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The Art of “The Irish Exit”

The Irish exit is a beautiful thing this time of year–really at any time of year, but especially during the holidays. If you are unfamiliar with what an Irish exit is, the Internet’s trusted source for underused or confusing slang, UrbanDictionary.com, defines the Irish exit as “the departure from any event without telling any friends, associates, or acquaintances that one is leaving.”

Now the Irish exit is not as easy as the kind folks on the Emerald Isle make it seem. Many traits and components are required to pull off a successful Irish exit. One must have a certain prowess, a clandestine nature ingrained into their being, and perhaps a dash of social anxiety. As holidays approach, there is no better time than now to practice your skills and reach a level of expertise before we return for the semester and for many holiday seasons to come. Some situations in which you can test your Irish exit abilities include:Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 1.53.17 PM

Leaving for home as soon as your finals are complete.

It’s nice to see some of your close friends before you go home for a few weeks, but if goodbyes aren’t really your thing, the Irish exit is perfect for you. Simply pack your bags the night before your flight or road trip home with the ‘rents. The next day, quietly return to your dorm, pick up your bags, and bolt out the door. You could leave a post-it note for your roommates wishing them a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Festivus if you feel a little guilty, but nothing more. The Irish exit is quick and ruthless.

Avoiding small talk with relatives on Christmas Eve.

“How’s the weather in Boston this time of year?” “Don’t have too much fun. Make you’re still studying (awkward forced laughter follows).” “Who are all these cute girls in your pictures on Facebook?” and, of course, the dreaded “What do you plan on doing with a (insert major here) degree?” All these questions and more are grounds for an Irish exit as soon as the dinner table is cleared. While everyone starts to gather their coats and hats, make your way to your Aunt Linda’s front door, dodging your hugging relatives with grace and ease. Do not look back until you are safely in the backseat of your parents’ SUV. You are safe from Uncle Frank’s interrogation.

Faith-Preacher-sneaking-outSneaking out of Midnight Mass before any family friends see you and your siblings are in town together for the first time in months.

Any Catholic, lapsed or practicing, can perform this Irish exit with ease. As the choir softly sings “Silent Night”, quietly slip on your coat and gather all your belongings as you exit the pew and wait in line for Communion. People are going to think you’re skipping out on Jesus’ birthday. Wrong, you are preparing yourself to avoid any more small talk and for a mad dash to the side exit to the parking lot. As soon as the priest gives the final blessing, you and your family are already halfway down the aisle before the organ sounds the first notes of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. The Irish exit in this case is a family affair.

Going outside for “some fresh air” five minutes after the clock strikes midnight.

New Years parties are usually a hit or a miss with an Irish exit. Generally, there is some (or a lot of) merriment had by the guests prior to the ringing in of the New Year, which is fun, but only in a safe situation. Sobriety is key on New Years Eve in terms of executing an Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 1.54.29 PMIrish exit cleanly. After the ball drops and you’ve had your cliché New Years kiss (which never happens to yours truly), you are in the perfect position to sneak out the backdoor and return home without any worry that the one who helped you ring in the New Year is looking for something more tonight. Whatever you do, and I mean this with the utmost seriousness, do not drive intoxicated or walk home alone. Call yourself a cab or an Uber if you find yourself in either situation while performing your first Irish exit of the New Year.

Enjoy your holiday season as much as you humanly can. This is the greatest time of year to be with family (in small doses) and to reconnect with friends from home you haven’t seen in a while. But remember, when the situation proves to be too much, too exhausting, or just downright unappealing, utilize your newfound skill in the execution of the Irish exit. In no time, you will be able to perform the Irish exit with poise in any situation at college and at home.

One Comment

  1. This is a brilliant piece even by the high standards of The Rock. The concept is not limited to Erin’s Isle; my late non-Irish wife called exactly the same process “joining the Evaporati.” It is a wise and salutary notion I have embraced for decades. For example, WHO SAYS you have to hang around at a boring wedding reception where you hardly know anyone, being deafened by the train-crash level of noise from the disk jockey who, when not blasting the speakers is ordering everyone to “put your hands together and give it up” for something futile like the bride’s first salad as Mrs Abner Poltwhistle, until “the bride cuts the cake.” Who says? Again, many meetings are boring and useless, but what impelled me to join the Evaporati (or do an Irish Exit) every time was the dreaded word “workshop” at any gathering – – at “workshops” the probability of ennui became a certainty since all “workshops” (before I learned to ditch them) were exercises in time-filling and pooled ignorance. Hurrah for the Irish Exit.

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