Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't Bring Home a White Boy

A recent book has reignited discussions about interracial dating.

At issue: Karyn Langhorne Folan's "Don't Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions That Keep Black Women From Dating Out." Folan urges black women to date outside their race.

Here's an excerpt from a recent Washington Post article about the book:

"Black women are in market failure," says writer Karyn Langhorne Folan. "The solution is to find a new market for your commodity. And in this case, we are the commodity and the new market is men of other races."

Naturally, "Don't Bring Home a White Boy" has attracted its share of criticism.

Some people argue that even though the book purports to promote interracial relationships, its existence alone is a step in the wrong direction. Here's a line from Gawker:

Should black ladies date people who are not black? The year now is 1955. Oh, it's not?

Weigh in: Does interracial dating still carry a stigma? And if so, is that stigma any worse in Columbus?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Seasonal nightlife

Need proof the planetary alignment is shifting? Sky Nightclub in Columbus is hosting its first bikini contest.

No, I won't be participating. I haven't shaved my legs in three months.

But the contest's existence alone reminds us that summer nightlife is (kind of) on the horizon.

I, for one, am psyched.

I know, I know. Temperature-wise, things could be worse. Still, even moderately cold temperatures have tremendous potential to hamper nightlife plans.

My least favorite obstacle: deciding whether you should wear your coat and have it bask in cigarette smoke at the bar, or leave it in the car and endure a freezing bare-shouldered walk to your hot spot of choice.

Then again, summer partying carries its own set of concerns, like your best friend's unfortunate affinity for the bare midriff look. Oh yeah, you also have to pull that dusty shaving razor out of hibernation.

Weigh in: Are you ready for summer nightlife, or could you deal with a few more months of argyle?

Joe Simpson & John Mayer

The celebrity rumor mill says Jessica Simpson's dad, Joe, called John Mayer for a "man to man" chat after Mayer's infamous Playboy interview.

Strange? Yes. Sweet? A little, actually.

Everyone knows the image of a dad guarding his teenage daughter's dating life with the family shotgun. But that kind of parental concern often lasts well beyond high school.

After one of my especially bad breakups, my mom got all excited about sending an anonymous online instant message to my former fling.

I didn't take her up on the offer, but I appreciated her concern. Years had passed since I first navigated the world of boy/girl dances. But it was nice to know Mom was still my ally on the romantic battlefield.

And yes, even as I approach 30, I still have many friends whose dads greet their dates with the family shotgun.

Weigh in: Are you ever too old for your parents to jump to your dating defense?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Cute Couple

They wear color-coordinated getups. Have a seemingly endless supply of inside jokes. Resolve fights via poetry.

They are The Cute Couple. And you hate them.

After reading this Glamour blog post about couples envy, and watching a recent "How I Met Your Mother" episode devoted to a similar idea, I started thinking about the couples who aspire to attain a position previously reserved for Donna and David from "Beverly Hills, 90210."

They shell out relationship advice as if they've already spent 50 years together.

Outsiders, meanwhile, don't know what to say.

On one hand, The Cute Couple restores your faith in love -- illustrating how ideals can, in fact, become a daily reality.

On the other hand, The Cute Couple makes you want to give up on relationships. They've already hogged all the romantic perfection our universe offers, you reason.

So you budget your time with The Cute Couple carefully, bidding them farewell the instant their shared glances transform from gaga to gross.

Weigh in: Have you ever secretly tried to gain Cute Couple status?

Monday, February 22, 2010

30 Chick Flicks in 30 Days

When it comes to pop culture, is what you watch reflective of who you are?

Let's hope the answer is no, especially since I had a serious case of Kardashian addiction last weekend.

Anyway, the question hit me after I stumbled upon a blog that chronicles one guy's efforts to watch 30 chick flicks in 30 days.

It's an attempt to understand the opposite sex.

I can see underlying relationship lessons in "(500) Days of Summer," or even "Sex and the City," but Lindsay Lohan's "Labor Pains"? Really?!?

Sadly, that is a real entry in the list.

