THERE’S A HEN COME TO ROOST!
Miss Madame to the rescue–toute de suite.
Dear Miss Madame,
After years of working my way through the ranks, I’ve been appointed coach of a men’s Ligue 2 French football team. In France, I am the first woman, ever, to coach in the men’s professional league. There’s been a lot of positive press, most of it focusing on a seemingly deathless debate regarding my ability, as a woman, to coach a team of men.
The announcement has been met with some resistance from football ‘experts’, public figures, and general naysayers who claim I won’t be able to ‘inspire’ my team to achieve success unless I suddenly grow a set of couilles and a nice thick barbe.
Do you have any tips to ‘inspire’ the media to do just as I asked, and treat me like a coach, nothing different?
A Pecked Hen
Hennie, oh Hennie my love!
With language like that, you have sincerely ‘inspired’ my concern for your good taste. First recommendation? Tidy up your French, sweets!
Let me get this straight. You’ve followed that hallowed mantra “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and find yourself deep in the Slough of Misguided Presumptions.
After studying your letter with a frank eye and a full glass of chardonnay, one thing is clear. You’re out of your league.
When entering the realm of man, one must keep in mind a certain truth : a man in a man’s world is the ideal to which a woman in a man’s world must aspire (see also : skirt suit). For you, my dear, the ideal is firmly out of reach. Since you’ve never trained as a man, how can you train a man?
And that gentlemanly French radio personality we heard the other day? The one who said your situation is not a question of misogyny or sexism? He’s right! It’s a question of how you (a WOMAN! With lady-parts!) plan to manage a team of MEN.
Dearest Hennie, are you aware of what’s hiding in the depths of your team’s athletic trousers?? For your benefit, dearest compatriot, I will pierce this unknowable mystery and lay it bare for your perusal :
Wrapped inside their swishing slips*, all men carry one thing…the thing that solidly unites them…the thing that firmly reminds a man that he isn’t born a man, he becomes a man. The thing better known as a–
Oh, shoot. Lost my nerve. Sorry, dear. You’ll just have to unwrap that little mystery all on your lonesome (though after a peek at your letter, I see you are what we ladies like to call ‘initiated’).
Because that’s what men are, deep down in their pants! Mysteries! And you, a plain-cut woman, are no match for this masculine mythology thing. Men belong in a shroud of unknowableness!
And one cannot run a professional football team from outside the arena of mystery!
My advice? Put those thirty mysteriously sweaty men back up on their athletic pedestals and be content to worship from a state of bewildered fandom (les Dieux du Stade, anyone?) Because if you insist on plowing forward with this male coaching nonsense, the only thing these men will do is frustrate you.
Why, you ask? Get real, Hen! Have you witnessed the emotional depths plunged during a soccer match? The faces slit with pain, the screams, the clutched ankles and half-closed eyes training towards a weary referee?
Are you really sensitive enough to comprehend the mystical, emotive agony of a male footballer? I suppose you’re planning to transform these wilting violets into crispy asparagi, but I can’t say I blame your naysayers. It does seem rather counterintuitive.
If, and I strongly suggest the opposite, but if you choose to continue this misguided errand of man-coachery, I insist on one addition to your arsenal. Waterproof mascara. Nobody likes a messy visage on the sidelines.
Bon Match, Hennie dear!
*un slip—(n.m.) a Frenchman’s underwear.
*couilles—(strangely feminine) a testicle, or ‘ball’ as the kids say
*barbe—(also strangely feminine) a man’s beard hairs
image credit Taylor Erwin