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.

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 HolidayGregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn—need I say more?

Are you in love right now? Yes, I am in love—with my wife—my two sons—and Kobe Bryant's jump shot.


Zama Eng
Employee, Kate's Paperie, which last year sold 18,000 valentines

Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe in chemistry at first sight.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? The aria in the second act of Madame Butterfly; Love Actually, because it's a personal philosophy that everything is very connected to everything else.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? My son on the day he was born.

How do you like working at Kate's on Valentine's Day? What's really wonderful about being at Kate's, whether on Valentine's or another day, is that you get to help people do something good. You get to help a 14-year-old guy who's never had a girlfriend before pick out a card, which is the most wonderful thing I've ever done, or you can help a guy who's in a fight with his girlfriend get out of a jam.


Xochitl Gonzalez
Wedding coach; owner, Always a Bridesmaid

Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe in connections at first sight; love takes more time. Infatuations can start from across a train platform, but love is slower to start.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? The Wedding Planner. Hahahaha. Kidding. Actually, it's Cinema Paradiso. I know that it isn't so much a traditional love story, but it's the most true romance to me. It's a romance with life, and it's first love and it's heartbreak. Sometimes heartbreak is as romantic as falling in love, at least in cinema!

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? OK, when I was 16 my high school boyfriend gave me tickets to see Pink Floyd at Yankee Stadium and I thought that was the most romantic thing I could ever get, and it was, until just a few short days ago when my husband gave me a rock! It was shaped like a heart and he found it when he was a little boy and he saved it and moved it from place to place waiting until the day he could give it to the right girl—me! It so blew Pink Floyd out of water. Which, I guess, wasn't really that hard—the boy actually dumped me at the concert!


Simon Doonan
Creative director, Barney's

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes, and I also believe in love at first smell. If the olfactory situation is dire, the love part will never get off the ground.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? My Jonny and I love Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby." We are corny and naff. Movie? It used to be Splendor in the Grass with Natalie Wood. Now it's Brokeback Mountain. Torment and unrequited love are more romantic— on-screen at least—than consummated love.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? My Jonny—potter Jonathan Adler—made me a vase when we first met. It was all so Ghost! He wrote "Truffles" on the side of it, which was his nickname for me at the time.

Are you in love right now? Jonathan Adler and I have been in love for 11 years. I consider myself to be a lucky old bitch!


Stephen Colletti Actor, 'Laguna Beach'

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do believe in love at first sight. I've been witness to some success stories that started with someone admitting love at first sight. I think when it happens you don't automatically fall in love, but when you look back at that feeling you had when you first noticed them, and had to pursue, you realize it was Cupid striking with a love-at-first-sight arrow. I've been hit before myself, although it could've just been my young and immature, thinking-with-the-wrong-area feeling.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Romantic song—"Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak. Romantic movie— Garden State. I don't think they're the "most," just some favorites that came to mind. Although I think no one can deny that the most romantic movie of late is easily The Notebook.

Are you in love right now? I currently am not in love; however, as Valentine's Day approaches I have a feeling things could heat up.


Napoleon Perdis
Cosmetics designer, makeup artist

Do you believe in love at first sight? No, I don't. I believe in destiny.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? My favorite romantic movie is Pretty Woman, because it is about rewarding purity and honesty. My favorite romantic song is "Careless Whisper" by George Michael because it is about accepting that people can make mistakes.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? A Cartier love ring.

Are you in love right now? Yes I am, and it's a deep soul-connecting love that makes me very weak in the knees when I think about it.


Colin Jost
Writer, 'Saturday Night Live'

Do you believe in love at first sight? You mean love at first site? No wait, I looked it up. You were right.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? My favorite romantic song is the first three seconds of the Mortal Kombattheme song when that guy yells, "Mortal Kombat!" My favorite romantic movie is the last three seconds of the music video for that song. Spoiler alert: He yells it again.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? My high school girlfriend gave me the gift of sight, which made things pretty awkward because I only got her a crappy keychain. And I wasn't blind anymore, so I realized she was just a creepy old dude who taught "science" but why would a science teacher wear a janitor's uniform? Ugh, don't get me started.

Are you in love right now? Why don't you ask her? (I'm pointing to a life-size poster of Michelle Kwan.)


Rob Dubbin
Improv actor, 'Dwayne's Guest House'

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes. But I also believe in a closer look at second sight and reconsidering earlier declarations of love at third sight. By thirtieth sight or so I've moved out of her place and we've both gotten haircuts.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? The Who's "Quadrophenia." Both the song and the movie.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? Long story short, a sweater.

Are you in love right now? There's a very special lady out there—you know who you are—who'll be very upset if I answer anything but yes. Sadly my answer is no. I'm sorry you had to hear this way.


Yung Dame
MC, Wylde Bunch

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes. Love at first sight was my girl now. Soon as I saw her, knew I had to have her. She had fiery red hair and a fiery attitude to match, but me being the man that I am, I broke the walls down and got to the real nice side. I'm pretty good at that!

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Song, Mint Condition's "If U Love Me." Favorite movie, The Notebook—yeah, right. It'sCasanova! Ha.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? Most romantic gift I ever gave, I would have to say, was the five senses one Valentine's. Something for the taste: I cooked. Something for the ears: Made a lovely mix CD. Something for the eyes: Rented a couple movies. Something for the touch: a massage and bath. For smell: some nice scented candles.

Are you in love right now? Yes.


Eddie Reyes
Guitarist, Taking Back Sunday

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes. I married her.

What is your favorite romantic song and/or movie? Any Sade song, and "Love Song" by the Cure was my wedding song.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? Our soon-to-be-born daughter Mazzy Moon.

Are you in love right now?Oh, yes. I have two wonderful women in my life now, my wife and my daughter.


Jordan Knight
New Kids on the Block

Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes.

What is your favorite romantic song and/ or movie? "Always and Forever" by Luther Vandross.

What was the most romantic gift you ever gave or received? Simple things like a card every once in a while to show that special person they are on your mind; keep the romance going all year long.

Are you in love right now? Yes, very much so.

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