I appreciate the blogger's openness to genres other than the traditional action-adventure material.

At the same time, I think it's fair to say that not only chick flicks highlight truths about the opposite sex.

In fact, sometimes we learn the greatest relationship lessons from movies that aren't overtly romantic. (And yes, I am trying to justify my "Kung Fu Panda" obsession.)

Weigh in: Have chick flicks taught you anything about love?

(via Broadsheet)

Dating: A family affair?

You and your sister have shared secrets, purses and sweaters. So it's only natural to have nearly identical dating histories.

Creepy? Kind of.

Here, TresSugar asks an interesting question: Have you ever dated the same person as your sibling?

Fortunately, I've never had to deal with the issue, since my sister and I are eight years apart.

But I've seen many cases where a guy jumps between sisters, or a girl jumps between brothers. And strangely enough, some of those relationships actually worked.

I guess the concept sorta makes sense. You know your ex well. You know your sibling well. So you fix them up. What could possibly go wrong?

Um, nothing...unless you count insecurities and deep-seated childhood jealousy issues.

Plus, I've always put guys who jump between sisters on the same level as guys who always get their girlfriends from the same group of friends. (I'm talking to you, Slade Smiley.)

Fortunately, as opposed to some circles of friends, it often seems as if siblings have completely opposite romantic tastes -- or at least pretend that's the case.

Weigh in: When it comes to dating, is your sibling's ex off limits?

Friday, February 19, 2010

What's going on this weekend?

Hey everybody! Here's your roundup of nightlife events:

Quick Friday highlight: The Charles S. Harrison American Legion Post 35, 3361 North Lumpkin Road, will host a Mardi Gras Party. Dinner will be served 6-8 p.m. Home-cooked German food and pot roast will be on the menu. Karaoke will begin at 8 p.m. Door Prizes. 706-687-0788.


SoHo Bar & Grill: Eleven Standing Still, Sum Ever After, 10 p.m. free. 706-568-3316.

The Vault: Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. $5.

Daileys: Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. $5. 706-320-3353.

Flip Flops: Pistoltown, 9 p.m.

Belloo’s: Claiborne & Friends with Steve McRay, 9 p.m. $5. 706-494-1584.

The Loft: Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9 p.m. $5. 706-596-8141.

VFW Post 665: The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. $5. 706-687-6656.


SoHo Bar & Grill: Neal Lucas Band, 10 p.m. free. 706-568-3316.

The Vault: Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. $5.

Daileys: Ophir Drive, 8 p.m. $5. 706-320-3353.

Belloo’s: Claiborne & Friends with Steve McRay, 9 p.m. $5. 706-494-1584.

The Loft: The SixxiS, 9 p.m. $5. 706-596-8141.

VFW Post 665: The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. $5. 706-687-6656.

Gifts and shared finances

Do shared finances have any effect on gift-giving between you and your partner?

Being unmarried, I never thought about the question until my co-worker Dawn wrote a recent column about the way shared finances impact her perception of Valentine's Day.

Then, on a kinda-related note, one of my favorite bloggers just wrote a post about how she's financially contributing to her own engagement ring.

She and her boyfriend already live together and share a variety of expenses, so why shouldn't they share the cost of an engagement ring?

With engagement rings, even if you're not directly sharing in the cost, you often end up indirectly sharing the cost when you merge your finances. You know, if you think about it practically.

But then again, I think there's something to be said for occasionally NOT thinking about things practically when it comes to shared finances.

Otherwise, you risk losing the "you bought that for ME?" awe that makes relationships so magical sometimes.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Oasis, RIP?

I was sad to recently see a "For Rent" sign at The Oasis on Broadway.

The downtown Columbus hot spot at 1107 Broadway has seen three incarnations since I moved here just over three years ago.

First, it was martini bar Savana's. Then, 20-something dance spot Rumors. Finally, its most recent form: The Oasis, which boasted a sports bar atmosphere and served food.

And now, it's vacant again.

