February 10, 2009
Saturday is Valentine’s Day. No shit. Surely you would like to strangle the knucklehead who scheduled this holiday on a night that is already overrun by grandstanding douche bags, but stay your hand. Your anger will miss its mark. To get to the “heart” of the problem, you would ultimately have to choke either a saint or a pope. Choking the pope is a popular activity (if the graffiti on Catholic school boys’ restroom stalls has any veracity), but the pope you would need to choke (Gregory XIII) died about 400 years ago. Saint Valentine is dead too. He clocked out more than 1,700 years ago. Well, actually he was beaten with clubs, stoned (the bad kind) … and beheaded. Even if you built a time machine and traveled back to the third century to personally choke him, you really would only be doing him a favor. Back in the here and now, you’re still screwed. It’s like Friday the 13th is being held over for one more show … at least the bad luck part. Say you’ve got a hankerin’ for some Italian food: Well, unless you can be satisfied with pizza at Chuck E. Cheese’s (hint: the “E” stands for “Ebola”) or a can of Spaghetti-O’s, it(alian) ain’t happening. French cuisine? Seriously? If the French food you’re looking for ends in “fries” or “dip” or “dressing,” you have a shot. Otherwise, pas de veine! For whatever reason, the French have appended their language, cuisine, and culture with the phrase “of love.” Maybe it’s the result of Louis XV’s Deer Park pleasure romps, or maybe it’s simply because France has been the doormat for most of Western Europe for hundreds of years: “Be our guest, be our guest! Put our service to the test!” Regardless, French cuisine is officially the food of love. With all that butter, how can it not be? Italian comes in a close second. Maybe the olive oil? As far as other cuisines go, it’s pretty much a crapshoot, but you’ll probably have the best luck at places with horrible Zagat ratings. Barbecue isn’t a bad bet … especially if it’s served on butcher paper or a Styrofoam plate … but try to avoid places with actual silverware and cloth napkins. Any place where you feel inclined to open the restroom door with your shoe is probably going to have open seating, and don’t overlook places where sullen people in hairnets and plastic gloves serve food from behind a glass sneeze shield. Nothing queers romance like a queue of geriatrics pushing tennis-ball walkers and dragging plastic trays of bland, lukewarm food. Depressing though it may sound, the line moves quickly … faster than the line of white SUV limos at Pappadeaux’s. (Pssst: Don’t tell the dudes in the gothic-print shirts with highlighted hair that Pappadeaux’s isn’t actually French. That would just be cruel.) Truth is, if you’re single you’ll be lucky to get fed at all on Valentine’s Day. Not only that, but it’ll be hard to keep it down witnessing all the lovey-dovey schlock sentimentalism. Maybe you should chase dinner with something a little more raw. How about Burlesque for Peace’s Valentine’s Day Extravaganza at the United States Art Authority? For a paltry $20, you can spread peace by viewing partial nudity. What better end to a day devoted to love? Afterparty starts at midnight.