Tag Archives: romance

The Ides of February, Part II

Is there such thing as a typical Valentine’s Day? There seems to be a pervasive narrative of candlelit dinners and red roses, but how often does this happen to most people? Unless you’re in a long-term committed relationship, the prospect of having this type of Valentine’s Day is kind of far-fetched. And even if you happen to be dating someone during the ides of February, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your evening is going to be spent in amorous bliss. A few years ago Valentine’s Day coincided with a bed bug problem in my then-boyfriend’s apartment. He gave me chocolates, which we enjoyed despite our exhaustion after several nights spent avoiding sleep for fear of being attacked by six-legged vampires. We ate them sitting amidst piles of belongings that had to be stashed into garbage bags ahead of the exterminator’s visit.

Not romantic.

At any rate, I found three strangers at a writing group I like to go to and spoke to them about their Valentine’s Day plans, and it turns out none of them involve candles.

This is Jeffrey

This is Jeffrey

This is Jeffrey, who works at an Apple store doing employee training and sales “stuff”.

What are your plans this Valentine’s Day?

I’m working, and since I’m working early-ish on Saturday, I’ll be going to bed early-ish today.

What has been your worst Valentine’s Day experience?

I went to my Grandpa’s funeral on Valentine’s Day last year, so that was probably my worst.

Do you have a best Valentine’s Day experience?

I guess a Valentine’s Day when I was a kid, because when you’re a kid it’s fun, it’s just giving your friends Valentines and getting Valentines.

What do you think about Valentine’s Day now?

It’s definitely overrated; I think Valentine’s Day and Halloween are in the running for holidays that don’t mean anything but are super-duper overrated and I never had the motivation to do really anything for them. As a guy who loves romantic comedies I feel like I should love Valentine’s Day, but I’m just blasé.

This is Amari

This is Amari

Meet Amari. Amari has two jobs. She works at a restaurant as a hostess, and also works at a wine shop (she is one of the only female employees there), where she will be spending Valentine’s Day.

Are you going to try to do anything celebratory at work for Valentine’s Day?

We are going to drink heavily and we’re making cupcakes and cookies.

What is a type of wine you would recommend for someone on a budget?

Prosecco. It’s usually 20 bucks, and it’s sparkly.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day?

Yes, one of my ex-boyfriends brought me flowers during the day. He was supposed to be working, he was the manager, and he just left work and came to the house to bring me flowers. For me that was the biggest thing. It was very simple, but for him to risk his job is very serious.

Do you have a worst Valentine’s Day?

Not yet!

Do you think some of your male co-workers will take t his date as an occasion to hit on you?

They do already…

This is Patrick--the towel is to soak up all the sludge soup from the street

This is Patrick–the towel is to soak up all the sludge soup from the street

Patrick is a fifth grade English and History teacher.

What are you going to do for Valentine’s Day?

I think my girlfriend and I are going to do our taxes.

What’s been your worst Valentine’s Day?

There was a single Valentine’s Day when I was single during a break up in the middle of a long term relationship. We has split up and later got back together, but we had split up during Valentine’s Day. It was heartbroken Valentine’s Day. That was probably the worst.

What was your best Valentine’s Day?

I had one travelling in Europe. That was pretty fantastic. We were in Vienna at the time.

What did you guys do?

Not much. We stayed in the hotel room and just…had a nice Valentine’s Day.

What kind Valentine’s Day talk is there among your students?

At fifth grade there’s this spring ritual, where later in the school year the boys and girls would start seeing each other in a different way and the girls essentially—it’s very ritualistic—the girls seem to elect one of their own to shove toward one of the boys whom the boys have elected, to force them into some sort of chase, or date or see a movie together or something, but it’s funny because it’s all about the boy’s relationship to the other boys and the girl’s relationship to the other girls, and it has very little to do with either of them. It’s a very funny little ritual that happens every year without fail.



Filed under interview

The Ides of February, Part I

Let’s talk about Valentine’s Day. There’s a lot of people here in New York City. Many of them are strangers, and many of them have different takes on this holiday. There are those who love it and there are those who love to hate it. Others think it’s a conspiracy between Hallmark and Disney to hijack our concept of love, and some people are simply busting their asses to to make sure your day is extra special, or at least to make sure that you don’t suddenly become single on Valentine’s Day.

I’m hoping to find several types of people over the next few days. First I bring you Betty Zafiros, the owner of Fort Washington Florist, which has been in the Zafiros family for over 95 years. When I interviewed Betty, she was up to her neck in red roses and not much else. I mean, come on people. Have a little mercy. Order some zinnias or something to break the monotony of thorns and red that your poor florist has to go through every year.

Betty would never utter a word against the red rose (or any flower, for that matter), but one of her personal favorite is the orchid.

At any rate, I have bumped into Betty already on a few different occasions, and she let me interview her despite the fact that she was busily yanking petals off red roses so they could achieve that slender, coy look that so many desire.

Meet Betty Zafiros, florist.

Meet Betty Zafiros, florist.

 What are your Valentine’s Day Plans?

My Valentine’s Day plans are that I’m not going home. We’ll be here a full 48 hours trying to make everything beautiful for the beautiful people receiving these flowers and gifts.

What is your ideal Valentine’s Day? If you could engineer the perfect Valentine’s Day, what would it be like?

Very simple: very, very busy, pleasing thousands of people, beautiful weather, and happy Valentines. That’s my perfect Valentine’s Day. Very hard to achieve.

How many customers do you predict you have by Valentine’s Day?

Well, the weather is pretty bad. I can’t give you a precise count. Most people are the same day, last minute, the day before—I do have a box of orders, but Valentine’s is a last minute thing. People always forget until the end.  And this year the weather’s lousy.

What is the most elaborate, strange or creative Valentine’s Day order you’ve had?

Very simple: 500 red roses in a humongous arrangement.

For one person?

For one person. We needed two people to carry it. It was going to an apartment in the Bronx.

Whoa. Do you know anything about this couple’s story? Was he proposing to her on Valentine’s Day or something?

No. Just in love with her.

Fort Washington Florist has received numerous accolades from customers. Betty pulls colors together as masterfully as Monet, and in the blink of an eye can whip together a bouquet worthy of Van Gogh still life. If you want to order a bouquet for someone you love–or yourself, call 212 795 2978, visit Fort Washington Florist, or go the storefront at 4257 Broadway and meet Betty yourself. 

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Filed under interview