I started fearing for The Oasis in early January, when the bar posted a MySpace update that included a word that's often the beginning of the end in the nightclub world: "renovations." What started off as "temporarily closed" seems to have evolved into "out of business."

Honestly, I'll miss The Oasis. My work crew and I often went there for lunch -- no alcohol, of course -- and the experience was always unique. Few things rival the culinary experience of savoring french fries enhanced by island dust and eau de cigarettes.

The food was really good, actually. And the nighttime vibe wasn't bad, either. Sure, maybe The Oasis' lack of flair did it in. But I'd rather have a low-key hangout than another empty Broadway storefront.

To memorialize the venue, I've included a photo of The Oasis' signature fishbowl of alcohol. Yes, I did try it with a partner. One of us had dinner before the experience, one of us didn't. Who do you think came out on top?

Weigh in: What kind of hot spot should replace The Oasis?

Engagements & intimidation

You're convinced your guy is ready to propose. He just needs a little, um, "push."

So you make up a secret admirer. Threaten to leave the relationship. Maybe fake a pregnancy.

No big deal, right? Hmm.

Six in 10 brides have used "dirty tricks" to get an engagement ring, according to survey results published here. Those tricks include all the methods I just mentioned. (via Jezebel)

Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed for my entire gender after reading the article. Although I do admit occasionally embellishing stories to increase their potential for jealousy.

The bottom line: If a guy's only popping the question because of a dirty trick, your relationship will likely suffer later.

Weigh in, married readers: Did you pull any dirty tricks en route to your engagement?

(Ledger-Enquirer reporter Katie Holland got engaged without pulling any dirty tricks...unless you count the vampire games she learned from her "Twilight" obsession. Read her wedding blog here.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spanx for Men

Hey guys: Want to lose that beer gut? Shell out $58.

That's the average price of the new male variety of Spanx, the figure-trimming shapewear that has traditionally been marketed toward women.

But now, men can share in the "appearances can be deceiving" fun, too.

The company is offering a line of undershirts that promise to flatten your stomach and firm your chest, among other things.

Here, Salon offers a handy set of tips for the male Spanx virgin.

The garment hardly rivals the dating discomfort that women encounter while wearing a traditional girdle...or even a Wonderbra.

Still, I find a little satisfaction in knowing that some guys will experience the "what happens when I talk this off?" awkwardness that's previously been reserved for female appearance-altering accessories.

In relationships, are asset-enhancers like Wonderbras and Spanx ever dealbreakers?

Brody Jenner & Avril Lavigne

"That is the most random relationship ever."

When you're on the receiving end of that line, how do you respond?

Maybe, "Thanks, I appreciate your vote of confidence."

Sure, your relationship could be called something worse than "random." But still, the label isn't exactly an endorsement for your romantic future.

I thought about it after reading recent online chatter about a rumored romantic relationship between singer Avril Lavigne and "Hills" star Brody Jenner.

Same goes for my reaction to gossip about a tryst between Jessica Simpson and Billy Corgan.

The "random" label isn't confined to celebrity ties. Many real-life relationships get the dubious distinction, a result of everything from an age gap to seemingly insurmountable lifestyle differences.

With bright eyes and a smile, you tell your best friend you've changed your romantic status. Her enthusiastic response: "That is so random."

It's not necessarily reassuring, but randomness doesn't doom a relationship.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Video recap: American Idol Top 24

Check out my newest "American Idol" video recap, where you'll learn which seven singers in the Top 24 were announced Tuesday night.

The remaining singers will be announced during Wednesday's episode, which airs 9-10 p.m. on Fox.

As usual, get more news and gossip on my "Idol" blog here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras parties

Hey everybody! Here's the list of local Mardi Gras parties. I'll update if necessary.

Start your night with these dinner options:

*Meritage Cafe, 1350 13th Street, hosts “A Taste of New Orleans.” The dinner buffet features gumbo, red beans and rice, shrimp and grits and more. The $29.95 meal is available 5:30-8:30 p.m. Reservations required. 706-327-0707.

