A couple of years ago, my buddies and I found ourselves drinking some nice craft beer at a dive bar. It was early on a casual Thursday night, with none of us needing to be at work until around 9 A.M. Friday. Given that vast expanse of time and the fact that all of us happened to be of the single persuasion, we decided it'd be a great idea to talk with every single woman at the bar, ring or no ring.
Now, I wasn't intoxicated, but the conversation flowed more easily than many of my other "speaking engagements" with women. In fact, I had the great fortune to talk with a couple of women who not only looked stunning, with long brown hair and athletic bodies, but also happened to be sports fans. It was winter, the middle of football season, so naturally my Cowboys fandom was revealed. The two women were from Philadelphia and were diehard Eagles fans. Given my natural ability to turn every conversation into an argument, we started debating the merits of the two teams, in between competitions of shooting well whiskey.
I was powerfully attracted to one of the women. Yes, she was a fan of a hated rival, but her passionate defense of her then- (as now) moribund team charmed me. I put all affiliations aside and took her number, among other information. The question I have is, is this a rarity? Can fans of rival teams coexist in the dating world? I know a woman, a University of Texas alum, who found a good-looking guy who she was attracted to. However, once he told her he went to the University of Oklahoma, conversation instantly died. She was raised in the Longhorn faith, and knew she could never date a Sooner. Does baseball provoke this same kind of extreme reaction?
I posed this question to a woman from New York who said she loved the Yankees because she "loved winners". I asked her if a Red Sox fan asked her out, what would her response be? "I'd rather date a Browns or Bobcats fan because anything is better than a Sox fan," she said, "though I'd give him a chance to prove to me his choice in women is better than his choice in sports teams."
Now, does this same rule apply when a person is out of the actual area that the team plays in? Do girls in Kansas City feign interest in the transplanted Yankees fan because he's different? Do they not care because the Yankees and Royals haven't been rivals since some hotly-contested playoff series in the 1970s? Or what happens if you live in your rival's territory? Should you cancel your OkCupid membership if you happen to be a New York transplant living in Beantown? Should you lie and just tell everyone you grew up a Mets fan? If you're dating a cougar who remembers 1986, that might not be a good thing to bring up.
Better yet, are the implications different if both teams are winning? If you were dating a Red Sox fan, and the Sox won say, a crucial Game 5 in the 2013 ALCS against the Yankees, could you muster the effort to talk to her at all for the rest of the week? Would the image of Cody Ross launching a home run into the bleachers be on your mind as you attempted to become intimate? Could you even attempt to get intimate after a playoff loss to your hated rival?
I know a young woman, well-known in an East Coast professional community, who is dating an intense Redskins fan. While his fandom hasn't been an issue because she "could give a s--t" about football, she was nonplussed when the ‘Skins lost two weeks ago and he said, "I think I'm just going to go to bed early tonight." Now, this might have been different if she had some semblance of sports fandom, though it could've gotten ugly if she were a Seahawks fan. Then again, if she was a sports fan, given RG3's national popularity she might have Griffen'd right along with him, listening with sensitivity as he poured out his feelings and ate mint chocolate chip ice cream.
MLB fandom has a tribal nature similar to that of college sports teams. It's passed down from generation to generation, especially with Yankee fans. Regardless of whether the team wins or loses (the ‘80s must've been tough for some) you continue to put your pinstripes on for 162-plus games a year. When dads throw their sons out to the wild to go find a mate, this can lead to some difficult compromises. It has been my experience that dating someone who is a fan of the same team is probably the best way to go, though the ideal would be that you are a little more of a committed fan than she is. It helps with the overall blood-pressure level in the house. As a Yankee fan, if you decide to date a Red Sox fan, among other teams, make sure to do it while the team makes its home in the AL East cellar.
Better yet, you know that hot barista at the Starbucks on 66th and Columbus? You know, the one who can do the downward dog yoga position but doesn't understand the wave? The one who knows nothing about WAR, ERA, Jeter and Joltin' Joe, but always has a hot latte ready for you at 7 AM during the work week?
To avoid any complications, she might be your best bet.