I can be cynical about Valentine’s Daywhile still secretly enjoying in a very hypocritical way, so I shall. But considering that the day of love started off as a weird and masochistic way for women to get fertile — no joke, the women of Rome lined up for men to hit them during the feast of Lupercalia from Feb. 13-15. Matches were made when a man pulled a woman’s name out of a jar. And voila — our day of love was born. Of course, it’s been twisted beyond all comprehension since its start, becoming what many know of as a “Hallmark holiday.” That said, of course I still celebrate it. When you’re single, this day doesn’t matter one little bit. It’s an annoyance. But when you’re in a relationship….God have mercy on the man who fails to commemorate the day.
In Los Angeles in particular — though I’m sure the sentiment is similar throughout the U.S. — there’s pressure to turn V-Day into an event. It’s not enough to take a gal out to dinner, and if that’s all you’re doing, guys, you better make it special. The restaurants realize this, why high-end places like Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel-Air and Patina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall are rolling out menus that pull out all the stops: the latter is even offering up special dishes based on perfumes for a full sensory experience.
There are those who will argue that every day should feel like Valentine’s Day, and that’s true — minus, in my eyes, the over-the-top commercial aspect of the holiday. We should celebrate love every day, certainly, if we feel it, but all the material trimmings aren’t necessary and if they are, well, I pity the fool who thinks a diamond necklace or a little blue box from Tiffany & Co. equals true love.
That said, we’re all different. Whether you’re getting a home-cooked meal, an engagement ring, a single rose or a bouquet of a dozen, if it’s heartfelt, if you know he means it, be happy.
But if you need a little extra something something, here are some big ideas that you just might hope he sees/hears about/enforces across the good ol’ U.S. of A. on Valentine’s Day.
- Coolest idea ever courtesy of the innovative on-demand car service, Uber. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Dallas there will be an “UberSKY” option for SKYWRITING! Yes, you heard that right. If you get a confirmation, an Uber rep will call you and take down your message, which can be up to 12 characters long. The Valentine’s Day promotion is part of a bigger MasterCard promotional campaign and costs $500.
- Technically this is on the eve of V-Day, but same difference, it’s cool! The National Postal Museum in Washington D.C. is hosting a “Signed Sealed Delivered” party to celebrate old-fashioned methods of communicating pre-Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: genuine, heartfelt hand-written letters. The party is all modern though: there will be (naturally), drinks, music by DJ Trayze, dancing and a photo booth by Event Share.
- For very close to $100,000 ($99, 466) British chef Adam Simmonds will come to your house and cook a meal using the most expensive ingredients in the world. The menu includes native oysters with Almus white caviar served on Flora Danica china, South Sea pearls and amethyst bamboo salt paired with Salon Blanc de Blancs, 1959; slow-cooked duck egg, Iberico ham, Alexanders and spring white truffle paired with Salon Blanc de Blancs 1979; Pacific bluefin tuna, chorizo, watermelon and ponzu served with Le Montrachet, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, 1991, Wagyu beef, Carabineros prawns, gold leaf and silver leaf. The experience is up for sale on the website Veryfirstto.com.
- Brucie restaurant in Brooklyn is offering up an all-Beyonce themed menu. Yeah, you heard that right. Expect to see items like the Blue Ivy starter – smoked blue potatoes, chiriboga blue, trout roe and watercress – and I Am Pasta Fierce – jalapeno pappardelle, puttanesca and gold leaf.
- Go the the Sex and the City zoo. OK, technically its name is the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and you won’t see Samantha Jones copulating in a cage, but you will hear everything about animal mating from general curator Michael Dee. There is also a musical performance followed by a presentation of raw, primal instincts of the animal kingdom. How’s that for taking a walk on the wild side?
- The Hampshire House in Bostonis offering an evening of heightened senses with its dinner-in-the-dark meal. You’ll eat your entire dinner while blindfolded, creating a heightened sense of taste, touch, scent, and sound.
- The Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles is offering a pretty sweet package deal. OK, it costs $11,000, but if you have the money, why not spend it? The package includes accommodations in the newly renovated Presidential Suite with welcome drinks upon arrival, a private 30-minute helicopter tour of Los Angeles in the city’s only twin-engine helicopter, a six-course private dinner for two with wine pairings against a romantic sunset backdrop with sweeping views of LA atop the hotel’s helipad, the Romance Ritual for Two at Spa InterContinental, including a body polish, Swedish massage and bathing ritual with Champagne and fresh strawberries in a private couple’s villa, breakfast in bed for two the following morning and royal VIP treatment, including valet parking, romantic welcome amenity and suite decorations.
- Patina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles offers a truly innovative experience by partnering with L’Artian Parfumeur for a feast of the senses.Executive Chef Charles Olalia’s three-course menu is inspired by select scents from the line’s Explosions d’Émotion collection Taking a cue from the designer perfume line’s Déliria fragrance, which features notes of toffee and apple, the first course of Nova Scotia Salmon incorporates citrus-cured apple and grain mustard. The second course includes guests’ choice of Atlantic Black Cod, served with tender carrots and roasted garlic fumet, or the Omaha Beef Tenderloin with smoked potato mousseline and Bordelaise syrup, both of which are inspired by the saffron, whiskey, lavender, and rose bouquet found in L’Artisan’s Skin on Skin. The Passion Fruit Crémeux with Valrhona chocolate and coconut sorbetisa play on the line’s Amour Nocturne, which features soothing notes of hot milk and caramel.
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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.