*Cafe Le Rue, 2523 Airport Thruway, will offer appetizers on the house in addition to its regular Cajun menu. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 706-507-5851.

*Enjoy Creole-style entrees at Broadway restaurant Downstairs At The Loft, 1032 Broadway. Action starts at 5 p.m. Party continues at nightclub upstairs. Expect beads, giveaways, entertainment. 706-596-8141.

Here are some bar scene highlights for the 21 and older crowd. All of these parties have no cover charge.

*SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, hosts a party with beads, karaoke and Cajun-style food beginning at 9 p.m.

*The Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road, has entertainment from house band DixieMafiaa plus giveaways. Party starts at 7 p.m.

*Flip Flops, 1111 Broadway, has beads, DJ music and drink specials beginning at 7 p.m.

*The bar at La Margarita, 5300 Sidney Simons Blvd., has a costume party with beads and DJ music. Action starts at 8 p.m.

*Belloo’s, 900 Front Ave., offers beads and drink specials beginning at 5 p.m.

*New hot spot Spicoli’s Sports Bar & Grill, 5762 Milgen Road, hosts a party with dance music. Bar opens at 3 p.m.

The un-matchmaker

Picture a world where you'll never again have to say, "It's not you, it's me." Even better, your conversation repertoire will be entirely devoid of this line: "Can we still be friends?"

Intrigued? Hire a separation agent.

Here, The Independent describes a German service that lets you hire somebody to take care of a breakup's dirty work. Pay a fee and a messenger will knock on your lover's door and end the relationship.

It's not the first time I've heard of a middle man's involvement in a breakup.

I've read about Web sites and phone services that will contact your significant other and drop the breakup bomb.

Would I ever go that route? Probably not. It's impersonal and cowardly. Not to mention the fact that you can only avoid your former lover for so long. Unless you want a mediator to handle the stuff swap, too.

(via Jezebel)

Valentine's Day in the doghouse

So...I got dressed up, spent 45 minutes on my hair and squeezed into an extra-small dress for Valentine's Day dinner. Strangely, I came away from the night with absolutely no photos.

I did, however, take more than a dozen photos of my dog in the snow. Looks like we know who REALLY holds my heart. (Just kidding, honey!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

What's going on this weekend? V-Day edition

Happy Valentine's Day weekend! I can't believe I'm typing this while snow falls in Georgia. Crazy.

Quick warning, guys: "It's snowing" is not an acceptable excuse for skipping out on V-Day gifts.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are some cool Valentine's options regardless of your relationship status.


*There's a Valentine's Day date auction at Mario's, 1010 Broadway. Action starts at 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit Haiti earthquake relief.

*Friday, Fife and Drum at the National Infantry Museum hosts speed dating. Registration is $20 and starts at 4 p.m., action starts at 6:30 p.m.


*Spend a romantic night at downtown hot spot Belloo's, 900 Front Ave. The bar offers a $20 champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries special. Expect entertainment from Claiborne & Friends. Cover is $5.

*Flip Flops, 1111 Broadway, hosts a Cupid's Ball with music by J-Mack and Jasper 3. Action starts at 9 p.m.

*Journey tribute act Chain Reaction performs at The Roadhouse, 1047 Broadway. Cover is $5. Doors open at 9 p.m.

*Listen to some bluegrass tunes from the Packway Handle Band at The Loft, 1032 Broadway. Action starts at 9:30 p.m. and cover is $5.


*Naturally, tons of restaurants are having Valentine's specials. Check out our roundup here.

*Looking for an alternative to the traditional Valentine's dinner? Try brunch. I recommend trekking to Auburn for brunch at Ariccia. Trust me, this place is phenomenal.

Sunday's brunch is noon-3 p.m. EST and costs $17.96 per person. Ariccia is at 241 South College St., Auburn. Reservations recommended. 334-844-5140.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Wait, don't answer that. This post's headline is only designed to inform you that Billboard has named its 50 Sexiest Songs, based on performance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Topping the list: Olivia Newton-John's "Physical." Read the full list here.

