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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Valentine’s Edition

By Christie Franke

Valentine’s Day. The very phrase conjures up pink and red images of horror: expensive rose bouquets, chocolates inside cardboard hearts, overly-sentimental cards for lovers that are often so blatantly full of innuendo that it shouldn’t even be called innuendo.

It’s just plain obnoxious.

Then, of course, there’s the evening. What to do for a romantic evening out? Dinner is traditional. Everyone knows that. After that, another question arises: will that cute underwear you bought, the set with hearts printed on it and strings in embarrassing places be put to use?

It would depend on the date.

Think about it: what’s the difference between dinner at Burger King and dinner at a fancy restaurant? A lot. It could mean the difference between being single and being in a relationship.

But what happens if your date-to-be turns into a dud? What if you blow the bank on dinner but aren’t sure what to do next?

Don’t worry. We’ve all been faced with these decisions. Dates — first dates in particular — are more like “Choose Your Own Adventure” books: the ending depends entirely on the situation and your choices. So, it’s appropriate, then, to chronicle a series of potential date options as such: Because you never know when you’re going to fall off a cliff or get eaten by that pesky shark.

Let’s begin. You get inside your car, en route to your date’s home. You check your watch: You’re on time, properly groomed and prepared to knock your date dead. Only then, a series of thoughts crosses your mind.

If you met your date online or through a singles service and can’t remember what he/she likes (or looks like, for that matter), jump to DINNER C.

If you’ve been with this person for a number of months and you just remembered you should probably break up with him/her in a not-so-subtle manner, jump to DINNER A.

If you just can’t take the sexual tension and restrictive religious rules forbidding “sins of the flesh” and are prepared with engagement ring in tow, jump to DINNER E.

If you notice you’re wearing your bat-signal T-shirt and just don’t give a damn, go to DINNER B.

If you’re on impress mode and expect the Benjamins in your wallet to do the talking, go to DINNER D.


Restaurant: Your apartment’s communal kitchen.

Cost: One frozen pizza, slightly overcooked and tasting like, well, frozen pizza.

Ambiance: You share your apartment with five people. There are shoes all over the living room, dishes in the sink and no one vacuumed. What ambiance?

Projected “base”: Er, about that…this is more “foul ball” than “two run double.”

Result: Your date is preparing to leave. If you’re content with this, go to ACTIVITY F. If you want to salvage her (and a few bucks), go to ACTIVITY A. If you screwed up and need to salvage this, go to ACTIVITY D. If you really just need to kill two birds with one stone, go to ACTIVITY B.


Restaurant: Subway.

Ambiance: Nil.

Cost: Cheap. In more ways than one.

Projected “base”: What base? This isn’t a Valentine’s dinner. This is lunch after going to a game, or something.

Result: With its plastic seating and simple menu, Subway is a great restaurant but not the place to take your date. As a result, your date spills mustard on his/her overly fancy clothes. If you want to atone for your culinary sins, go to ACTIVITY E. If you think you may have some Shout cleaner at home, go to ACTIVITY A. If you want to convince him/her art is born through suffering, go to ACTIVITY C. If you find the embarrassment too much, go to ACTIVITY F.


Restaurant: Coffee and pastries at Sam Weller’s Bookstore’s café.Ambiance: Plenty. A bookstore café is one of those places that might not be completely over the top romantic, but it has charm. Besides, nothing beats the smell of coffee and books.

Cost: Inexpensive, and the hot chocolate is superb.

Projected “base”: Depending on banter, this ranges from single to double.

Result: Your date will be charmed by your bohemian artistic qualities, and you’ll probably sit and talk for hours at one of the little tables. If your date is interested in your collection of films by Truffaut, go to ACTIVITY A. If your date is too pretentious for even your tastes, and you no longer want to speak to him/her, go to ACTIVITY D. If your date feels cloistered and wants to breathe the inversion clouded air, go to ACTIVITY E. If your date mentions Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore or Stan Lee, go to ACTIVITY B. If your date mentions post-modernism, and you want to pretend to keep up with him/her, go to ACTIVITY C.


Restaurant: Tucci’s Italian Cucina

Ambiance: Lots.

Cost: On the expensive side.

Projected “base”: Solid double, with the possibility of converting to a triple if the third base coach waves you on.

Result: It’s Italian. It’s got great food. The atmosphere is pleasant, and the tiramisu will knock you dead. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, come to think of it. If your date is wooed, and you can coast home from here, go to ACTIVITY A. If your date has indigestion, grab some Pepto-Bismol and head straight to ACTIVITY D. If you actually like speaking to your date, go to ACTIVITIES C or E.


Restaurant: The Roof

Ambiance: YES.

Cost: Hope you have a lot of money. You’re going to need it.

Projected “base”: Home run (or its sinless equivalent).

Result: A romantic candlelit dinner is just what Valentine’s calls for. Go to any of ACTIVITIES A-E, and you’re set.


Activity: Movies in the living room.

Cost: Free, assuming you were cheap enough to not actually rent the DVD.

Result: Look, there are ways to make dates like this work. They just require a little effort on the part of clean housekeeping. Depending on your previous dinner selection, this might pay off big time. If you selected restaurants C-E, you’re in good shape. If you selected restaurants A-B, your date just left you, presumably for good.


Activity: Browsing comic books at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Cost: Free.

Result: Don’t tempt fate, guys or gals. Unless he/she’s a serious comic book fan with intense disdain for Valentine’s Day, your date won’t be impressed. If, however, you both enjoy discussing the relative merits of Batman and the Joker (RIP Heath Ledger), then by all means, comic book your way into bliss. If you find yourself dateless following your comic conundrum, go to ACTIVITY F.


Activity: Gallery stroll.

Cost: Usually free, minus the cost of those little prints everyone sells that you can never resist.

Result: Definitely the date to go on if you’re looking to impress your date with your artistic flair and cultural know-how. The galleries in the downtown area are fantastic, and there are a lot of them. Assuming you’ve made no missteps so far and actually enjoy your date’s company, this is the sort of date that ends with a good night kiss (wink wink, nudge nudge).


Activity: Foreign film at the Broadway Center Theatre.

Cost: Two tickets. Man pays. (Hey, this is Valentine’s, and girls like a little chivalry once in a while!)

Result: The combination of good food and good entertainment is one of the most important things a date can produce. Good moods are produced by good foods. Foreign films are fun to watch because they have great plots and often make points that are lacking in our films, and because they often have things in them that an American film would never even dream of attempting. Your date will be thrilled to know that you do, in fact, have a brain. You might even be able to pull the yawn-that-becomes-an-embrace move, depending on your date’s move. If he/she laughs heartlessly at your attempted intimacy, go to ACTIVITY F.


Activity: Strolling through gardens at Temple Square.

Cost: Free.

Result: Hopelessly romantic, particularly if you guys have been together for a long time. However, this is also dangerous: Your date might take notice of the other, perfect couples and realize you will never be as good as the “ideal” you. You might also be eaten by a shark, in which case, go back to the beginning and try again.


Activity: Writing to Redux’s many advice columnists out of frustration at [email protected].

Cost: Free.

Result: Witty, entertaining commentary from some of the best advice aficionados in the biz. Besides, you have no one else to talk to, remember?

Of course, the simplest thing to do on the Big Day is to hole up with a box of chocolate and a movie and ignore the world at large. But where’s the adventure in that?

[email protected]

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