrible,” they groan. “He betrayed his best friend, slept with his girlfriend, and now morale is so bad they may never be able to see each other again.”

“He should resign the captaincy immediately,” insists another. “The whole future of the World Cup hangs in the balance.”

No, sorry, you've lost me.

Does any woman really care about the John Terry story?

I know it's gripping men — with its grand narrative of love, loyalty and embattled teamsmanship — but every woman I spoke to this week just doesn't care.

The media obsession is frankly mystifying. Grubby people doing grubby things.

While half the country is staying in screenprinting their ‘Team Bridge’ t-shirts (showing solidarity with Terry's former team-mate, the cuckolded Wayne Bridge), the rest of us are out drinking cantaloupe martinis and shopping.

“But you should mind,” my male friends say, incredulously. “You love stories about tortured passion and infidelity.” Not this one.

Where are the glamorous, larger-than-life characters? The exotic locations? We're hardly talking about Madonna or Angelina (or even Katie Price).

Like most women who lack the football gene, the story doesn't really make sense.

It appears that Bridge and his girlfriend had split up when she tangled with Terry. So really the only hurt party is his wife.

I hate to see a woman humiliated, but sadly that's what happens when you marry a footballer and join the circus.

Of course, Toni shouldn't take him back, but she will. Women without economic independence have little choice.

I imagine Wayne and Vanessa Perroncel, the improbable French Wag, might just patch it up (especially if Max Clifford is waving his cheque book).

No doubt a Hello! covershoot beckons. Good luck to them.

Many ‘manly’ men can cope with a blip, or the fact their ex has a new partner just think of Norman Cook or Michael Sheen.

But for the average red-blooded football fans, the sight of a man cuckolded by his best mate is just too painful a prospect to begin to contemplate.

They are actually the bruised romantics — the ones who get most upset about adultery and turn it into a big old loyalties grudge.

I hate to mention Pinter and John Terry in the same sentence. But his play, Betrayal, has some very interesting things to say about alpha males who prioritise their squash matches and pints over any woman they might sleep with.

Sorry, boys, you can talk about moral relativism and the lynch-mobbing of a love-rat until you're blue in the face — we just don't care about Terry.

Frankly it's a dull man too far. We tried valiantly to get to grips with the Tiger soap opera — hard to escape it, really — because it was about complex sexual pathology. And race. And international travel.

But as a female friend said to me, bluntly: “Liz, it's only golf!”

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