After reading the entries, I felt like I needed a shower...or at least a time machine to take me back to my high school dances, where many of the songs were played.

Other tunes on the list include Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love To You," R. Kelly's "Bump 'N Grind" and "Too Close" by Next.

Not impressed? You'll feel better after learning "Smack That," a tune by Akon featuring Eminem, made No. 25.

Weigh in: What's your pick for the sexiest song?

Valentines Day, No Shame style

Your boyfriend stands in front of a 200-person crowd, ready to recite a self-penned monologue that could result in public humiliation.

And strangely, you're kind of turned on.

Welcome to the No Shame date.

I recently chatted with Jens Rasmussen, director of the No Shame Theater program in Columbus. He reminded me that No Shame is a good date night activity for Valentine's Day weekend.

Quick primer: No Shame is held every Friday at 10:30 p.m. in the Springer Opera House (enter on First Avenue). It lets you showcase original works in a casual setting.

The first 15 acts to sign up get a five-minute slot. Pieces must be original, and entry is $5. Open to guests 18 and older.

Tired of traditional date activities? Give No Shame a shot, Rasmussen said.

"I think it's perfect," he said. "It's a looser, less formal environment than a restaurant or even a movie."

You'll see material -- everything from monologues to dance -- that will lessen your chances of awkward silences, Rasmussen promised.

"It gives people a place to start conversations that are really interesting and stimulating," he said.

Plus, I think there's something to be said for learning your otherwise bashful date is brave enough to participate in something like No Shame. Even if he is reciting a poem inspired by "Family Guy."

Check out No Shame's Facebook page here.

Video: American Idol Hollywood recap

Here's my newest "American Idol" video recap. You'll learn about the Hollywood group round, as well as the serious lack of creativity illustrated by groups' names. (Team Awesome? Really?!?)

Get more "Idol" news by following my blog here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dating in the driver's seat

The NY Times' Freakonomics blog has an interesting post about why women spend so much of their lives in the passenger seat.

That's not a metaphor for romantic submission. I'm literally talking about driving.

The blog post cites data concluding that in relationships, men dominate the wheel. The writer attributes the tendency to a variety of possible factors:

Why do men dominate the wheel? In the past, physical factors were important. My grandmother learned to drive only after the introduction of automatic transmission and power steering, which made the task much less physically demanding. But driving today’s cars requires little strength. In addition, our roads are engineered to be quite forgiving, for example with very long reaction times permitted by the system.

What else might be responsible? Cultural factors? Social ones? Psychological differences? Logistics? Animal instinct? Historical inertia?

Furthermore, is this state of affairs due to men’s preferences, women’s, or both?

And should we care?

I love driving. But when I'm dating someone, I usually only take the wheel when I'm the designated driver after a party.

Sure, when I think about it, the setup is a little weird. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, though. Nothing beats having control of the radio.

Weigh in: In your relationship, who's usually behind the wheel?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Video: American Idol Hollywood recap

Check out my newest "American Idol" video recap, where you'll learn all about the first Hollywood round of season nine. How did Ellen DeGeneres fare as a judge? Watch and find out!

Get a full summary of the show on my "Idol" blog here.

She blinded me with science

Romance brings to mind images of candles, rose petals, lingerie and...neurons?

The LA Times discusses attempts to scientifically measure the implications of falling in love. An excerpt:

Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at Stony Brook University in New York, has done brain scans on people newly in love and found that after that first magical meeting or perfect first date, a complex system in the brain is activated that is essentially "the same thing that happens when a person takes cocaine."

The article isn't the first of its kind.

It seems almost every week a new study combining science and romance hits the Internet.

Using multi-syllable words like "dopamine" and "vasopressin," scientists can now attempt to explain why we fall in love, why stay in love and everything in between.

Sure, the findings make for interesting headlines, but does a marriage between love and science do anything for the average dater?

Or do you prefer to regard romance solely as a matter of the heart?

Valentine's Day haters

You know them: The people who savor their Valentine's Day hatred not by burrowing in a dark room, but by flaunting an "alternative" holiday.

Single People Rock Day. Relationships Are Stupid Day. I Love Hamburger Helper Day.

They think they're being clever. They think they're moving the attention away from the traditional Hallmark-inspired emphasis of Feb. 14.

But they're not. And frankly, Valentine's Day haters really annoy me.

They complain about the holiday, but essentially only increase its popularity by acknowledging it's a day that needs to be celebrated some way.

One Gawker blogger agrees. The Web site recently published a post titled "The only thing worse than Valentine's Day is people who hate Valentine's Day." An excerpt:

These people think that they are going to do something to change the couple-centric world that we live in, but all that they're doing is giving credence to it. It's like scowling at the concept but sneaking handfuls of chalky conversation hearts while all their fellow black-wearers go to change The Smiths record.

My hatred of Valentine's Day haters isn't because I'm in a relationship. In fact, prior to about three years ago, I had spent every Valentine's Day alone.

Crying over "The Notebook," rather than celebrating Spice Girls Are Better Than A Boyfriend Day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Columbus bar: Spicoli's

The newest addition to the Columbus party scene: Spicoli's Bar & Grill, slated to open at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The hot spot is at 5762 Milgen Road, right across from SoHo. I got a sneak peek last week and took a couple photos for a story that will run in Thursday's To Do.

Here's the dance floor. They expect to have DJ music and occasionally live acts. There will only be a cover on nights with live music. Spicoli's is targeting a 30 and up crowd, manager Shane Rennie said.

In addition to the full bar, Spicoli's has a kitchen serving everything from traditional bar food to steaks and seafood. To give you an idea of prices, onion rings are $3.95, while a shrimp dinner is $10.95.

Spicoli's has pool tables and 11 TVs. The bar is named after Sean Penn's character in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Look carefully and you'll see his picture on the wall in the photo above.

Valentine's Day: Recipe for romance

Growing up, I watched my mom cook exotic meals on holidays. Dad savored the flavor of unpronounceable spices and new taste sensations.

"One day, that's going to be my life," I vowed.

Then, reality hit: My men of choice preferred PB&J over polenta.

So my tremendous potential for culinary greatness was resigned to, well, microwave popcorn.

Since Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year, I'm guessing more couples will opt for a romantic home-cooked meal over the traditional restaurant fare.

The idea has advantages: an intimate setting, cost savings and no annoying waitress dampening the mood.

But let's not forget the drawbacks.

Pick too ambitious of a dish and you have a huge potential for failure. Then, of course, there's the possibility your significant other will eat the meal while offering an expression that reads, "I wish we would've gone to Burger King."

Here, College Candy teaches you how to impress your sweetie with fondue. Martha Stewart also has a collection of romantic recipes, but I must warn picky eaters that arugula is involved.

And finally, why not throw caution to the wind and just make Engagement Chicken?

Weigh in: What's the best romantic meal for a first-time cook to serve?

(For more Valentine's Day advice, check out Dawn's Celebration Survival Guide blog, which includes lots of recipes.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

What's going on this weekend?

Hey party people! Some quick highlights: Don't forget about the First Friday Block Party downtown. One $10 cover gets you into the majority of Broadway hot spots.

Or, ditch your traditional nightlife routine and check out Friday's Gala Art Exhibit and Auction at 7 p.m. at the Cunningham Center at CSU, 3100 Gentian Blvd. Admission is $10 and Alan swears it's a cool scene.

Saturday, there's a Haiti Relief Concert at The Roadhouse, 1047 Broadway. Your $5 cover benefits the Red Cross. Live entertainment begins at 9 p.m. and features acts like Stereomonster, The Unsung and Jason Chin.

Finally, if you're hosting a Super Bowl party on Sunday, get advice from Dawn's Celebration Survival Guide blog.

Here's the rest of your lineup:


VFW Post 665: The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. $5. 706-687-6656.

Daileys: Spent, 8 p.m. block party cover. 706-320-3353.

Flip Flops: Guest DJ, 9 p.m. block party cover.

