MICHAEL: Are we eating Romaine again yet? Now that we can’t write off our property taxes anymore, we need to save some money. Even conventional endive is staggeringly expensive off-season. Did you buy more of those heirloom purple carrots? Do we have anything I can spiralize? I need to cut this salad with some filler.
ALEXANDRA: And they said you’d never make it on the street.
MICHAEL: It’s salad, Alex. Not some foliar contribution to the growing opioid epidemic. Speaking of kicking habits, did you extend your dry January to February or can we have some wine with dinner? Oh wait! You can’t have carrots on Whole30, can you?
ALEXANDRA: I didn’t even make it a Whole7. Though Lent starts today and I suppose I should give up something…
MICHAEL: So I don’t have to pretend these heart-shaped brownies are made with cauliflower?
ALEXANDRA: I can absolutely commit to not giving up refined sugar. Let us carb with abandon, my valentine. Maybe I should give up giving up this year. Or maybe cursing.
MICHAEL: My grandmother would be impressed with the latter. Every phone conversation I had with her in college started with, “Did you break up with that shiksa and find a nice girl that doesn’t swear so much yet?”
ALEXANDRA: For flock’s sake! I don’t give a flying flock what your grandmother thought about me.
MICHAEL: Please don’t give up swearing. That was truly disturbing.
ALEXANDRA: Well, I’m certainly not giving up anything you’re cooking right now. Whatever you’re doing smells delicious! What do you have in store for me after the culinary courting you clearly already have underway?
MICHAEL: I recorded some movies on the DVR so we could avoid spending money renting one. Suck THAT Corporate America! Would you rather watch 50 Shades Darker or La La Land?
ALEXANDRA: I’m not sure which of those is whiter.
MICHAEL: I recorded Get Out, too but that wasn’t quite the mood I was going for tonight. Besides, La La Land isn’t THAT white. John Legend is in it! In a big role!
ALEXANDRA: I love his wife so much.
MICHAEL: Weren’t they in The Notebook together?
ALEXANDRA: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen?
MICHAEL: No, no, no. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
ALEXANDRA: Nope. That was a different redhead. Seeing as how The Notebook came out almost fifteen years ago, she’s probably playing grandmothers now while Gosling keeps playing across from younger and younger leading ladies. Sadly, #timesup refers to both sexual harassment in Hollywood AND an actress’s career after age 35.
MICHAEL: I know we’re supposed to be outraged about a white dude being the savior of Jazz, but it’s just such a pretty movie. I don’t WANT to enjoy it but I do. Can I still enjoy it, Alex, or has 45 taken that from us, too? Can I still like something just because it’s beautiful? An exquisitely beautiful musical. [singing] City of stars…
ALEXANDRA: I was just reading an article from Caitlin Moran about why feminists love musicals and how they are the ultimate vehicle for feminist propaganda. I know she’s British and not at all qualified, but I’d really like her to come run our country. I would absolutely support legislation to abolish the words “rape” and “sexual assault” and instead call them “internal assault” or “intramural battery.” That would be a nice counter to our current leader tweeting his support of a known domestic abuser. Also if she demanded a military parade, I’m pretty sure it would be all David Bowie impersonators in formation and glitter-encrusted tanks. Adam Rippon would be resplendent as the Grand Marshal.
MICHAEL: She’s at least as plausible as Oprah. Maybe THAT could be the silver lining to 45 dismantling the constitution! Handing the reigns over to England again for a minute doesn’t seem like such a bad plan right now.
ALEXANDRA: Nor does watching a little of La La Land, I guess. At this point, any movie we watch is just a distraction until Black Panther comes out. But I’m only watching up until where they start fighting. After that it isn’t pretty anymore.
MICHAEL: Agreed. If I wanted to watch a painful fight, I’d re-watch John Oliver interviewing Dustin Hoffman at the 92nd Street Y. Before I finish making dinner, I have something for you.
ALEXANDRA: We agreed not to financially endorse this fraud of a holiday by buying each other gifts, remember?
MICHAEL: I made it! For the same reason I’m making dinner! Well, that and because it’s my attempt to apologize for all men… or, more specifically, a certain candidate from Missouri that likes to come home to hot meals. Now open the card, would you?
ALEXANDRA: “Iodine to have you as my valentine.”
MICHAEL: Iodine… I’m dying… get it?
ALEXANDRA: You glued iodine tablets onto cardstock in the shape of a heart?
MICHAEL: Glue? No! I used that command strip adhesive stuff. That way you can still pull them off and eat them. And that’s a compostable hemp paper alternative, I‘ll have you know.
ALEXANDRA: I was really expecting something with a Lady Dorito theme from you this year. You watched that CDC webinar about surviving a nuclear event, didn’t you?
MICHAEL: THEY CANCELED IT. Did some canned thing about the flu instead. I guess there was too much backlash after that Hawaii alert. Wouldn’t it be nice if the White House took a page out of the mayor of Hawaii’s playbook and only social media managers had the Twitter passwords of all elected officials? Hey! You could give up social media for Lent!
ALEXANDRA: Some of these gray, winter mornings, I swear Leslie Jones’ Olympic tweets are the only reason to wake up in the morning. That and living to see the reboot of Murphy Brown.
MICHAEL: The webinar is allegedly going to be rescheduled but it’s certainly not listed on any upcoming agenda I could find. I went ahead and ordered some reference books — both in paperback and Kindle formats. We may as well start building a survival library that works with or without a power grid. With 40,000 people still without power in Puerto Rico, I guess those things are practically impossible to restore.
ALEXANDRA: Would you really want to survive that, Michael? Nuclear fallout? Nuclear winter? The apocalypse?
MICHAEL: If it means more time with you, Alex, yes. I’ll fight to survive all of this — mass shootings, climate change, the baiting of unhinged dictators via Twitter… all of it. Each time the doomsday clock moves closer to midnight, I want to move closer to you. A hundred times yes. And I will spend a lifetime proving that to you — however long that lifetime is. Even if I can’t shower you with all the gifts money can buy.
ALEXANDRA: I would reject your money-bought gifts. And not just because you keep trying to pass off additions to your antique tube radio collection as gifts for me. While we’re on the topic of withholding spending so as to not further fund misogyny, is it time to end our subscription to the New York Times?
MICHAEL: But Modern Love is why Sundays exist!!! What about romance?!
ALEXANDRA: I have your modern love right here, Valentine. And iodine to show you.