"Ginger Hanson"
New York, NY, United States
Fun Fact: My biggest pet peeve is people dressed like cartoon characters.

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Touch Down

Have you ever tried to meet a guy at a football game? It’s like trying to
squeeze into your high-school prom dress ten years later: exhausting and
humiliating. One Sunday afternoon in college a friend and I went to a sports
bar to “watch the game,” all dolled up and ready to flirt. We stood in the back
of the bar, preening and glowing at all the attention we were getting. Every
guy in the room was staring at us! Or so we thought. We soon realized that
the men were actually captivated by the 64-inch flat screen on the wall
directly above our heads.

Sporty guys are appealing to me: they’re fun, laid back, and loyal. But they
never seem to take the bait while a game is on and when the game is over
they’re too hopped up on victory and chicken wings to pay attention. It was
frustrating to know that on any given Sunday there were hundreds of cute,
single guys collecting in sports bars around the world (with little female
competition!) and no way to access them. But after dating a football fanatic
last year – and spending countless hours in sports bars- I know that it IS
possible to meet men where they least expect it.

When I tell people that the Pittsburgh Steelers are to blame for the rise and
fall of my most significant romantic relationship they usually assume I am
joking. But if it hadn’t been for football I never would have broken through
the commitment phobic barrier of my ex-boyfriend Nick, a Pittsburgh-born-
bartender that I dated for over a year. Growing up in a house full of baseball
fans I knew nothing, literally nothing, about football. Nick spent hours
teaching me the fundamentals of the game and it became a common bond
between us. He was touched by my enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, and I
was impressed by his patience in explaining yet again the difference between
offense and defense. When Nick relocated back to Pittsburgh for a job last
August (coincidentally the same week football season started) it broke my
heart completely, and I secretly suspected it was actually so he could be
closer to his favorite team.

I learned many life lessons from my relationship with my ex - love, loss,
compromise, blah blah blah. Maybe one day I’ll put those lessons to good
use. Until then I plan on banking on the most useful knowledge imparted to
me by my ex-boyfriend: football. Nick unwittingly provided me with the
perfect modus operandi for picking up men at sports bars. If he only knew
that all of his patient football tutorials would be used to get me dates in the
future! Here’s how:

Learn Football
This isn’t one of those “fake it till you make it” scenarios. Guys fill their brains
up with so many sports facts that it barely leaves room for anything else (like
your birthday or favorite movie). If you act like a football-know-it-all they
might very well call your bluff and ask you some random question about the
1992 playoffs or Peyton Manning’s college stats. If you’re not already a
football fan then you will need to know at least the basics to pull this off.
Learn your team’s roster, their entire Super Bowl history, and some
background on their biggest competition. Learn referee calls, what a sack is,
the difference between a full back and a tight end, and how the score is
determined. There are many girl-oriented football books (I like Get Your Own
Damn Beer I’m Watching the Game: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Football by Holly
Robinson Peete) that explain the nitty-gritty in language that you can

Speak up!
Football games are not the place for quiet, subtle flirtations. You need to do
something drastic to drag his eyes away from the television set for a few
seconds to notice you. Stand next to a guy and scream at the TV, “Sacked
again, you sonuvabitch! Can you believe he went down again?” and then flash
him your prettiest smile. Express your knowledge of the game with witty
comments and ask thoughtful questions. Chances are whatever guy you’ve
focused your attention on will be interested in chatting about the game and
flexing his knowledge with a cute girl.

Put your game face on
Wear jeans and sneakers. Look pretty and casual. Drink beer. If you only like
to wear heels and drink Cosmos than maybe you shouldn’t be dating Mr.
Football. Guys are in their comfort zone while watching the game and a super
glammed-up girl might be intimidating. Invest in an authentic jersey or a
cute cap for the team of your choice. Do not wear baby-pink or pastel
versions of anything related to the team—I’ve learned that men hate this! If
buying something with a number on the back, make sure you have a reason
other than “because he’s hot” for selecting that specific player.

Bring a friend or two
Definitely bring a wing woman or two with you, but no more than that. It’s no
secret that large groups of girls make men uncomfortable, and you don’t
want them to feel like women are taking over their sacred place. Sports bars
can sometimes have that “no girls allowed” boy’s tree house feel to it and you
might be tempted to bring a male friend as an ambassador into hostile
territory. I would avoid doing this. Everyone will assume that you are his
clingy girlfriend tagging along to keep tabs on him.

If you don’t think that watching football at sports bars is your kind of thing
then think of it this way: it’s an excuse to drink beer at noon on a Sunday, in
comfy clothes, surrounded by hot guys. What can be better than that?

Urban Disabilities: High-heels

Urban Disabilities I: High-heels
I am a notorious seat-grabber on all variations of public transportation. I
stand over a specific territory and wait for someone to get up--then I grab
the seat, knocking down anyone in my way. I’m usually on the train for over
an hour and I feel like I deserve a seat more than most people. I make no

Except when I make exceptions.

For example, I will always give my seat up to the elderly or disabled, as the
law requires, without hesitation. Most people do. When someone ignores this
law I find it to be inconsiderate, rude, and a deviation of basic human
decency. Most people do. Even the rudest person couldn’t allow an obviously
disabled or elderly person stand on a moving vehicle. But, as the sign warns,
not all disabilities are visible.

There are other circumstances in which I also deem it appropriate to
surrender my seat. For example, I will consistently yield my seat to pregnant
women. Although pregnancy isn’t considered a disability, I feel it should be
on the list when it comes to giving up one’s seat. Same goes for small
children. Surely a three-year-old can’t be expected to stand still and hold on
tight—especially when trains and busses are designed for adults. In fact, I
think that it is high time that someone propose a law that requires a section
of seats on every bus or train to say, “won’t you please give up your seat to
the elderly, children, disabled, or pregnant.” You’d think these things are
obvious, but I’ve seen it happen. No one wants to get up once they’ve
secured themselves a seat.

This brings me to a less official disability I feel deserves recognition on public
transportation. It is something that I suffer from and deeply sympathize with:
wearing high heels. People of New York, I implore you. If you see an
otherwise sturdy looking woman teetering on a pair of skinny stiletto sling-
backs, for the love of God, please give her your seat. She is in pain, unaware
that she looks ridiculous, and helpless against the forces of gravity.

You might us the defense, “Well, it’s her own damn fault. She should have
brought other shoes to change into. I don’t know how women wear high
heels at all!” Just because you do not understand the high-heel culture does
not mean you should discriminate against those who do. I recognize the
validity of your train of thought, and I know what you’re saying, but there are
specific circumstances in which wearing uncomfortable shoes is simply
unavoidable. A night on the town, for instance, or an important job interview.
Carrying a Sephora shopping bag with a pair of beat up sneakers in it is not
very professional or sexy. Neither is being in pain. Please pity women in
stilettos, platforms, wedges or espadrilles—because although they might
look sexy, underneath their shiny patent-leather façade lays aching ankles,
bursting blisters and sad, squeezed toes.


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Shannon on March 11, 2010

Just want to say that I disagree with the part about sporty guys wanting casual, comfortable girls. I spend a lot of time with sports nuts, and they are constantly being exposed to sexist commercials featuring super hot women- not to mention the cheerleaders. These guys have high expectations, even though they themselves may have have beer gut and Dorito ass. If you dress like one of the guys, they'll treat you like one.

JR on March 11, 2009

This also works with hockey!! I HIGHLY recommend it!

The Penniless Optimist on January 15, 2009

I just love your bit about going to a sports bar to pick up guys. Very well put together and certainly made me laugh. FYI - I'm looking up the basic rules of football RIGHT NOW.