As a member of the male species, there are several subjects that serve as instant conversation starters when in the company of other males. Depending on location, any male can easily join in a discussion on sports, music, or sometimes politics and automatically be accepted among peers. While beneficial most of the time, sometimes being part of an accepted conversation on a “guy” subject can become a hindrance to fully enjoying a night on the town.
Personally, too often the antagonist in forcing me to regret “guy” knowledge is a drunken sports fan. We have all experienced the Drunken Sports Fan. The type of fan who insists on talking to you as you wish you were somewhere else. The type of fan lets you know exactly where he stands on every sports issue, whether you care or not.
The drunken sports fan creates a new unfamiliar set of problems for casual bar patrons like myself. Avoidance and escape, usually unfamiliar options for a male in a social scene, become the most paramount of notions. Whereas women have perfected the friend rescue tactic, sadly, men, or least not me, have not yet figured out how to bail out of an unwanted social situation. My Saturday night proved a perfect example why I must learn such a tactic.
Having worked most of the day Saturday, I didn’t feel up for an exciting night out. However, late in the evening, around 1 am or so, I decided to saunter to my local pool hall for a satisfactory mix of barley and hops. I walked in, found myself a place at the bar, and ordered an adult beverage. This particular establishment features three televisions above the bar, two of which were tuned to the nightly edition of SportsCenter.
So I was sitting there, minding my own business, watching some highlights, enjoying my tasty brew, when in came two girls, a short blonde, and her tall, also blonde, very attractive friend. (Here is where I must admit I have a weakness for tall attractive blondes. It’s my cross to bear.) These two girls apparently knew some of the other bar clientele and were immediately engaged in social banter. During her conversations however, I did catch the taller blonde sneaking a few gazes in my direction. Surmising the situation, I determined, if given the opportunity, a conversation between us was definitely in order.
To my opposite direction however, was a gentlemen completely engrossed in the SportsCenter broadcast. His enthusiasm for sports was easily apparent by his voiced approval or disgust at nearly every score that passed on the screen. At one point during his outbursts, he engaged the bartender on some aspects of football regarding my beloved alma mater. Of course, being drunk, he was obviously incorrect in his babbling. In a completely ill-fated move, I corrected him, not knowing I opened a Pandora’s Box of non-stop drunken sports analysis. For the next 30 minutes, he went on and on about how great his school was (they are a top-five ranked school), how great their conference was, how tough their schedule was, and how horrible the BCS is. On and on and on and on he went. As I tried to edge my chair away, he moved closer, barraging me with more inebriated opinion. All I could do was nod, mumble “uh-huh”, and hope the girl he was with would round him up and take him if not home, somewhere away from me.
As the alcoholic-impaired banter continued, I watched the tall blonde continue to socialize and eventually migrate over to a pool table with some friends. At least she hadn’t left and hope wasn’t completely lost. And the drunken college football commentary continued. At some point, I thought to myself, he had to run out of things to say. But he kept on. Looking back, perhaps I should have excused myself and left for the restroom. Perhaps I should have gone anywhere. Secretly, I wanted the tall blonde to come over and rescue me, but it was not be.
Shortly before 2:30 am, I finished my final beer. My new found sports associate was still beside me, yammering on about his latest gripe, but the blonde was nowhere to be found. Although her shorter friend was still on the far side of the bar, the object of my admiration for the night was gone. Disappointed, yet slightly blasé, I paid my tab and left the bar. There, outside, speaking on the phone, was the tall blonde. As I walked by, she smiled and said “Have a good night.”
“You too,” I replied, not wanting to interrupt her too much from her conversation.
Damn you, Mr. Drunken Sports Fan. Why did you tempt me into talking about the Seminoles? Why was I not strong enough to plead ignorance at your sports “knowledge”? Why could I have not said “Sorry, I don’t watch football. I think it is a barbaric sport played by overgrown Neanderthals.”? Why?
(Yes, here is where I must admit my own mistake – as I was walking by her at the end of the night, I probably should have at least asked the blonde if I would see her again some time. But this story is not about my social incompetence. It is about how I am blaming my incompetence on a drunken sports fan that ambushed me and made me wish, at least for a night, that I knew nothing about sports.)