Any Given Sunday


I might not die alone, clutching a dog-eared copy of Eat, Pray, Love, after all.  I have a newfound source of hope.  And I owe my appreciation to the most unlikely of impetuses for discovering it:  Watching a Cincinnati Bengals game.

I’m not referring to the substance of the game itself.  Besides, the final minute of the Bengals’ first game of the season against Denver was enough to make any single-girl sports fan lose faith in men altogether.  That game revived a strain of PTSD that has lingered in my psyche since January 22, 1989, when my parents made a grossly irresponsible parenting decision in bringing their young daughter to Super Bowl XXIII.

What I’m referring to is the physical act of watching the game.  An act that innocently began yesterday morning completely devoid of preconception, calculation or manipulation and has resulted in the Fox NFL Sunday theme song being re-christened as my mating call.

Marvin Lewis is my new Lizzie.  Allow me to explain.

My sectional sofa and DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket—more specifically, the maddeningly beguiling Red Zone channel—are what generally comprise my Sundays during the regular season.  In the event I’m working, I avoid score updates at all costs until I make it home to my usual box seat and cue up the Tivo.

However, inspired by a fit of passion after watching the riveting, tear-jerking pièce de résistance that was HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals, I decided that my ritual would be best shared among other long-suffering-yet-inexplicably-hopeful individuals for Sunday’s game.  So I did what any sensible, non-NFC North expat living in Chicago would do.  I tracked down my team’s unofficial local sports bar and headed there at 11:15 AM CST, sharp.

Of course, since the demands of BigLaw on my free time have prevented me from cultivating friendships with the type of girlfriends willing to join me for a wasted Sunday in a dark bar that reeks of Cincinnati chili and is filled with orange-and-black-clad misanthropes shouting “Who Dey,” walking in alone was intimidating.  But quickly accompanied by my old friend serendipity, the picturesque setting made for a lovely and much-needed visit.

Perhaps this should have been obvious to me (especially given my musings on Erin Andrews), but I came to the unexpected realization that the odds of meeting a potential boyfriend are off the freaking charts when you’re a not-unattractive girl in a (youth large) Rey Maualuga jersey, sitting alone on a fall Sunday in a Bengals bar.  That’s not to say there weren’t any unpleasant side effects to my newfound role as the most eligible bachelorette on the 2200 block of North Lincoln Avenue.  I had to withstand a few achingly unwanted conversations.  But it was blissfully easy to deflect them without awkwardly causing undue hurt by simply re-focusing my attention on the game.

In fact, I had just finished chasing off a particularly unwelcome visitor (as I recall, he was wearing mandals and a Reebok Cincinnati Bengals Black Contact Coaches Performance Polo), when a solid prospect suddenly appeared at my side.

Suffice to say, the interaction was largely positive.  He does something in finance that sounded smart and complicated, but he didn’t bore me with details.  He was attractive enough to spark interest without having the sort of too-perfect handsomeness that can be threatening and off-putting.  And he was so impressed at my Lewis Billups and Tim Krumrie references that he never even got around to asking me what I do for a living—hence my lighthearted je ne sais quoi wasn’t ruined by him imagining me bitch-marching into state court in a skirt suit.

He seemed to “get me.” For starters, he agreed with my long-held insistence that Phil Simms and Jim Nantz are secretly gay lovers.  Better yet, he even laughed out loud at my reference to an old article from The Onion (“Fox NFL Robot Misses Week One Due To Contract Holdout”).  Until that moment, I was 0-for-6 in converting descriptions of The Onion articles into responses of actual laughter.  (I still feel vaguely nauseous when I remember trying to explain “Political Cartoon Even More Boring And Confusing Than Issue” to an already underwhelmed date a couple of years ago.) At the end of the third quarter, he asked for my number, apologized for leaving early and dashed off to ORD to catch a flight to Phoenix for business.

The best part of the whole day is the fact that he wasn’t even the best part.  What I love most is how four hours spent as the Kendall’s Bar “it girl” did more for my self-confidence than all my self-help books and past therapy sessions combined.  A massive dose of Paxil to my otherwise social-anxiety approach to dating.  My legitimate, lifelong fandom transformed the nadir of my love life into a world of unexplored options.  And I’ve discovered a venue where pretense and usual dating criteria do not exist.

Later, around 6:30, I received a voicemail from Mr. Third Quarter who was calling from the gate, disappointed his flight was delayed because it meant he could have spent a while longer with me.  While obviously flattered, unlike with my initial spark with “Schultz,” I actually won’t be all that upset if nothing ever comes of him because for the first time ever, I’m feeling very “there’s plenty more where that came from.”

There are 15 more games in the regular season, and there are certainly 15 more bars in Chicago where I can watch (and be watched). So it seems the only sensible thing to do with all this empowerment is to load up on YL jerseys and prioritize a few hours every remaining Sunday in 2009 to spend in these target-rich environments.

Given the Bengals’ surprising, albeit semi-painful, win over the Packers yesterday, my barroom cheers just may be both my and the team’s new lucky charm.

Law Firm 10 may lack the dazzling, magnetic charisma of a girl from the hottest sorority in school, but she (arguably) makes up for that with her wit, humor, and low-maintenance-ness. Read more from Law Firm 10.

