My first memory of Valentine’s Day is of my mother. Bare armed, she stretched across the table and, with great aplomb, set before me a bowl of oatmeal. She had dyed the oatmeal red. It was poorly stirred and lumpy, and with the bright red food coloring it resembled a bowl of internal organs. The milk and sugar had endured a similar treatment—cloudy pink and soggy crimson. My siblings and I exchanged looks, and tucked into the scarlet feast like reluctant vampires.
In the years that followed, candy took on the major role, then gal pals, and eventually boyfriends. My own personal enjoyment of these themes probably runs in the same order. The further I get from celebrating Valentine’s Day alone, smirking over a whole convenience store pile of junk food, the less I like myself. However, Valentine’s Day is REAL and IMMINENT, so now is a good time to think about doing one loving thing — for yourself, a friend, or the skunk you love. Here are some stunts you could pull:
There is no denying that the steamy, healing pools of mineral water at Ojo Caliente and Valentine’s Day go together like wet dog and smelly. Consider yourself warned that if you go on Valentine’s Day you will see mushy romantic stuff going on. If you come with friends, come prepared to laugh, if you come alone… maybe bring
a book wine. But seriously, Ojo Caliente is open all other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, which means its bread and butter is self-care. It’s just as enjoyable alone or with friends as with a partner. As always, don’t forget Ojo offers 20% off entry or lodging for skiers with day or season passes from any New Mexico ski resort.
The Love Apple will be rolling out their one-night-a-year aphrodisiac menu—as if their normal menu didn’t already make us gooey-eyed. Expect to see people falling irrevocably in love, if not with whom they are eating, then definitely with what they are eating. Also, if last year’s tradition holds, expect to see big tables of people making merry at the expense of their exes.
As usual, I gotta give it up to the ladies of Coco’s Hen House. Nothing beats watching people you know de-robe, especially in the playful and creative ways these ladies devise. No matter what your current attitude toward the romantic arts, watching burlesque is a great way to celebrate the pleasures and complexities of being a human with a body! These ladies perform Cupid’s Cabaret at 8:00 p.m. on the 11th at Taos Mesa Brewery, so think of this as a Valentine’s Day pre-game. Bring $10, and something to take notes with.
Chokolá bean to bar chocolate shop is a guaranteed good time, regardless of the company you keep (or don’t). While munching on bonbons and sipping drinking chocolate that feels like a tonic for a malady you’ve yet to identify, you may enjoy the magical sensation that Juliette Binoche may pop out at any second (sensation free of charge). Chokolá will also be doling out their panacea at Cupid’s Cabaret if you’d like to hit two birds with one stone.
Pärcht has a broad yet unintimidating list of wines of different makes and also prices. Served by the glass or the bottle, you can enjoy your purchase in their warmly lit den or at home, as you like.
Love under $10:
Carve your lover’s name into a tree. Cut off one of your dreads and fashion your Yoko an anklet. Buy a single rose ($3.99 at Smith’s).
If you want absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day in Taos or anywhere:
Short of not leaving your house after New Year’s there’s not much you can do to avoid being groped by the corporate love-bug. However, if you insist on leaving the house, here are some suggestions. Go out into nature. She’s always got love for you, and doesn’t care how you smell. Go to The Don Carlos—finally, a bar you can wear your long johns to without comment. If you’re really committed, and you’ve spent the last four weeks eating canned soup, login to your Netflix account (assuming you have one since you’ve made it this far) and turn on Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. This Werner Herzog documentary about the internet will blow your mind and make you feel like you might be smarter than all your friends. And after all, who needs to be loved when you can be smart?! It’s all a simulation anyway…
If you’re unhappily single, afraid of hot water and allergic to food, drink, chocolate, a bargain, and staying in, just remember it could be worse. You could be lying on your back in the hospital wearing a very itchy smock and wondering if you’ll ever escape from the clutches of this deadly illness, when through the window, you observe that the only woman you ever learned to love is running away with the tour guide across the beautiful Nepalese countryside. Then you will long for oatmeal, lumpy and red.