Don't speak sports? Great, me neither. But the good news is you don't need to speak sports to have a darn good time at a tailgate.

bacon, cheese, onion, cheddar, sandwich
Alexandra Capello

What is a tailgate, you ask? Well, the word "tailgate" technically refers to the tail end of a car, but this phrase is now a colloquial term for a social gathering that usually takes place around the back ends of cars in parking lots of stadiums and arenas, most often before sporting events or concerts.

But really, the car is optional. As long as you have some food and a hefty dose of spirit, you're guaranteed to have a good time.

avocado, sandwich, bread, lettuce, meat, beef, guacamole
Parisa Soraya

Tailgating usually occurs several hours leading up to the big event. Typically, it's centered around grilling, so break out your mini George Forman and grab a pack of often burgers or hotdogs (you could do a wicked grilled cheese or veggie burger if that's more your style).

And then, of course, there's the alcohol. Tailgating is certainly an appropriate time to turn up. Basically, the whole shebang is like a giant cook out meets pre-game party where you can mingle with your crew and other fans and soak up the bounty of the great outdoors (or the, erm, parking lot).

beer, alcohol, coffee, lager, stout, liquor, ale, wine
Sarah Schuette

Get invited to a tailgate and don't know what to do? Well, first, make sure you're dressed for it. If it's a sporting event, most people will be wearing fan-gear of the team they (or their friends) are supporting, or in its absence, a complementing hue. Slathering on a wee bit of sunscreen won't hurt, especially since you'll be outside and probably don't want to look like a grandma in five years.

Bring something to eat or drink—preferably both. Grill-ables, buns, veggies & dip, chips, and sweet snacks are all tailgate friendly foods. And usually at tailgates, the more alcohol, the merrier, so don't be afraid to bring a 6-pack.

liquor, beer, whisky, wine, alcohol, rum
Scott Harrington

Even if you don't care who wins the game or what musical group is performing, take comfort in the fact that by attending a tailgate at least you'll have some good eats and great vibes while getting ready for the main event.