Last year, I turned into a Valentine's Day devil. Think Bridezilla, but worse. I'll be the first to admit my actions were out of line. This year, to avoid a rerun, Dave asked me to plan. So I did.
The one positive outcome of Stephanie's actions from last year's Valentine's Day was that I was off the hook for this year. I said, "Hey, why don't you plan V-Day?" and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was down for it.
We love the TV show The Bachelor. (Dave, fess up.) To keep the mood light, I decided to give him a "date card" instead of revealing our V-Day plans. All it said was, “Let's remember the old and experience something new.” He had NO clue!
Okay! I like The Bachelor! Sue me! It's the best comedy on TV. Now, you're probably thinking: It's not a comedy. Well, you're not watching it the right way! Putting these women in a totally artificial setting, watching them "fall in love" with the same guy and then get reduced to hysterical tears when it SHOCKINGLY doesn't work out? That's comedy!
I told the cabbie to take us to Times Square. We turned the corner onto Broadway, and with a huge smile and a Vanna White ta-da hand gesture, I pointed to the bright sign for "Counter Burger" and shouted, "Something old!"
Stephanie and I really miss our days in California. The fact that she brought me to Counter for Valentine's Day was really nice on two fronts. First, it's a place that we frequented right on Sunset Boulevard, within walking distance of our LA apartment, so it was quite nostalgic. Second, I LOVE burgers! For Stephanie to choose a place that wasn't romantic in the typical sense actually made it romantic. I appreciated it.
Dave got a rose at the end of the meal (continuing The Bachelor theme), and then we were off to do something new! We'd always talked about going to see live jazz. So four blocks away, at an old New York speakeasy, we danced and listened to Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks play tunes from the 1920s and '30s! While not jazz per se, it was quite awesome.
For those of you unfamiliar with them, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks had won a Grammy two nights prior. They're the 15-piece band that appears in HBO's Boardwalk Empire, playing swing music from the Prohibition era. It was great. The whole night was.
I'm confident Dave couldn't have been more surprised and thrilled when we showed up at a burger joint. I know, because he mentioned it during his toast. Thing is, I was equally happy. I managed to look past the “Hallmark holiday” and focus on what it's all really about -- us. And there was nothing better than reflecting on our LA memories and making new ones!
Stephanie did a great job and truly threw me a curveball. I was definitely expecting some sort of dark, trendy New York City spot that she'd recently seen on the Kardashians' show or read about in some article entitled "World's Most Expensive Brunch." But she stepped out of her comfort zone, and I truly appreciated it. The night was less about being able to tell other people what we did on Valentine's Day and more about the two of us enjoying ourselves. Oh, and I also received a pair of undies with hearts on them!
Stephanie Tsoflias is a reporter for WPIX in New York City. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@lifeofareporter). Dave Siegel is a writer and stand-up comedian in New York City. Visit his website, DaveSiegel.com, and follow him on Twitter (@StandUpDave).