March 17; Acceptable Heavy Drinking Day (apparently)

17 03 2012

If you’re reading this you are either not yet drunk or you have decided sensibly to avoid all the Emerald Isle themed nonsense that will be taking place in the streets around you.

March 17…St. Patrick’s Day…the one day of the year when being green is nothing to do with climate change or recycling. Unless you are recycling the 18 pints of Guinness and a plate of cabbage onto to the pavement/sidewalk/your own shoes/somebody else’s’ shoes.

Two years I ago, I wrote a piece about how much I hate March 17.

My feelings towards AHDD have mellowed but I am not a big fan of the day itself. All this week, I have been trying to work out where I can go to avoid bagpipes, Irish dancers and cabbage.

I have not been overly successful.

I hate the enforced nature of the day, the determination of people to prove that they’re Irish by getting shitfaced and asking complete strangers to kiss them. I hate the shelves full of Irish novelties, I hate the marketing of the whole drunken occasion. I don’t find leprechauns sexy, I don’t like red beards (especially on women) and I object being told that it’s all part of the “craic”.

No, it’s not.

The Irish may have a reputation for being fond of a pint or two but anyone who has actually been to Ireland will soon find that it isn’t filled with drunk people dressed entirely in green stumbling through the streets looking for affection from strangers.

The problem is that if this one of your favorite days of the year, you probably own this fetching outfit…

Which says several things about you…

  • You are not Irish.
  • You have never been to Ireland
  • You drink Guinness once a year
  • You probably don’t know the capital of Ireland
  • You think that U2 became a better band after they released Zooropa and you have no idea who The Undertones are.
  • You think that Tom Cruise did a great Irish accent in ‘Far and Away’.
  • You are expecting to get laid because you have embraced the “craic”. You won’t.

The fact that the streets of civilised communities will have to put up with hordes of people like the gentleman pictured is another reason to hate the day.

Do you know who doesn’t hate the day?

The owners of every Irish bar in the country. And even the ones that aren’t Irish will be making sure that they are hanging green balloons to let everyone know that they are all part of the celebration. This is the day when it is acceptable to drink heavily from the early hours of the morning – two of the bars in my small New England town are opening at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. respectively (the only reason the second bar is opening later is because the Irish owner is opening his other bar at 8 a.m.).

And who are we celebrating?

St. Patrick. The patron saint of Ireland. Famous for banishing snakes from the country and making the Shamrock a marketing tool for future generations.

Not for drinking large quantities of alcohol, falling down and being sick over his green waistcoat.

Still, it’s only once a year…

Enjoy yourself, pretend that you know what Gaelic is (clue: it doesn’t come on the bread that you get when you order pizza) and try to remember that there are other Irish bands apart from U2.

And whatever you do…don’t Riverdance.





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