It’s almost here — Valentine’s Day. You love it and you hate it. Would-be lovers pelt your bedroom window with chocolates all night long. There’s champagne on the doorstep and countless roses. It’s all very flattering but you hate having to say “no” to so many.
Of course not. Most of us are still single and bitter. But be grateful. As I often tell clients, falling in love typically resembles contracting an illness. You throw your feverish brains out the window. You annoy your friends by neglecting them in order to spend every spare moment of every day, bedridden and sucking the life force out of your beloved.
There are better uses than vampirism for your mouth. Food! Here are a few dining suggestions for the loved and the unloved alike.
For love birds: One of the best meals I’ve had in recent months was at Violette, a French bistro that’s been around for many years. The food is classic — coq au vin and such — and, for the money, it’s probably the best French in town. The softly lit, intimate and quirky main dining room offers something unique these days: acoustics that allow you to actually chat instead of text your future ex-husband across the table. The restaurant has scheduled a prix fixe menu ($49 each) for Valentine’s Day. Info: 2948 Clairmont Road, 404-633-3363, www.violetterestaurant.com.
For longtime partners: You don’t need much privacy, because you don’t have a lot to say to one another. Go to Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, where most of the dining is at a communal table. The cheap bowls of roasted chicken are the best in the city — made, for example, with Castelvetrano olives, cippoline, olive oil, garlic and Italian bread crumbs. Skip the pasta. It’s way too heavy for Valentine’s Day, if you have any sex life left. Info: 1099 Hemphill Ave., 404-347-3874. www.gioschicken.com.
For those hunting a threeway: Check out Burkhart’s. Yeah, it was a surprise to me to discover only recently that it makes a great steak for under $10. The two of you can eat red meat, browse Grindr for close-bys, and score a third — because your love is so boundless you want to share it with another. Right? Info: 1492 Piedmont Ave., 404-872-4403, www.burkharts.com.
For those with partners with meh sex drives: Get to the Oyster Bar at the Optimist. The infamously aphrodisiacal oysters, sucked from their damp shells, will turn your mate into a voracious lover. This may work better for women, since sea shells are associated with female genitals and the love-goddess Aphrodite’s birth. The Optimist has made many lists of the country’s best seafood restaurants, and deservedly so. Carry money. Info: 914 Howell Mill Rd., 404-477-6260, www.theoptimistrestaurant.com.
For the unloved exhibitionistic: Go to Waffle House. Yeah, it’s all windows, so everyone who passes the one on Cheshire Bridge will gasp, seeing you, smothered and covered in loneliness. It’s like being a pathetic zoo animal on display all alone in the windowed LA Fitness sauna at Ansley, but fully clothed. Here’s the thing, especially if you’re a Southerner. You will not find authentic country ham anywhere in this city that compares to WH’s big $6.50 slice. Its saltiness will merge with your lonely tears. Curative. If Torae is working, ask for him. He will love on you. Info: 2264 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-634-9414, www.wafflehouse.com.
For public love of the self: No silly heart-shaped boxes for pitiful you? BFD. Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company is the place to go for the city’s best chocolate to chew, to sip, to anoint the body. Just go, point at what you want and consume the stuff nonstop on the premises and feel the love — the love of you. You’re a special person and people like you, even if nobody loves you. Info: 1046 N. Highland Ave., 404-892-8202, www.cacaoatlanta.com.
Cliff Bostock, PhD, is a writer and life coach. His website is www.cliffbostock.com