Photograph: Tom Jenkins
Photograph: Tom Jenkins

The Healthy Hate, Part 1

“I think your jeans are a bit tight, mate.”

Although clearly empowered by those three schooners of Pure Blonde at The Clock, the jeering comment was slightly faded towards the end, with his mind and it’s delayed sensory skills catching up to the potential implications of the insult, and attempting to enforce some sort of muting override. A self-gagging mechanism that seemed completely unnecessary.

This was his “home” turf. He was in a sea of similarly dressed humans, adorning tribal colours distinctly different from the red and black of my jersey. Furthermore, I was traveling with just my wife and another couple, disconnected from the Police-escorted main supporter gang that had been forced to enter the stadium an hour-or-so earlier.

I was happy to shrug off the insult. But my wife is a fiery bastard at the best of times and, nursing one of her infamous twice-a-year hangovers, wasn’t in the mood to let the taunt slide.

“At least he’s not wearing Target jeans.”

The two men, both in their mid-30s and wearing matching sky blue shirts, were visually taken aback by the retort. After all, they were members of the dominant clan here, the associated group safety of their fellow “smurfs” providing them with a defiant sense of confidence. The taller one – the guy who was definitely wearing jeans he’d purchased at a discount department store – sputtered slightly, before aggressively firing off a bunch of sexist insults about washing machine settings, whilst simultaneously attempting to defend the elaborate front-pocket zippers of his Armani knock-off denims.

Meanwhile, the shorter one nervously smoothed over his receding hairline, hesitant that his fairly extempore slur was leading to an increasingly hostile situation that he wasn’t prepared for. At the same time, I’d employed my own defence – the frequently replicated response that my genetic disposition of having exceptionally large, protruding calve muscles was directly at odds with my skinny-jeans fashion decisions. Already being on the subject of vanity, from there it only made sense to casually mention that I was able to change my jeans but the ship had sailed on his potential hair regrowth options.

Much like the football teams we’d soon be cheering for, the bitter hatred of the game was immediately displaced upon the full-time whistle. Short Baldy FC and I had called it a one-all draw, sending each other off with a firm handshake, well-wishes for the upcoming match and a few sharp, tongue-in-cheek remarks about the socio-economic discrepancies between Blacktown and Bondi.

Meanwhile, My Wife and Hugo Boss United had their match disbanded as the clash had only further deteriorated into more personal territory, concluding with an argument about him being able to wank better than she could do the laundry.



Jonny Nail is a writer and code beast. He is a contributor at New Albion.