Kiss Me, I’m…

…complicated.

So here it is, St Pat’s day and outside the office people are lurching around 5th Avenue with hideous polyester Tam-O-Shanters and bad MardiGras beads that they didn’t have to show their tits for.

This holiday always leaves me befuddled. I suppose I should be celebrating, given that I’m one quarter Irish (on Ma’s side). As opposed to so many other jerky New Yorkers I have some claim on a green waistcoat and bottle of Killian’s. But the problem is that we’re on the wrong side, by which I mean that the family is protestant.

I’m a quarter of an Orangeman.

Worse, the other maternal quarter is English, and I was raised Episcopalian (C of E, although we weren’t all that “high Church” about it). So once again I’m the product of a union of oppressed and oppressor.

Right now the only green on my body are the splotches of lentil soup that some one dropped on my shoes. I look over at my shoulder bag and it is, however safety Orange.

Purely coincidental I assure you.

0 Comments +

  1. Some of the best days of my life have been the product of a union between oppressed and oppressor. 🙂

    So is it “You can kiss me because I’m Irish, but only if you hold me down and make me sit still for it,” or “Only if you let me hold you down and kiss you because I’m Irish…”?

    Erin no bra, forevah. Woo.

  2. I’m the same – part Orange Irish, part English, Scots, Norwegian, Danish…

    And I’m a “winter” – green looks so grodie on me. Then again, so does orange.

    Nonetheless I scrounge up an olive colored t-shirt and throw it on because I just don’t want to explain all that!

  3. Scot-Irish on my fathers side, Irish and Cherokee on my mothers side. So that would technically make me 1/2 Irish, just not sure which half…

    I personally have always loved this day, not sure exactly why, maybe because I like the torture of being pinched…

    Anyway, just wanted to throw my comment in to the mix…

  4. Church of Ireland is perfectly acceptable; it’s part of the great Anglican Communion. Presbyterians, on the other hand…

    My Irish relatives are all R.C., and I get my Whiskypalianism from my father’s family, old New York WASPs with a touch of Dutch thrown in for color. We’ve since determined, however, that there were more than a few Prods in the family tree, as some of the forebears took the soup.

    I’m quite conflicted about the holiday as well. Nothing gets me hotter than all those hairy construction workers/police/firemen, especially when they’re wearing those stylish kilts. Major wood city. Early imprinting, too, as I began marching in the parade when I was five (what a precious McChild I was in my little Aran sweater). Yet, yet, yet… The Irish-American community which supports the parade is notoriously homophobic, and there ain’t nuthin’ like a little (a lot) of bud to get the yahoos in their green poly blends to get ugly. I’m torn, I want to join the yahoos, claim some deep fraternal yahooism from my youth with them and claim my role in the tribe, and yet I also feel repelled.

    McSigh

  5. Kiss you? *smooch* Okay, I got some of that mixed up English/Irish stuff going on too. On my mother’s side, a bit more distant. Actually, I have some relatives in TN or GA that don’t have anything to do with “this part” of the family because they deny any ethnic mixing… of course, that’s another post.

  6. I would love to see you explaining this to the people on fifth avenue right now, eighty percent of whom would look at you and go “huh”?

    My family is full on Irish Catholic on both sides, but we all hate the goddamn day.

  7. Half-Irish here, with a quarter Bavarian and the remainder an unholy fratricidal mix of English, Scottish, Welsh, Swedish and a claimed ancient strain of Virginian Native American. I consider St. Patrick’s perhaps the only day to outright publicly celebrate any of my ethnicities (St. Lucia’s Day, anyone?), and embrace it as a special event as such. And considering it’s moved from an Irish nationalist event to a day of general benign pro-celticism, I don’t experience any chafing between my Irish side and the English.

    Course the whole kilt’d beefy lug factor of the holiday doesn’t hurt, nor the drinking, carousing, and general green factor in the midst of a long winter season.

  8. I love the Orange.

    Firstly, before they were Orange they were Green; who cares–really?

