It’s all Offside to me…..

Ladies, all is well at last. Rest your furrowed brows and put down your knitting.

Because a new commemorative coin has been produced by the Royal Mint, which hopes to lift, once and for all, the unbearable weight of worry we have borne on our delicate shoulders ever since men in tight shorts decided to take some time off from fiddling with their gonads, in order to kick a bigger ball into a net instead.

Yes, in a stupendous move to clarify that Extremely Difficult And Awfully Complicated Thing that those of us with two X chromosomes have struggled with for centuries, the new coin bears on its arse a simple, graphic explanation of the Offside Rule.

Helpfully, it is entitled, “OFFSIDE EXPLAINED”, in case we thought it was about shelling peas.

For copyright reasons I can’t reproduce it here, but basically it looks like this:

It shows half a pitch (are we OK with ‘pitch’? I can say ‘play area’, if that helps the mothers out there….) with a goal at one end. I saw a real football match once (yes, a real one! With lights and everything!) and I can confirm that this arrangement is quite correct, only in real matches the pitch is slightly bigger than an inch across, to fit in all the egos.

In the middle of the play area, an overpaid triangle is shown trying to pass the ball (not shown – a fairly serious omission, in my opinion, but as the triangles aren’t swearing at each other we’ll assume this isn’t the most accurate representation of a football match, and let it go) forward to another overpaid triangle in his team. He has a choice of two to pass to: one triangle is standing between the opposition’s defender (a square) and the goal (in which there is another, taller square, shitting his pants), and the other isn’t.

The former triangle is marked OFFSIDE and the latter NOT OFFSIDE.

I’m not sure why it couldn’t be OFFSIDE and ONSIDE, but perhaps they thought we’d understand it better this way.

‘Look, ladies, this one is GOOD and this one is NOT GOOD.’ Comprende? How about a sit down, love, after all that, eh? And while you’re down there….

The ingenious-ness of this graphical explanation lies not only its simplicity – it’s actually rather beautiful, in this aspect – but also in the fact that it’s printed on a coin. Clearly a lot of ball-scratching time has been spent thinking about what women do most, and how the Incredibly Useful Offside Rule Explanation could thus reach the greatest number of us. The answer, it would seem, is ‘spending money.’

Man, they’re good.

So now, while we’re paying at the hairdresser’s we can become not only more bouffant, but also less ignorant.

It’s win, win. (Which, as I understand it, football isn’t.)

As targeted marketing goes, this coin wins the Carling D-cup. While women all over the land thrown their purses into the air with the sheer pant-wetting RELIEF that comes from finally understanding something about balls, companies will leap onto this subtle message bandwagon. Expect explanations of why lap-dancing clubs are good for women’s sense of empowerment on the side of a thigh-firming cream bottle near you soon, and tampon boxes explaining why Star Wars is interesting.

In return, we could perhaps have aftershave bottles with a little picture of the complicated Dishwasher Rule, where some dirty items are placed IN the dishwasher (marked ‘YES’) and others just above the dishwasher, on the kitchen sideboard (marked ‘NOT YES’). Or shaving foam with a sketch illustrating the PMT rule:
a man triangle breathing within 400m of a hormonal female triangle. NOT GOOD. (There is no GOOD.)

And for Christmas 2012, special 6-packs of lager bearing a simple explanation of why women aren’t Completely Bloody Stupid after all:

A woman (two circles and a little triangle, below) pretends not to understand the offside rule (depicted by a large ‘Oh dear me no, this really is AWFULLY complicated’ question mark above her) so that she can leave her husband (two small circles and a tiny vertical line in-between) on the sofa watching the offside rule put into practice, while she goes upstairs to masturbate instead (depicted any way your mind wants.)

Oh yes, that second X chromosome can come in mighty handy when we need it to.


**!!NEWS JUST IN!!**

Oh this is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. This, from the Guardian on 5th Jan:
‘A new football-themed 50p coin designed to ease confusion around the offside law has been written off as “totally out of date” and “confusing” by refereeing experts……The Royal Mint says the coin was designed “to provoke discussion”, but the Referees’ Association member Mal Davies said using such old information was “embarrassing”.’

I would write more about this STUPENDOUS cock-up, but I need an hour or three to lie on the floor wetting myself laughing.

To be fair, the coin doesn’t say that it’s an OFFENCE to be offside, which is where the debate is coming in, but still….

*insert something about not being able to make it up……*


22 thoughts on “It’s all Offside to me…..

  1. Littlepurplegoth

    Rofl. StandIng in the Lego Store reading this. Thankfully only other mummies (also reading phones whilst our children do the monthly build) are looking at me laughing… The one brave enough to say ‘what’s funny?’ also said ‘oh I’ve just read that too!…’

  2. helenredfernbirthandbaby

    Brilliant post! On the news last night they were asking the public what they thought – obviously just ‘dim’ Josephine Public rather than her ‘genius’ brother Joseph Public. These stupid women all stood there scratching their empty heads.

  3. fivegoblogging

    All I can say is thank all things ball shaped that I now have an easy reference coin when next (not) watching football. And thank all things XX that I am empowered to spend it (on chocolate).
    Totally brilliant post. x

  4. James Hughes (@theJamesHughes)

    As a guy, and someone who already understands the offside rule, I like most of the male population concur with this article: the coin is laughable.

    Although the biggest danger of the coin is something which nobody seems to have worked out yet.

    What happens if the GB team lose the Gold Medal with an offside goal for the opposition? There will be all kinds of references to the coin and how the UK population saw the coin, but the Ref did not.

  5. George

    Loved that post, brilliantly observed. You have a wonderful way with words. I’m a fella and it sure made me laugh out loud and my mates when I read it out to them. Keep em coming Liz!

  6. Becky

    Seems odd that anyone would actually see a market for something like this. After all, men already know the offside rule and therefore don’t need instructions, and women simply don’t care.

    Great post though and don’t be surprised if some marketing upstart reads some of your alternative product suggestions and genuinely thinks they’re a good idea! (I’d probably treat my hubby to some PMT foam though 😉

  7. Hilary

    So what hilarious conclusions are to be made from the other 28 Olympic coins?

    What self-fulfilling wisdom is to be drawn from the young female on the gymnastics coin? And in what way is it cleary designed and produced to make a statement about decades of tired old humour at mens’ expense?

    Or am I perhaps reading too much into one 1/29th of the recent release..?

    1. lizfraser Post author

      Hi Hilary. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I’m not sure about ‘self-fulfilling wisdom’ drawn from the coins, and I certainly don’t think anything ‘deep’ was meant by them at all! They are just commemorative coins – and rather nice, I think – and the blog is having a light-hearted bit of fun at an age-old subject. So yes, perhaps reading a little too much into it, but I’m glad you read it anyway 🙂

  8. C T

    Liz – are you serious? On a British Coin? What else do British Coins teach us these days? Or was this the one thing that the Royal Mint decided everyone should learn? I am flummoxed.

    1. lizfraser Post author

      Well, I’m serious in that the coin does exist, but it’s just a commemorative one for the Olympics, and I don’t think it was intended to ‘teach us’ anything. Just a sport-related theme for a sport-related series. The blog’s just a bit of fun sparked by the offside rule joke. Thanks for reading! 🙂


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