Friday, May 8, 2009
Ocho De Mayo / Don't Kiss Me, I'm Not Irish
So I have this unexplained aversion to “ethnic” holidays. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to put it. But I despise St. Patrick’s day and all the drunk fools that partake in it. This year I was SOOOOOO confused because as I walked outside in the middle of the work day, there were drunk people everywhere. Don’t you people have to work? Like, do you really take a sick day to drink in the streets and wear green? Bizarre. I also have personal beef with St. Patrick’s day because as a non-Irish redhead (Day walker, NOT Ginger. I repeat, I am not a Ginger.) things get awkward for me. And I’m too bad and awkward at lying to just go with the flow and pretend like I am Irish on St. Patrick’s day. And I get the question a hundred times, “Are you Irish!!?!?!?” and then when I say I’m not the inevitable question that I get as a response is “What are you, then?” My answer: Jew.
And the issue here is that Jews don’t have a holiday where they celebrate Israel or being Jewish. Actually I’m sure there is one out there but I’m way too secular to know about it or ever take part in it. And like many Jews, especially secular Jews, I don’t know what my ancestry is. People ask me all the time and I’ve never had a good answer. I just say “Eastern European” now, and although that’s accurate, people really seem to want more details and expect you to have some sort of pride for the country that you hail from. Well I don’t. I am straight-up American, and I’m definitely not proud of it.
I’ve been in many the awkward moment because of my redheaded Jew status. My favorite of which is as follows:
I was at my tennis clinic in high school on a random Wednesday after school. I arrived at least 5 minutes late, as usual, to my “clinic” of mostly Sophomore boys, while I was a Senior. And my clinic was like 5 towns over, so I didn’t know any of these people. My tennis pro, Ryan, was the only person I really hung out with and talked to in the clinic, and I think he was probably the only reason I was in the clinic to begin with. I am still in love with Ryan and saw him two summers ago, thrice (once at a bar and twice at a fair/carnival/festival that he was at with his girlfriend, who has a son), and was too nervous and awkward to say hi for GOD KNOWS what reason. This is like one of those things I think about at least once a week and am like “GODDAMNIT BRADY WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST SAY HI?!?!?!?!”
So Ryan and I were chatting about colleges and I told him I had decided to go to the University of Richmond. One of the other tennis pro’s was like “Oh yeah, that’s like a really good southern school that’s also a really big party school” (it’s not). And I responded “Yeah, and they hate Jews.” I’m not sure why this was my response, but I guess I was new to the concept of the South and being the only Jew among a bunch of non-Jews and wanted to create a dialogue about said issue, ya know, work out all these feelings. But out of left field, some loser/nerd semi-Jew-fro-sporting uggo named DJ decided to chip in with “Well then I’m going to go there.”
Petrified at why DJ wanted to follow me to college, I asked him why. His response was something along the lines of “Well if they hate Jews I’m going to go there and prove them wrong.” EASY DJ. It’s like not a big secret that there are plenty of anti-Semitic people out there, but I figured out after that DJ thought that he was being confronted with his first head-on collision with anti-Semitism. And also, DJ, if you did go there, they would hate Jews even more, because you’re awful. So I forget exactly how this progressed, but eventually I was like “Yeah, I’m Jewish,” and DJ was STUNNED. He was in shock for a good 7 seconds, just staring at me in silence and bewilderment, confused at what we were even arguing about, until he managed to get out of shock enough to say, “But you have red hair.”
At that point Ryan and I lost our shit and laughed hysterically for about 5 minutes (so in love). The whole situation was just so bizarre. I explained to DJ that just because I had red hair did not, in fact, indicate that I was a gentile. And the happy ending to the story: DJ did not follow me to Richmond, thank god.
Back to my issues with ethnic holiday or holidays that celebrate heritage: the bars are always over crowded on these days. And as much as I love love love being drunk (so long as my nausea holds off for long enough for me to get drunk, which it usually doesn’t), I hate drunk people. Everything about them is annoying and dirty and smelly and I feel like I’m 1 second away from being vomited on. But obviously when I’m wasted I’m the funnest coolest drunk girl ever. Ha. So being too close for comfort while also not being able to forge a path to the bar to attempt to approximate my fellow drinkers’ drunkenness, is just not a fun time.
But maybe I would actually enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo, since I’m 99.9% sure people won’t mistake me for a Mexican.