Do This Don't: Wear A Sports Jersey Out To A Bar To Pick Up Men

Dudes apparently think girls in sports gear are the hottest thing since those tights with built-in garters. I put this to the test over the weekend. Results were mixed.
Publish date:
April 8, 2013
clothes, fashion, sports, hockey, sports gear

I don't know if you guys knew this, but apparently sports gear on women is, like, the hottest thing since those tights that look like you're secretly wearing stockings.

According to a survey recently sent to the xoJane editors' list, anyway, all that time and effort we've been spending on making our hair silky and emotional baggage only semi-visible could have been better put toward buying $500 worth of Lululemon sweatpants (read: two pairs) and calling it a day.

I get the feeling that most guys are more into the vague idea of women lounging around in sports gear than them actually exercising, given that my go-to "workout face" looks like I'm auditioning for a role in an unfortunately ruddy production of Les Miserables.

Still, I'm never one to turn down an opportunity to look silly in public, so I spent this Saturday night wearing sports attire out to a bunch of straight dance bars to see whether the men truly would flock to me like tweens to a Little Mix concert at the Orange Julius.

Spoiler: it did not work. Like, at all.

It's not like I get hit on all that often anyway, and I'm not suggesting that one outfit is enough to make or break an initial attraction. But I thought that the whole "jersey hotness" factor might have been enough to kick up the stranger-grinding a notch.

Nope. In fact, it apparently did the opposite, since people seemed to be physically recoiling from my sweaty attempts to make conversation. I think I talked to a total of three strangers all night, and all three spent most of the time staring at me like there was warm blood filling their mouths and they were trying to keep any from spilling out and alerting me to their weaknesses.

Luckily, I know how fond many of you are of wearing gear out on the town for fun and profit, and I'd hate for you to be bothered unnecessarily by some bro who just can't help but dance up on you. I've therefore compiled my experiences from last night so you can emulate them the next time you want to show your love for your team without having to shoo away hordes of admirers.

1. Ensemble is everything

I'm sure that when the dudes questioned in the aforementioned survey said women in sports attire were hot, they were actually talking about ladies with nice ankles who wear tennis skirts or something. But my only exercise clothes are ancient soccer tournament t-shirts and neon spandex, and that's not different enough from my normal Saturday gear to be notable. So instead, I decided to wear my very favorite (OK, only) hockey jersey.

I wasn't sure what one pairs with a manly poly-blend nightshirt, so I decided to go with my number-one bro-outfit fallback: a nice pair of Target men's jorts, rolled up to mid-thigh. These nicely showed off my legs, which are very thickly calved due to the San Francisco terrain. They're also, as my date helpfully pointed out, sporting two months of patchy hair growth.

"Like people will be able to tell in the dark," I said scornfully.

They could tell.

2. Support an out-of-state team of a sport no one cares about

I spent a good two decades of my life being ambivalent-to-baffled about professional sports and the fandom surrounding them, save the one season of the Sacramento Kings when half the team was Slavic and they didn't actively suck. Then, to everyone's surprise (including my own), I fell so hard for the National Hockey League that I now spend two to three nights a week weeping over burly millionaires. It's deeply upsetting.

Unfortunately, I live in California, where kids are way more likely to spend their formative years rolling around on the soccer field than cracking their chins open on a rink. Hockey is just not a thing many people are into.

And to top it all off, I'm not even a fan of our local major league team. So wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey out to a bar in the hipster neighborhood of San Francisco was not exactly a foolproof conversation-starter.

3. Be way too invested in said sports team

Because of the whole out-of-state thing, when a few people did want to talk to me about my jersey, it was inevitably in a disparaging fashion. I think some of them might have been flirting with me? Maybe? But it was hard to tell from within the red-tinged haze of indignation I kept plummeting into every time someone told me that the Hawks suck.

"Was that guy flirting, or just making conversation?" I asked my platonic dude companion after one such interaction.

He gave me a look. "I don't know, Kate, is it flirting if you scream 'ANAHEIM CAN KISS MY ASS' at a stranger?"

"Clearly you have never flirted with me," I said, smiling hopefully at the Ducks fan as he passed me on the way to the bar. He refused to meet my eyes, grabbing his rum-and-coke and fleeing. Whoops.

4. Have extremely dykey hair.

This one can be unpredictable, as a two-toned side-shave can sometimes not be enough to dissuade guys from striking up a conversation if they like the cut of your jib / have had enough whiskey. But I think the hair and the jersey and the fact that I was taking breaks to dance up on a lady may have pushed things over the edge into Not-Going-to-Bother territory for stereotype-savvy SF guys.

By the end of the night, I'd actually started surveying people who complimented me on my jersey.

"Thanks!" I chirped at one guy who told me he liked my style. "Do you think I'm queer?"

He laughed at me. "Well, I'm gay, so yes, I'd definitely call you a Hockey Lesbian."

"I'll take it!" I said, shimmying away.

Later, as my date and I were walking home, we walked past a giant group of bros smoking cigarettes on the sidewalk. "Go ask them whether they think you're straight!" she urged. Three whiskey-gingers in as I was, it seemed like a great plan to me.

The dudes were game. "Nope, totally gay," the first one said.

"I say she swings both ways," another one said.

"NO," the third one protested. "80 percent into girls, 20 percent into guys."

"Huh," the last one said thoughtfully. "I'd actually flip that. 80-boys, 20-girls."

"I am into personality," I insisted. Then paused. "But yeah, pretty much swing every which way."

"HA!" second guy said, holding up his hand for a high five. Everyone complied.

Please note that I cannot guarantee these tips are foolproof. Eventually, perhaps I would have run into a dude with a jorts-boner and an ignorance of typical queer hairstyles who did not mind getting screamed at by a stranger regarding men who strap blades to their feet. Anything is possible.

In the meantime, if you are a person who does frequently wear jerseys out to bars, please explain. Do you find that men are helpless to resist your sports wiles? When you get way too hot on the dance floor, are you filled with the bizarre urge to whip the jersey over your head, Brandi Chastain-style, like I was feeling circa 1 am? Would you wear it with anything but jorts? Well, would you?

Kate is wearing capri jorts: @katchatters.