I am not a football fan and I'm not ashamed to say that World Cup fever is passing me by. I do have some more feverish types coming to stay from England and South Africa during the course of the WM and I suppose I will have to countenance a little discussion and some watching of the event.
Germany is getting very excited however, and the usual merchandising madness has hit all the shops I visit. You can buy football backpacks, hats and clothes naturally, for yourself, your children and your dog. You can buy things to eat, drink and throw that are football-related. If you wanted to, you could dry yourself on WM towels, sleep on WM bedlinen and keep your deodorant in a WM bath-bag. Come to think of it, you could probably use WM deodorant.
Most of this, I tune out. I'm just not the target market. But I have just seen some WM merchandising that stopped me dead in my tracks. I was in Woolworths, which is a bargain basement, downmarket, cheap but somehow cheerful place that I visit almost daily. Here it's known fondly as 'Voller'.
Anyway, there I was in Voller, when I came upon some WM underwear. Not big jocks for your male fussbal-fan, oh no, these were bra and knicker sets. One set I could almost imagine wearing – it was plain black, neatly edged with the German colours. The next was bolder, with both bra and knickers decorated in the black hexagons and white pentagons of the actual football. The last was quite stunning. The bra was a brightly coloured representation of crowds at a match, but the knickers … they had the same bright cheering crowds in the background, the sides were the mesh of the goalposts and right at the front was a great big football, which apparently had just been kicked into the net, causing all the crowds to celebrate.
Could anyone actually wear such a hideosity? What would be the point? If you're a female football fan, surely you're going to display your colours on your outerwear? It's not as if they're bikinis for wearing in the public eye. Some people are going to don WM-inspired underwear for the benefit of themselves and/or their partners only: 'Schatz, I'm wearing my goalpost underwear tonight … wanna score?'