Guest Post: How to date a Leafs Fan
Five Lessons For Loving Those Who Love The Blue and White
BY M. WILLIAMS
One of the most common criticisms leveled against Leafs fans is that we are content with mediocrity. I smile whenever I hear this. The people espousing this opinion clearly have never tried dating a Leafs fan.
It's a big world out there. And there are a lot of us in it. For those of you without much firsthand experience with the unique and otherworldly pleasures of dating a member of Leafs Nation, I've written this handy guide to winning our hearts.
We Leaf fans are what you might call... "high maintenance." No, no, a better word would be... "communicative."
One of the most enduring and definitive relationships of our lives – our love/hate affair with the Blue and White – is built upon an endless stream of dialogue, a constant feedback loop of information, speculation and justification.
So it should really come as no surprise that we're actually sick to death of "talkers." We want someone who will "listen" when we say: "Probably better to make the reservation for 11 p.m. Eastern just in case the game goes into overtime."
Or: "I'd love to visit your grandmother for tea on Saturday! Does she have a laptop with high-speed Internet access? No? Then how's the 3G signal in her area?"
Also, please don't ever make the mistake of revealing your lack of interest in our team by saying things like, "Who's that guy on defence that you hate again? Webster?" Because we will abruptly leave both you and grandma sitting there, teacups in hand.
Don't bother asking us out if you're going to turn around and make us decide where to go, what time to meet and what to order from the menu.
We'll do it, of course. We're used to making tough decisions like who to trade and who to send down and whether or not it's worthwhile to bury our fist in your jaw after you suggest we "share" a dish and then ask for a doggie bag because you're a cheap bastard who thinks we don't notice you mentally tabulating how many pieces of shrimp we've scooped onto our plate while you blather on about how you gave up practising law to take up bee-keeping and you like hiking into the mountains to make casts of animal footprints that you sell to souvenir shops for a tidy little profit.
Instead of trying to dazzle us with your big words and big dreams, we'd much prefer to know that you'd been paying attention when we said: "I'm not as familiar with this area as you are. But I really like Thai food. Why don't you suggest a place and I'll meet you there for lunch?"
Had you replied: "Sure. ________ has great Thai food. How about 12:30?" and kept all of your bee-keeping and paw prints to yourself, we might not have started laughing when you suddenly sat back in your chair and declared, "It would be crazy for us not to see each other again."
No. I'm afraid we Leafs fans already know the definition of insanity by heart.
Too often, Leafs fans are accused of talking simply to hear ourselves speak. More "worthy" topics of conversation are ignored or people say we miss their point entirely.
This is untrue.
Nary a word escapes our lips that has not been very carefully considered. And to cope with the barrage of warring input we receive on a daily basis, we become naturally adept at filtering through "noise" – especially the mindless criticism of our team.
We're discerning, we're very well informed and we're not afraid to disagree.
So when you say things like, a) "I'm currently self-employed" or, b) "Leafs suck," be prepared for some pointed questions to come zinging your way.
Because we'll instantly know that what you're really saying is:
a) "I live in a smelly basement and probably don't shower every day.”
b) "I'm a moron that knows absolutely nothing about hockey. If you ask me about anything to do with the Leafs' current season, I'm going to respond with a lame joke about "planning a parade" or how long it's been since "the Laffs won the Cup" and then glare at you over the top of my seventh pint of beer after you express surprise that I know how to count past 40."
Before buying tickets to that new art exhibit or reserving a table at that new hot spot, please check the Leafs schedule. Please.
If you see a game on the date you have in mind, consider us busy.
You may also want to inquire about the status of our favourite players, who we're playing that day and where the Leafs are in the standings before deciding upon an activity.
If we mention the words "lemon squares" at any point during your call... we're staying in. Wait a few days before calling again.
For too long we Leaf fans have suffered at the hands of those who lack the strength and courage to face down their demons and battle through adversity.
We are no strangers to heartache and grief. So we really won't feel the least bit bad about rolling our eyes when you complain about things like how your outdoor yoga bootcamp was rained out or how they got your order wrong at Starbucks or how the Canucks lost one lousy game.
We have no tears left to shed over your trivial ass-hattery. We're too busy thinking about what to do with our present goalie situation, where to find a decent power forward that's also a UFA and how we'd like to drive you out into the middle of an Ontario winter with only your non-fat, extra-hot latte and Canucks jersey for protection, and watch your ever-diminishing figure flail helplessly around in our rearview mirror before it finally disappears into a field of snowy white.
Beneath a bright, blue sky.
M. Williams (aka Boo Who?) lives in Vancouver, BC, in self-imposed exile from her beloved Leafs Nation. When not huddled in front of an Internet game feed, she enjoys long walks in the rain, surreptitiously checking her phone for scores and various nerdy activities.
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MAIN PHOTO: HARRISON SMITH/TORONTO STAR