If you were to ask me for the four main ingredients of a successful tailgate, my answer would be: booze, food, friends and women (although not necessarily in that order). Why? Because these are the ingredients that make ANY large gathering successful (again not in that order.) There’s a reason nightclubs let women in for free. There’s a reason they can mark up bottles of liquor 250% and convince you to pay for your own private area… just to sit down. Their business model is built upon this recipe, and it works.
These ingredients are even more important for tailgating. How else can you explain why standing around dirty cars in a crowded parking lot is “the” thing to do every Saturday (and Sunday, if you’re lucky enough to live in an NFL city) between September and December (or January, if you’re lucky enough to live in an NFL city with a good team)? The short answer: You can’t.
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Pulling together most of these ingredients is fairly straightforward. Food and booze are very easy to find. Anyone with a car and a handful of cash can go to the store for supplies. And anyone who isn’t scared of the kitchen can follow a recipe. So we can safely cross both of those off the list. Friends? Thankfully, the proliferation of cell phones and social media has made communication instantaneous, and the organization of a tailgate with said friends fairly straightforward. But how do you get women (or, more specifically, the non-football fan women) to join the party?
You see, women who are enrolled at a college, and have even a modicum of school spirit, would probably not be too hard to convince. But what happens if they are not a football fan and not in college anymore? How do you convince a wife/girlfriend/love interest/really cool friend, that it’s worth her time to hang out on the pavement with you and a bunch of people she may or may not know? I sat and I sat (and sat some more) trying to figure out the answer. And then, it came to me. Why try to get into a woman’s head when I could simply ask some of them? So I did; this is what they said:
Tailgating? Hmm… I would argue that the promise of some classy alcohol (beer doesn’t count), cute team stickers I can put on my cheek, a clean bathroom nearby and of course some delicious food on the BBQ are hard for any girl to resist! —Eliza
Since I’m not as classy as Eliza, I could be enticed with beer. Lots and lots of beer. And he has to be the DD, because this drunkard is not driving home! —Maria, a self-described “Classy Lady”
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What would it take for me to tailgate? Well if the guy asking me is a hot commodity, I’d make it out to anything with just the incentive of hanging out with him. —Anonymous Medical Student
I’d want a hot guy to ask me. And a hot football player there waiting for me. Are you going to give me one as a reward for answering this question? —Bri
I don’t think that it would take much to convince me. If enough of my friends were going I’d go. I like to be in the company of friends, and I’m always down to try something new. —Michele
I LOVE tailgating!! We used to go all the time in [my] college days. Mostly what attracted me to it was friends, food and booze. —Miki
(I swear I did not make this one up. She literally used those three words.)
So what can we learn from all this? In the end, everyone is essentially looking for the same thing: a good time. And really, it doesn’t matter where, or when, or how it comes together if all the ingredients are there. Therein lies the true beauty of tailgating. You can have the absolute bare minimum (food, booze, friends and women), or you can go gourmet (tents and music and satellite TV’s hooked up to your car). But people will enjoy themselves regardless. Man I love football!
Read more about the tailgating fan.
Stop in at the Man Cave, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.
Harrison Goo is a contributor to CBS Local and the founder of the blog SportsGooru.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @sportsgooru.