Football season is a mere days away, and along with my overwhelming sense of excitement also comes a tinge of anxiety. Here I am, a few years out of college, and I just realized that I have no idea how functional adults (who don’t live within a thirty-mile radius of Norman or Stillwater) properly tailgate.
To prepare myself and any of you fine Ogle Moles who are also in this awkward, transitional phase, here are some guidelines for the fantastic twelve-hour daytime ragers known as home football games. Although I’m sure I’ll be participating in at least half of these over the course of OU’s (inevitably disappointing) season, at least this tells the world that my head’s in a healthy and mature place–well, at least while sitting in my cubicle in Tulsa. Check them out after the jump.
1. Don’t wear a t-shirt dress. Or a hair bow, or cowboys boots, or a neon sorority hat, or anything ridiculous that college kids wear in a completely un-ironic way. Also, watch out for overly poofed hair, pearl jewelry, fanny packs, and shiny red lips. See that picture above? That’s an actual picture of me and my friends in 2009. While you can plainly see my silly tan, you can’t see the Ugg boots attached to my feet. I was pretty much a walking collegiate cliché, but I was only 20 years old, so I’m cool with it.
While we’re on the subject, those t-shirt dresses have to be the most uncomfortable and unflattering article of clothing ever introduced to humanity. They shapelessly squeeze one’s chest into a uniboob. They make your armpit skin bulge into awkward angel wings. They do nothing to help absorb the sweat accumulating on your lower back and butt region. When it comes to how I look in cowboy boots I’m more delusional than Ted Mosby, but burning my large collection of t-shirt dresses is something I’m absolutely thrilled to do.
Men, this rule applies to you too. Don’t let me catch you wearing a bow tie with a fleece Columbia vest, seersucker short-shorts, or with $5 plastic sunglasses attached to camouflage croakies. Just say no.
2. Don’t slap the Franzia bag or pound Keystones. I know I know, this one particularly hurts. I mean, I thought a gameday was the only reasonable excuse left to drink excessively and act a fool. But there comes a point in everyone’s life when they realize that there’s no longer room in their life for something they used to cherish and love. (PS, I’ve used that very sentence to break up with all of my exes).
On the positive, now that your youthful glow has faded, approaching mature tailgaters is a viable option. This is fantastic news because the more of a veteran a tailgater is, the more fun their tailgate party will be. Play cornhole with an elderly couple. Enjoy the HD TV pre show while sitting under a covered, air-conditioned tent. Help yourself to some jalapeno poppers and chicken fingers with extra Cane’s sauce. Ask a cougar to be your horse shoe partner. Swap wild stories with a middle-aged alumni, and drink your icy-cold Boulevard Wheat in a slow and dignified manner.
In no time, you’ll be saying things like “flip cup what?” and “thanks, but Chipotle burritos mixed with Cabernet gives me heartburn.”
3. Don’t lurk around your old fraternity house/sorority house. Trust me on this one. Kids nowadays don’t know who Bluto is, and thought Accepted was a funny and earnest picture of coed life.
In high school, that kid who constantly returned to his hometown “to do laundry” and showed up at high school functions because they were “home and bored” was always the worst dude. The collegiate equivalent of that isn’t loyal alumni, or avid football fans…it’s the weirdo who’s three years out of school and still wants to paddle a pledge.
4. Don’t burst into tears when Student ID checker denies you stadium access. You’ve got a receding hairline and a beer belly now. Just be happy that picture you took back in 2004 worked for as long as it did.
5. Don’t sneak pocket shots into the stadium. They’re warm and nasty anyways.
6. Don’t be the dude that shouts “BOOMER SOONER” or “POKE POWER” while trudging away from the stadium. Everyone’s exhausted, sweaty and dehydrated. Many people around you are in for an exciting evening of locating their car, yelling at the drunk kids who boxed their vehicle in despite promising not to, waiting an hour and a half for three other people to stumble home and move their cars, then battling crazy gameday gridlock before even starting the journey home.
Even the ones crazy enough to stay the night and party on would agree that a few minutes of quiet solitude would be greatly appreciated. There’s a time and a place for group chants, but surrounded by tired sticky people is not one of them.
7. Don’t buy 50 shots for your friends. Although there are some habits and norms that are perfectly cool when you’re 22, there are also many that are un-kosher and lame from years 23 and up.
Note: when you’re 21 and just received $19 dollars cash back for your $600 textbooks, buying your friends a round is a classy power move. When you’re 25 and order bottle service at a place like Seven47, it’s awkward. It’s kind of an awesome way to announce “I’m too rowdy and ridiculous to be making this much money.”
8. Stay away from unnaturally colored drinks. I know that everyone has a dark era of their lives when they were really into drinking blue-tinted Long Island iced teas and frozen screwdrivers. Red-headed sluts, gatorade shots, and purple monsters were all the rage in the olden days at OU three years ago when we had to walk a mile in the snow to get to class. You’re lying if you can’t admit to succumbing to the Jolly Rancher-esque awesomeness of a grateful dead cocktail at least a few times.
Beware my friends, these are slippery slopes! You might think that you’re just having one fruity drink, but one soon turns to six. Your body is not as resilient as it was a few years ago. When you’re heaving neon-colored sugary, acidic liquid the next morning, you’ll think to yourself, “damn, that Chelsea from TLO warned me about this very moment.”
9. Don’t go to Suger’s. Or Opie’s, or anywhere that you went when you were 21 to people-watch townies and creepies who can’t let go of their glory days in college. Drunken alumni giving the girls at Suger’s singles is exactly what the kids came to laugh at.
Who am I kidding. See you all at Suger’s Saturday night!
10. Don’t linger the next day. I like to consider myself a functional person. I exercise regularly, get to work on time, go to bed before 11:00 on weeknights, and rarely overdraft my bank account. But shove me into a a room with my cronies from college and suddenly all of the wisdom and maturity I’ve accumulated betrays me in the harshest of ways.
Smart people battle traffic and get home Saturday night, giving them a full day to get back to normal. Reasonable people wake up and hightail it home before the church bells ring. People like me dilly-dally around town talking to siblings and friends in grad school, loading up on junk food at the Old School Bagel, Louie’s, or Fuzzy’s, rummaging through their cars for Alka Seltzer, and eventually hitting the highway around 2:00.
The worst part about these lazy hungover days is that they turn in to lazy, hungover weeks. So long as this is avoided at all costs, you’ll be ready to dust yourself off and repeat the entire process next Saturday.
Chelsea’s a retired sorority girl and part-time Facebook creep that’s desperately trying to locate her big-girl panties. Follow her on Twitter @xCawoodstock.
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