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'Soccer widows' make their own fun during World Cup

Updated: 2010-06-19 08:41
By Gan Tian and Lin Shujuan ( China Daily)

Beijing - Before the World Cup began last week, Wang Xuemin never imagined the tournament would affect her daily life - that was until the "beautiful game" stole her husband.

'Soccer widows' make their own fun during World Cup

Cao Xia (left) and his cousin Du Mujing watch Argentina play during the 2010 FIFA World Cup next to a pile of snacks in Beijing on Friday. Sales of snacks in Hong Kong have soared 20 percent since the start of the World Cup, with similar increases in major cities like Beijing. [China Daily]

Although thousands of miles away, the 27-year-old office worker says the ongoing action in South Africa has reset the rules of her marriage.

"He asks me not to bother him with any trivial housework or compete for the TV (when the soccer is on)," said Wang. "The only thing I do is get beers and snacks ready at home every night before each game starts.

"The World Cup comes first. Me, his wife, comes second," she said.

She is just one of many "soccer widows" across China who have effectively lost their husbands until July 11, when the title match will be played in Johannesburg.

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Wang said she used to go home directly after work. Now she hangs out until late with other women that have been "abandoned" by their die-hard partners.

She even created an online chatting group for soccer widows, which already has more than 100 members.

"We gossip, have dinner together and go shopping, just like Sex and the City," said Wang.

The group has also compiled the Survival Guide for the Soccer Widows during the World Cup, which has become a nationwide hit.

"We call it a survival guide for the sake of humor," said Wang. "In fact, it turns out the World Cup is a good opportunity for women, especially married women, to experience and enjoy alternatives past-times.

"You don't even have to be a soccer widow (to get something out of the guide)," she added.

Over the past week, the survival guide has developed from simple advice on how to escape the soccer craze to focusing on how to use the World Cup to improve relationships with loved ones, be they soccer fans or not.

"Many of us are now staying at home or going to bars with loved ones to watch the games," said Wang. "Some of us still find it boring but the experience itself is rewarding - our boyfriends and husbands tend to become more agreeable afterwards."