Super Bowl night! Not quite as exciting for us Bostonians as in some years past, but after a long snowy week, we'll probably all be gasping for a chance to get out of the house and socialize a bit. So let's make sure it's an optimal experience. Some of my advice on election-night etiquette is applicable to the Super Bowl (will Arizona make up in February for their loss in November?) but there are, of course, differences.
Helping sports-illiterate me out with this is football fan, cartoonist, and all-around good egg Peaco Todd, author of "The Girl's Guide to Football," available at Peacotoons.com. Now, on with the advice!
Don't assume that all men are interested in/knowledgeable about football, or that all women aren't. It's rude, makes you look like a boor, and can shut down the possibility of good conversation faster than just about anything else.
Ask a few questions to assess someone's level of knowledge/fandom before you start opining, venting, explaining, or whatever. It's a terribly embarrassing feeling to realize you've just condescended to someone who knows, in fact, more than you do. (I know because I've done this, though never in sports-related areas.) Unless a person is wearing a jersey or team colors, don't assume which team they support. And as Peaco suggests, "Be aware that people become quite invested in the outcome, even reasonable people, so keep the teasing and the taunting to a minimum."
Given the Patriots' unfortunate year, a little what-if kibbitzing is appropriate at a local party. But don't let imagining the game that could have been get in the way of enjoying the game that is.
On Sunday, I recommended that Super Bowl party hosts "provide one room for conversation and one for serious game-watching." If hard-core fans are in one room and more casual attendees are in another, find your proper room and stay in it.
Contribute food and/or bevvies. It's best to go with the traditional Super Bowl fare: there's a place and a time for unagi, and I'm not sure this is it. Peaco adds, "If you contribute food, make it something easy to eat (requiring either no utensils or only one)--no elaborate dishes that require delicate handling and lots of kitchen time and space. Don't bring stuff that needs to be cooked unless previously asked to do so."
You can contribute in other ways, too. As Peaco suggests, "If you're not a huge fan and your host or hostess is, volunteer to help out with food and drink distribution and replenishment, etc., so that the fan can watch more of the game."
Never say, "It's only a game."
Peaco points out, "Unlike most usual programs, don't talk during the commercials -- some of the most expensive and watchable commercials are shown during Super Bowl." I'd like to add that some of us are only watching the game in order to see the "Star Trek" trailer, and you will get the Vulcan Neck Pinch if you talk during it or mock our geekdom.
Enthusiasm is great, but don't yell so loud you scare the pets. If Fluffy still won't come out from under the sofa by Tuesday, you probably won't be invited back.
Peaco warns, "It's easy to overdo the food and the drink, especially if the game is close and you're partisan. So, watch your own intake (drink lots of water) and be forgiving of others who might overindulge due to anxiety/disappointment (as long as they behave themselves)." And of course, if you're hosting, don't let drinking guests back out on the road.
What advice would you add?
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at email@example.com.