‘My boyfriend wants to watch Wimbledon. I’d rather die’ – Millennial Agony Aunt 43

My live-in boyfriend wants to watch Wimbledon. I would rather die. How do we navigate this?

'Tennis Match' - John Vassos

Emily Watkins is a professional Millennial (read: precariously employed twenty-something). Each week, she will answer a generation-specific query from the depths of her on-brand existential crisis.

This week, marking the final instalment in the series, our Aunt-in-Residence looks at television compromise. 

My live-in boyfriend wants to watch Wimbledon. I would rather die. How do we navigate this?

Aha, yes. Let me say that, as someone who could have penned a very similar question myself, I feel your pain. It seems that every six months or so there’s some tournament or another that bewitches the whole world, in which I (and by the sounds of things, you too) cannot summon even a flicker of interest. In fact, the more everyone bangs on about *INSERT SPORTING EVENT HERE*, the more I dig my heels in and sulk. 

The bloody Premier League. The stupid Ashes. The sodding Euros, and god spare me from the fucking World Cup, which will be upon us before we know it (134 days, 10 hours and 49 minutes at the time of writing, to be precise, and I know that because there’s an actual countdown on the official FIFA website). But first, Wimbledon; this year’s tournament might be almost over but never fear – it’ll be back for 2023. Such is the nature of the epically boring beast.  

Tennis Players - Willi Baumeister, 1929

Tennis Players – Willi Baumeister, 1929

While this column’s conceit means that I’m supposed to be addressing a rhetorical ‘you’, the question-asker, I believe that our readership does normally exceed one person. As such, statistically speaking, I’m aware that most people reading this will disagree with me – but as far as I’m concerned, being in a vanishing minority on this score gives me licence to be as rude as I like. Hey, you’re all insufferable for weeks at a time, watching screens over my head in the pub and talking of nothing but tactics and scores for hours after every match! The world is built for sports-lovers, and now it’s our turn – yours and mine, dear questioner. In you, I sense a kindred spirit; a shared suffering. We must band together, you and I, in the face of this ubiquitous madness; we are few, but we will be strong. 

Your boyfriend, on the other hand, is in good company. For some reason, the whole world agrees with him that tennis is worth looking at; as such, he does not need your enthusiasm to enjoy it in company. Every bar in the country will be showing whatever match is happening, live and from every conceivable angle, in rooms full of viewers who are thrilled every time someone hits the ball (I don’t pretend to be an expert, but that is, I think – often! Bounce, hit, bounce, hit. Bounce. Hit). 

Tennis - Erte

Tennis – Erte

What I’m saying is, my boyfriend – sorry, your boyfriend – can bloody well watch the tennis somewhere else, thank you very much. It’s intruding on my life (sorry, yours) plenty as it is, without needing it beamed into our sitting rooms. Get him to pick a bar, assemble a group of friends, and have them make an outing of it. With him safely out of the way, the question emerges – what will you do with all this tennis-time, while he and likely most of your friends are glued to the same screen? The answer is – literally anything you like!! 

Dive deep into a show that provokes the same disdain in him that tennis does in you; for me, that tends to be anything with gory plastic surgery in it, but you’ll have your own favourite to indulge. Hey, you could even make a party of it – if you can scrabble together a couple of like-minded dissenters and a bottle of wine, this Wimbledon season could herald a new and superior tradition; I’ll bring the pinot, shall I? 

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