Learner Dad’s match fixing

I looked at the calendar on the wall.
Saturday February 16, ‘Learner Dad busy’, it read.
Underneath were the words ‘West Coast play’.
‘Poor bugger,’ I thought. ‘He’ll hate having something on the same night his Eagles kick off their season.’
“What you got on Saturday the 16th?” I asked, walking back into the kitchen.
“West Coast are back. Night game,” he answered quickly.
I paused.
“So you’re busy because…”
“Because they’re back. Night game,” he said again.
“So you’ve made yourself unavailable that night?” I asked.
“Yes, why? Have you got something on?”
“So you’re going to write yourself up as ‘unavailable’ for at least one Friday or Saturday night every week from now on then?” I pursued.
“Well, no. They play afternoons sometimes too,” he said, standing his ground.
I was confused.
He hadn’t done this on last year’s calendar.
Now honestly, I’m a fairly good girlfriend.
He watches footy at home. He watches it at his dad’s. Sometimes he even watches it at the MCG.
I know how things work.
The more free time I give him, the more he gives me in return.
We scratch each other’s backs and it works.
“But what if we had something on that night?” I asked.
“Like what?” he said. “Do we have something on?”
“No, but what if we did? Now I feel like I couldn’t possibly ask you. You’ve made this your priority above all else.”
“Well, it kind of is,” he said warily.
“But what if we had something to go to that was important to me? Have you really made yourself completely unavailable?”
“It depends. How important?”
“Important’s important. Do we really need to establish a scale?”
He looked confused.
I felt confused.
This was the guy who’d always seemed ready to drop everything at the slightest hint I might need anything, no matter how trivial.
A few days later, struggling to find a babysitter for a Valentine’s Day dinner, I suggested we go out the following night instead.
“Can’t. Collingwood’s playing. You’ll want to watch them,” he said, referring to the team I supported.
“Nah, it’s ok,” I replied honestly. “I don’t care about NAB Cup.”
“I do,” he said, staring me down.
So a pre-season game that didn’t involve his team came before a rare romantic night out?
Ok, now I definitely felt misled.
Learner Dad had hidden this from me.
He hadn’t warned me prior to our getting engaged that footy came first, above all else.
But then, this was also the guy who’d assured me he loved doing two hour foot rubs while watching America’s Next Top Model, only to admit a year after living together that actually, he didn’t.
That’s ok.
Engaged isn’t married.
I still have time.
I’ll just test him once more.
I’ll schedule something with some level of importance for next month, say Saturday March the 23rd at 4.40pm.
So Learner Dad, honey, are you available?