**Ed. Note: You know the saying...look good, tailgate good. Something like that. Anyhoo, freelance writer Christina Stephens was kind enough to share a piece on one of her favorite do-nots, as part of our EPIC TAILGATING SPECTACULAR.**
In mere days, we’ll assemble to watch our LSU Tigers begin their triumphant return to the field of play. We’ll raise a plastic cup of God-knows-what kind of terrible liquor and eat something fried and argue about if we’re actually Beat Alabama good this year. (Probably not, but stranger things have happened, right?)
Amidst this idyllic scene of undying devotion to LSU football, some of you will be dressed in leopard print, because, ostensibly, you’ve never seen a picture of a tiger. Or a real tiger. If you need a refresher of what a tiger looks like, there’s literally one across the street from where we play football, in a place called Tiger Stadium, where we cheer for a team named the Tigers. He’s also on Instagram.
That brings us to the point of our very important public service announcement before college football season: leopard print is not tiger stripes. Neither is cheetah print. Or snakeskin, you monsters.
Few things are more infuriating than being surrounded by a sea of LSU fans in their spirited purple and gold hats and shirts and dresses and shoes, only to see the spots of a leopard worn by a supposed LSU fan.
Our team wears purple and gold. Our mascot is the tiger. These things are not suggestions, they’re part of our grand tradition of our brand of football, specifically, caring a little too deeply about it. We clothe ourselves in regal purple and rich gold and wrap our bodies in the stripes of a tiger because we are a proud people who believe in hard work, fellowship and defensive backs.
You took the time to buy football tickets or pay TAF fees or even travel hours to a game and you couldn’t be bothered to find an outfit that accurately represents your team? As LSU fans, we have three options for Game Day: purple, gold and/or tiger stripes. This is not rocket science. (Which is good, because you’d probably wear a motorcycle helmet on a spaceship since, you know, it’s a kind of helmet.)
Are there more important things than leopard spots to be upset about? Possibly, but most of us possess the ability to multitask, and can be enraged by the general state of things in the world while also thinking you dressing in the wrong animal print is an abomination and slight against your team, your fandom and everything that is right in the world.
That One Team with One Heartbeat? Wears purple and gold with an occasional tiger accent.
Look, we all get it, life is hard and the country is divided and places like Starkville exist. There's a mess of things to be concerned about in this world, and maybe you forgot that leopards and tigers do not have the same print, or are not the same animal. It’s fine. As a penance, go buy a purple dress and burn that flowy leopard print tunic you’re planning on pairing with short shorts – and for some reason, five-inch wedges with a platform, because who doesn’t want to risk a broken ankle while walking to the stadium?
Wearing that catchy giraffe print you saw at the boutique instead of tiger stripes could be forgiven if we didn’t live in a society that prioritizes material possessions and stylish things above all, where literally any piece of clothing exists in LSU-appropriate colors and animal print. And while worshiping at the altar of trends and fashion can at times seem like a waste of precious time that could be devoted to watching clips of Mike the Tiger splashing in his habitat or listening to Coach O’s, um, distinctive voice in an interview, in this one instance, bow down before the tiger stripes and let vanity be your guide.
Put down that leopard print top. You’re a tiger. You can do better.