I’m Irish. But Don’t Kiss Me.

In Chicago, everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. The Chicago River is dyed green, the revelers line the streets (and pubs), “The Unicorn Song” is over-played enough on jukeboxes in Irish pubs that I’m certain the bar managers are left wishing they’d unplugged the dreaded thing on the 16th. Enough green beer is consumed to wet all of Ireland (despite never having seen a green beer in my travels through the lovely Isle.)

However, you won’t probably won’t find me wearing loads of green, or a headband with bouncy shamrocks, or a green hat. I mean, I’ve been to Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day, and I don’t think they wear as much (if any) goofy stuff as we do here in the States, so I don’t feel terribly guilty about my indifferent attitude towards holiday attire.

I’m good with my green scarf and green argyle socks. I’m a holiday socks kinda gal.

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I’ll even pour some Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee this morning for good measure.

I’m sure some friends are laughing now because they know I’m part Irish.

My maiden name was a “Mc”… and growing up, I went to St. Patrick’s Grade school, where our PE uniforms were green and white. So were our wool sports jackets. And the volleyball uniforms. And the cheerleading uniforms. And…you get where I’m headed with this.  I think my classmates and I could sing you every Irish ditty any American could name, thanks to the holiday. I’m pretty sure one year we had to learn the jig. It was cute. Eight years of it.

While I loved school, by the time I graduated from eighth grade, I’d had my fill of everything  “Irish” and was ready to take a break from the green. I will confess that I could be a little grumpy  on the occasional March 17 when some eejit would say “where’s your green for St. Patty’s day?”

(I would usually flash my driver’s license, saying the last name was all the Irish I needed.)

I know. Bah O’Humbug.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not rejecting my Irish side, no sir; nor will I prevent or mock my Irish kin and/or Irish wannabees from having their fun, either. I’m all for a good party and a fun time. I love being in Chicago for the festive air that overcomes the city, and the parade and pub hopping with my friends. I love seeing the Chicago River turn green. (Better it than my face from too many pints of Guinness…)

Heck, I’m guilty of playing “The Unicorn Song” one too many times on those Irish pub crawls (and singing it with all the hand gestures, directly from second grade or so. Who says alcohol affects your memory?)

Just don’t give me grief (or a pinch) for not over-wearing green.

I love Ireland – it is a beautiful country with ever-so-friendly people, lovely pubs, and incredibly narrow roads.

I’m proud to be Irish.

But please, don’t kiss me because of it.

I’m leaving on holiday in a few days, and I don’t need your germs.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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