Belloo’s: Claiborne & Friends with Lou Vandora, 9 p.m. $5. 706-494-1584.

The Loft: Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, 9:30 p.m. block party cover. 706-596-8141.

The Vault: Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. block party cover. 706-507-1440.

SoHo Bar & Grill: 2 Finger Jester, 10 p.m. $5. 706-568-3316.


VFW Post 665: The Last Rodeo Band, 9 p.m. $5. 706-687-6656.

The Vault: Dueling pianos, 10 p.m. $5. 706-507-1440.

Daileys: Spent, 8 p.m. $5. 706-320-3353.

Flip Flops: Aclarion, 9 p.m.

Eighty-Five: Classic Addict, 9 p.m. $5.

Belloo’s: Claiborne & Friends, 9 p.m. $5. 706-494-1584.

The Loft: Marshall Ruffin, 9:30 p.m. $5. 706-596-8141.

SoHo Bar & Grill: End Rezult, Blacksmithz, 10 p.m. $5. 706-568-3316.

Super Bowl: How to score

There's the couple who wants their team to win. The guy determined to devour five pounds of chili. Then, there's the girl whose Super Bowl party goal is equally ambitious:

She wants to meet her future husband.

With Sunday's big game approaching, we have the inevitable onset of "how to meet a date during the Super Bowl" articles.

TresSugar offers tips like this:

If you're a sports fan, don't be afraid to show off that you know everything about football. If you're clueless, learning the rules will make for a not-so-awkward conversation.

However, I can't help wondering if looking for a date during a Super Bowl party might be an exercise in futility. Everyone's watching the game, and there's not a lot of room for in-depth conversations on the side.

Not to mention you might get pico de gallo stuck between your teeth. Yes, I am speaking from personal experience.

For more tips on navigating the Super Bowl, check out my recent nightlife column. And don't forget to read Dawn's excellent blog for party-planning tips.

Weigh in: Is a Super Bowl party a good place to find a date?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentine's Day flower power

Go ahead, florists...hit me with your best shot. I'm ready for Valentine's Day.

Even though the holiday falls on a Sunday, we're bound to see an increase in office flower deliveries in upcoming days.

As I note in this week's nightlife column, the flower delivery game generally transforms into a brutally competitive process.

To many co-workers, a failure to order flowers suggests a lack affection on your boyfriend's part. Insert catty comments like, "Where are YOUR flowers this year?"

The hassles don't end there. Even if you do receive roses, there's always the co-worker whose significant other spent $200 on a bouquet that dwarfs yours.

At the risk of sounding greedy and materialistic, I'll note that most women don't consider flowers alone an acceptable Valentine's Day gift.

They're pretty, but they generally require a low level of effort. Women want to feel like you've done more than visited a Web site and clicked on a colorful icon.

So take this advice, guys: Order a moderately priced floral arrangement for Valentine's Day, and then give your S.O. a more personal, hand-picked gift on the holiday itself.

And yes, you might still have to pick up the dinner tab. Sorry.

Video: American Idol final audition show recap

Here's my newest "American Idol" video recap. You'll learn all about Wednesday's episode, the final audition show of season nine.

"Idol" starts Hollywood Week -- er, two weeks -- on Tuesday.

Learn more on my "Idol" blog here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Embarrassed for crying at the end of "New Moon"? You ain't seen nothing yet.

One guy made an entire Web site -- -- dedicated to his wife's tendency to cry after the least sappy movies imaginable. Examples include "Back to the Future" and "Star Wars."

He even videotaped her reaction to the movies, as illustrated by the clip I pasted above.

Shedding movie tears is a major milestone in romantic relationships, especially if you've been blessed/cursed with an affinity for happy endings.

I hit my lowest moment when I started bawling during an in-flight screening of "Like Mike," the hit film starring Bow Wow and the "Jerry Maguire" kid.


(via Gawker)

Video: American Idol Denver recap

Here's my video recap of Tuesday's "American Idol" episode, which featured auditions in Denver. You'll learn all about Bikini Boy, who was actually kind of hot.

