Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate the beauty and power of love (and Hallmark’s desire to cash in on it) with the one toward whom you direct your shares of this, the strangest of emotions. Or, if you don’t have a special someone to spend the holiday with, you can ruminate on how the whole thing is just a huge card company scam, imbibing copious amounts of alcohol with single friends, condemning everyone for not wanting to date you. Either way, at some point, you’re bound to want to leave your house. Whether hitched or ditched, there’re plenty of things going on in the Rose City for you to choose from. Even if you don’t want to go out (or can’t afford to), there’re still plenty of romantic things for you and your valentine to do at home, so there’s no excuse not to have fun.
For the loved
Romantic dinners are something that can’t go wrong. Just find a restaurant that’s not too crowded or dim (so your valentine can’t see how ugly you really are), and you’re set. As for what kind of food to get, it doesn’t really matter. Berbati’s, Mother’s Bistro, the Oyster Bar, Koji’s and the Delta Caf퀌� are all good choices. Just try and stay away from Denny’s. You could even try cooking a dinner together, which would probably be the most romantic dinner option of all. Make sure that you find someone else to do the dishes.
Valentine’s Day Couples Massage Class
McMenamins Edgefield, $80
Here’s a good chance to acquire some massage skills that your date will doubtless love. No one (especially girls) can resist a good back massage. Although it’s a little pricey, it’s preferable to clumsily mashing the flesh of your lover in an attempt to bring them a little comfort. And it’s a two-way thing, so your significant other can help foot the bill.
All Girl Summer Fun Band, Bishop Allen, The Badger King
Nocturnal, 8 p.m., $6, $10/couple
This is a good concert to go to for a few reasons. One, the bands playing are good and pretty date-friendly (i.e. no heart-wrenching songs about lost love). Two, Nocturnal serves drinks and food, so you can get dinner-concert-bar taken care of in one stop. Three, it’s still all ages, so even if you can’t take advantage of the bar, you can still go. Four, it leaves lots of money for other stuff you might want to do, like a romantic dinner or bunches of flowers.
If you haven’t been here, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to check out this ultra-cool oddity in the Columbia Gorge. It’s actually a real replica of Stonehenge sitting out there on top of a cliff. Why, you might ask, would this be appropriate for a Valentine’s Day excursion? Well, it’s all in the preparation. Just pack a picnic lunch, a bottle of wine or champagne (or wine coolers even) and a blanket, and you’re set. There’s almost certainly not going to be anyone there, so you and your valentine can enjoy the sweeping panorama of the gorge and river, lie on your backs and gaze up at the sky, or whatever your twisted little minds come up with. The possibilities? Endless.
For the lovelorn
Sure, you may be alone, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. It’s a good bet that some of the other unattached denizens of the city will be spending some time in one of the plethora of bars here in Portland, since we love to get our drink on so much. Some bars that might have a high percentage of attractive and single people include Bush Gardens, where you can make an ass out of yourself with karaoke, dig on some sushi, and scout the usually hipster-infested crowd. Berbati’s, Dante’s and Shanghai Tunnel are some other places to chill, drink and network. If you just want to get shitty, there are plenty of hole-in-the-wall taverns and bars all over town, like My Father’s Place, one of Elliott Smith’s drinking spots. There’s also the Matador, where all the lonely alcoholic twenty-somethings in my building go. It’s a bit sleazy, but that’s no reason to write it off.
For those in any category
If you want to get away from the city, be it alone, or with someone, Forest Park is a huge forest conveniently located in the southwest sector of Portland. With miles of trails, clearings, trees, and all the other things you’d usually associate with the forest (including nomadic homeless), Forest Park can be a great place to go with someone to relish their company and presence, or to go to alone to clear your mind and be with life other than humans.
Yes, you can do this anytime, but there are some movies that lend themselves particularly well to V-day. For example, the classic “High Fidelity” can either help you laugh at the lonely situation you’re in, or make you want to cuddle up close to your valentine and smile, as love eventually triumphs over introspective record-dork loneliness. Unless you’re actually an introverted, lonely record dork, in which case it might make you extra sad. “Chasing Amy” is another option, a warning about how being a weirdo about the past can end a perfectly good relationship. Another Cusack gem, “Better Off Dead,” suits both couples and singles. This is an especially good choice if you decided to go with the Romantic Home-Cooked Dinner option.
Drink At Home
This is a great option for everyone. Not only does it allow you a higher alcohol-to-dollar ratio, but you can do it in the privacy of your own home. For couples, a nice bottle of red wine or some Fuzzy Navel adds a nice touch to a homemade meal, a movie or whatever you’re planning on doing. Just make sure your man doesn’t drink TOO much. If you’re alone, just drink to the point of blackout and you won’t even remember that Valentine’s Day even happened. There’s a liquor store on 9875 S.W. Barbur Boulevard that stays open until 10 p.m., providing inebriants later than any other store I know of.
Whether getting it on or getting your cry on, you can’t do without these black beauties (or silver, if you prefer to suckle at the teat of corporate America). Throw one on the turntable and let the good times (or tears) roll!
Great Records To Get It On To
The Dandy Warhols, 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia: This little LP boasts Courtney Taylor’s sexy indulgent “uh huhs” and “oh yeahs,” backed by lethargic, dazed and sometimes meandering guitar.
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin I and IV: Everyone should already know why these are on the list. Plant and Page might as well have been having sex, since the wails, groans and thrusty guitar solos sound pretty much like it. Just listen and think about it.
The Decemberists, Her Majesty: OK, I think that if I ever meet anyone that wanted to get it on to this album, I will really have found the one.
Stevie Wonder, Inner Visions: This is what you bust out when you want to get smooth, but still show that you’re sensitive enough to be worthy of love.
Great Records To Get Your Cry On To
Elliott Smith, Roman Candle and Elliott Smith: Elliott can melt the stoniest heart into a pile of blubbering sadness with his wise, beautiful and touching songcraft, but he heals you, too. He’s helped me through countless dark times and breakups. The crying heals you with this one.
John Lennon, Imagine: There is no song sadder than “Jealous Guy” (especially when Elliot Smith covers it) and this album boasts other gems such as “Crippled Inside” and “Oh Yoko,” nicely placed at the end to leave you on a bit of an up.
So you see, no matter what your situation, there’s fun to be had. All you have to do is go find it.