How to Have a Date Night at Home

How to Have a Date Night at Home

How to Have a Date Night at Home

How to Have a Date Night at Home

Welcome. The weekend is upon us again, though for many it’ll be no different from the other days that we pass by like towns off the interstate, long-haul truckers driving endlessly through the night. It’s hard to distinguish between them when we spend so much time in the same space at home, working or not working, screening or not screening, marking or not marking the time. Everything looks like blacktop.

Some seek routines, established activities at established moments in the day or week: a regular bike ride or walk or run; lunch at 12:10 p.m. daily; a Friday evening meet-up in the park with friends in masks. Others seek distraction, refreshing their browsers for “The 50 Best Things to Watch on Disney+ Right Now,” or gobbling down beach reads even if they’re not at the beach.

Still more seek advice, which is where At Home comes in. You ask, we answer.

I was wondering if you could suggest some good date night ideas. I’m looking for ways to spend time with my boyfriend at home that feel special. I think what we are missing from life pre-quarantine is the ability to go somewhere (a restaurant, the movies, a museum) and be taken care of. To that end, can you recommend any recipes that feel elegant but require minimal cleanup? Or maybe something that can be made ahead of time? I also would love to know some simple ways to transform a normal room into a date-night room. (I don’t know if that makes sense, but I feel like you’ll get it.)

I do! There’s nothing more elegant than a dinner of steak Diane for two (here’s the recipe), served aside a thatch of sauteed spinach and a whole bunch of supermarket fries that you can roast on a sheet pan in the oven while you’re making the meat and greens.

While one of you does that, the other can do a deep dive on the area in which you’ll eat, tidying madly. Set out lots of candles, douse all artificial light, set the eating surface carefully, with real napkins if you have them. (It’s okay if you don’t! Just try to make the set look special, intentional, nice.) Open a bottle of red wine. Cue up Smokey Robinson’s “Quiet Storm” on the speakers. Date night is great.

Now, to some housekeeping. I’ll be off for the next two weeks. My colleague Melissa Kirsch will write to you in my absence. She’s great and I hope you’ll make her feel welcome.

More ideas for living a good life at home and near it this weekend appear below. Please write and let us know what you think and what you want to know: athome@nytimes.com. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent.


  • Your pets have grown accustomed to having you around lately, so when it comes time to return to work, they may experience separation anxiety. One thing you can do now, veterinary behaviorists told us, is start taking short walks without your pet so they begin to get used to being alone again.

  • New coronavirus protocols at colleges translate to new coronavirus fees for students. They’re being asked to share the costs of testing and reconfiguring campus facilities, which can range from $45 to $475 per semester.

  • And experts are telling us that indoor air is riskier than outdoor air. So what do we do when it’s really hot outside? When in doubt, open the windows, says Jose-Luis Jimenez, an aerosol scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder. “The more outside air you have, the more you dilute the virus.”


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