Philadelphia’s Diner en Blanc is Basically a Cult at this Point

via 6 ABC

It’s the 10th anniversary of Philadelphia’s Diner en Blanc. It’s also the third year in a row that I’ve written a column pointing a spotlight on one of the most idiotic social events in Philadelphia.

You’d think I’d be tired of finding new and innovative ways of humiliating all of you that think this is a “fun” or “entertaining” event.

You’d be wrong.

Diner en Blanc is BACK BABY. Not even COVID or Monkeypox can kill off the most idiotic social event in Philadelphia. We are getting cultured as FUCK, one amuse-bouche from the South Street ACME olive bar at a time and paying out the ass for the privilege of doing so.

On Thursday night, thousands of seemingly sane and intelligent people will be brainwashed into spending $55 to potentially sit in an alley behind Dirty Franks where drunken frat boys puked up Citywide Specials the night before to eat Ritz crackers with chopped liver in the name of sophistication.

WHY?! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELVES, PHILADELPHIA? YOU’RE SMARTER THAN THIS. This is the third Diner en Blanc in a row I’ve warned you about flushing your hard-earned money down the drain for something so pathetically pointless it puts the Mummers Parade in positive light.

Diner en Blanc can’t be killed off. I feel like every teenager in the “Friday the 13th” franchise who stabbed Jason Voorhees in the heart with an iron stake and watched him fall off a dock at Camp Crystal Lake. Sure, he looked dead, but you know deep down he’ll just be back next year to cause even more heartache.

A quick reminder for the uninitiated –

Diner en Blanc is a “high class” social event invented by the French in 1988 as a way to somehow make picnicking an even less enjoyable prospect. And just a gentle reminder that this doesn’t benefit a damned thing. No charity, no foundation, no cause. All of the ticket sales go to… what exactly? You’d think the money would go to some weird French charity that sends cigarettes to misbegotten mimes, but no. It goes to BIG DINER EN BLANC, that’s who.

Honestly, if you think wearing all white clothes and paying for the “pleasure” of eating dinner next to puddles of tepid Philadelphia garbage juice in the name of high culture is fun, there’s probably a good chance you’ve been tricked into joining a cult at some point in your life.

You know what… maybe that’s what Diner en Blanc really is at this point. Is it a cult? Did I just crack the code? Are we one step away from one of these ending with hundreds dead in the street, everyone wearing white Adidas, after eating poisoned amuse-bouches to join a God who charges $55 a ticket to enter into paradise?! I may be on to something here. I’d actually respect the event MORE if it was a cult, instead of an excuse to trick people into paying to eat dinner on a blacktop parking lot.

But Coggin, I hear you asking, the event can’t POSSIBLY be this stupid? You must be taking some artistic license with what actually goes on at one of these things?

I wish I was. I really do! Thankfully, the official Philadelphia Diner en Blanc website shared these delightfully informative pictures on just what is expected out of guests to prove just how right I am. Let’s take a look at the planned frivolities, shall we? –

Doesn’t this look like fun! Just a happy-go-lucky couple that isn’t somehow DRENCHED in sweat and swamp ass, energetically setting up for a magical evening on what looks like Astroturf. Is that a hint to the event’s secret location? Is Diner en Blanc at Veterans Stadium this year?

(Author’s note: Take a look at the guy in the first picture. He looks like he’s about to snap. That’s the deranged smile of someone hanging on by a thread who is one mushy charcuterie board grape away from caving in his wife’s skull with an overpriced glass jar of smoked salmon dip)

Waving white flags…at least you know you’ll get to participate in at least one French tradition at Diner en Blanc.

Dinner and sparklers! Or “Le Diner” if you want to be SOPHISTICATED about it. Nothing says class like stuffing your belly with a pound of lukewarm capicola that’s been sitting in a moldy cooler that most recently transported six packs of Genessee Cream Ale to the Wildwood boardwalk.

Love the fireworks touch. WHAT MIRTH! This perfectly ensures that all of your newly-purchased white outfits will be slightly singed by cheap Black Cat sparklers before the night is over.

Dancing? How do you dance to a guy riding a penny-farthing hired to play nothing but Neutral Milk Hotel covers on the accordion? I also doubt you’ll have much time for dancing when you’re too busy tending to the sparkler burns inflicted by a drunken housewife five proseccos deep that accidentally set fire to your wife’s hair.

No couple in the history of relationships has ever had this much fun cleaning up together. Usually one person  is doing all of the cleaning in steely silence while they seethe at their partner on the couch struggling through the latest Wordle. “WARXY” ISN’T A WORD YOU LAZY FUCK.

PHEW. The end! Before leaving remember to daintily collapse the white parasol you purchased for the evening and hand it to your partner before entering the 110-degree Port-a-Potty to evacuate the rancid ceviche you didn’t think had to be refrigerated.

What a remarkable night! Remember to take with you the memory of an unforgettable experience and the inevitable divorce your partner demands when they realize what a huge waste of money and time this has all been.

It’s all pointless. It really is. But again, and I’m just throwing this out there like I did three years ago, the solution to all of this is Diner en Heights at my house. $10 gets you a red solo cup with keg access and at least two slices of pizza from Ralph’s on Station Avenue. Judging from the popularity of the idea last time, we’ll move it out from the backyard to the street. Don’t worry about the neighbors, they’ll be as piss-drunk as the rest of the us.

See everyone there. If you wear white you will not be admitted.