Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find an appropriate Auburn gameday dress in Tuscaloosa?
Sure, I could go home before the first game (Did I mention how lucky I am to be from Auburn?), but by the time I could get there, all of the students would’ve picked clean everything from the mall to TigerTown.
Should I have gotten an adorable blue outfit the moment it was announced that the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between my beloved Auburn Tigers and the other Tigers from Clemson would be our True Blue game of the season? Probably. But I promise that there’s a good reason why I couldn’t. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’ll give you a quick catch-up on the last 5 months of my life: I’ve lost nearly 60 pounds. So anything that fit a few months ago doesn’t fit now. Great problem to have, I know. Unfortunately, it was still a problem.
Which brings me back to dress shopping in Tuscaloosa for an Auburn game. There are two different categories of Auburn merchandise to be found here. The first is cheap and easy for store owners to move, usually something with the old Bowden-era tiger eyes. There must not be a demand for current quality Auburn gear here because it’s nowhere to be found.* But the cheap stuff is everywhere, usually on clearance, and will do in a pinch if you need a faded hat or collegiate mister fan. The second category isn’t really Auburn merchandise at all. It’s what I like to call Secret Auburn Stuff ©. These are the burnt orange scarves and the navy blue dresses that don’t have any Auburn insignia but feel right all the same. I feel like I’m pulling one over on the locals when I find some Secret Auburn Stuff ©. I wear it with a smirk on my face and "Glory Glory to Old Auburn" playing in my head.
So after a few stores and zero helpful employees (I’ll chalk it up to them having to work on a Sunday and not my Tigers Unlimited hat. Free pass this time, T-Town), I finally found the perfect dress. Blue and white horizontal stripes (goodbye 60 pounds), knee length, flowy, cool, perfect.
Now I just have to find shoes. And jewelry. And pick out a purse. And decide what to take to the tailgate. Yes, we are having a full-scale tailgate for a game at the Georgia Dome. Get on our level, guys!
My point, for any dudes who find themselves still reading a post about dress shopping on a sports blog, is that a Southern Belle’s work is never done during football season. Sure, y’all have to keep up with Xs and Os, but we have to keep up with which of our non-biological, football-playing children are starting (Tre Mason is my child. Just accept it), how we’re going to keep an entire tent full of people fed and happy, and how we’re all going to actually make it to the game after all this socializing. Not to mention, we have to look gorgeous in uncomfortable shoes and manage to scream for the defense or at the refs.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth every minute. I wouldn’t take anything in the world for an Auburn football season, and I love the Southern gameday atmosphere. Avid fans are everywhere at every school—men, women and children alike. There’s something civilized** about our games down here. A morning Bloody Mary, a new sundress, a gentleman in a coat and tie to escort you to the game, the roar of 87,431 screaming fans in Jordan-Hare Stadium when our boys come out of the tunnel and onto Pat Dye field; it’s more than flipping on the television and casually following a game. This is passion. This is Southern football.
It’s game week, y’all. Let’s throw a great party and kick Clemson right back to South Carolina!
*No Auburn stuff in Tuscaloosa? Duh, right? I only bring it up because there is what appears to me to be an inordinate amount of Alabama merchandise in Auburn/Opelika and not just the cheap stuff. No seriously. It’s gross.
**Obviously, we have to overlook a certain fanbase’s recent tree-poisoning, tea-bagging, and human-remains-spreading for that whole "civilized" thing to still apply.