March 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm (plays well with others)

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston always felt limiting to me. Yes, I was free to begin drinking at 10am and sure, there were hundreds of pubs serving corned beef and cabbage with a pint of Guinness, but wearing my emerald-colored cashmere sweater to work was against the unwritten rules and baking something vaguely Irish to share with the office was frowned upon. I think it’s because Boston is CHOCK FULL of Irish Americans. And Irish. People who actually use Gaelic phrases in email addresses and hang Irish flags outside homes and refer to Ireland as “the old country.” I think it’s the prevalence of those folks that has the city as a whole frowning upon carpetbagging college kid impostors like me. I might feel the same way about celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Juarez with a huge sombrero.

In San Francisco, it’s somehow different. This city has had Irish inhabitants for at least as long as there has been an intercontinental railway route, but I somehow still feel comfortable playing tourist with an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista in a way I never did with a pint at The Burren. I can wear a bright green tank with my jeans and knit blazer. I can bake Beer Bread with Murphy’s Irish Stout. I can meet people somewhere after class tonight and say, “I’m not Irish, but kiss me anyway!” It’s freeing, really, to celebrate an Irish holiday without all of the Irish folks getting in the way.

Will you celebrate and if so, how?

P.S. I swear I will have more interesting content for you eventually. Just not today.



  1. Stevie said,

    Ha, funny, I posted this morning using the same post title as you 🙂 I love St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll be heading to several pubs in Seattle this afternoon for lots of Guinness and debauchery.

    • BS said,

      Sounds fantastic. And if any good stories come out of it, I assume you’ll share. 🙂

  2. Bridget said,

    I have a blind date. I’m making him meet me for margaritas. My cravings have their holidays mixed up. Limes are green, right?

    • BS said,

      Irish margaritas. Sure, just make them with whiskey instead of tequila.

  3. k8 said,

    I am half Irish. And since I’m sober, that sucks.

  4. amber said,

    I’ve always wanted to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston – the whole party, the turning the river green. I guess I never thought it might be restricting. I WOULD be the idiot walking around saying “I’m not Irish but kiss me anyway” too. I wore a shirt that said that last year. CLASSY. I know. This year I forgot to wear green entirely.

    • BS said,

      Turning the river green is Chicago, but I’ve always wanted to see that too! Someone sent me a picture of it this year.

  5. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said,

    I don’t do St. Patrick’s Day. Then again, I kind of poo poo a lot of holidays, so let’s not focus on the one that happens to fall this week. You can call me grinch.

    An old neighbor of mine was Irish – as in straight from the Irish motherland. And he happened to be a fabulous chef. He NEVER cooked cornbeef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day because he said REAL Irish wait a few days because they’re too drunk on the actual holiday to cook. ha.

    I also saw a befitting saying for the day … KISS ME: I’M SHITFACED!

    • BS said,

      Meh, I had one beer and a calzone, but I enjoyed the festive atmosphere. I’m not into getting wasted either, but I love an excuse to celebrate. (I also love to celebrate without an excuse!)

  6. Windsor Grace said,

    Dude. I’m sure you’re just as irish as the rest of us. I have a friend whose last name is Morgan and she was all about being Irish and even had that ring with the hands and the heart and the crown. You know the one. Well, one day she confessed that she’s just as Irish as the rest of us American mutts and she doesn’t really know how Irish. I was like, you’re weird.

    • BS said,

      Sure, I’m Irish by way of Russian Jews. Totally possible. 😉

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