Ashes or chocolate? This Wednesday, observant romantics face tough choice

WASHINGTON — Here’s the situation: You love someone and want them to love you back, so you’ve called in a favor to “Upper Management.”

It’s a sound idea for Wednesday, Feb. 14 — especially if they’re way out of your league.

But this year? Not the best idea: Cupid has to share his big day with “Our Heavenly Chairman” … “The Holy President” … you get it.

See that box of chocolate on the counter next to yesterday’s Mardi Gras beads? Do the math, brothers and sisters: It’s Ash Wednesday.

The very day when it’s essential to take that date out for a nice steak dinner — complete with beverages, fancy desserts and candy — He needs you to stop by His house for some songs, prayers and an ash smudge on your face. He also needs you to lay off on a boozy feast.

(He also kindly reminds you that you gave up sweets for Lent.)

It’s a divine double-booking — sacré bleu! For people who want to keep both God and their significant other happy, it’s something of a dilemma.

And if you thought you could lobby your way out of this one, D.C., proceed with caution: One of the Catholic Church’s heavy hitters isn’t listening.

“Ash Wednesday has precedence,” wrote New York’s Catholic archbishop, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, in a recent blog post. “And the coincidence of St. Valentine’s Day would not lift for us the duty of fasting and self-denial.”

So, you may want to check with your own church for guidance here (results may vary), but just keep those expectations low.

On the digital watercooler that is Facebook, several WTOP commenters shared some of their plans on finessing the situation.

Some are getting all the lovey-dovey stuff out of the way early. But one commenter, Gordon Dewhurst, and his significant other are balancing the two: “We will be at church [for] a noon time Mass on Ash Wednesday,” he wrote, “and then we’ll be off to enjoy a nice seafood dinner at the Red Lobster to celebrate Valentine’s Day!” (Good call. Hush puppies rule.)

Veronica Singer is in the same, um, lobster boat: “Lobster for dinner,” she wrote. “No meat that day, and I’m too old to have to fast.” (You’re not alone there, Veronica.)

Another, JoAnn Schlosser, also found a way to properly celebrate both at the same time: “Well, since St. Valentine was killed because he championed strong marriages, maybe go to mass with my husband?” (Hey, win-win!)

The good news? (No, not that Good News. This is just regular everyday good news.) It’s the first time in about 70 years that this has happened. You probably won’t have to deal with this again for a long time.

The better news? Easter Sunday falls on April 1. This year’s egg hunt could get extra-weird.

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