Footie and Love Island. Love Island and footie. These are the two great pillars upon which British society currently rests. These uncertain and transitory pleasures have taken hold of us all, dictating the course of our days, weeks, months, with a stronger gravitational pull than any rotation of the planets could muster.
These forms of entertainment are what unite and separate us, and I worry what will happen once this foundation is ripped away. In the past, we may have defined ourselves by our political allegiances, professions, jeans – but the world is burning, so, as it stands, the only true indicator of character we have to go on is: what do you think of Megan? It was hard enough when suddenly there were no more 1PM matches and we were forced to speak to our colleagues again at lunch. What will we do when there is no football at all? And then, shortly after, when there is no Love Island? How will we fill our days? The very thought of it makes me feel ill.
I’m not going to patronise you. Nobody’s going to take up knitting or enter into a marathon. What are you going to do? Learn something? Look at art? Not in this economy. But we have to do something with our lives, I suppose. It won’t be as good as watching hotties and dads cry, because nothing is, but until Summer 2019 why not try:
RECONNECTING WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
If the phrase "Mum is calling…" doesn't drive a stake of guilt right through the centre of your chest at this point then you're either a liar, a sociopath or someone with an unwavering set of priorities who actually takes the time to speak to the significant people in their lives when they reach out to you instead of internally screaming "FOR GOODNESS SAKE LIZ NOT NOW" as you Instagram story a street crowd singing "Three Lions" while trying to tip over a bus.
Ah yes, "in". Remember that? "Just gonna stay in tonight, I reckon," is what you used to say back in April and May – months that now feel so far in the past you recall their events in sepia. It might feel difficult, at first, arriving home at 6PM with the rest of the evening yawning out in front of you, empty and dreadful, but after you’ve spent enough time wanking over people who have wronged you and browsing pore cleaners on Wish you’ll soon remember that "in" is good. In fact, you used to prefer it.
DOING A BIG SHOP
Life slumps out of shape without the necessary joy of The Big Shop to hold it all together. There is a certain rationale provided by Big supermarkets. Everything is there, in its familiar place, waiting to bring solace and order to your fetid little world like a plaster to a scab. You repeat your list of items to yourself, mantra-like, going up and down the aisles. Pasta, biccies, Femfresh. Up and down the aisles again. Pasta, biccies, Femfresh. Then you return home and put it all away. Pasta in one cupboard, biccies in the other. Femfresh somewhere out of reach in the bathroom so your straight male housemate doesn’t mistake it for shampoo again.
When you start going out instead of cooking every evening, the quality of your life disintegrates like cheap toilet paper. You eat stuff that has been in the freezer since you moved in 18 months ago, something very luxurious (because you’re hungover) or a discounted packet sandwich (it’s what you deserve) for lunch, and the entire concept of breakfast becomes a distant memory. Your vaginal PH balance is thrown all the way off.
When was the last time you cooked? Nay, when was the last time you even ate a hot meal? Sylvia Plath once wrote, "There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don’t know many of them." I do, mate: Big Shop.
NIC CAGE HAS LOADS OF FILMS OUT THIS YEAR FOR SOME REASON, MAYBE THERE’S SOMETHING THERE?
The Elijah Wood co-produced, Sundance-approved Mandy! Yet another Spider-man (allegedly)! Some generic thriller called Looking Glass in which Nicolas Cage sort of resembles Allen Ginsberg doing an impression of Steve Jobs! If there's one thing that can keep the adrenaline and unpredictability of World Cup Island going, it is any and all films involving Nic Cage. If IMDb is to be believed, there are at least six due out over the next few months, and if that isn’t enough to tide you over then there's nothing stopping you from watching Vampire’s Kiss another 58 times.
Unless you’re one of those weirdos who "just doesn’t have dreams", there's absolutely no chance you haven’t had at least ten involving football or Love Island in the last month. You in The Villa, unstoppably pissing the bed; You reliving a childhood memory of being in the backseat of your dad’s old Sirocco, and he turns around to say something and all you see is this neon-white set of teeth and your dad is now Jack; You making smouldering eye contact with a subconscious amalgamation of your celebrity crush and the person who sat next to you on the train that morning, and out of nowhere Harry Kane runs up and boots you in the stomach.
Anyway, what I’m saying is: without pumping 30 cumulative hours of the same thing into your brain repeatedly for weeks on end you might actually reclaim your regular sleeping pattern full of perfectly normal dreams about fisting a work colleague.
READING A BOOK
Admittedly, I did have to Google 'what are hobbies" before I started this list, but apparently *looks closely at notes* r-e-a-d-i-n-g is still big among leisure enthusiasts. Maybe give that a go.
The World Cup has instigated a pandemic. Many women in heterosexual relationships across the country have lost their boyfriends to: football fever. Too busy to accept your booty call, too distracted to put the required amount of effort in, too drunk to get it up, too hungover to eat you out. The obstacles are endless. You could literally sit on their face and some would still scream directly into your arse "FUCKING GET OFF IT'S PENALTIES".
Replace the joy of goals with the joy of making a woman nut for once. That’s my campaign for August. #Augasm
REMEMBERING HOW TO DO YOUR DAMN JOB
You don’t want to know how long it took me to write this. They caught Bin Laden in less time.
GETTING ADDICTED TO SOMETHING
Not gear, obviously. Something harmless, like tarot cards or elaborate pots for your succulents. That said, I did download a betting app this season in an attempt to make myself as emotionally invested in the football as my English friends (I’m Welsh and not a traitor, and as such hope for England to crash out spectacularly tonight), and I’m pretty sure I’ve come away with: a) no clear understanding of how 1X2 betting really works; and b) the faint shadow of a problem regardless. So actually… Yeah. You know what. Scrap this. I don’t know what I’m on about. Try one of them "books" again.
If you are the sort of person who likes getting up at 5:30AM to go to Soulcycle before work, which I am not, it is quite possible that the best way forward for you is to maintain the momentum by replacing appreciation with aspiration. Pick which one you are most likely to become – sportsman or Love Island contestant – and then work towards that goal until spring, at which point the rumours and what have you begin to drip-feed their way into the news cycle and any ambitions of your own become irrelevant in the looming promise of gorgeous humans rutting.
GOING TO THERAPY
It is September and all your relationships are fucked. Not irreparably, but each will require such a large amount of time and emotional investment to rebuild that you have to seriously weigh up who you really think is worth it. You have received your credit card bill and you have spent – and you truly, honestly, don’t even know how this is possible – upwards of £800 on pints. Your feelings towards Gareth Southgate have unearthed some complicated issues around fatherhood. The dramatic highs and lows of June and July have left you a shattered shell of your former self. You are Humpty Dumpty, pushed off the wall of sanity by all The Footie and all The Love Island, and only a fully trained member of the British Psychological Society could even begin to put you back together.
So you could do that. Or you could just binge-watch serialised documentaries on Netflix and order £23 worth of Chinese food to eat in your pants, like you always have.