Greatest show on Earth

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Ringling Bros. is in D.C. and I went to get a story.

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2 Responses to “Greatest show on Earth”
  1. Chris says:

    Here’s a circus story, circa 2002:

    HOW TO TURN THREE RINGS INTO ONE: TAKE HER TO THE CIRCUS
    State, The (Columbia, SC) – Friday, January 18, 2002
    Author: CHRIS ROBERTS , Staff Writer
    Snap to it, single guys between 16 and 25, because it’s nearly too late for the year’s best date opportunities.

    You’ve already missed one – the “Lights Before Christmas,” which runs from Thanksgiving to the end of December at Riverbanks Zoo.

    But there’s still time to win her heart next week at the circus.

    On first glance, the zoo and circus seem like wimp dates to a macho guy like you. You’d rather drag her to another video arcade or ear-bashing concert, of course, hoping she’ll tolerate it while you have the time of your life.

    Or you think you’ve suffered enough doing the stuff she wants to do. While her eyes stay moist and transfixed on “Kate & Leopold,” you fidget as you hear “Behind Enemy Lines” faintly rumbling from the theater next door.

    But if you’re going to successfully pitch woo at Miss Right (or Miss Right Now), think carefully about the zoo and the circus.

    For starters, you’ll get points for choosing something unusual yet seemingly playful and childlike. But you can find a macho edge to both.

    “The Lights Before Christmas” is the cheaper of the two – it’ll set you back $11 between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

    Since you won’t have the chance for 11 more months, clip and save these reasons to take a girl to Riverbanks lights after Thanksgiving:

    * The lights are cool. Even if you don’t think so, consider all the wiring and duct tape involved.

    * The weather is cold. You can walk arm in arm or with your arm draped around her, optimistically thinking it’s for more than climate reasons.

    * Wild animals are unpredictable. Fill in your own blank.

    * Lots of small children scamper around, but you have no responsiblity for them. Don’t run over them and you gain the appearance of being Father Material. Still more bonus points if you happen to take along her toddler niece or nephew.

    * Zoos emit a certain smell, similar to ones she must become accustomed to if she sticks around with you for any length of time. But at the zoo, the odor’s not necessarily your fault.

    The zoo lights are dark for another 10 months, but it’s not too late to haul a date to the Ringling Brothers next week at the Carolina Coliseum.

    You won’t get great seats and you’ll fall deep into double-digit spending, but it’s still worth a trip.

    Your best bet is to choose the last show of the night. The lights dim at 7:30 p.m., and you’ll be out by 10 p.m.

    Why is the circus such a good date site? Consider that:

    * The circus occasionally is cool. If you get past all the shiny stuff, you’ll see acts on motorcycles and skis that land somewhere between “Fear Factor” and Johnny Knoxville.

    * The Coliseum’s rafter seats are cold. (See the arm-draping tip above.)

    * You can look at other women, mostly circus performers, and get away with it.

    * It’s fun to play “name that tune” with the circus band. Bonus points if you sing the words to “Flashdance” or the other goofy tunes you’re bound to hear.

    * The circus peddles lots of unnecessarily plastic objects.

    Start with an overpriced snowcone in the plastic mug, which she’ll keep as a reminder of the happy date for years to come. Then buy her one more thing she wants, whether it be a stuffed animal or a lighted sword.

    Then buy yourself the flashlight with the spinning blue light and the lion on top. Stash it in your car. Later on, when she’s not around, use it to pull over speeding drivers.

    * You’ll gain an inside joke or two to share with your honey. (Example: For months to come, when you come to a curb, jump down, throw your arms apart and holler, “Hey!” like the guys in a Hungarian balancing act.)

    * Lots of small children scamper around, and again you pick up Father Material points without responsiblity for any of them.

    * Circus animals also emit a certain odor that you can’t be blamed for.

    If these tips don’t work, don’t blame me. Just tell me what went wrong when you see me at the circus or later at the zoo.

    I’ll be the one with my wife and 6-year-old.

    Chris Roberts has seen the circus at least a dozen times, usually with the woman who became his wife. You can reach him at mcroberts@thestate.com.

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  1. […] We also visited Columbia for a friend’s wedding. I did a lot of fun reporting and covered the circus! Oh, right and I got a […]



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