Credit: GG Deputy Photography and Illustrations Manager Dorota Dziki (@drawing_dorota)

Locked down but loved up

By Anita Katsarska

Valentine’s Day can be just as romantic in the home as it is outside.

No matter what your view on love having a designated spot on the calendar is, you have to admit that whenever we hear “February 14” it brings to mind crowds and empty bottles of wine on the bottoms of gondolas all over the Venice canals. It’s a date that sounds like “Friday the 13th” to those who find themselves sucking a strand of spaghetti and getting both ends in their single mouths – instead of that famous kiss. Don’t worry, the act has always been cheesy in itself. 

Imagine a world without the collective holding of hands in a row of dimly lit tables, like a cult of lovers. Well, would you look at that – we just happen to inhabit such a world right now. Let’s turn those tables in our favour – and make it a choice, rather than a necessity.

The best dates can take place at home – it shouldn’t be a Covid-19 consolation prize. You can do all the things you wouldn’t do in public, and I’m not talking about the kinks. My ex-boyfriend and I came up with so many ways to have fun during lockdown, including dressing up in our finest red carpet outfits and pretending to be the host and the guest of a night show. You can literally do anything from the sweet to the slightly strange to make it yours and special. Why does popular culture exist, if not to help us keep the spirits high during pandemics? Start your Valentine’s cinematic experience with About Time (2013), strategically avoiding the discussion of the time-travelling errors in its plot in order to not get into a fight. A re-enactment of Say Anything (1989) is a must, with one partner standing outside the window of the building, dressed in a beige trenchcoat and with a cassette-player in hands, while the other one pretends to not hear the music. Swiss Army Man (2016) will have you falling in-platonic-love with a farting corpse, and will fill your heart with warmth. And, of course, Crazy, Stupid Love (2011) is a classic, and will remind you not to date any of your friend’s daughters… 

It is a holiday, which means you’ll need a Spotify playlist to spin away into the night. Here are my suggestions for all your various situations, all relevant to what love is.

When words are not enough: Something, The Beatles.

For the love that made you “less awkward” and more yourself: 4 Seasons, Rex Orange County.

To spread gratitude to everyone who helped you get here: God Only Knows, The Beach Boys.

To the one who sticks around when we are difficult to love: Shelter, Ray LaMontagne.

Or just to celebrate yourself: My Future, Billie Eilish.

When it comes to food on Valentine’s Day, what are you going for – the BBC Good Food dish that has you crawling to bed for a Netflix-without-the-chill, or the aphrodisiac, libido-increasing type of meal? Combine sugar, spice, and everything nice: pistachios and salmon, chocolate and spinach, ginseng and tofu. 

If the only thing stopping you from going to a restaurant is this “Corona” thing, then I suggest it’s time to experiment. Glue three Michelin stars to the door and cook a meal resembling that dish you had on your first date – a great way to remind yourselves that, no matter how much you’ve gotten on each other’s nerves during the pandemic, you still make each other feel the same way you did when you awkwardly had to choose who would sit on the chair and who would sit on the far comfier sofa bench…We’ve all been there. 

Kurt Vonnegut (I love this man, I’d spend Valentine’s Day discussing vague concepts with him, over tea, by my window if he weren’t dead) once said: “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” Even when we inhabit a dystopia. And this is where I want to leave you, with love, from my home to yours.


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