The New Year's Eve we did the town,
The day we tore the goalposts down—
We will have these moments to remember....*
—FIRST IN A SERIES OF AMERICAN ROMANTIC MEMORIES
What is all this to-do about half-dressed cheerleaders being too sexy for football? Why the fuss? Sex has always been an integral part of football's appeal. When was the last time you saw a corsage at a baseball game?
Sex in football? Gee, it seems like only yesterday when all the instant experts were discovering that football was an analogy for war. Remember? Every American who went to a football game was written off as a latent bloodthirsty war criminal. Today, football is more savage than ever; all weekend long, rosy-cheeked quarterbacks are legally dismembered by gangs of crazed mesomorphs. But, curiously, those same fans who happily witness this carnage are no longer labeled as war criminals. No, all of a sudden the experts have discovered that fans are all mouth-watering sexists and football is an analogy for orgy.
It is not only the self-appointed guardians of public decency who are up in arms. Feminists and homemakers alike have found rare common cause. And they are joined by the moguls of the NFL—an institution whose definition of the apocalypse is the movement of hash marks—who are also beside themselves at this despoliation of the chastity of their game. And the more accommodating cheerleaders who pose for photographs in the altogether are even being fired. Can you believe this nonsense?
Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar—
No one ever hears girl cheerleaders holler.
—OLD WIVES' TALE
Let's face it: Apart from a little more bare midriff, what's new? "Cheerleader," as it applies to the female gender, is the second-greatest euphemism in football, trailing only "shaken up on the play." Girls have never led cheers in football. Possibly a few husky-voiced boys have occasionally managed to lead a cheer. However, pretty girls dressed up in alluring little outfits have, down through the years, only provided good cheer for the fans. They're not cheerleaders; they're cheerproviders.
Girls at football games are there to be looked at. This is true whether or not they are technically identified as cheerleaders, pompon girls, baton twirlers. flag girls, something that has an ette at the end or just plain spectators. Girls at football games are meant to be looked at. This isn't unfair. There's no shame in this function. Everybody has a role at a football game. If God had meant for offensive linemen to be looked at, he would have issued them numbers in the 80s and let them touch the pigskin.
"Nobody ever tried to get a girl drunk at a baseball game."
—ADVICE TRADITIONALLY PASSED DOWN FROM WISE FATHERS TO SONS IN MANY PARTS OF THE U.S.A.
Sexy cheerproviders are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg of the eroticism in football. I think that's why the moralists are so uptight. They know that the real sex has always been located in the stands. Through the years, football has been the out-of-doors version of Wanna see my etchings? "Wanna go to a football game?" actually translates into "Wanna go to a football game first? Everybody knows that.
You could be deposited under the stands of any stadium in the country and know immediately that football is the sport being played on the field simply by watching the ladies' rooms. Football is the only sport where the ladies' rooms are packed and there are lines outside. There are two reasons for this phenomenon. One: men bring women to football games. Two: when they get them there they ply them with strong drink. Because women can't stand the stupid game and the seats are hard and there is often a chill in the air, they are easy marks for this ploy.