Valentine's Day is coming up, and I bet many of you star-crossed lovers have big plans to celebrate by going out to eat at your favorite restaurant.
Don't do it.
That's right, you heard me. Dining in a restaurant on this particular holiday is frequently proposed as some kind of treat, when in fact, it should be considered a punishment. I'd rather eat Alpo straight out of the can while perched atop my husband's corpse than go out to dinner on Valentine's Day. Not that I don't love to dine out; I do. I love it more than I love pushing old ladies into busy intersections or teasing dogs with sticks. But I know better than to try it on this particular holiday.
Here's what'll happen if you ignore my sage advice and insist on going out to eat on Valentine's Day:
- In spite of the reservations you dutifully made weeks ahead of time, you'll wait in the packed lobby for an hour or more for your table, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a mob of well-dressed, hungry, angry lovers. Carry mace, just in case some famished individual begins gnawing on your leg in desperation. Also, carry a bag of Cheetos. Not out in the open, but discreetly. If the starving mob discovers you're carrying, they'll close in on you like a pack of rats.
- While the restaurant you've chosen offers a full menu every other day of the year, on this day they'll have trimmed it down to a "special," limited menu, in which you can choose from two different full menu options, which dictate the appetizer, main course and dessert. You may have, for instance, either choice A, which is the Spring Salad, the Poached Salmon, and the New York Cheesecake, OR you may have choice B, which is the Spinach Dip, the Baked Chicken, and the Tiramisu. No, you may not mix items from Choice A and Choice B, so don't ask, lest your waiter throttle you right there in front of your beloved. If you picked the Poached Salmon, there's no way in hell you're getting your mitts on that Tiramisu, unless you kill the guy at the next table and take his. Yes, I know you come to this restaurant several times a year and are always able to choose from 20 main courses, 11 desserts and 9 appetizers, and are able to get whatever the hell you want. But because this is Valentine's Day, a romantic, special holiday, you are now forced to pick from a measly two prepackaged meal deals, and you better take what you get and be happy about it.
-These two menu choices also come with a "special" romantic price tag that's much higher than what you would pay any other night of the year. If you normally come to this restaurant and pay about $60, on Valentine's Day it will cost you $120. If you normally pay $100, on Valentine's Day it will cost you $150. Bring your accountant and the deed to your house with you, just in case your date wants a second glass of wine.
-The service will totally blow. Your server will be exhausted and distracted, because he's probably been running his ass off since the doors opened at 11 AM, and he probably hasn't had a chance to eat or pee all day long. I used to wait tables, and Valentine's Day always meant working a double shift with no break. The up side was I'd bring home a boatload of hard-won cash, but the down side was that my bladder would prolapse by 9:30 PM. I'd crawl home, pee-soaked and emotionally broken, clutching my wads of cash and cursing God.
-Your food will take forever to cook. The kitchen will be backed up because it's so busy, and the cooks will be running themselves ragged trying to keep up with the workload. In spite of their efforts, it will take no less than 45 minutes for your food to get to your table. Not 45 minutes from the time you sit down, mind you, but 45 minutes from the time you order. Remember, your waiter will be racing like a hamster on a wheel, so you won't even get a chance to place your order til you've been seated at your table for at least 15 minutes. By then, you'll be wild-eyed and jittery from all the sugar packets you've scarfed down to ward off the hunger that might otherwise cause your internal organs to eat each other.
-You think after shelling out bigbig money for that disappointingly mediocre meal you're going to get laid? Ha! Your reservations may be for 7:30, but since you won't get seated til 8:45, your meal won't arrive til 9:30 and your server will be MIA for most of your meal, you won't end up getting home til sometime mid-March. One of both of you will be too tired and aggravated from the dining fiasco to put out.
Now, don't get excited, Cheapskate. I'm not suggesting you opt out of the whole Valentine's Day thing altogether. I'm just suggesting you don't dine out at the exact same moment every other couple on the face of the planet will be dining out. You'll still be obligated to scrape up some sort of gift, to show that you're a romantic individual still deeply in love. So what's it going to be--flowers? You unimaginative turd. Candy? You'll be the first one complaining when your sweetie puts on 10 pounds. A teddy bear? That's perfect, if your loved one is in kindergarten. Look, do I have to do everything for you? Don't answer. I've compiled a short list of gift suggestions, since I know most of you either lack the imagination or are simply too stoned to think of anything romantic and unique yourselves. You can thank me later.
-An inflatable sheep
-A case box of anal lube
-A prosthetic foot
-A live chicken
-A pallet of lumber
-A fake Hitler mustache
So there you go. Get on the phone now and cancel those reservations, and get ready to have the best V.D. ever. (Valentine's Day, I mean, not venereal disease. Although sometimes the two go hand in hand. Or something in something.)