There isn’t much else in this world that gets me excited like fall football. I have a hunch that Jon Snow and Khaleesi are about to get it in, maybe on or around a dragon, and still tailgating has my attention. With each day, as August approaches September, it gets closer.
That shit’s exciting.
Even as I age, and the days of the undergrad parade ground tailgating of LSU (aggressive consumption, minimal clothing [female], fist bumps, uncomfortably competitive beer pong, etc.) are gone, the anticipation doesn’t lessen. I still wish I was chasing trim and abusing Adderall, obviously, but tailgating is the best regardless of the way in which you draw it up.
For the male who likes to party, there are two types of tailgate — both are awesome.
First, there’s the ish you do in college. This is the aforementioned funneling and fighting and mild misdemeanors that we all love(d). It typically involves a demographic of the 17-24 variety. Arrests happen.
Then you have the type of tailgating I do. It is still amazing; it’s just a little different. It’s a little slower and a little less aggressive. And that’s okay. This type of tailgating is for the older, more removed collection of alumni. The wives will also probably say “send it” as they prep appetizers; not really getting it, but still wanting to have a good time.
As you have those two distinct forms, it’s important to know what makes each type great. I will spend 90 percent of my time at the second kind of tailgate because I graduated five years ago, but on certain game days, when I inebriate a little too quick or Bumble got me teed up with an adjacent underclassmen, I’ll find myself chasing shadows from 2012 — knee-deep in that special filth (borderline assault/harassment) that is collegiate tailgating. Conversely, when college kids find themselves called to the Senior Tour — which will happen; probably more in your junior and senior years as job prospecting begins — the same understanding is just as important. Seems like common sense, but drinking kills common sense. We all get that, and we all respect that. It’s why we drink.
In both instances, there are five main components of a good tailgate:
• In college, good beer, something that costs more than $9.99 for a 12-pack or $75 for a keg, does not need to exist. You need light beer for the games you play and for the red cups you pass out. That’s really it. You keep certain drinks for attractive co-eds you anticipate arriving, but that falls under “drinks.” Beer should be light and cheap. You should not try to chug or quickly consume heavier, nicer beer. It is expensive, and after noon most of your tailgaters will be looking for drugs and/or handjobs anyway. It’s irrelevant.
• At nice, adult tailgates, you keep cheap beer for games you play and for the beer you drink later in the day when most people are drunk (middle-aged caucasian women dancing — actively looking for this “Dougie” cat — is a reliable sign that group intoxication is nigh). But you need nicer beer, too, preferably from a bottle and not something with a cap that can be twisted off. This is what you drink when you are having the conversation with the parents or with the coworker who stopped by to whom you present a façade of moderate engagement. Keep the nice beer cool in the bottles, keep the cheap beer available in the red cup or the aluminum can.
• College girls will typically bring a bottle of white wine (if it’s hot) that they share amongst themselves. With that in mind, wine isn’t something you need to have available. It is a prudent gesture, though, to be able to pull out a chilled bottle from the YETI. Regarding liquor, quantity effusively trumps quality. Half-gallons of liquor, mixers, and tons of ice — that’s all you need. Keep it basic. Say “effusively” in front of the girl for whom you brought the wine.
• It’s always best at these nicer tailgates to bring what you like to drink, both for yourself and for the host. Buying those plastic champagne and wine glasses is an elite move, and something old people will respect. If you bring a cooler with actual wine and champagne in it, this is also a pro move. Bloody marys and mimosas — and relevant garnishes — are the most commonplace and well-received mixed drinks, and they will do the most for your image if your bring them. A cutting board and a bushel of limes readily available also denotes a big-league set up and will be much appreciated.
• This is how you separate yourself on a college campus. This is where the slam dunks happen on the pong table, and this is when your more reckless friends cement their legacies. Bringing a football or Frisbee isn’t a bad thing, it’s just… on gameday? It’s not what we’re after. You need plastic, foldable tables so you can play beer pong and flip cup. There should also always be penalties for losing teams/participants commensurate with consumption. This is the best part of the collegiate tailgate (aside from the sloppy makeout) and should be treated as such.
• Competition still calls to the older alum, and engaging in a drinking game of cornhole or washers with a good friend is always exciting. After two games of cornhole, some of the rust and propriety of developed, mature interpersonal skill will wear off, and you will end up telling your 30-year-old buddy his college gf cheated on him way back when. After the fourth game, you will tell your 30-year-old buddy you were the one who slept with his college gf. The progression of the adult tailgate from morning to evening is truly special, and competitive games, coupled with booze, are the catalyst.
• TV isn’t paramount or integral to the younger tailgate. It can help by providing ambiance and background highlights early in the day before kids start tying it on, but it’s not really vital. If you are trying to gauge how legit your spot is, good setups usually have a TV or two. Music is the heartbeat. Pick someone and make them in charge of the music. Impart unto them the significance of their responsibility. Have a busty girl tell them how important the music is.
• At the adult tailgate, flip the importance. The TVs are important, as watching other games while enjoying conversation and beer is the passive go-to. Until the aforementioned games and drinking rev up, let your parents or your friends’ parents play the music. Laugh at them.
• Scenery is the same for both tailgates. It’s why we love to tailgate so much — both setups included — and why we look forward to the fall. College football is back, and women — full spectrum — embrace current trends and continue to look better. It’s all special; it’s all deadly.
If none of this sounds familiar, realize you’ve never tailgated and you probably went, or go to school, in the Pacific-12 Conference..