Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Beer

Saint Patrick's Day, like Valentine's Day and Halloween (not the mention New Year's Eve) is one those whoo-let's-drink holidays that I think reasonable civilization could do without. Snakes out of Ireland, green beer, yadda yadda yadda...but the thing I remember most about Saint Paddy's day is from my dorm in freshman year, when teenage girls were vomiting green sludge all over the lobby of our Catholic residence. Weirdly, I've been sort of sour on the idea ever since. Not to mention last year, when I got hammered on March 16 (a combination of boredom, two friends and homemade mezcal will straight-up murder you in the morning) and spent the festive day mewling in the bathroom.

Back to first year. After Halloween, when all the other girls dressed up as "slutty [insert profession/animal/historically maligned ethnic group here]s" and my costume was "bored, with a bottle of tequila" (thematic!), I was over the idea of living solely with women. Well, fake-Catholic women, or teenagers whose parents thought that shunting them into a girls' dorm would save them from premarital sex and the dangers of the urban jungle. Since we were marooned at Bay and Wellesley in the heart of downtown Toronto, it was pretty slim pickings in terms of misbehaviour (picture the dourest, grayest corridor of office high-rises you can, and then surround that by hospitals. All the charm of Brutalist architecture, with the pleasing addition of 24/7 sirens!), but the girls still draaank. Even though the dorm was supposed to be "dry," nary an eyelash was batted when my roommate had about fourteen empty bottles of Malibu rum lined up on the edge of her desk.

Holidays were the worst for this kind of behaviour. Any excuse to put gobs of makeup and go to the club district was seized with an enthusiasm that bordered on maniacal. I shared a room (not a suite - a room) with two of these girlies, and the glitter eyeliner and hairspray that came out at these times was enough to choke a gay horse. The Saint Patrick's Day's uniform was a tight green tube/halter top, black short-shorts, and a glittery green top hat designed to make a Supreme Court Justice look like she's one shot of Jameson's away from making out with the Secretary of State (girl-on-girl = extra spicy!). It was all sort of dance-class-slutty, topped off with a liberal dosing of booze.

In any case, I haven't celebrated SPD in years. I've lived with Irish people, who treat it more like Canada Day and get appropriately tipsy/homesick. The Irish girl at my work has taken today off to sit in a pub (and tomorrow off to, I presume, recover from sitting in a pub for fifteen hours). When I lived with fifteen people under the same roof, there was usually someone who was up for a drink - we didn't need someone else's national holiday as an excuse to get blotto.

Because that is what this is. I feel good about getting a little drunk on Canada Day, because that's our collective day. Screw dead presidents, I like dead prime ministers. And Christmas is oh-kayy, even though I think the consumerism has blunted the celebratory edge for me. But as a Canadian and a cultural Christian, I feel like those holidays belong to me. But celebrating Saint Patrick's Day in any meaningful way would be like celebrating Hanukkah or the 4th of July. Those just ain't my jam, yo. And celebrating it in a non-meaningful way is sort of...trite? The Booze Holidays (Saint Patrick's Day, Halloween and New Year's Eve) all have an element of that in them.

Which isn't to say I won't be celebrating a little. Hell, I like any excuse to drink beer on a Thursday, and my boyfriend likes all the holidays except Valentines Day. But to pretend it's anything but an excuse to get blurred around the edges for us Canadians is silly. I'm not Irish. I don't want to kiss you if you're Irish. But I will celebrate your cultural heritage of moody poets, rolling green hills, unfathomably similar religions creating terrible amounts of violence, and "Danny Boy". And Guinness, which, let's just agree on this here and now: is disgusting.

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