Girls Guide to Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest in Munich starts on Saturday, and that means drinking too much beer, stuffing your face with grilled chicken, and tying the bow of your dirndl skirt on the left side (or is it the right?) to indicate you're in the mood for love. We have it on good authority (a press release) that more than half of all attendees at Munich's annual Oktoberfest are females, and so, courtesy of that city's Charles Hotel, we offer you some inside tips for women attending the festivities.
* Beer: It's stronger than the usual Bavarian brew, so pace yourself. And yes, ladies, you are expected to drink beer. Remember to lift your glass, clink it with your neighbor's, look him or her in the eye, and say, "Prost." According to my German friends, failure to lock eyes when toasting your table-mates results in seven years of bad sex.
* Dress: Casual but not touristy. No "Oktoberfest is for Lovers" T-shirts or those utterly stupid Alpine hillbilly hats. Better yet, wear a dirndl, once described by the New York Times as "the low-cut but curiously wholesome" traditional dress of Bavaria, designed to accentuate womanly charms.
* Romance: Wanna flirt? Tie the bow of your dirndl skirt on your left side. It's a subtle way of saying you're interested.
* Dancing: You do not want to dance in the aisles of the Oktoberfest tents, because you'll get elbowed aside by the muscular beer maids. You aren't allowed by law to dance on top of the tables. So if that oompah beat begins to put the mojo on your inner fräulein (not uncommon after drinking two liters of Hacker-Pschorr Bräu's special Oktoberfest brew), you can always dance on your bench.
* Admission: Many of the tents close to new guests by noon because they fill up so quickly. Instead of waiting in the long lines at the front of the tents, try the lines at the sides or backs. Don't try to bribe your way in; it won't work. You'll have more luck with a bright smile and a fetching dirndl. And do tip the beer maids inside. They'll remember you when you're ready for your next glass of Augustiner festbier.
If you don't have a traditional costume, consider the Charles Hotel's $2,500 Dressed for Oktoberfest package, from September 17 to October 3, which includes two nights accommodation, breakfast daily, and a custom-fitted dirndl. Prost!
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter.