In what's turning into my least favorite tradition, I decided to turn an otherwise mundane Valentine's Day alone, into a cathartic food story full of burritos and "Drake tears."
Around this time of year, every restaurant attempts to offer a unique Valentine's Day deal, and of late, some are even getting into the "Single Awareness Day" spirit, realizing there's also money to be made in getting sad schmucks like myself into their restaurants.
Hooters has made it a yearly tradition to literally shred a photo of your ex in exchange for wings, and this year, Burger King is getting into the mix with a similar promotion where you can exchange a photo of your ex for a Whopper.
So instead of staying home and binge-eating ice cream while re-watching That 70s Show on Netflix, I decided to pursue a little food-filled adventure, where I could celebrate the single life.
With that said, I've had three impactful relationships of my life, and while breakups are never ideal, I'm thankful that I can still get something out of these failed relationships thanks to the power of restaurants marketing for a holiday built to push consumerism — all in the name of love.
In order to take advantage of these deals, I printed out photos of all three of those special exes; let's call them Leia, Ivy, and Topanga for the sake of this article. I pasted the photos onto a set of puppets, and started my quest for additional closure.
The first stop was Burger King, as this year they did a pretty solid promo for not just Valentine's Day, but in conjunction with Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. The movie's premise is that Quinn and the Joker split up, and she goes off to do her own thing.
With breakups in mind, Burger King offered free Whoppers in exchange for a photo of your ex.
So off I went to Burbank, CA, which was one of the participating locations.
I chose my sweet Leia for this offer. Leia represents my first love, my first relationship. A youthful love that represented simpler times like that of just playing basketball in the schoolyard or watching Star Wars without a care.
You'd think walking in with a puppet and handing them over a photo of your ex would turn some heads, but the staff was all for it, happy that someone actually did this whole Harley Quinn thing.
So off went my first photo of my first love, and honestly my first Whopper in years. They dropped the photo into their little "ex box" — and step one of my quest was a success.
Qdoba's promotion consists of a BOGO, where you "kiss a loved one," and get a free entree after purchasing a first one. It's a Valentine's Day offer they've run for years, and it was due time that I took advantage.
I chose Ivy for this one, as a tragic kiss of death is what "did in" this relationship a few years back.
As much as that kiss of death led to so much sorrow, this Qdoba kiss led to nothing but happiness in the form of a burrito.
As I puckered up and laid a smooch on this puppet, I felt additional closure. If anything can make everything better, it's a burrito.
Hooters also runs a yearly deal where they encourage you to shred photos of your exes in exchange for 10 boneless wings. They literally have a shredder, and like the folks at Burger King, they too were stoked that someone was actually taking advantage.
I guess not too many people are jumping at the chance to get over their old flames to the tune of free wings.
For the third and final trip, and possibly the most dramatic, I chose to bring in a photo of Topanga. This relationship was the freshest on my mind, and it made it that much harder to go through with.
See, Topanga was supposed to be "The one." And just as Corey Matthews found it hard to accept when Topanga up and left him in season 3 of Boy Meets World, I couldn't help but feel the same.
So there I was, at Hooters, walking around the dining room with an Italian puppet of my ex, and booty cleavage as far as the eye can see.
It was rough, but I went through with it.
Into the shredder went the photo, as did my relationship.
Was this the closure I needed in order to finally feel something again? Was a benign moment inside a Hooters in West Covina going to turn everything around for me?
Probably not. But hey, free wings.