One Sweet (Valentine’s) Day

[from The A.V. Club Chicago / February 11, 2010]

Valentine’s Day is a time for showering a loved one with thoughtful, romantic gifts, but what does one give the object of their affection when said object is Mariah Carey, she of the 63 million albums sold in the U.S., 18 No. 1 singles, and, uh, marriage to Nick Cannon fame? Just in time for a pair of Valentine’s weekend concerts at the Chicago Theatre, The A.V. Club took a walk around town with Mariah blasting on our Walkman and discovered the keys to Mimi’s heart were right here all along.

Step one: Party academically (“It’s Like That” from 2005’s The Emancipation Of Mimi)

Mariah sings: “I came to have a party / open up the Bacardi / feeling so hot tamale”

Which suggests: While she obviously appreciates Cuban intoxicants, Mexican food, and a generally upbeat social setting, Carey’s progressive interpretation of linguistic theory also reveals her unexpectedly (and refreshingly) sophisticated side.

The A.V. Club recommends: The 10-course dinner/molecular gastronorgasm at Moto (945 W. Fulton Market, 312-491-0058), featuring a Cuban cigar (fourth course) and Mexican cannoli (seventh). If you don’t have $260 to spend on dinner for two, you could always take your chances doing shots waiting for The Tamale Guy–although no one has ever made progress with the third best-selling female artist of the last millennium eating tamales out of a cooler. No one.

Step two: Footwear supreme (“Make It Happen” from 1991’s Emotions)

Mariah sings: “So very young and so afraid / no proper shoes upon my feet / Sometimes I couldn’t even eat / I often cried myself to sleep”

Which suggests: The lady needs shoes, and proper shoes at that, before she can function in an appropriately confident manner.

The A.V. Club recommends: Battaglia Footwear (1718 N. Clybourn Ave., 312-787-3237) for a pair of $400 handcrafted platinum-tinted Italian pumps to complement the wind-blown outfit adorning the cover of the platinum edition of The Emancipation Of Mimi. That may sound steep for shoes, but the woman has a brand to consider: Would you want to smell like someone who just walked out of Payless?

Step three: Earn trust through technology (“Touch My Body” from 2008’s E=MC2)

Mariah sings: “If there’s a camera up in here / then I’d best not catch this flick on YouTube / If you run your mouth and brag about this secret rendezvous / I will hunt you down”

Which suggests: Carey favors discretion, and frowns on modern technology’s continued degradation of personal privacy.

The A.V. Club recommends: A laugh at the expense of surveillance fanatics ought to do the trick. The campy Cold War giggles at The Boring Store (1311 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-772-8108) will take the edge off your dream date, but a woman of serious threats ultimately demands serious equipment. Stop by U-Spy Store (2406 W. Fullerton Ave., 773-529-2779) and romantically peruse the badges and repo-grade automotive skeleton keys—and what happens with that pair of video surveillance sunglasses can be your little secret. Seriously, keep it a secret, or she will hunt you down.

Step four: Drink like it’s the end of the world (“Fantasy” from 1995’s Daydream)

Mariah sings: “Images of rapture / creep into me slowly / as you’re going to my head”

Which suggests: Not just a pretty face, Carey’s glossy sheen belies her true nature as a cognitively fascinating individual obsessed with apocalypse-themed artwork and telepathic communion.

The A.V. Club recommends: The foreboding celestial imagery adorning a bomber of Black Sun Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. (9570 Indiana Parkway, Munster, Ind., 219-922-3565) will appease her visual sensibilities, but the beer’s relatively high potency (6.5 percent ABV) will have your minds thinking alike in no time—though given Carey’s boozy behavior at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, she may already be miles ahead of you.