Valentine's Day is Hallmark's way of putting you in a headlock and forcing you to tell your significant other that you love him or her. Whether you actually L-word them or not, close to a billion valentines are sent each year so, you better fall the fuck in line, be a true American, and give your babe a card that demands, "Be mine." Whether you choose to participate in Cupid's holiday or not, you won't be able to avoid its effects. People will wear red, they'll put a ton of pressure on the outcome of a single dinner date, and worst of all, every creep (and creepette) will be on the prowl for a date. So beware.
Like Halloween, you might be able to sleep through this holiday, but chances are you'll be forced to celebrate it in some way; some with a mate, some with their trusty palm, and others as a third wheel in an awkward sexual situation. It's up to you how you get through it, and the first step is to decide whether your lover is the type who wants to go all-out for V-day, or the kind of person who'd rather avoid the crowds of semi-in-love couples flooding the Magic City's restaurants, movie theaters, and coffee shops. No matter which side of the aisle you're on when it comes to the V-Day debate, there is some fabulous news. This year, America's second-most commercial holiday falls on a Saturday. That means that the playa-playaz can set up four different dates: one for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and, of course, a nightcap. And for the coupled-up in the crowd, that means you can have an entire day with your love.
The most obvious way to spend February 14 is at a restaurant. The list of local eateries offering special Valentine's Day menus is endless, but people with deep pockets should make it intimate at Casa Tua. If you're one tardy away from a pink slip, Outback is opening up early so you can ply your date with platters of greasy fried mushrooms for hours. And for the broke set, I hear that a manatee recently washed up on the shores of Biscayne Bay -- go cut yourself a steak and tell your boo it's lamb. I love the idea of a spa day, and it can be a cool gift for either dude or gal. And if going dutch is what the relationship is about, Spa Chakra at the Conrad Miami offers dual rubdown action for $500. Oh, shut up -- that half a grand includes champagne and chocolates. You could always re-create the scene at home with tea lights and ginger ale, but be aware that your February 15 could be a lonely one.
News flash: Valentine's Day isn't just about the entertainment. If you don't have a gift in hand, you might as well spend the evening curled up with a Law & Order marathon. V-Day has come to be associated with the purchase of accouterments such as diamonds, lingerie, and cologne. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention mylar balloons, ashy chocolates, and bought-at-a-red-light roses, but if you buy those, again, your February 15 will be a lonely one. Exotic flowers, buckets of chocolate, and ballons full of heroin are the only ways to serve up those types of gifts. And if that's not your bag and going to Jared isn't your style, fellas should give their girls something they can both enjoy. Personalized M&M's, condoms or pillows is an idea, Daddy's Favorite has some sexy coverups that are too much fun to pull off, and a gift certificate to Cinnabon will never go out of style.
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Disclaimer: Pardon me, because in the spirit of Cupid, I'm quitting the snark and getting sweet for a sec. Those damn arrows are ruthless and land where they want to, when they want to.
Whatever gift you buy and whichever locale you choose, be sure to spend the day making yourself or a loved one happy. Just because the holiday is commercial as hell doesn't mean it's not a cool concept. Think about it -- you and the one you love (for the moment) are out among other lovebirds whom all have the same lovely thing in mind: Embrace the moment. And just in case you've forgotten why you decided to get into a relationship in the first place, read this poem by James LoParo titled "My Beautiful Friend." It is beautiful and confident in such a simple way. Its message cut deep into my heart, and maybe it will do the same to you. Or maybe you'll wonder how many E pills I had to pop in order to get all soft on love. Either way, the poem's words are cozy and true. Happy Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day, H.E.