Romance & quarantine are not mutually exclusive.
In the era B.C. (before COVID-19), to combat tension or ennui, a couple might go out to dinner, take a weekend trip, go see some music, you know the drill — but at present (Mid-COVID), all of said things are, well, canceled. You and your partner work, eat, sleep, drink, socialize, and exercise together, all from within the confines of your own home. Come 6 pm, there’s no use in asking, “how was your day?” because odds are, you already know the answer. You were there. So how, then, do you imbue the present circumstances with a bit more romance?
Well: you do, in fact, have options. And we sat down to brainstorm the best of them, in the hopes of helping you suffuse your love life with a little more umph while we all wait out the quarantine.
Take an online cooking class
For survival purposes, the consumption of food is a mandatory activity. But don’t think of your meals as a chore: Cooking is a brilliant way to pass the time — as cathartic as it is productive. And for you and your partner, a little added instruction can help make the routine act of feeding yourself feel less like an obvious prelude to sustenance and more like an event. Maybe consult Julia Child’s cooking show archives (there’s no time like the present for your first attempt at soufflé). Or instead, go for Instagram’s golden child, Alison Roman’s ever-quippy courses. And if all else fails, Bon Apetit will undoubtedly deliver.
Grab to-go cocktails
While going out for a drink may sound like a relic of the distant past, fear not, there are workarounds. Kill two birds with one stone and support some of your favorite local hospitality venues, while spending some quality time with your partner. Of course, most bars and restaurants have closed up shop, but plenty of those still operating for take out are doing to-go beverages as well (think: road margs in Austin, sidewalk negronis in New York, or bottled craft infusions in San Francisco). After taking the necessary precautions (gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, whatever it is that makes you feel like your bases are covered), grab a cocktail at one of your local haunts for nostalgia’s sake, and take a quick stroll, mixologist-approved booze in hand.
Embark on a virtual tour
Obviously, you’re not doing much traveling at the moment. But maybe all you and your partner need to…light the fire…is a moonlit stroll down a Parisian boulevard, or an hour well spent at the Guggenheim. And while not quite synonymous with the whole IRL experience, you’ve got plenty of ways to get some culture virtually. Stroll around your favorite museum or hit the Eiffel Tower courtesy of Google Arts & Culture, gaze out at the Cliffs of Moher thanks to Ireland’s tourism board, or livestream some opera through The Met. If nothing else, the digital alternatives are certainly cost effective.
Try an indoor picnic
It’s only fair that you’re growing weary of the tables in your life. Maybe you’re working remotely from your coffee table, preparing each meal from your kitchen table, mastering a puzzle in the dining room. So why not try a new dinner locale…like, say, the floor? While this may sound moderately unsexy, you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes to switch up your eating routine when you’re inhaling three meals a day from the confines of your own home. Layout a blanket, pack a basket, choose a special wine, and party like it’s 2019.
Enjoy menu items from your favorite restaurants at home
Beyond the whole to-go cocktail thing, plenty of restaurants are doing whatever they can to stay in business — which includes everything from takeout and delivery, to selling wine, and perishables off their shelves. Do some good work to stimulate the economy and support the places closest to your own heart by grabbing to-go food and wine, and plating it up at home. Don’t just fork it out of containers though — we’re talking artfully arranged, ceramic platters, silverware on napkins, coasters, the whole shebang. Give yourself the true restaurant experience at home (though, in your own kitchen, pants are not mandatory).
Watch a movie you’ve been meaning to watch
Ok, we know this one sounds obvious. But we mean actually watch a movie. Make an event of the whole domestic cinema experience. Rather than opt for your favorite streamable serials or rewatching an old favorite, pick something you’re both been dying to see (maybe you never got around to watching Fight Club? The Godfather?). Go wild and pay the $2.99 to rent something that’s not available for streaming. Make a no phones rule, adjust the lighting, make popcorn, pour quarantinis. Treat it like a thing, rather than a mere distraction.
Instate a dress code
Naturally, working from home means that you’ve been avoiding denim at all costs. Why pull on jeans when loungewear will do? But, while inconvenient, dressing up is often fun, too. Pick a black-tie night, throw it on the calendar, and remind your partner what you look like when you’re not sporting a sweatsuit. It’ll make at-home date night feel that much more special, and better yet, heels are far less taxing when you exclusively plan to walk from the kitchen to the bedroom and back again.
Originally published at https://getmaude.com.