    Secondly, William of Orange was such a flaming homosexual there are letters extant worrying that if he were invited to Britain to be monarch, he may not produce an heir. I love to point out to my Orange brethern that the July 12th parades are really the first, and most consistent parades celebrating “gay lifestyle”– (ugh! cannot abide the expression, but it works in this context!)–in the world. Usually I have to make a hasty exit, but it’s worth the fun.

    There’s a very strong possibility that Ireland will legalize gay marriage within 12-18 months. Watch the Green brigade in NY, Boston and elsewhere, dump the real green, or reinterpret it. As my father says, “satan quotes scripture to his own purpose,” as the paraders with their “greenness”

    Orange or green, black or white you fully, thankfully belong.

  9. Wearing Green Due To Laziness…

    I did laundry and put it away last night. This morning my green Ireland shirt happened to be on the top when I opened the drawer. I realized what I was wearing and what day it was before I left the house, and didn’t change my shirt. I’m tired of telling people that I’m Irish all the time, and I don’t feel the need to be “extra” Irish on the 17th.

    Since we’re all doing background: All Irish except my Great x6 Grandmother. She was a lady in waiting to the Queen of Spain. Why she moved to Ireland with my Great x6 Grandfather is beyond me.

  10. I am always caught between Orange and Green on St. Patrick’s Day. My own Episcopalian heritage suggests I should don Orange and be proud; but then everyone loves an Irishman, so maybe I should put on some green? And we all know that green and orange only really look good on the irish flag, not on a person…

    Sadly, in San Francisco, no one much cares about these things. Another excuse to drink.

  11. This research was found by the first love of my life–unfortunately he died in 1989, and didn’t publish (the proud bastard loved erudition for its own sake and took pride in being “contr–ary,” -say with an Irish accent- but I digress.) I clearly remember his adulation and delight in finding these letters. I wonder if the source might be in UCC (Cork) where he lived, but he visited me weekly in Dublin, and might have found it in the national library.

    I wonder if Senator David Norris might know? Sorry I can’t be more specific–shortly after his death all his personal belongings, including his precious books and papers, were stolen from a storage locker here in CA and never recovered.

  12. Black Irish

    Hey there Lass
    he probably moved back to the island with her because
    there was a lot of trade between ireland and Spain
    (mostly northern spain)
    both big ship cultures
    and both very catholic..

    the term “black irish” is from that:
    the mix of spanish and irish

    i’m from country tipperary and county cork: the southern part of ireland
    closest to where the spanish (galacians) docked:
    Black Irish.

  13. This next part is a familiar refrain for me and I hope I haven’t written it here already: My name is Castadera Antoine McGee…Spanish/French/Irish. I have all of those ethinicities including African and Native American (Cherokee) in my familial gumbo. I was born and raised in New Orleans and that’s where my roots are so it should probably all make sense by now. I’m a Creole boy through and through. Don’t fence me in! But for convenience and outward identity, I’m African-American. Just don’t ask me to explain where my name came from.

  14. green

    i wear green almost every day
    green has always been my favourite colour
    and i often say it is the only favourite thing i have
    Green

    at the age of 6
    i was visiting my Irish Grandmother, Theresa Troy Cooper
    and poured myself a full glass of green Creme de Menthe
    and the whole table laughed

    Staring out at green makes me happy
    i’ve always been pretty happy to be irish
    — as a child
    whenever i met anyone who was blarinly Celtic
    i thought they were Magical

    still do…
    same thing with Jews…

    i’m irish on my mother’s side
    maybe a bit english, but they’d never admit to it
    Catholic all the way
    Saint Dominic.

    but then
    i’m Caltholic from my father’s Italian side too
    named after Domenico Guiseppe Palmozo
    who worked with Al Capone in Chicago
    Catholics…

    And Maybe the Polish were catholic
    though they were labeled as Jewish when they came over

    regaurdless
    when someone told me it was St Patrick’s day today
    i was wearing all red
    and hastily put on a green pull-over before i left the house to walk out into the gray foggy day

    Green is still one of my favourite things
    and always will be, i’m sure.

    … i’ll be happy to reconcile some battles with you.

  15. I wear a lot of green but didn’t even think this morning. After reading Judy Grahn’s book, Another Mother Tongue, when I was coming out I made a point of wearing green on Thursdays although I can’t for the life of me remember how she explained that one – most of the book was mythopoetic anyhow.

