When I was in the sixth grade I had a tremendous crush on Kevin O’Flanagan. He was an odd choice for my undying love. Even at that age, he seemed like an insurance salesman waiting to happen. I suppose love is blind.
For my birthday that year my mom let me have a Boy/Girl party. That’s what we called it. Of course, every birthday party I had ever had up to that point always had both boys and girls, but in sixth grade it was a Boy/Girl party. I was pretty sure that Kevin O’Flanagan and I would make out that night, which was good since that was all I really wanted for a birthday present.
Everyone decided to play “Seven Minutes in Heaven” which basically meant coupling off and kissing. From what I’m told, these days kids are already pros at giving blow jobs at that age but I thankfully grew up in a more innocent time.
So Kevin and I went into my parent’s tiny powder room. I was nervous at first. Then a couple of minutes in, I was horrified. Even with little to compare it to, I knew it was awful. He was the worst kisser ever! In retrospect, I’m glad I got the worst-kisser-ever out of the way so early in the game, but think about what a close call that was! It could have easily been disastrous and scarred me for life.
Only hours into age eleven and I was already so let down. I had spent months thinking about this rendezvous and had planned for every possible outcome. Every possible outcome except this one. I had always been skeptical about heaven’s existence, but now I had no doubt it it was a myth. Within seven minutes, I started and ended a love affair. Even my 11 year old self knew better than begin my romantic life without sexual chemistry.
I could barely even look at Kevin in school after that. He repulsed me. And my former pining after him repulsed me as well. I willed him out of my brain. It took months, but I gradually stopped thinking of him.
But then, in March, he dyed his hair green for St. Patrick’s Day and it was impossible not to notice him.
What an idiot.
He used the wrong stuff and the green didn’t wash out for weeks. I knew it was wrong to feel pure delight at his misfortune, but I couldn’t help it. Every time I saw the increasingly dingy green of his hair, I wondered how I could have ever written “Mrs. Kevin O’Flanagan” on my sneakers. And every time I thought that, I was again repulsed.
I guess that was when I started hating St. Patrick’s Day.
Every year, the hatred grows. Of course like any self-respecting New Yorker, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade brings me no joy – only politicians, drunks and traffic jams. Plus it doesn’t help that I have an Irish bar on my corner. Normally I have a quiet apartment with no outside noise. Normally my street is vomit-free. Normally I gladly wear my favorite color, green. All of this changes on St. Patrick’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate the Irish or anything. I just can’t comprehend why they would want to take their worst stereotype and flaunt it. But as they’re flaunting it every year, drinking their green beer on the street, I pause to look at each man as I pass.
I try to figure out if one of them might be Kevin O’Flanagan. I know I’ll see him one day. I hope I see him one day. I can’t help but hope his hair will be green for the occasion.
I just pray he’s not wearing a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” tee shirt.