Everyone complains that Valentine's Day is too commercial, just another crass Hallmark holiday invented to boost greeting-card sales. Looking around at all the pink plastic bouquets, chintzy heart-shaped candy boxes and doom-clouded faces this time of year, it's hard to argue.
So we've taken the least romantic holiday of the year and broken it down into what it's really all about: the numbers.
Can you put a price on love? Hell yes, you can. Here's how the day adds up:
Chantelle satine embroidered bra, Saks Fifth Avenue, $90 (matching panties $45)
Rendezvous-brand lace push-up bra and pair of "novelty" panties, Sears, $23.99
Satisfaction…, at average lingerie-modeling shop, $100 (including tip)
Private instruction, Satin & Latin Dance Studio, $57 per couple per hour
Basic table dance, Dino's Inn, $20
(What you get if you flash a C-note instead: still just a table dance.)
Dating coach, Match.com, $1.59 per minute
One session of 8-Minute Dating, Barracuda, $35
Trying it again if you don't meet someone this time: free
24-hour VIP membership to local live-chat phone line 222-CHAT, $9.99
Trial chatline membership you can use to talk to VIP members, free
Cost of hooking up with someone you meet on a chatline: negotiable
Chatline code word distinguishing hookers from hookups: "generous"
Best chance for hooking up on V-Day (other than a local chatline): BarFly "Love Stinks" Anti-Valentine's Day Bus Tour, $18
Second-best chance, especially if you're not all that straight: Scream Club/Princess show at Holocene
Sure thing: A trip to swingers' club Ace of Hearts, $80 initial membership fee for a male-female couple
Fee per couple per visit: $40
Membership fee for a "single lady": $40
Membership fee for a "single gentleman": $149
Number of single men allowed into Ace of Hearts on a Saturday night: 10
The Complete Kama Sutra by Alain Danielou, Powell's City of Books, used copies from $4.95
The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Oral Sex by Ava Cadell, Powell's City of Books, used copies from $9.95
12-pack of Trojan Extended Pleasure condoms, any drugstore, about $12
Trustex chocolate condoms, The Love Boutique, $1 each
Romantex condoms, Spartacus, $4.99 for a 12-pack
Astroglide, Lubery.com $49.95 for a six-pack of 5-ounce bottles
Annual February "Dinner of Innards," Ripe Family Supper, $40
A night without the kids (they stay, you leave), Oregon Zoo, $45 per kid
Chicest place to shack up if the Zoo thing sells out but you manage to get an emergency babysitter: Jupiter Hotel, $129 for Valentine package ("Check in early, check out late," a receptionist recommends)
Percentage of people randomly surveyed by WW whose ideal Valentine's Day date involved whiskey and train tracks: 30
Number surveyed who prefer to spend V-Day with Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine and a list of their exes' phone numbers: 1
Number surveyed who plan to wake up drunk on the morning of Feb. 14, place a desperately inclusive personal ad on Craig's List, drink all day and then, "that evening 'midst bourbon and Magnetic Fields, sit in a darkened bedroom lit only by the screensaver-disabled computer screen and watch your inbox fill while softly weeping": 1*
Crappy Day Recovery Kit with chocolates, a cosmo-making kit and a saccharine "lounge," Urban Outfitters, $9.99
750 mL bottle of Maker's Mark, liquor store, $25.95
707 NE Broadway, 281-6691
8-Minute Dating www.8minutedating.com 7:15 pm Wednesday, Feb. 9, Barracuda, $35
Barfly "Love Stinks" Anti-Valentine's Day Singles' Cruise 7 pm-1 am Saturday, Feb. 12. $18, $150 for groups of 10. Tickets through www.barflymag.com. Ages 23+.Scream Club, Princess, DK PDX, Romanteek Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639. 9 pm Friday, Feb. 11. $5-$7. 21+.
Ace of Hearts 3533 SE 39th Ave., 727-3580
Ripe Family Supper "Dinner of Innards," 7:30 pm Monday, Feb. 14. 2240 N Interstate Ave., 235-2294. $40. Reservations required.
Oregon Zoo Valentine's Day kids' sleepover 4001 SW Canyon Road, 226-1561. 5 pm Saturday to 9:30 am Sunday, Feb. 12-13 $45 per child, ages 7-13. Bring sleeping bag.
Love Shack-Up Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside St., 230-9200 Feb. 11-14.
* Freelance writer Jay Horton contributed to this report.