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Arizona Is An Inexplicable
Valentine’s Day Destination?

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One List Places Two, Yes Two, Arizona Cities In Its Top 15 Valentine’s Day Destinations Alongside Other Flashy Locales Like Plano, Texas


By Stephanie Sparer
Modern Times Magazine

Feb. 13, 2017 — Somehow. We aren’t sure how, maybe Russia hacked the system, Arizona has not one, but two (2!) spots on the WalletHub List of Best Places to Celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Scottsdale and Chandler come in at No. 2 and No. 14, respectively, which is why I believe the list is hacked. Seriously, No. 2 and No. 14? Valentine’s Day? In the Valentine State? I mean, please. It’s just a whole conspiracy.

According to WalletHub, “Valentine’s Day is the third-largest consumer holiday in the U.S., with lovesick shoppers shelling out more than $18 billion per year.” The findings on the list, which you can see here, are based on a bunch of statistics I never would have asked for such as ‘Lowest Average Price for a Valentine’s Day Party Ticket’ (love doesn’t have a price tag, but if it did, cheap people would move to St. Louis) and ‘Most Jewelry Stores Per Capita’ (Amazon has everything now, but San Francisco really sparkles, apparently).

The full list also includes places I never had any desire to visit such as our very own, previously mentioned Chandler; Henderson, Nev. at No. 17; and Plano, Texas (Yeah, seriously) at No. 19).

Actually, I’ve been to Plano, Texas, (well, I’ve driven through, but I saw everything I needed to see) because I took two years out of my life to date a guy with bad tooth to gum ratio from Dallas. Plano, and I think even people from Plano will agree, is the kind of place you go to after a zombie apocalypse, because it’s just flat, wide open spaces perfect for setting up a bunker town. If I remember correctly, there’s also a weird water park inside of an apartment complex. I don’t recall it being romantic, though it is hard to be romantic when your partner’s teeth are arranged like gravestones shifted by the eroding earth in a New Orleans cemetery (side note: New Orleans did not make the list).

Seattle was fifth on the list. I lived there for a guy, too (Don’t judge too much, I was really into Frasier at the time, so it was like a dream come true). He had slightly better teeth but was incredibly self-centered, so I didn’t think Seattle was too romantic either. Specifically I remember on Valentine’s Day, he made steak because after roughly three years of dating he didn’t care that I didn’t eat meat. As a woman, to not hurt his feelings, I threw away 10 years of eating like a Brontosaurus to politely take three bites of what he made me.

It was tough in like, every way possible. When I asked him later that night if he even realized I was vegetarian he said, “No, you’re not. You just ate meat.” It was a wonderful Valentine's Day.

He also thought my eyes were brown, but they’re blue. It's fine. I only stayed with him another year after that before I moved back to Phoenix, which is not even on the list. Though ask nearly anyone living in Chandler and they’ll tell you they’re “from” Phoenix, anyway.

I can understand why Scottsdale is on the list. Currently, it’s experiencing quite the emerging food scene. Just to name two, FnB is consistently nominated for a (greatly-deserved) James Beard award and, like an idiot, I once ate the most amazing duck fat fries dipped in rich, glorious bone marrow butter at Citizen Public House.

The combo was unbelievably delicious but deadly and I threw up everywhere an hour later. Scottsdale also has a Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM across from Fashion Square Mall if you’re into that and, well, I am, even though it’s indulgent and basic, not to mention the hot thing is donuts now but, whatever. I’ll eat anything and my body will decide later if I’ll hold it down. See above.

Meanwhile, I really can't figure out why Chandler is on the list. The nicest thing to do in Chandler is drive to Scottsdale.

Actually, in fairness, I have been to Chandler before. Not because I wanted to. Sometimes you just find yourself there. I did eat at the beyond charming Vintage 95. They were so kind, the food was very good, and I can see where the patio would be a great place for a date because it has the kind of lighting that could give your partner the appearance of having a strong jawline, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Granted, if you don’t live close to Chandler, drinking may also give your date the appearance of a straw jawline and if that’s the case, you can just hold court in your own living room anywhere in the USA while binging Young Pope or something. There’s really a Valentine’s Day for every kind.

Last Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend (who naturally has a great jawline, btw) took me on a lovely date to Tarbell’s in Arcadia (close enough to Scottsdale, right?) where I ate way too much house-made pappardelle in a beurre blanc and ended up vomiting most of the night (do you see a theme here with me, butter and vomiting?). But guess what? That Valentine’s Day was still way better than the other Valentine’s Days where I didn’t vomit. I would rather vomit up a $35 plate of pasta in Phoenix with someone I love than pretend to be happy defending my eye color to a narcissist in Seattle.

Though I would gladly go to Seattle, or Plano, or fuck it, even Chandler with someone I love. Plus, rumor has it, thanks to WalletHub, that we get way more bang for our buck there. And it’s Valentine’s Day, so you should all get a lot of banging done.

I think the lesson here is that love, maybe life in general, is what you make of it. If you live in Plano or Pluto or Paris with someone you hate, chances are City of Lights will be more like City of Fights and you’re not going to enjoy it all that much. So don’t listen to any ol’ list. Listen to your heart!!!

But seriously, don’t move to Chandler; there’s absolutely nothing to do there.

Stephanie Sparer is a writer living in the Phoenix metro. She is also a founder of the Bitches Food Club.
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