MASKS ON, 6 FT APART – GETTING READY FOR VALENTINE’S DAY 2021

Artist Mairi-Luise Tabbakh, Artwork Featured at The Untitled Space “ONE & ONLY” Collection

Stripped down from all the distractions that usually turn Valentine’s Day into one of the most lucrative days of the year, this Feb. 14 might look – and feel – a little different.

This Sunday, the masquerade of perfect relationships will likely resume with all the clichés that come with – romantic movies, heart-shaped almost everything, and chocolate and roses. While this holiday usually brings its share of blues for those who feel the pressure to find a romantic partner, this Valentine’s Day comes after a year of unique peaked isolation and loneliness. This year, the inability to go to a concert, movie or romantic dinner might challenge us to dig deeper into what this day really means.

“This year, you can sidestep any expectations of traditional ways to celebrate and start some new traditions,” Diana Wiley, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist and board-certified sex therapist, told NBC News.

Almost a year into the pandemic, COVID-19 shifted our perception of what work, social interactions or school looked like. It challenged us all to be more thoughtful about our whereabouts and social interactions with loved ones. Quality time together turned into Zoom calls. Hugs turned into socially distanced walks. Just as many have re-invented ways to date or form meaningful connections virtually, it’s possible to start new traditions for Valentine’s Day this year. Celebrating love can mean celebrating healthy and safe relatives, practicing self-care, or re-discovering who we are by ourselves.

For those alone in their apartments seeking creative ways to be connected with loved ones, the possibilities are endless.

Spotify’s new feature “Group session” allows users to listen to music or podcasts together, in real-time. Similar to the Spotify feature, Netflix Party allows two parties to synchronize their Netflix accounts so they can watch a movie or binge a new tv show simultaneously. Many multi-player online games also allow users to play together, however far they may be. Houseparty, the group video chat app, offers the option to play Heads Up! – a modern version of charades – on your call. Out of sight maybe, but not necessarily out of mind!

For those looking for date ideas, the internet is your gold mine. If you’re hoping for a more hands-on date, online classes are ideal. Painting, cooking, mixology, dancing – there is something to fit everyone’s tastes. While some require you to pay, there are many free on Youtube! Bob Ross’ painting channel or Bon Appétit cooking channel are some of the most popular ones.

The pandemic also brought awareness to the power of our wallets. Supporting small businesses and keeping local restaurants, bookstores, and boutiques alive became the new fight against giants like Amazon. These resolutions can translate into how we think about more sustainable and thoughtful Valentine’s Day presents.

For those who don’t feel like cooking a full-course dinner this Sunday, this can be an opportunity to make restaurants, bakeries, or even florists in your neighborhood work by using curbside pickup or delivery options.

For many who work from home, gifts to help separate work from home life can be more useful than flowers or candles.

For others tired of the traditional gendered gifts, supporting female artists can be an option. The Untitled Space has announced The “ONE & ONLY” Collection, a contemporary art collection by all-female artists featuring paintings, photography, printmaking, collage, sculpture, textile art, and more to delight the eyes.

“The works in the collection navigate the mysteries of love through a female gaze, redefine it in new terms for the self or other, reflect on the various forms it can take, as well as ignite the imagination with the visual impact of its endless influence on our minds and senses. From erotic etchings to risqué renderings, tantalizing textiles to whimsical watercolors, we bring you our “ONE & ONLY” collection and we hope it will spark your imagination, fill your heart with desire, and will be the perfect gift for you or your significant other.”

Meg Lionel Murphy Exhibit Artwork, The Untitled Space, New York
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