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10 Fun Valentine’s Day Facts


A new survey reveals some fascinating truths about what lovebirds do on the big day—where they eat, who treats, and what’s really romantic.

By Judy Dutton

he Big Day is upon us: When lovebirds everywhere amble into romantic restaurants, make goo-goo eyes at each other over candlelight, and celebrate just how enraptured they are with each other. But let’s take a closer look: Where are people actually going, and how much do they plan to pay? Are they extending the invitation to amours they’ve just met or reserving the privilege for serious sweethearts only?

For the answers to these and other questions, we turned to Zagat, who, as a leader in the area of restaurant reviews, knows
Who foots the V-Day dinner bill? 57% of women and 46% of men say whoever did the inviting should treat.
exactly what couples are doing that night. Here, we bring you some fun, fascinating insights culled from their survey of 1,500 people, that may help you decide what to do.

  • Only 26 percent declared themselves to be unabashed fans of Valentine’s Day. 39 percent see it as “amateur hour,” and a full 20 percent think it should be abolished. 16 percent shrug it off as just another day.


  • These days, the man isn’t necessarily footing the bill. 57 percent of women and 46 percent of men believe, “Whoever did the inviting should treat.”


  • People plan to cough up an average of about $100 per person on V-Day dinner, with under-35s spending the least (about $92) and 35–49ers the most (about $109).


  • French is considered the most romantic cuisine, followed by Italian (22 percent). Fondue, tapas and anything “you can share” or “eat with your hands” earned honorable mentions.


  • 43 percent think V-Day dinner reservations should be made three or more weeks in advance, with another 30 percent thinking one or two weeks ahead of time is fine. Those who like to live dangerously (3 percent) leave it until the day before, while 7 percent would take their chances and just walk in.


  • What makes a restaurant romantic? A quiet atmosphere (cited by 64 percent), soft lighting (53 percent) and beautiful views (37 percent). Other desirables: attentive service, ample space between tables and a sense of privacy.


  • Wine (with 51 percent of the vote) beats champagne (24 percent) and other libations as the preferred alcoholic aphrodisiac.


  • 39 percent of men and 28 percent of women would actually prefer to cook a nice meal at home. 19 percent of women and 9 percent of men would find it especially romantic if their date cooked the meal for them.


  • A courageous 13 percent of respondents would celebrate Valentine’s Day with a person they just met. 74 percent need to rack up three or more dates with someone before they feel confident enough to spend the evening together.


  • The best cities to create V-Day sparks? Vegas comes in at number one, followed by Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. Least romantic include Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.


  • Judy Dutton is executive editor of Happenmag.com and has written for Redbook, Women’s Health, Maxim, and other publications.
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