    Growing up I tried to wear orange (and I really dislike orange for some reason), because we were Scot-Irish and got kicked from Scotland to Ireland to the colonies in the early 1700’s. Funny thing is I think my Mom’s region of Austria had more of a celtic influence that most of the Anglo-mutt locations we can trace Dad to.

    Not sure where I am going with this but I think we really need a day to celebrate a bit more ethnic diversity – heck majority of folks in the Americas are some sort of mutt. I think today would be more fun if it had more to do with culture and less to do with parades and green beer, but I do agree that kilts are fun to watch but even better at Celt-fests.

    Hmm doesn’t seem like I wound up getting anywhere – Happy Day whatever you want it to be.

  16. AIE!!!!

    I don’t know if Norris would know unless your friend told him. He’s a major Joyce scholar and I think unless some 18th cent types were more vocal, this information would remain relatively buried.

    Dunno.

  17. I’ll ask his mother if she has any memory of it. Didn’t the 18th British and German/Dutch royals write to each other in German? He loved German history, spoke multiple dialects and had an enormour German library… Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  18. Technically he was 17th century; I was thinking of British Literature where the 18th begins in 1660 with the Restoration. He was really the only Dutch royal and all the rest were Germans who arrived after Queen Anne’s death, firmly in the 18th century, so I don’t know what he was writing or in which language. It would be easy to believe German, though.

    The ironic thing about poor Anne is that though she outlived all of her children she was in turn outlived by her furniture.

  19. I’ve an art historian friend in Amsterdam who knows lots about the House of Orange. I’ll forward the issue.

    she was in turn outlived by her furniture.
    What do you think Princess Anne will be outlived by?

  20. Do you know Sean Cahill of NGLTF? I met him through Lavender and Green, one of the queer Irish groups here in NYC. He’s from Massachusetts originally, nice hardworking union Democrat type of family, has a PhD from Harvard and his brother is in the state legislature. Anyway he was doing some work on the Wampanoag language at one point.

  21. Nayland, I don’t think I tell you often enough how much I love it when you’re complicated. It seriously gets me very excited.

    I, on the other hand, am pure American mutt – my family has fucked anything that moved for the 200+ years we’ve been on this continent – so I chose to use this holiday as another excuse to socialize, make new friends and party like the happy mutt I am.

  22. Channel Mutts

    Basic Channel Mutt here: My Scotch Canadian (Cape Breton Island, NS) father’s family turns out to be less Scottish than thought. His mother’s surname spelling was changed to MacDonald from McDonald a century ago, indicating that they were likely more Scots-Irish than Scottish. Matheson is ultimately Scandinavian in origin. Oh to be descended from rapists and pillagers! On my mother’s side basic WASP, though her mother’s side was Norman French, and Sampsons did come over in 1066. Which mean that we’ve had 1,000 years to forget how to cook properly! Ironically, I now live a mile east of where one progenitor washed up in Cambridge in 1635. I tend to view the early settlers as so much Europe’s Plate Scrapings, a view confirmed by reading the origins of Virginia families in Defoe’s Moll Flanders

  23. Hello, I’m Mr. Ed

    Considering the general sporting interest and the typical facial appearence, one wonders if there isn’t a bloodline from Catherine the Great. . .and her horse 😉

  24. Re: Hello, I’m Mr. Ed

    One of my German professors, the heroin addict who swore he was the queer reincarnation of Richard Wagner, insisted that Catherine was ridden not by a horse but buy a bull. I think he was confusing the Zeus and Europa myth…

  25. Re: Hello, I’m Mr. Ed

    And the Tigers were very, very angry, but still they would not let go of each other’s tails. And they were so angry, that they ran round the tree, trying to eat each other up, and they ran faster and faster, till they were whirling round so fast that you couldn’t see their legs at all.
    And they still ran faster and faster and faster, till they all just melted away, and there was nothing left but a great big pool of melted butter

  26. The Subject Was Horses

    “A horse, a horse, my kingqueendom for a horse.”
    Did you ever see the Saturday Night Live with Karen Black hosting where she said that in so and so’s high school yearbook, the 4H Club had given her the Catherine the Great award?

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