Life in the bath lane:
--"They can take the ball right out of Elway's hands? I mean, I don't know anything about football."
--"I love your earrings--where'd you get 'em? I got mine at Mile High Stadium."
--"I can't believe it-- one little mirror?"
--"It was in the end zone--I saw it. That call, they have to change it if it's wrong."
--"He said, 'Do you mind her messing with your husband?' and she put her elbow on his knee."
There was only one demilitarized zone in the give-no-quarter, four-quarter war they call the Super Bowl: Within the tan stuccoed walls of the women's johns. Outside, bellowing men linked arms and happily hitched their manhood to a football star. Inside, the women Washed Up.
A Denver woman leaned gratefully against a wall that snagged her fuzzy sweater. "It's heaven. "
Giant fan handed paper towels to Bronco booster. New Yorker obligingly shpritzed hair spray for Coloradan. Outside of a church social, this was the most amicable place for miles.
--"There'll be a lot of drunks by halftime," a sage Dallas Cowboy veteran fan warned another woman as they soaped their hands. "This place is the safest. "
The good Pasadena burghers who built the Rose Bowl back in 1922, when women had only had the vote for two years, couldn't have envisioned that in 1987, a woman would sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, another would be sit as prime minister of Great Britain, and something more than 35,000 of them would clamor for facilities at the yet-unimagined Super Bowl.
--"Well, this will hold me. When I go to the games in Denver, I don't drink any thing from 10 a.m. until it's over."
A baker's dozen of the bathrooms are ranged around the Rose Bowl--and as long as we're talking bakers, each is equipped with a single mirror not much bigger than a couple of sheet cakes.
That's a dozen mirrors, divided into, oh, maybe 35,000 women at least, not counting the 40 Shirley Temples and the 100 Ginger Rogerses dancing the halftime show, and then factor in those for whom the call of nature always rings twice. They lined up in front of each mirror like the movie posters for "The Three Faces of Eve." Then, they broke huddle quickly; there's a game on.
--"They didn't expect a lot of women here, did they?"
--"Aw, hell, I don't want to look anyway."
The Denver women came in jeans, they came in pearls. The Giants women came in jeans, they came in poils.
Who knows what to wear to a Super Bowl?
--"Is that silk?"
--"Yeah, and it's not breathing at all ."
--"Nothing's breathing today."
--"I started to bring my fur jacket, but I didn't."
For first timers, everything they learned about the Super Bowl, they learned from TV. Emily Post doesn't cover it. There is no dress code on the ticket. With the vision of the gala tent parties they were invited to, the celebrity interviews on television, it looks glamorous, like "My Fair Lady" with moments of trench warfare. The red-haired woman in a bugle-beaded replica of a Giants' jersey, a pearl and rhinestone collar and white leather pants--well, if the Giants couldn't stop Denver, at least she could stop traffic.
No one ever told them about the odds of getting beer dumped down their backs or fronts, of being poked in the eye by the TV antenna of some guy who don't think he's getting his money's worth without instant replay.
They were the ones in the four-inch-heeled boots and glamorous Lurex sweaters that cost as much as a well-scalped 50-yard-line ticket. If there was a rule of thumb in the women's bathrooms, it might go like this: The smaller the purse, the less likely the woman carrying it was an ardent fan, the kind who stashes pompons and binoculars and foam-rubber Number One fingers in her handbag, with room left over for T-shirts.
But millions of people watch the Super Bowl. You couldn't blame women who came dressed up like Joan Collins, only to find they would have been better off dressing like Joan of Arc, armor and all.
--"My feet are killing me."
--"I'm a little overdressed for this ," said a woman, looking for a spot to set down her red fox jacket and wash her hands. "Jeans and a T-shirt would have done it."
--"I just want to go back to the hotel."
--"Some guy offered me $500 for my ticket. I said I'm sorry, I have someone waiting for me, or I would have (taken it) . . . Yeah, and gone shopping."
--"Look at that," said one, licking her fingers and taking a swipe at her pants leg. "I can't believe I wore white. I don't know what ever possessed me to wear white."
--"I got way too much makeup on, I know. "
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what's a touchback? Where's the ball?
--"I can't believe it, all the money they make in this place, and look at this mirror."