Usually, at this time of year, I’m thinking about hearts, flowers and chocolate in sweet, loving surroundings. I can’t believe that every year I descend into embarrassing fantasy clichés, so, this year, I’m trying something different. I’ve set out to find places where you or Cupid would never think of going. Places you can immediately eliminate from your Valentine bucket list. If you have a bah-humbug attitude toward Valentine’s Day, these places are for you. And if you love Valentine’s Day and want to go to places where no one else would think of going, look no further. You can get great deals at these world-class, anti-romantic places.
Death Valley National Park, California
Because your relationships, like mine, are probably filled with extremes, you would never think of descending into a place that boasts about being the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the National Park system. Death Valley is spread over 3 million acres of wilderness and gives a whole new meeting to “taking a walk on the wild side”. Taking a love laced stroll in February will show very quickly how the park got its name. Snuggling is encouraged but only as a life saving activity.
National Museum of Funeral History, Houston, TX
Since death is a known romance killer, you are guaranteed not to meet any lovebirds at the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas. In order not to be a total bummer and downer, the museum has tried to gild the lily with their “Fantasy Coffins” display. Those among you who are open minded, might have erotic thoughts as you move towards some sexy looking toys in the Civil War section of the museum.
Coon Dog Cemetery, Tuscumbia, AL
Since I live in Alabama, I can vouch that no lovers head to the Coon Dog cemetery on the day of the hearts and flowers. Once again, we’re in the grip of death for the big day. Since you are probably not from Alabama, I’d like to explain that coon dogs are dogs who hunt raccoons. This pet cemetery honors dozens of coon dogs who have romanced their last bitch and hunted their last raccoon. It is the middle of a large wooded area that is haunted by the ghosts of almost a hundred dogs and the raccoons they loved to kill. Smooching Anyone?
Three Mile Island, PA
The world “island” brings to mind a place of quiet isolation, with piña coladas and rum punches. Well, you can axe the latter. Three Mile Island is an island all right, but it comes with cocktails of environmental hazards rather that the imbibable kind. Not exactly the kind of atmosphere to inspire thoughts of lust, love or even longevity and happiness ever after. Lots of great relationships have “meltdowns” but not of the nuclear magnitude of Three Mile Island. You can bet your iPad that you will not be running into any excited future brides and grooms on this isle.
The word “court” may conjure up romance…with courtly love and men courting women who caught their eye. But “divorce” is unlikely to appeal to the chocolate- kisses set. The folks who are hugging on Valentine’s Day may indeed end up in Divorce Court, but that’s not where they want to start out. This is a sure place not to meet any Valentine’s Day celebrants.
If your current dating partner is thinking of taking things a step further and you are not ready, just invite him to a family gathering. At a hotel, motel, restaurant, resort, spa or park, Valentine’s Day and Christmas are the best occasions to introduce your beau because there is the added pressure of knowing that if you show up with someone for those two occasions, then you must be serious. Relatives crawl all over potential new “relatives”. Families, like cults, need to grow their numbers so the pressure will be on you. This is the reason Family Reunions are the death of many romances and is the ideal place to assure a break up or at least a pause in your love affair. If, on the other hand, you want to cement your love relationship, go to a family reunion on Valentine’s Day. Your relationship will feel like it is caught in cement because your relatives will not let your beloved get away.
Sausage Making Factory
If you have romantic notions of any kind, they will vanish as soon as you walk into a factory where ground-up animal parts are combined to produce breakfast fare. Romance needs to sizzle but will fizzle in a sausage factory. Make no mistake; there is a lot of bumping and grinding going on along with some large, phallic shaped concoctions… which may be a turn-on to some, but probably not for you. Or, if it is a turn-on to you, then Happy Valentine’s Day. You are my kind of person.
Debbie Wilson is the Director of Tourism in Florence, Alabama and a recently published author of, “Brushing Away the Tears”. The book is about her brother, an aspiring artist, who died on AIDS in 1992. Debbie’s mother, Hazel Wilson, a resident of a nursing home for two years, contributed to the book through her letters to her son and journal entries. For more information,www.myspace.com/authordebbiewilson and Facebook Fan Site, “Brushing Away”.