Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. If you’re coupled up like I am, this is the day to think about the best things about your relationship. A lot of couples are going to be engaging in elaborate relationship ceremonies this weekend. Like spending $600 on a prefixed, wine-paired menu in Chelsea and passing out on the couch in the powder room.
But I think it’s better to honor your relationship this weekend by doing something simple together that you really enjoy.
My partner and I love eating together. That’s our thing. We’re not one of those couples who are obviously a match because we’re both obsessed with Twin Peaks or libertarianism. But we don’t have to be. Because people’s quieter preferences say more about them.
We both really enjoy food. And it has to taste good. We both notice how food tastes regardless of how it’s presented or how many magazines tell us what we’re supposed to think about it. We don’t believe the bullshit. Which is rare actually. The best places (they tend to be in Queens) usually aren’t the ones that make headlines.
Neither of us care about prestige. But we do care about quality. A lot of people don’t. Especially outside New York. They eat to live. Not live to eat. They eat, but it means nothing.
I think those qualities say more about us and our compatibility than what’s on the surface. A person who has the patience and presence of mind to appreciate good food thinks about things differently than someone who doesn’t.
In the summer, we go to parties in his neighborhood and enjoy people’s home cooking. In the winter, we walk in the snow to the diner in the middle of the night and get thick omelettes and some grainy rye toast with a cool pat of butter slathered perfectly in the middle.
We have our favorite Italian restaurant that we go to about once a month. The staff knows us. John has more experience with formal dining than I do, so he taught me how to act old school. We get the same thing every time. We plan dinner in advance and we wait all week for it with bated breaths.
We’ve been doing this for almost two years. But it never feels any less exciting.
Every couple has rituals like that. But I think sometimes they’re undervalued. A lot of the time people don’t think about them until the relationship is over and they’re sitting there thinking “gee, I wonder if I’ll find anyone I could play Duck Hunt with for as long as I played it with Toby.”
This is the time to appreciate little things like that. These subtle, un-self-conscious habits and preferences are what bring people together. They’re what make people comfortable. And comfortable relationships last.