Are You In Love?

Rock stars, dating experts, and cartoon characters talk about Valentine's Day

  Stephin Merritt
Musician (the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, the Future Bible Heroes, and the Magnetic Fields)

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes, it has happened to me; once permanently, and many times temporarily.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Song: Irving Berlin's "Be Careful, It's My Heart." Movie: Rouben Mamou-lian's Love Me Tonight with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, singing a score by Rodgers and Hart. It is clearly the best film musical I have seen, and I have seen hundreds.

photo: Amy Pierce

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? Raised without Christmas and siblings, I rarely exchange gifts, and never romantic ones. But I have an extensive collection of hula dolls and robots, so that is what people generally give me.


Peter Straub
Horror author

Do you believe in love at first sight? Sure, I suppose so—some heightened sense of interest, of either empathic understanding or of compelling mystery, some deep, spontaneous desire for communication, intimacy, knowledge. After all, plenty of people have taken one look at a stranger, said to a nearby friend, "That's the person I'm going to marry," and, to enduring mutual satisfaction, brought it off.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Born to Kill (1947) is hardly a romantic movie, but it does contain one scene with an amazing and completely surprising erotic charge. (Claire Trevor's clever, slightly sluttish face goes all still and rapt as she mumbles to murderous Lawrence Tierney, "The blood in her hair . . . ") But no, let us put such matters right out of our heads and go for Truffaut's Confidentially Yours, a wonderful comedy/suspense film of 1983 in which you can sense (or I think I can sense, anyhow) the director's unambiguous, let us say, admiration of his splendid leading lady, gorgeous, funny, touching, Fanny Ardant.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? My wife once gave me a photograph of Paul Desmond. Now, that's love.


Shoshanna Rikon
Dating expert; founder, shoshannasmatches.com

Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe in instant attraction or lust at first sight. Your heart starts pumping, you find it hard to catch your breath . . . you get that special tingle that radiates throughout your body. You often hear tales about love at first sight, the mythical events that unfold when you meet that special someone, but it isn't until you're fully in that situation that you realize that . . . yes, your knees do go weak, your heart doesn't stop pounding, and for a brief moment the rest of the world does not exist. It's better than the taste of chocolate or that high you get when you see an incredible pair of shoes for 50 percent off.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Well, I'm a sucker for happy endings and sappy lyrics, so I'd have to say that my all-time favorite romantic movie is The Notebook. That's the only movie in which I've ever finished off a whole box of Kleenex all by myself.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? The most romantic gift that I've ever received was a stuffed teddy bear that I ended up giving to my dog as a chew toy. The guy who gave it to me even suggested that if I didn't like his gift I should just give it to my dog, so I did.

What's more romantic: candlelight or strobe light? A strobe light can be very sexy at a club where the alcohol and juices are flowing, but for romance, nothing beats candlelight.


Master Shake
Cartoon anthropomorphic milkshake in 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force'

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes. Countless women have fallen in love with me as soon as they took a gander at my perfect bod. Immediate, intense, unrequited love, that happens pretty much all the time. But each time is special, honestly.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? "Feel Like Making Love" by Bad Company is very romantic. He talks about love a lot in the beginning, but that's just to get the juices flowing; he doesn't really mean it. Then that badass guitar riff kicks in, and he lets some lucky lady know what time it is.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? Sometimes I get restraining orders from women. They really mean something because you know that person is thinking about you and only you, at least long enough to file a police report.

Are you in love right now? Care to say with whom? The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. It's been a long, perilous romance, but I think me and I are really getting serious.


Roger Lodge
Host of 'Blind Date'

Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe in lust at first sight but not love. Love comes after you get to know the person's heart and soul.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Edwin McCain for songs; for the movie, Roman Holiday—Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn—need I say more?

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