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Feb 14, 2010

Happy Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D ... haha)


One person’s Valentine’s Day is another’s Singles Awareness Day (yes, the acronym spells SAD, and yes, someone has already thought to trademark it).
 The backlash against the romantic holiday with a murky (perhaps pagan?) history has spawned a cottage industry of anti-Valentine’s paraphernalia: anti-Valentine’s T-shirts, anti-Valentine’s greeting cards, anti-Valentine’s Web sites, anti-Valentine’s day music compilations, even anti-Valentine’s Day throw pillows.
But the Helmsley Hotel believes Singles Awareness Day should not be passed alone, but rather, with others.

So it is having its second Anti-Valentine’s Day Dinner tonight at 7 o’clock.
Among the highlights of the evening:
  • Paper shredders to publicly destroy any vestigial photos of exes.
  • Attractive models, both male and female, that have been hired to pose for cellphone pictures that can be sent via mobile to exes.
  • A Cupid-faced Satan ice sculpture.
  • Broken chocolate hearts (served alongside a knife).
  • Seafood skewers that are called “backstabbers.”
The event may bill itself as being slightly cynical about love, but staff members are optimistic about the romantic opportunities given the 50/50 male female ratio from last year, or simply, the lack of other options.
“If people hook up here, it’s because there is no where else for them to go,” said John Walsh, the executive chef.

So to encourage things along, the menu incorporates some aphrodisiac themes: deviled eggs (fertility symbol); oysters and littleneck clams (those old wives’ tales may actually be true); pomegranates (culinary symbol of Aphrodite, think of all those seeds), and chocolate (which researchers believe releases pleasure-enhancing serotonin).

If it’s a lucky night, some might end the waning hours of their Singles Awareness Day on more of a Valentine’s Day note.

This is not much of a money-making event for the hotel, given that tickets for the dinner and an hour of open bar are $45 or two for $75, if you register online. (Your City Room reporter was briefly puzzled as to why two people would go together to an Anti-Valentine’s Day event before realizing that two people doesn’t necessarily mean a couple.)

Interest didn’t really start picking up until the last few days. “Yesterday we have very few reservations in the morning, and in the evening the phone was going nuts,” Mr. Walsh said. “Unlike Thanksgiving, where people are booking in advance, this is a last-minute kind of thing.”

He added, “It’s almost like you are at the end of the line at the supermarket, and you are picking up the M&Ms and the Snickers on the way out.”

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