"I didn't think you'd be here, Karen. I thought you'd be out on a hot date tonight."
So said the organizer of the WRIR Black Valentine's Day party at Cous Cous when I walked in last night.
He then stuck a small pink heart on my blazer. You know, for the occasion.
When I inquired what had made him think that, he laughed, saying, "You're a woman-about-town, so I figured you'd have other plans."
Fact is, I'd already had a hot date by that point (nearly 11:00), so I was ready for some music about love gone bad.
I heard a conversation where a girl told friends that she'd come to the show because, "How many times is it going to be Valentine's Day in my life?"
Um, roughly speaking, annually?
There was a lot of holiday-appropriate garb: a blonde's pretty red lace top, fabulous red pumps on one musician's girlfriend, a red dress at the bar and my own hot pink skirt.
Like any Cous Cous show, it didn't start anywhere close to on time, but who among us had somewhere to be on Valentine's night?
The show of covers of love gone bad began with a favorite of mine, flamenco guitarist Frankzig, both on acoustic and electric guitar, and his drummer.
"The Hunter" was an intense exploration of sexual-sounding themes tailor-made for the occasion.
Along the way, I enjoyed a conversation with a DJ about the difficulty of finding someone who shares your music passion.
We agreed that someone who tells us they only go to three or four live shows a year is a red flag.
Don't need it weekly? He and I call that a deal breaker.
But, as he also pointed out, he's been attracted to girls who shared his music passion and yet they had no other compatibilities.
Also unacceptable. We're going for the whole package here.
Next up was Push Button Reaction, as straight forward a rock band as anyone needs to hear.
I couldn't decide if they hearkened back to classic 70s or just that late 90s period when that kind of rock reared its mainstream head again.
To their credit, they did a Zombies cover, "She's Not There."
I, however, was.
As they wound down, I made a comment to the drummer of the next band, Boney Loner, about having to follow such rock and he assured me they'd have no problem.
"We're sloppy, but we're entertaining," he humorously acknowledged. And they were.
While they got set up, I was introduced by my DJ friend to a local musician who had toured Europe.
He and the DJ had run into each other at a show in Germany years ago. He'd also used to do a show on WRIR called "Screams from the Gutter," a punk show.
Just another reminder that in RVA, you're never more than three degrees of separation from anyone.
As Boney Loner took the stage, he looked over at them and leaned down to tell me, "They keep getting younger, don't they?"
He'd just told me he was 32.
Boney Loner and the Sacred Teachers were all about Stooges covers, making it hilarious when an audience member called out for them to do some Iggy Pop.
Pay attention, people. It's music, not rocket science.
The lead singer was a whirling dervish of intensity, climbing on the wooded half wall that separates the bar area and diving off into the arms of the crowd.
That is, when he wasn't climbing on chairs looming over the crowd and spitting lyrics into his microphone.
And then there were the drummer's fingers, bloody by the end. There's some holiday red for you.
A few songs into their set, I heard "hello" and my Valentine's date had reappeared for the remainder of the show.
I've heard that's how Valentine's Day dates end up with a happily ever after ending.
At least for the evening anyway.
After all, who knows how many more Valentine's Days we have?