NORMAN — I once dated a fellow who fancied himself a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan.
He had the epidermal, obvious things covered fairly well. His “man cave” sported a giant, theater-quality flat screen that made the weekly viewing of the game a lifelike experience.
He knew the lingo, and would never say “make the first down” as opposed to “convert,” or mistake a safety for a touchback.
He even had the body mass of a defensive end, although toward the end of our relationship his girth became a bit more offensive, if you get my drift.
In other words, the guy appeared to be a certified football fan (as opposed to the certifiable ones who, when kicked out of the imploded 700 Level, resorted to wandering aimlessly in the Linc’s parking lot and muttering poignantly about better days).
Sadly, though, the man I could have married turned out to be an imposter. It was a reality I pieced together in small but telling increments — things that separately meant very little but which told volumes when taken together.
The fact that he preferred to watch the Golf Channel instead of the pregame show on Fox was a clue.
So was the fact that he treated his Super Bowl party the way a woman on any of the “Real Housewives” franchises would; namely, all show and no substance. What I mean by this is that he would pay more attention to the menu and the ambience than to the game.
He actually cared more about whether his clueless guests (mostly the female ones) were having a good time than whether the “team that was not the Eagles” was executing on the field. By most standards this made him a good man and a fine host, but it troubled me. I wanted Chuck Bednarik on Sunday, not Suzy Homemaker. This person also preferred to watch the game in the comforting confines of his basement instead of roughing it out at the stadium. To me, this was unsettling. As a woman who had attended literally dozens of games in all types of inclement weather — including a Monday Night Special at the Vet when the wind chill was lower than Kim Kardashian’s IQ — I couldn’t understand how a man could actually prefer the crystal-clear reception of his hi-def toy to the fuzzy, alcohol-fueled maelstrom known as Eagles Nation. Still, affection kept me holding on. Then came the day that I learned he really didn’t hate Dallas. At that point, the writing was on the cinder-block wall.