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All In The Game 

Scoring at the sports bar

One night when I was in college, a girlfriend called me up and asked if I wanted to go to a Miss Hawaiian Tropic Contest at a local sports bar. I sat there, holding onto the telephone, dumbfounded. "Sure, Patrice, nothing turns me on more than seeing a cattle call of big-breasted women prancing around on a stage in string bikinis, all baby-oiled-up. . . .Why in the hell would I want to go to a bar to see a bunch of half-naked women?"

"Gee, Elizabeth," she answered in a particularly whiny voice, "you really haven't thought about the benefits of such an event, now have you?"

I got this "Duh" look on my face when the wave of knowledge and wisdom came down like a mist from the sky. I suddenly remembered that these types of female exhibitions are more often than not frequented by men who practically beat down the door and pay a cover charge to drink and drool. What man can resist the temptation of watching women parade around while the widescreens in the background air his favorite sporting event? Talk about one sexually aroused bunch.

Sports bars in Charlotte still baffle me because they're almost always filled with mostly men. I can't remember very many times when I've visited The Graduate, The Fox and Hound, Jocks & Jills, among others, where women weren't always in the minority. This has been going on for years. Can I be the only female to notice this?

A few months ago, I walked into The Fox and Hound downtown to discover about 30 guys walking around in kilts because of a local rugby tournament. Come on, ladies, you'll have to admit you don't see that everyday. It was a very liberating moment for me to turn the tables and get to play the pervert for a change, and flip up a skirt or two as they walked my way. Leave it to men to actually be turned on by that sort of thing.

Sports bars usually come in one of two breeds: Mostly bar, or mostly restaurant. I highly recommend the latter. The restaurant breed, especially downtown, attracts the young, after-work executives who begin to filter in promptly at 5:30. There's nothing more sexy than seeing a guy walk in with his tie half-hanging around his neck and his shirt unbuttoned just enough to where you can see if he's wearing a traditional undershirt or a cheesy, substitute, printed T-shirt. These guys usually don't get so smashed on gin-and-tonics that they lose control and start to look sloppy and kiss even worse.

Then there is the mostly bar breed, which showcases locations such as Bar Charlotte, Jillian's, or Dixie's. Be sure to avoid any college-night theme unless you want to be overrun by super-wasted frat boys, and 18-year-old sorority bitches who keep forgetting that if you're going to dance on the bar in a micro-miniskirt, thong underwear may not be the best choice of undergarments. Live and learn.

Sports bars do give women something to do besides sitting at home watching The Lifetime Movie Network during Superbowl Sunday, March Madness, or NBA Championship games' nights.

Grab your girlfriends, leave your high heels at home, and come on out and play with the boys. Even if you grew up in a household full of brothers where being ignorant about sports was not an option; even if you know enough about sports stats to start your own bookie business -- just play dumb. It's a great way to start a conversation with the hottie at the next table when you tap him on the shoulder and ask him to explain to you how the other team just got the ball. It's all about stroking that ego.

Sports bars host a variety of activities that make them great places to go on a date if you're tired of the dinner-and-a-movie routine, and you're just about Blockbustered out: Foosball, darts, pool and, if you're of the 80s generation, Jillian's has made a fortune off $2 video games. Goes to show how inflation can have a serious financial impact on a good time.

So, if you're one of those people like me, who doesn't work a 9-to-5 job, head downtown during the week and wait for the guys to get off work. At least you can rest assured they're gainfully employed. If you hit the right venue, you can count on having as good a time as you can on any given Friday or Saturday night, and you can be promptly home and in bed at a decent hour. Whether you choose to snooze alone or with a newfound friend is up to you. If he doesn't get the hint, be bold and go ahead and yank on his tie.

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