It’s Bastille Day: Why Isn’t America Blacking Out on Wine?
Today is Bastille Day, a.k.a. the French Fourth of July.
All over France, people are drinking wine and eating cheese in honor of this one time in 1789 when a bunch of French people put down their cigs for a hot minute and staged a revolution against King Louis XVI.
You see, just like St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, and Cinco de Mayo, Bastille is a day of national pride.
But unlike those holidays, Americans haven’t co-opted it as a reason to get blackout drunk on a weeknight. Yes, you could be spending this Thirsty Thursday gulping down some cab sauv at a Bastille-themed happy hour while wearing a “sexy” beret and waving plastic baguettes in the air with your gal pals. But you’re not, because no one celebrates Bastille Day that way.
And I have to say, we’re all missing out!
I mean, what are we thinking? This is America. Since when do we shy away from appropriating outside cultures for our own enjoyment and profit? Especially when those cultures include copious wine-drinking and meat-eating. Don’t tell me it’s because we’re suddenly sensitive and respectful of smaller countries’ cultures, because I won’t believe you.
French culture in particular is super fun to appropriate, in case you didn’t know — but it takes effort. Picking good wine, preparing amazing food, and getting your hair to look like Brigitte Bardot’s? Hard. Very hard.
Our failure to appreciate Bastille Day as an opportunity for French-themed debauchery has more to do with another wonderfully American trait, one which many French people actually share: laziness. We think we have cornered the market on laziness here in America. But French people invented the month-long vacation, and they actually have the balls to refuse to check their email on weekends. When it comes to laziness, the French are truly beating the Americans at our own game. There’s a lot to be emulated there.
But I digress. The point is we need to get off our asses and start making Bastille Day our own. I myself have spent Bastille Day in Paris and let me tell you: it’s swell. But there’s no doubt in my mind that an American version could be far superior.
I spent Bastille Day 2005 drinking wine (underage! <3 France!) and eating cheese in public with my friends, drunkenly pique-nique-ing next to the canals of Paris. The only snafu in our day was when some armed cops made us dump our wine out next to the Eiffel Tower. Boooo! But we got revenge later when one of my friends puked into a canal. All of the surrounding French people were trés concerned, while we just laughed like horrible American drunks and gave le pukey friend some water and a croissant.
See, the French know how to do a lot of things well, but party to excess is not one of them. Yeah, they drink almost every day, but their booze philosophy seems to be “slow and steady wins the race.” If you want to truly rage in Paris, you have to find yourself a British or Australian bar.
And hey, did you know the U.S. is the only country in the entire world that drinks more wine than France? We’ve already got this, you guys. That’s why the French need our help (as usual…) to turn Bastille Day into the blackout fest I know it’s capable of being.
I mean, we’ve already turned the birth of Christendom’s Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into a reason to day-rage via Santacon. This is America — literally nothing is sacred!
But for some reason, every year on the fourteenth of July, as I happily plan to get everyone in the vicinity drunk off of the best French rosés and reds while frantically yelping Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!, people have no idea what I’m talking about. Bastille Day? they ask in confusion. What’s that?
And I say to them: Don’t worry about what it actually is, you’re going to forget as soon as I explain it to you anyway. Instead, picture St. Patrick’s Day, but French.
Sugary and disgusting cocktails with names like “French Kiss” and “Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?” would be invented and served in comically huge plastic wine glasses with lids and straws. We’d find a way to make striped boatneck French people shirts “slutty.” California wine country would turn into a yearly party destination as people flocked there, Mardi Gras-style, every fourteenth of July because this is America, wine is wine, we don’t care about the details. In every city in America, the streets would run red with wine puke, and I mean that as a compliment.
Plus it would piss off the French, which is adorable.
Look at it this way: we’ve already taken pommes frites and turned them into the clearly superior and much more fattening French fries. Let’s give Bastille Day the American treatment and turn it into the blackout-fest we all know it’s capable of being. We owe it to ourselves.