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“As you, a thoughtful companion and diligent planner, are by now doubtless aware, Valentine’s Day is this week, which means that you, thoughtful companion and diligent planner that you are, have prepared the requisite accoutrements for you and your partner to enjoy a tasteful evening out. I regret to inform you, however, that there is one very important problem with all of them: You have scheduled the events for the wrong day, because the correct day on which to celebrate Valentine’s Day is, in fact, the day that comes before it.
Should you elect to proceed on the 14th, the restaurant’s host will present you not with their regular menu of good food you might actually want to eat, but instead with a sliver of heavy cardstock detailing the night’s $100 prix fixe menu. If you are a vegetarian, your entrée will be just a small helping of sides; if you are a vegan, your entrée will be an even smaller helping of sides; if you have food allergies, with every bite of your entrée you accept some unknown risk of imminent death. By law, the first of the three courses will be hastily clattering on the table before you decide between still or sparkling and red or white. Also, I hope you like tuna tartare, because the appetizer is always tuna tartare.
This holiday abounds with opportunities for analogous disappointment. The traditional selection of chocolates consists of glorified fun-size Snickers bites, but packaged in red-and-pink tissue paper and sold at 10,000 percent markup. The cards are mad libs sourced exclusively from filler tracks on Jagged Little Thrill. To ensure the flowers arrive at exactly the appointed time, you were charged (and willingly paid) a Special Emergency Custom White-Glove Delivery Fee for a dozen mediocre roses you could have otherwise picked up in five minutes on the way home from work. As noted above, the same rules apply doubly to V-Day dinner, the fun-size Snickers of dates that leaves you both wishing you had one to eat in the bathroom before dessert.”
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