Dear Tom Selleck . . .
Beth and I have been best friends since the 6th grade. We don't always agree, but we never fight. We can talk about anything and find common ground: boys, politics, religion. But there is one thing we do not discuss. One thing we will never see eye-to-eye on. One thing that triggers some sort of primal reaction in both of us. One subject that is totally taboo in our friendship. Sports.
Growing up, she was a cheerleader and played with boys - just as friends. I was on the drill team and never played with boys. Boys and girls cannot be friends in my world. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but I will spare you the fine print.
She and I have always viewed sports - and boys - differently. As a cheerleader, she had to know the basics of the game and stick it out through all sorts of weather and extra innings or quarters or whatever the hell they're called. She had to encourage those boys to do their best, even when they were failing miserably.
I, on the other hand, didn't have to know a damn thing about the game. I got to show up just before the game, salute the flag during the National Anthem, reappear at halftime, do a little dance, and go home. I was more interested in the drummer of the marching band than the quarterback of the football team. Ironically though, Beth ended up serial dating a non-jock and I ended up with a jock as a high school sweetheart.
Weird. Or not.
Anyhow, let's fast forward 20+ years.
As a bartender, I serve a lot of boys. They like to talk about sports. I always have sports on the TV - muted, so I can listen to a little Adele, Sinatra, Manilow, and Buffet. Usually, I can just nod my cute little head through the boys' sporty nonsensical talk, or busy myself restocking the beer cooler while they try to pretend they're not looking at my ass. Last week though, one of my regulars hit me right between the eyes with a very direct question:
"Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?"
Deer in the fucking headlights. I had nowhere to turn. No beer to stock. I couldn't breathe.
So I said, "I know it's on Sunday . . . aaannnddd . . . who's playing, again?" While I straightened my spine (girls - you know what happens to your chest as you straighten your spine) and cocked my cute little head and smiled.
After he collected himself from hysterical laughter, he told me. And I quickly and impressively and definitively stated I'd be rooting for the 49'ers. He grunted and rolled his eyes. Apparently that was the wrong answer. Before I could back pedal for a bigger tip, he asked me why. This was an easy one! "Because I dated some asshole who went to Baltimore and never came back." He had NO idea how to respond to that kind of sporty rationalization, quickly ended his interrogation, and tipped me well. He looks at me with pity and remorse now. I'm not sure if it's because of the asshole story or because he can't talk sports with me.
I'll have the game on in the background tonight and be pulling for the 49'ers because of some asshole in Baltimore. Beth will be here for our weekly family dinner night. We will not discuss the elephant in the room. We both know it will lead to rage in her and end in nothing but tears for me.
She dates boys who watch sports and play poker and would love nothing more than for her to fetch them a damn beer and a snack from time to time. Which pisses her off.
I am dating no one. And when I do date someone, it's often been someone who could give a shit about sports. Would rather listen to my neurotic playlists than watch a game. Which pisses me off.
I love to fetch beers and snacks. I love to make sandwiches. I love to show up pretty at the beginning of the game in front of his buddies with a pot full of chili and a fridge full of beer and bowls full of chips and dips. I love when any one of them yells for me from the other room to get him another. I love sashaying through the room to pick up trash. I love showing up at halftime, doing a little dance, and leaving the room. And if he doesn't have his buddies over for the game . . . he gets quite a 'dance' at halftime. Just enough to relax him for the second half, but not enough to make him pass out. Just enough to rebuild his appetite and make him thirsty for more. Beer. And snacks.
I love sports.
Edie B. Kuhl