Forget the idea that holidays are the hardest on single people. Plenty of committed relationships suffer equally if not greater loneliness. Holidays do not discriminate. They’ll bury you in emotional quicksand just as easily if you’re coupled.
This isn’t to say the holidays aren’t fraught with complications for us single people. Consider the perils of matchmaking, holiday mixers and parents who want you to find a nice someone and settle down. It’s a mean group of days if you buy into the idea that there is someone for everyone.
And it just so happens to be the most unequivocal bunch of nonsense since Hallmark replaced the sincerity of a handwritten gesture with lamely worded and overpriced stock syrup.
St. Patrick’s Day is different.
I’ll admit it. I need the comfort of a woman for this celebration. It’s the only holiday I feel this way about. Whereas Christmas and Valentines Day remind my pocketbook as to the infinite beauty of Oneness, there’s something about St. Paddy’s Day that begs female companionship.
I’ve had the great fortune of an Irish girl for the last four of these holidays. Two different girls who held the same mystical ability to drink me under the table. I’ve experienced all manner of Irish fare, where Guinness is actually considered dinner all by its lonesome. There has been the miracle of life and the permanence of death to consider. I’ve navigated long distances with ease while stumbling inside the short walks.
It has been from this vantage point of poets and kings that I have come to understand that the nature of comedy and tragedy is identical beneath the polar-opposite surface.
And it’s why I’m spoiled to imitations. It’s been a while since I spent St. Paddy’s Night with a girl who couldn’t carry a brogue to save her life.
She was Puerto Rican and we became fast friends in a pub. She was the most antithetical of portraits with her long black hair and olive skinned complexion that was (surprise!) freckle free. But she had two things going for her that night- she was wearing an Ireland soccer shirt and she was talking to me.
In the morning she was talking to someone else. Actually, she was screaming a blur of foreign curse words into the phone. I’d been on the receiving end of such exchanges enough to recognize it was a man she was talking to, a boyfriend more specifically. I don’t remember getting dressed so much as impersonating the 82nd Airborne.
As I walked into the living room where she was seated, she saw me. Cupping the phone momentarily, her scowl was replaced with angelic repose. “I made coffee, go get a cup in the kitchen,” she smiled softly. For an instant I seriously considered the offer. And then I heard the other end of the line come alive again. His voice wasn’t so much angry as it was a semi-automatic promise.
“Don’t leave. Fuck him! He doesn’t want to deal with being a father so he can deal with my life!” The fact that they were no longer involved did nothing to appease me. I decided not to investigate her paranthetical confession of motherhood, which had been disguised quite effectively by our inebriated state the night before. I didn’t want to learn more about her ex and what his real place in her life consisted of for fear he would have a new (and temporary) place in mine if I stuck around.
From then on, I’ve taken to Irish Eyes on the Holy Day. If she hates the Miami Hurricanes and Oliver Cromwell with equal intensity, I’m willing to walk those 500 miles and then 500 more just to show up at her door with a six pack and reservations at the pub in the offing.
Granted, the other 364 days of the year are a challenge. But at least I know an Irish girl would never let me suffer the indignity of being murdered by her crazed ex. She’d do the job herself.
Drink O’ The Day- Guinness. It’s not over yet.