Tonight, "Idol" airs its "Best of the Rest" audition show, a collection of singers we didn't see in previous audition shows this season. That show starts at 9 p.m.

That marks the end of audition shows. Hollywood Week starts Tuesday.

Read more on my "Idol" blog here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Academy Award nominations 2010: Snubs

It's rare for me to watch a movie.

I've never been a big fan of the shared viewing experience. I usually leave the theater only applauding the fact that I didn't kill the kid behind me who was kicking my seat the whole time.

So when they announced the Academy Award nominations this morning, my reaction was just kind of "meh."

Without the promise of flashy musical performances, the ceremony bores me. And in my opinion, the Oscars' formal, impractical gowns don't hold a candle to the edgy fashions that dominate the Grammys.

Still, after this morning's announcement, I can't stop thinking about a major 2010 Oscar snub:

I can't believe "(500) Days of Summer" didn't get nominated.

The indie flick was one of the few recent films I actually watched. It offered one of the most accurate depictions of relationships I'd seen in a long time. The MTV folks are upset about the snub, too.

See a full list of nominees here and weigh in on snubs in the comments section.

Smell like The Situation

So Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from MTV's "Jersey Shore" is getting his own cologne.

The best part: It'll be called "Sitch."

The news instantly reminded me of those guys in high school who borrow their dad's Old Spice without understanding the importance of moderation.

I don't know how Sitch will smell, but I'm sure it'll exude a sense of class and refinement.

And hey, Mike: If you're stumped, try this recipe. I like to call it Eau de Jersey Shore.

*10 drops dirty hot tub water

*20 drops tanning oil

*16 drops chest grease

*7 drops "battle dance" sweat

*3 drops fist pump essence

Apply early and often.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Taylor Swift backlash?

It's lonely at the top.

After Taylor Swift won album of the year at Sunday's Grammys, blogs like Jezebel and PopEater are inevitably wondering if the young country star is due for a backlash.

In a way, the discussions are unfair.

Swift's "Fearless" did incredibly well -- it was the top-selling album of 2009.

What's more, while proving herself as a successful businesswoman, the singer has done a lot to revitalize country music. And frankly, I was just happy Dave Matthews Band didn't win album of the year. (Sorry, Lily.)

But would I be surprised to see a sudden deluge of Swift haters? No.

I think people's biggest concern is her longevity in the music business. You can only sing about fairy tales and high school bleachers for so long. And right now, so much of Swift's popularity seems to be due to her ability to target and identify with a specific demographic.

I also question Swift's uniqueness.

One of the reasons I wanted Gaga to win album of the year is because she's not afraid to push the envelope, to redefine not only traditional dance music but also our perceptions of the qualities that constitute a pop star. Swift, in contrast, seems to only play to the qualities that have been associated with young adulthood for ages.

The Kanye West debacle from the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards doesn't help, either. It's now easy to dismiss every one of Swift's honors as part of a giant pity party. Of course, that's something beyond her control.

Usually, I'm the last one to jump to Swift's defense.

However, maybe instead of predicting her demise, we should just let her enjoy Sunday's wins without future "what ifs" looming over her shoulders.

After all, that's the way it happens in fairy tales.

Adventures in guy-proofing

A boy is coming over. Quick, hide the bridal magazines!

Ah, the joy of guy-proofing.

Here, one blogger describes the logic (or lack thereof) behind the behavior -- that is, fine-tuning your living space so it doesn't turn off your date. She's critical of guy-proofing, and I kind of agree with this realization:

Honestly, I didn't think that guys really paid that much attention to my apartment.

It's silly for a guy to dump you over blue curtains or a couple dust bunnies.

Still, there's some fear in showcasing your living space for the first time, so it's only natural to hide personal touches that are slightly outside the norm. Yes, I do keep my Hanson CDs out of public view.

Weigh in: Is guy-proofing a necessary evil, or harmful identity concealer?

And guys: At a relationship's early stages, do you girl-proof your place?