Sunday, February 14, 9 p.m.
Valentine’s day is a very needy notion. There are just so many details associated with that Hallmark holiday. But only if you have a Valentine, which I do not this year. In an effort to find camaraderie and commiseration, I will attempt to join in the prevailing attitude of pro-singledom promised by this year’s crop of anti-Valentine’s Day parties.
Arriving at the Hostile Grape, I note with glee that not only did I just drive here from Summerlin for a free bottle of wine but that I will pay a $20 cover and wear the required red heels for the privilege—I’m such a wine whore. But I’m not alone. Most of the ladies cooperated, but none quite like me, in my sky-high, stacked platform, lipstick-red Penthouse-pinup pumps. I feel men’s eyes on me as I pass from one Enomatic wine dispenser to the next, treating myself to a delicious $13, one-ounce glug of 2005 Opus One.
Past the dinner hour, couples start arriving in the subterranean wine cave to partake in the free dessert table, adoringly feeding each other fruit, marshmallows and pound cake enrobed by the dippy streams of a chocolate-fondue fountain. DJ Arty spins remixes of Leona Lewis, Lady Gaga and Madonna, while I Twitter threats to stab myself with a fondue stick if another happy couple floats in on their glittering cloud of love.
Valentine’s Day has invaded my pro-singledom party, transforming it into a pity party. It’s not as bad as the New Year’s Eve I spent in Disney World parking traffic one year, but it’s up there. I claim my bottle of wine and clomp out in my heels.
The next stop is a local pub said to be offering its own anti-V Day party, complete with a nuts-n-bolts singles meet-up: The guys get bolts which, ahem, screw into the ladies’ nuts and if you find your match, you get free beers with which to start off your new life together. But looking around, I observe not a shred of Valentine’s Day in progress, pro-, anti- or otherwise. And I’m not about to ask a stranger to show me his bolt. So I leave, no match, no beer, but determined still to see Cupid vanquished somewhere in this town without pity for singles on Valentine’s Day.
“Don’t Bring Your Boyfriend to Our Bar,” Rockhouse’s ad reads. At last, a party I can get behind! I take a seat in the bar, which smells appropriately of frat-house basement—cigarettes, last night’s keg-stand spillage, and Axe body spray. It’s perfect.
The guys orient themselves around the single women as if in hopes that one of them might accidentally fall face-first into someone’s lap; they want that lap to be theirs. A tiny Latina trainwreck makes her way through the crowd—tight, short red dress, acrylic shoes, beer in one hand, ciggy in the other. For the next hour her boyfriend will try with little success to keep her seated upright in their booth. She too is perfect.
I soak it up a few minutes longer before heading off to Bar Louie at Town Square. This is the party I’ve been waiting for all night, a chance to shred photos of The Ex in exchange for free drinks. Fair trade, I say. But with the exception of one four-top, Bar Louie is vacant, no shredding machine or singles in sight.
“Okay, what would be the worst thing one of you could do to this photo?” I inquire of the bar staff, refusing to be deprived of my night’s main attraction.
“I’ve got it!” says Nicole, a perky server, who drops off some salad dressing at her lone table and leads me out to the patio. With one minute left to the holiday, she ceremoniously places a glass on the table and I give her the nod. She touches a flame to a corner of the photo and we watch it explode into a fireball, first blue-green, then yellow-orange, before burning out black and dead. Like the love.
My spirits instantly soar; I don’t even claim the free drink. After all, what is Cupid, if not a chubby, bratty toddler with a sick sense of humor? Cupid’s my bitch, I think, driving home on my own glittering cloud. Total expenditure: $20. Freebies: bottle of wine, dessert. Highlight: Opus One, photos of The Ex en flambé. Bonus: it’s midnight! Ahhh, it’s over.
When old flames go down in flames at least you can send them up in flames.