In Ohio, football is life. Buckeye football breathes a particularly potent jolt into the veins of every scarlet-blooded millennial who lives within the city limits, and it’s even more intense the farther from Columbus proper you go. I am not here to talk about the stereotypes surrounding this not-so-sports-fans, things like novelty t-shirts that say YAY SPORTS BALL! that generally annoy the sh*t out of everyone, including myself.
To talk about football culture for me is also talking about lesbian culture. Midwestern lesbians love football and tailgating more than they love… well.. you probably know what I was going to say here. And as a woman who has been dating women for over a decade, managing the pool of complicated emotions that come from loving sports fans can be draining and complicated, like trying to navigate a lesbian bar without running into all of your exes. (Hint: it can’t be done.)
Let me give you some advice… if you aren’t a diehard fan, these tips may help you survive the season with your friends and relationships intact (I wish I was kidding).
Tip #1: Wear whatever the f*ck you want.
I have exactly TWO jerseys in my possession, both from overzealous (albeit endearing) ex-girlfriends who thought that maybe changing my game-watching attire would suddenly transform my knowledge and passion for the game. Look, my dad couldn’t teach me what icing was when I was growing up on the ice rinks in Buffalo and you CERTAINLY aren’t going to be able to teach me what a Pick 6 is. And even if you can, I’m not going to focus any more intensely if I’m wearing a bulky jersey that looks like one of those gym class pinnies with extra space in the shoulders to store grapefruits. Leave the Block O snapback at home if you are having a great hair day. You can be just as disillusioned when your team “doesn’t win by as much as you wanted them to” without a hat.
Tip #2: Google the final score before you head to the bar on Saturday night.
There is NOTHING more embarrassing than not knowing the final score of the big game. OH WAIT. That sentence was a typo! What I meant to say is that there is nothing more annoying than someone being mad at you for not knowing the score of a football game after its over and done. It’s over! As long as I know who won (probably), I can hold my own at the bar on a Saturday night. And usually, you can use context clues to figure it out… like… are all the lesbians looking really sad? Is it because their team lost, or because the bar ran out of fireball? Do your research and order a shot of fireball just to be sure.
To avoid having to do too many shots, use your phone and google the score. You don’t need to write it down on your hand like it’s a girl’s phone number in the 5th grade (wait, was that just me?) but that way you have a general idea of what happened. You can say things like, “Wow that was a close game!” or “What a blowout!” and not look like a total asshat.
Tip #3: Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to care about sports.
There is this ridiculous stereotype about a “good woman” knowing her sports and being like “one of the guys”… even in lesbian culture! In some ways, lesbians can be JUST as misogynistic as men. Look, if you want a girl who is one of the guys, you should probably find that girl. I am not that girl. I listen to opera, I love musicals, the only sport I play is golf because it doesn’t involve running or catching and you can drink while you do it. My idea of a high octane Saturday game day is a game of 500 rummy and trying a new risotto recipe I found online. I’m not going to change, and neither should you! Go watch the game and get your emotions all in a fuss about a couple dozen boys who are knocking the shit out of each other. Seriously, you do you. I’ll be at home, and if you want to come over after the game, I made risotto. Just don’t ask me what I thought about the game.
You can check out this article and Brooke’s monthly column, Dyke Like Me, at Outlook Ohio.