20 Comments

  1. Alma F.

    September 21, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I am happy for LF 10, but it is a sorry world we live in when a smart and pretty girl like her (and me) can only find love,in a smelly bar with a bunch of neanderthals focused in watching 300 pound men bash each other’s brains out.  Do I want that man pawing me.  Not a chance. I want a kind and smart man interested in me and in what I have to say and doing what I want to do.  I did not go to law school, pass the bar and get a job at a big firm to go to a smelly bar to be courted by guys who have been with women of questionable repute the night before.  I will not be a statistic in some clod’s black book.  I want a man who will MARRY me and we will live happily ever after in Greenwich, CT in a 6 BR home.  Is that too much to ask?  I don’t think so.

  2. BL1Y

    September 21, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Alma: So you went to law school, passed the bar and got a job at a big firm so you can find a man who will marry you and go live your WASP fantasy?  I think this is why you’re still single.

  3. Lady of Law

    September 21, 2009 at 3:38 am

    God, BL1Y, you’re a blunt loser idiot.  When will you stop taking the redundant, worthless bait Alma/Guano keeps throwing out to you?  The rest of us get naush and try to ignore, yet you walk into the plate-glass door every time.

  4. BL1Y

    September 21, 2009 at 4:22 am

    God, Lady of Law, you’re a blunt (blunt? doesn’t really make sense, but let’s go with it) loser idiot. When will you stop taking the redundant, worthless bait I keep throwing out to you? The rest of us get ????? and try to ignore [them/it], yet you walk into the plate-glass door every time.

  5. KateLaw

    September 21, 2009 at 5:46 am

    WHODEY!!  I love that she’s a Bengals fan!  Alma, it’s a hasty generalization to say that just because you meet someone in a bar while watching a game, they’re a neanderthal. SO not true!  They are probably just as successful as someone you might meet wearing a suit elsewhere, but just enjoying a few beers and a good game.

  6. prog

    September 21, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Good for you.  See what happens when you stick your nose out into the real world?  And yes, the sports bar is far more the “real world” then your closeted experiences in the halls of jurisprudence.

  7. Craig

    September 21, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Funny, entertaining article.  I think you have found a far better place to meet normal (not neurotic) guys than you have looked previously.

  8. Dannyd

    September 21, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Ya kool to know LF10 is a Bengals fan. Love the gals that are into sports.

  9. Anonymous

    September 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    But girls who are into sports are usually dawgs.

  10. EngineerdLawyer

    September 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Sigh! Wish the Lions were actually Lions. At least the Wolverines seem to be doing much better this year. So far.

  11. Cincy85

    September 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Tim Krumrie, what a great player!

    Krumrie suffered two breaks in his tibia and another in his fibula during Super Bowl Super Bowl XXIII against the San Francisco 49ers. He refused to go to the hospital, insisting on staying in the locker room and watching the game on television to root the Bengals on, only finally leaving when the paramedics told him he might go into shock.

  12. Brett

    September 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Beware LF; you go from “can’t get a man to save my life” to “plenty more where that came from.” Really?  You want to test fate like that?  The minute you get served a somewhat normal man on a silver platter, you forget what you’ve been complaining about during most EVERY post?  Good luck with the single life.  When you finally get over yourself, call Guano.

  13. Guano Dubango

    September 22, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Brett, I have been waiting for LF10 very patiently.  She is evidently a hot blond lawyer, something I will cherish, as there are no blonds in Ghana.  I will therefore be the envy of every man when I bring LF10 home as my bride.  I have only one problem.  Convincing my Aunt OOONA that LF10 will be able to do the work of a bride in my hometown.  Even though I am descended from Royalty, we do not have the family riches we had 100 years ago, and that is why I had to travel to the USA to attend school.  While here, I decided I wanted a blond bride with a brain.  Thus my focus on LF10 and 1 other law beauty I have found.

  14. Word

    September 22, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Less women would go to law school if they knew what “chair ass” was—I think LF10 may suffer from it.

  15. BL1Y

    September 22, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Less women would go to law school if they knew what it was like to be a sexless neurotic shrew obsessed with believing in her own brains, beauty and personality despite any real confirmation from the outside world that any of these things exists.

  16. Lawlaurie

    September 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Some of the most successful women I know went to law school. Some are still lawyers, while some have gone into other professions. I think going to law school is a really good idea.

  17. BL1Y

    September 23, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Replace “successful” with “happy” and I doubt that statement is still true.

  18. Hopkins

    September 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Sure, Lawlaurie, me too.  But the chair ass thing—it may lead to success, but talk about yick.  Whoah!

  19. BL1Y

    September 24, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Any measure of “success” that measures anything more than happiness or contribution to society is just a pitiful attempt at justifying a life poorly spent.

  20. www.pinkshoelawyer.blogspot.com

    September 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    you know, I myself am lucky in that I can mooch off of my brother’s circle of friends in Philadelphia.  Impossible to form friendships in a life where (1) 90% of its waking portion is spent with judgmental catty neanderthals that you can’t trust and (2) everyone who’s not a lawyer that you work with can’t relate to your problems.
    And it is VERY easy to get down on yourself.  Isolation is, after all, a form of torture.  Sometimes having men hit on you serves as something of an antidote.
    But lots of problems if you do anything besides flirt.

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