Tonight's the night.
Sure, it's the opening night of the Vikings' 2013 season, at least the preseason, but that's secondary to what makes tonight the night. The meaningful action may well take place as much at the entrance gates to the Metrodome as it does 80 feet lower on Mall of America Field.
Tonight's the night the NFL officially upsets female Vikings fans. (Editors's note: at this point, men familiar with a whiff of what is cooking, cup your hand over your mouth and say, "Oh-h-h-h!)
As someone with a long and storied history of angering female Vikings fans, I know from where I speak. Novices need not apply. I get called as an expert witness. The Dude abides … and quietly tips away – like the first zebra to notice that lions are circling the herd.
Simply stated, offending female Vikings fans is something the NFL (or anyone without a death wish) doesn't want to do. You can tell a Minnesota woman. Unfortunately, you can't tell her much before she gets a little salty. If my job tonight included wearing a yellow windbreaker at any of the numerous Metrodome entrance gates, I would quit now … or at least deliver a convincing-enough cough into the phone to keep my job, but get the night off due to a phantom flu bug. It's going to be ugly, my friends.
Women in numbers and the Metrodome have always been a volatile mix. There are more turnstiles than women's toilet stalls in the Metrodome. Ask around. Confirm it. It's true. You can fit 30 men uncomfortably staring straight ahead at the massive troughs – if you build it, men who drink will come – in the men's rooms at the Metrodome. Hey, we're men. If back teeth are floating, the sinks and wastebaskets are in play. Women? That's another story.
Tonight, the Vikings meet the neck-snapping women of Minnesota who are more than willing to say, "Oh no you di'int!" and are willing to back up that daunting statement. That's never good. If my history with the female of the Minnesota species means anything, my advice to those at the door is to prepare for Shock and Awe. A little bit Rosa Parks. A little bit Tiananmen Square. No you matter how you cut it, it can only turn out badly.
The Vikings-Texans game will be the first "Minnesota Nice" test of the new NFL policy concerning bringing baggage into a stadium as a customer accessory. Men can get by with the essentials – keys, wallet, phone. Pretty simple. Women? Not so much.
Any man who has ever heard the phrase from a wife or girlfriend, "It's in my purse, baby, just grab it" knows the labyrinth of items contained therein. It's a jungle in there, boys. Hard target search. Get in. Get out. Live to tell your story. Simply retrieving a ringing phone often entails pushing aside Tic Tacs, a self-contained makeup bag, what appears to be a used Kleenex, a sketchy looking Jolly Rancher and movie ticket stubs from June.
Clearly, a woman of any vintage wasn't consulted when it comes to the new policy. Fashionistas can get by light and tight with the accessories. Helga don't play that.
The men and women in yellow slickers are getting paid too little for the grief they're going to take tonight. The new policy clearly targets women. Any self-respecting man can leave his fanny-pack at home (who am I kidding, if you own a fanny pack, your man card has been cut and burned in front of you and the residue stain mopped up with your Zubaz). It's not Ladies Night at the Metrodome tonight.
Physical pat searches and bag searches have begrudgingly become an accepted part of living in a society where metal detectors are needed and shoes have to be removed if you intend to fly. The Boston Marathon showed us that backpacks are dangerous and destructive. But what has consistently – as in 100 percent consistently – been missing from any act of terrorism committed on a large scale? Where is the woman in equation?
They're not there. The bottom line is that women aren't terrorists. Their weapon of mass destruction is the "Not tonight" look that men fully and completely comprehend regardless of education level. They're more in the realm of singular domestic terrorists. If they're taking out anyone, it's Bob from Lakeville. They provide no "Threat Level Midnight" to The Shield of the NFL. What's in a woman's purse should be left in a woman's purse. Trust me. Been there. Moronically sifted through that.
The best option for the NFL, before stadiums fill to capacity, is to keep the added day-workers on the payroll and have someone look in every diaper-bag-sized Sharknado purse and leave it that. What happens at the changing station table stays at the changing station table.
With the exception of medically necessary items, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches will be allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags will be allowed, as will small clear plastic bags approximately the size of someone's hand, with or without a handle or strap. One of those clear bags and a small clutch (about the size of a hand) will be allowed per person.
The NFL's plan basically has three outcome options. First, women bring nothing into the stadium they can't hold in a hand-sized clutch – women with man-hands have never been so popular. Second, they bring everything they feel they need in a clear Zip-Loc bag for everyone at Gate G to see. Lost bets and bachelorette party scenarios come to mind – those batteries are fresh. I could easily see a grudge bet with a close friend being settled with him entering the stadium with a $10 Viking-logo embossed bag filled with allowable, yet humiliating, items to heighten the absurdity of the new rule. Third, they can stuff the men attending the game alongside them with their needed additional accoutrements. For self-respecting men, it could be humility at the Humphreydome.
As someone who has a documented history of foraging his way to the wrong side of female Vikings fans, the NFL is stepping into rarified ground with this one. Carlos Danger is waiting to see how it all turns out. It's that bad.
Hopefully, tonight will be a raucous night inside the dome and a quiet night outside. Time has (pretty much) taught me to have the last word with female Vikings fans I care about – "yes, dear." The NFL may have to learn that lesson the hard way. Welcome to the club, Roger. The first rule of Yes, Dear Club, is that you don't talk about the Yes, Dear Club.
As for me, I'm the first zebra tipping quietly away from the watering hole. Keep quiet for 45 seconds so I get out of the way. I see the lionesses circling and I had nothing to do with the rules change. That's your problem. As far as anyone knows, I didn't see nothin'.
You can tell a Minnesota woman …
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
The Texans could have as many as 20 players sitting out Friday night's preseason opener, meaning the…