by Evan McArthur Kane
Now in no way whatsoever am I pro-Valentine’s Day. I regard it as little more than a “make-up test” day for men (women too I suppose) who haven’t developed good relationship habits to be overcompensated for some contrived romantic endeavor or material sacrifice. But even if that’s the case, or you consider yourself the exception, there are right and not-so right ways to celebrate–whether it’s with your long-term mate or a first date. So here is a study guide for your make-up test that just might make her forget about the time(s) you forgot some special occasion and had to resort to withered carnations sold out of a bucket at the traffic light before you got to her house.
Leading The Blind
To some a blind date carries a stigma of desperation–to others, an adventurous social experiment. Either way, if you and your Valentine haven’t exchanged a glance or only have a 2D reference for visual stimulation, you better make this one hell of an interesting date to be on the safe side. Meet at the National Portrait Gallery for an exhibit or three and use some of that good lighting to your advantage. Then stroll across the street to Clyde’s and pretend not to watch her swallowing down oysters by the dozen at their raw bar happy hour. If the evening goes into overtime (a great coach ALWAYS has a plan for overtime), go upstairs to Lucky Strike for a cocktail–and be sure to take a “L” in at least one game of tipsy bowling. This is a damn good date at any stage of a relationship but it’s also the perfect way to spend an evening without incessantly staring at your perfect stranger.
I Lust You More
With Lust being the most frequently occurring stage of dating, one could reason that it is also the most poorly executed stage. Lust is a peculiar energy: too much of it and you can quickly go from being an uninhibited outlet of passion and thrill to an ass-hound of overbearing annoyance; too little and you seem indifferent or even disinterested which leads to her feeling unattractive, rejected and vacant. This stage is built on pleasure, not pretense–so whatever you do, make it fun. Sexual overtones should be used liberally but thoughtfully. So start with the obvious (Stadium Club happy hour) and add a few twists (bonding/bondage at the birdcage table at Mie n Yu) and kinks (toys from Pleasure Place in Georgetown). And for overtime, have those Godiva strawberries at the ready for your rose petal bed and red leather headboard (Hotel Rouge).
My definition of LOVE is quite simple, perhaps also more romanticized than most. LOVE is the decision to make your happiness explicitly dependent on the happiness of another. This definition separates the boys the men. The stakes are higher. The rewards are sweeter. This is when your attention investment starts paying dividends (the previous stages are all liabilities). Privacy and intimacy are kissing cousins so go where the mood is meant for two. You don’t want to be saying, “I LOVE you” in same place where you can overhear romantic overtures like, “I’d LOVE to see what that mouth do…” DO you!? Class is up a bit and make a pre-show reservation for dinner at Marcel’s then have the car service dash you over to the Kennedy Center for some culture in a box (an orchestra box in this case). Once the curtain closes double back to Marcel’s for dessert, then casually inform your driver, “The W please.” If that e doesn’t make her mouth moist, it undoubtedly will be upon your arrival and the champagne toast that greets you in the lobby lounge. Whisper grape-sweet nothings in her ear until it’s time to retire to your suite with a view–plan for a late check-out.
If you’ve been at it for a while or already exchanged vows with your companion then your Valentine’s Day might understandably be more understated. And some of the above excursions should, hopefully, already be crossed of of your list. The only thing bigger than LOVE is LOVE eternal so a little symbolism may go a long way here. Removable body art–not laser surgery for that tramp-stamp tattoo she regrets from prom weekend–designer jewelry from I. Gorman Jewelers. Head to Hela Spa for head-to-toe rejuvenation and pampering (and the inevitable after-spa shoe shopping). Go grocery shopping. Yes grocery shopping–try Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Wegman’s to prepare for a culinary crash-course from a personal chef or catering service like Dinner, Then Dessert. Then spend the week feeding each other and finding new fantasies to fulfill.
This list is by no means complete and there a many alternative roads to the same result. So let me know what other ideas you have in mind…and let me know how goes.