I knew it was going to be a challenging night to find something to do that didn't involve being surrounded by endless couples.
Comfort put it best on their Facebook status just before the dinner rush: "And so they begin, arriving as if to the ark, 2 by 2." Reservations divisible by two only tonight.
But I'm clever, so I figured it out. No one eats Chinese for Valentine's Day, making it the perfect night for Full Kee (and, yes, I ventured outside the city limits, but there was a reason for that). As a matter of fact, I was the only non-Asian person in the restaurant, which was nowhere close to full.
I skipped the Chinese New Year menu and had the hot and sour soup followed by shredded pork and bean curd with black bean sauce, making for heat followed by pungency. But I was so stuffed by the time I stopped eating that I couldn't even think of taking the leftovers home, much to my server's dismay.
After dinner, I went to Crossroads Art Center, a place I had heard of, but never been. Let's face it, I don't spend a lot of time on Staples Mill Road. It's sort of like Plant Zero or Artspace with all kinds of artists showing in alcoves throughout the space.
But I was there for the 9:00 singles showing of Slash Coleman's "Prisoners of Love;" the couples showing had been at 6:30, presumably so that the happy couples could go out to dinner afterwards. And while most of the 9:00 crowd were singles, a few couples slipped in with the onesies.
I heard the guy behind me say to his beloved, "I feel sort of conspicuous here." Perhaps that's because this was the singles showing, my friend, and you came with a date. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why you feel so obvious.
Numbered Valentines were passed out to the audience for the sake of prize-winning while a duo played standards on upright bass and saxophone (think "Girl from Ipanema" and such). Then the MC came out and the night's entertainment began.
Right off the bat, they gave away a prize, which yours truly won. Moments after I claimed it, another person with the same number spoke up. I offered to give it back, but the MC decided that he who hesitates is lost so I got to keep it.
The show was a series of vignettes, beginning with Jennifer Lemons, aka the Checkout Girl blogger (they never look like you expect, do they?), telling us about her first boyfriend, a Chuck E. Cheese employee, and how that ended in heartbreak because she didn't want to French kiss.
Comedian and dancer Becca Bernard was next, doing mime and then a tap dance to "It Had To Be You." Slash told us about the first time he had sex, a story that included nudity at a party and projectile vomiting.
Slash's father Mike told of falling in lust on a bus to Michigan and giving up on the priesthood for the sake of getting beyond first base (this was the 50s). There was even hugging of strangers, but I'm not going to go into detail on that.
Slash read from the compilation Robot Hearts, to which he contributed a story about a relationship that began online. Jennifer closed with a story of an online date who showed her the stuffed animal with which he'd had sex. You get the idea.
The show was funny and sweet and, I think, meant to be a reminder that the course of love never does run smoothly, not that everyone in the room didn't already know that.
My last stop was at Tarrant's to welcome Ben to his new bartending gig, see how he was doing and to check out the bar's expansion, which looks great.
I was excited to hear that part of the plan is to have late-night hours and start doing live music in the back room; it'll be terrific to have both of those options right in the neighborhood.
As long as I was there, it seemed foolish not to have dessert (chocolate covered cannoli) and chat with a painter who also bartends to get source material to spark his creativity. Needless to say, we had quite the connection on that topic.
Let the record show that I spent most of my evening west of Thompson Street, a rarity for me, but proof that I can leave the city when it's warranted.
Like when there's a show about why it's impossible to give up on love. And, yes, I'm well aware of that fact, Agnes, but it never hurts to be reminded, especially amidst a shower of red rose petals.