You don’t need to stand there in leather boots and a cozy sweater drinking a PSL, posting pictures of the changing leaves to your Instagram for us to know it’s fall. Trust us, we’re aware. Now that autumn is upon us, we must turn our attention to the only fall activity that matters: tailgating. Even if you don’t know the first thing about football, rest assured that this season has little to do with touchdowns and tackles and everything to do with getting turned down at the tailgate. To help you get ready for this outdoor rage fest, we have assembled a short list of steps to help you become officially tail-great:
Step 1: Check the forecast. Weather can make or break your tailgate experience. If you go to school in the freezing tundra and a snowstorm is about to hit, maybe throw on a fleece under your boyfriend’s practice jersey. Otherwise, he’s going to dump you for being a moron.
Step 2: Wear the right shoes. Yes, those brown suede wedge booties make your legs look ah-MAH-zing, but remember how last time you wore them, your feet were covered in blisters before you even got to your car and you spent the whole day looking for places to sit that weren’t covered in beer and/or vomit? Leave those at home. Put on sneakers, or even Uggs, and just laugh about how you’re spending the day pretending to be #basic.
Step 3: Know the rules. If you’re underage, do not pack 14 handles of vodka in your tote. That’s against the law, and more importantly, it’s idiotic. Other people will bring alcohol to the tailgate. You’re a young, hot girl, so just show up and drink for free. This is what feminism is all about.
Step 4: Show up on time. Understand that many tailgaters will abandon ship at some point so everyone there can go watch a bunch of bros in tights hug each other while lying down on a field. If that doesn’t sound like real entertainment, you’re probably more sane than your tweets would have us believe. Just remember, if your team wins, there will be a victory party later, so pace yourself. If your team loses, you can go to the other team’s victory party, get hit on by its quarterback, and look bored. That way he’ll know he’s still a loser.
Step 5: Go with friends. You will see plenty of familiar faces at the tailgate–and some less familiar but more attractive ones. Don’t be tempted by these faces! Commit to the buddy system so you can stay safe, and make sure the attractive faces are not just the devastating result of beer goggles.
Step 6: Eat breakfast. Chugging beers at noon on an empty stomach pretty much guarantees you’ll pass out next to some weirdo’s pickup truck before the end of the first quarter. Eat a bowl of cereal or six before you leave the house.
Step 7: Bring sunglasses. You’re going to be drinking in the harsh light of day instead of in the comfort of your Netflix-aglow bed, so you want to be prepared. A pair of oversized aviators has the added benefit of hiding your hangover-induced under-eye bags from the inevitable Instagram onslaught. Plus, how else are you going to roll your eyes at your ex’s new girlfriend’s stupid jean skirt if everyone can see where you’re looking?
Step 8: Take a texting break. Duh, we know you’re having the best time, but your friend stuck at the library all day doesn’t need a fortieth text of just a string of martini glass emojis.
Step 9: Be smart when picking your drinking game partner. An afternoon beer pong streak could last hours, and you’ll be stuck with this person until it ends. Why not make it that Chris Pratt lookalike from your econ lecture? You can flirt with him all day while showing off your ball-handling skills. If he turns out to be more boring than an episode of “CSI,” you can just throw the game, chug your remaining beers, and move on with your life.
Step 10: Make time for snacks, like, NOW. Flirt with the guy manning the grill and get yourself a burger. Make sure you eat the bun, you gluten-intolerant nightmare. Or just grab a gal pal and steal a bag of chips and salsa to go to town on in secret.
Step 11: Texting break over. It’s almost kickoff and you need to figure out if you’re going to head into the game or not. Make your plan via aggressive texts with everyone you know. If your girls are going in, then track them down so you can all inconspicuously pass your flask of Fireball back and forth between plays. Also, take a few swigs while making this plan. What are you, a nun?
Step 12: Take two Tylenol. Your head doesn’t hurt now, but it will in approximately four hours. If you’re going to make it past those next few beers, that crucial coma nap, and half of a pepperoni pizza that you’ll only know you ate after finding grease stains on your sheets, you’re going to need some medicinal help. So pop some Tylenol now and thank us later.
Step 13: Find out the score of the game. Obviously you never made it inside the stadium, but you need to know what kinds of insults you can yell at the basic bitches sporting the opposing team’s colors. You can scream at them regardless, but knowing if you won or not will make you seem less deranged..