Culture

Social in Security — The Tried-and-True Tips of Tailgating Etiquette

Fall Festivities in Good Form

BY Heather Wiese Alexander // 10.27.21

In her recurring column, “Social in Security,” modern etiquette ambassador and Bell’INVITO founder Heather Wiese Alexander walks us through a list of trusted tips you can rely on. Because now that we’re emerging back into the world, we want to do it as the best version of ourselves.

Football in Texas is, well, everything. Even so, this fall seems a little more special. We’ve weathered a storm together and the celebrations are feeling more pivotal, more meaningful, and potentially way more fun.

Tailgating is now in full swing. We’re about mid-way through a season of packing streets and parking lots together—a perfect time to refresh the social playbook. As we reemerge and merge back into our new normal, a dream is for everyone is to do it smarter, kinder, and more intentionally. I’ve talked to you. I know you’re with me. So, here is the promised guide to attending all your fall tailgating festivities in good form.

The Tried-and-True Tips of Tailgating Etiquette

Never show up empty-handed. At the very least, bring ice!

Hold your own. In your tailgating go-bag (yep, that’s a thing), keep these five essentials: a phone charger, a sweat towel or extra shirt, extra water (enough for possible cleaning and for drinking), paper towels or wipes, and a trash bag. You’re welcome.

Balance contribution and consumption. Know your crowd. Are you hanging with foodies? Don’t bring a six-pack of Bud and a bag of Lays and expect to consume loads of prepared foods while sipping Jim’s good whiskey. If it’s not you, find out who the ringleader is and bring something on par with your crowd’s culture. Part two to this tip (need I say this?): don’t overconsume, especially the booze.

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Places, please! If you want to sit and chat (and don’t have a tailgate), bring your own chair. That cooler everyone needs to open every few minutes is not your seat.

Know thy keeper (of the tickets). If it’s you, don’t leave anyone stranded or let them walk off without handing them their ticket. If it’s someone else, get your ticket before you run to the restroom or go catch up with that friend out of eyesight from your crew. Making someone wait to get their ticket in hand after the game has started is a real game-day no-no. (that happens all too often, apparently).

Special diet? BYOGrub. Since you’re not partaking in everyone else’s food, do you have to bring something to share? See tip number one. A tailgating game is always a good contribution as well.

Check the weather. Bring your own umbrellas, ponchos, blankets, sunscreen—whatever protects you from the elements.

Do a quick venue rules search. There may be venue rules like no glass bottles, or other protocols about parking, music, grills, or hooking up generators. Before making assumptions that can lead to disappointment, use that smartphone for what it does best.

Know the location of the loo. Do I need to explain this?

Kindness for the win. When grabbing another drink or food, offer to bring something for the people you’re coming back to. Clean up after yourself and help the host break down and clean up before you take off.

If there is a last-but-not-least to this list—it’s to HAVE FUN. Wear the colors, cheer, be a fan-for-a-day if nothing else. Keep the mood light. In spite of little frustrations that naturally occur when thousands of people come together to consume alcohol and disagree on who should win, this is a game. When you make the right social plays, everyone wins.

Part of the Special Series:

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