Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Holiday traditions

We have started several holiday traditions which in my mind will actually count as "traditions" next year, after we've done them three times (once is just random, twice is a line, only three times do you have an actual pattern or tradition...just like a serial killer isn't a serial killer until three kills).  One of these is watching the delightfully awful ABC Family Christmas movie "12 Dates of Christmas."  Mark-Paul Gosselear, of Saved by the Bell fame, is the male lead, and it's kind of like Groundhog Day for Christmas Eve.  A self-involved woman has to do Christmas Eve over again until she gets it right (and it's 12 times, unlike the many years Bill Murray spends reliving the same day in Groundhog Day).  We watched it for the first time in December of 2011, and in 2012 we decided to watch one "date" each day leading up to Christmas.  It's our own silly advent calendar.

The other holiday we have a tradition-in-the-making for is Valentine's Day.  Now, I have mixed feelings about V-day.  On the one hand, it's nice to celebrate romance. Who doesn't like gifts, chocolate, or flowers?  On the other hand, why does one need a day for that?  The expectations are high, the single people are sad, and I doubt anyone has the perfect romantic date of their dreams.  Sure, restaurants make a lot of money and I'm sure the lingerie business sees a nice boom, but overall I can't really get into the hype.

Therefore, we have started what I like to call "trashy Valentine's day."  Instead of going to a nice, romantic restaurant, we go to a kind of trashy place that we wouldn't otherwise go to very often.  Last year we went to Hooters.

Ever since February 15th, 2012, I knew where we were going to go this year: Chick-fil-A.  Here's the thing: I've never been to a Chick-fil-A.  I love me some KFC and other fast food fried chicken, but we didn't have Chick-fil-A where I grew up and I just never got into it.  But it's huge here in Walmart Country (and all over the South).  Last spring at some point I mentioned to my undergrad class that I'd never been there and they all freaked out; one of them tried to organize a class field trip to the closest Chick-fil-A right then and there.  But after class one of my more politically active students came up to me and told me that Chick-fil-A is anti-gay, which I then verified by the many stories on the Internet, so I thought it would be good to boycott the anti-gay, super religious establishment.

Except here's the thing.  Boycotts are more meaningful (to me, at least) when you know what you're missing. It's like giving up motorcycle riding for Lent when you've never been on a motorcycle.  So I decided it would be best to go to Chick-fil-A just once, and then boycott.  Thus the plan for Valentine's day was born.

Also, Chick-fil-A does Valentine's day up.  Last year it was a romantic candlelit dinner.  This year the theme was "A night in Paris."  Seriously, it was.  See?

It was more spectacular than I ever dreamed.  Inside the tables were decorated with black tablecloths and red table runners (note: they also gave free desserts, either cookies or a little ice cream sundae!):

All the people working were wearing berets or black and white striped tops, and/or red neck scarves.  And they brought the food to the table.  This is actually our waiter delivering our food:

The best part part, though, was the corner of the place where they'd set up a little Parisian cafe, complete with a violin player and a big ass cow dressed as a French beat poet or something.  How awesome is this:

The place was packed, which was probably the biggest surprise to me, as Hooters was dead last year.  The staff and guests alike appeared to be in an excellent mood, and there were people on hand taking pictures of guests with the big French cow.

Are there pictures of us with the cow?  Well yes, yes there are.  But thusfar my tradition has been to avoid personal pictures on this blog, which I will uphold today.  I will say, however, that in a very small position of defiance against Chick-fil-A's anti-gay leanings, I did dress in drag for our Night in Paris.  Not very well, either.  Doug dressed up in a shirt and tie, and I did the same--wearing his shirt, tie and khacki pants.  We got quite a few weird looks around the restaurant, and the staff member taking pictures did NOT offer to put ours up on the Facebook page.

Still, I feel the night was a success (note: after dinner we went to the arcade and then watched the "excellent" 80s breakdancing movie Electric Boogaloo).  One more step toward a legitimate holiday tradition, and a full step into a legitimate boycott.  Trashy Valentines day is absolutely a tradition we enjoy upholding.  Stay tuned to see where we go next year!

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