AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
The sparkling new NFL season is upon us, spit out from the slimy womb of NBC with all the glitzy showmanship of the VMA Awards. That is, if the VMA's target audience were Midwestern suburban zombies. (Faith Hill? The artist formerly known as John Cougar?) Last night's rousing start also included Rich Eisen doing his best Ryan Seacrest impersonation and Al Michaels being waaay too excited for a possible season-ending injury to happen on the first play. Luckily, Joseph Addai does not believe in miracles.
But Sunday, Sunday SUNDAY! is when the real season starts for everybody who doesn't have Ben Utecht on their fantasy team. And the all day celebrants will pile in to their local chug-and-wing hole at 11 a.m. to sidle up to televisions that give them the best vantage point for their rooting interest. When I lived in New York, my first couple years of football Sundays were spent at East Village puke castle called Bar None, a dingy, black-painted hovel known for its spotty service, free hot wings and obnoxious collection of Minnesota Vikings fans. Bar None wasn't a place you attended other than to watch football, unless of course you favored Sit Next to an Angry Plumber's Union Guy Tuesdays or the always popular Hunter College Date Rape Thursdays.
Bar None Sundays, however, had its appeal for Brooklyn Lager-drinking aristocrats. I'd attend, as would Spinhead General Will Leitch, who would usually arrive at 10:30 a.m. with seven newspapers, four magazines, print outs of matchups for each of his fantasy leagues, a beat-up briefcase, an even more beat-up black leather jacket, and sometimes wearing his ex-girlfriend's jeans. We'd stay for both the early and late games, with him perched next to the only television that would be playing the Arizona Cardinals game — usually the 9-inch one crammed up near the heating ducts right above the pool table. Excelsior, Buzzsaw.
The first Sunday of the year always brought the biggest crowds, as even the most casual football fan would decide that this is the year they'll make a habit of watching football every weekend. It's the usually the same people you'll see clumsily clomping on treadmills at gyms across the country on January 2. You can pick out who's really committed, and who'll return to smoking cigarettes and ordering The #2 with a Diet Coke by Martin Luther King's birthday.
So, this week, I'm slipping into my gray drawstring sweatpants, scooping nachos off the DirectTV dish, and placing odds on the types of people you'll find at your local sports bars this weekend.
Let's go salsa dancing with John Facenda's corpse, after this MORE.
Food Vacuum: 1/1
This fella will be an early-arriver, most likely with a breakfast consisting of a bagel-egg-and-cheese sandwich. By noon, he'll have ordered a personal mushroom pizza to munch on until the free wings are dumped into the chafing dish. Then, the second game will start, and a 4 p.m. snack of a meatball parm and a bag of Salt N' Vinegar chips should suffice. But, alas, there are more wings. And by the end of the first quarter of the late games, nobody will sit next to him anymore because he'll be stricken with uncontrollable, suffocating trans fat farts. He won't care.
Dressed-Up Dressed-Down Guy: 2/1
Here's a fella who'll show up to most places, usually ones with a better than average ratio of female attendees. Unlike most of the other soiled, flip-flop and sweatshirt-wearing slobs, this guy's look will be a completely contrived version of it. Expensive jeans ripped perfectly, a well-worn hat plucked from Urban Outfitters, scrubbed up New Balances and a new, but old-looking T-shirt over top an equally mussied long-sleeved white one. He'll drink Sam Adams and not really pay attention to the games because there are plenty of 22-year-old women to infiltrate, ost of whom started drinking much to early for them to possibly keep their pants on until 6 p.m. Of course, he'll bolt early with the girls he met and go to another bar. He'll promise to "catch up with you guys later," and you'll only hear from him the next day, when he gives you the mind-blowing details about the threesome he had with the two chicks. Then he'll innocently ask, how the rest of your night was and, oh yeah, who won the other games? Fuck you. That's who won.
Old Guy Born on the Stool: 1/3
Most bars always have the one patron who sticks to his routine regardless of any activity that's going on in the bar around him. He's there for karaoke night, Quizzo Tuesdays, whatever — he's there to drink and all that white noise is just a distraction. You'll see him Sunday, usually at the end of the bar near the hostess who always talks to him, suspicious about all these rowdy people taking away from the whiskey-reflective ambiance he usually enjoys these early weekend mornings. But don't even try to get in his seat, even if it's right next to the only television that's playing your team — he's not moving. Nope, he's there to wait everybody out, and at 11:30 at night, he can finally start to enjoy the day.
The Cock Loiterer: 2/1
Here's a gal that just thought she was hanging out with her boys for the football games. She'd tag along, maybe meet up with a few other people she knew from work who were going to attend, and only stay for a few drinks. She's not much for football, but could use the socializing since she's pushing 30, single and available. Really available, as you'll see as the day goes on. She gets drunker and begins to slowly break away from the group and glom onto every guy she knows. Then, before you know it, it's 11 p.m. She still doesn't want to leave — even though she should, she totally has that 10 a.m. conference call tomorrow — but these guys seem friendly enough and attractive enough. She'll decide that who's ever left standing out of this group of three guys is the one she'll go home with and, you know, blow them on their couch. What else does she have in her life? Until there's a ring on her finger, it's just work, spinning class and spirited fellatio on random dudes in polo shirts.