Here’s to another Monday, Berkeley.
I’ve always thought that Valentine’s Day is one of the most complicated Hallmark holidays. It is treated with admiration by the lovesick, with annoyance by the love sore and with total indifference by the rest. The commercialized, candy-coated qualities of Valentine’s Day could arguably cause cavities, but I think there’s reason to celebrate love in all its forms. So for this week, I’ve crafted a schedule that celebrates the diversity of affection, taking inspiration from the ancient Greeks’ seven forms of love.
Monday: Pragma (enduring love)
Stop by La Farine French Bakery and Yasai Market on College Avenue to make your wine, cheese and produce selections before catching the sunset at Indian Rock Park. If you’re totally taken over by Van Morrison’s love songs, search for tickets to his Monday night show at Yoshi’s Oakland to hear the legend live. Morrison is still gifted — not only with his endearing lyrics of love, but also with the quality of his voice — even 52 years after the release of his hit album, Astral Weeks.
Tuesday: Eros (romantic love)
Wake up and read The Daily Californian’s opinion column “Sex on Tuesday” for a personal take on all things love and sex. With articles that range from polyamory to dating apps, there’s a wealth of material to be explored. Follow that up with a binge session of Netflix’s “Sex Education,” and then read Julie Lim’s review here.
An afternoon spent with your partner, friends or by yourself on the steps of the Campanile is perfectly suited for a cardamom coffee and lemon poppy seed scone from Babette in South Hall. Take a listen to heart-wrenching personal stories of love and loss via the New York Times’ “Modern Love” or the Boston Globe’s “Love Letters” podcasts.
Wednesday: Philautia (self-love)
After a night of indulgence, dedicate time to yourself with an escape from campus. Head to the fire trails and listen to tracks such as “Shake it Out” by Florence + the Machine or “Cheap Queen” by King Princess. After the exertion of the way up, take it slow on the descent and listen to the “Terrible, Thanks For Asking” podcast for some solid advice for daily life. Soak in the lessons of these episodes, break out a diffuser and settle down to watch “Notting Hill,” “Love Actually” or “Maurice” — any movie with a young Hugh Grant will suffice to finish out a day of self-love.
Thursday: Storge (familiar love)
Take the self-care from Wednesday and extend it to your familial relations for Thursday. Take the time to visit Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Elmwood, and after browsing the store’s extensive selection, stop in at House of Curries for family-style dishes of fragrant tikka masala and massive portions of garlic naan. On the way home, plug in and listen to “Hot Love” by T. Rex and “Pale Blue Eyes” by the Velvet Underground, personal picks that my parents used to play around the house. To finish the evening, a quick call to your loved ones wouldn’t hurt, either.
Friday: Philia (affectionate love)
Finally making it to Valentine’s Day, begin your morning with “Friday I’m in Love” by the Cure. For Friday, pick up a copy of The Daily Californian’s special sex issue (and read a piece on performative pornography from yours truly). If you’re into oversized bouquets, sickly sweet chocolates and obnoxious teddy bears, soak up all the commercialized love that floats around campus. Head to the New Parkway Theater in Oakland for a screening of “Dirty Dancing.” The best of the film is not the ’80s hairstyles or Patrick Swayze’s footwork, but rather the all-you-can-eat pasta bar the theater will be providing.
Saturday: Ludus (playful love)
On Saturday, express playful love by exploring Berkeley. Select some produce that catches your eye at the Downtown farmers market and try out a new recipe. While in the kitchen, turn on the “Multiamory” podcast to discover different sides of sexuality or “Where Should We Begin?” with Esther Perel to listen in on real-life sex therapy sessions. In the evening, head back to the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive to see the biopic “Agnès Varda: An Irresistible Force.”
Sunday: Agape (unconditional love)
The final day should be spent with the friends who will love you through it all. Take a trip to Point Reyes, stopping first at Star Meats to pick up epic-tasting, packed sandwiches for the road. Stop in at Cowgirl Creamery if your beach picnic needs elevating, and perhaps bring a book for relaxed reading — try Sally Rooney “Conversations with Friends” or “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith. Once at home, try out movies such as “Booksmart” and “Lady Bird,” which each speak to friendship in their own triumphant manner.
I’ve always read Valentine’s Day as a cheesy guise for card-making and chocolate companies to turn a pretty profit. This year, however, I’ll actively choose to pay attention to all the different faces of love in my life instead of turning directly to cynicism. Hopefully these picks provided for a week of celebration to focus on what the day is really all about.
At a glance:
Feb. 10: Picnic at Indian Rock Park and Van Morrison show, Indian Rock Park and Yoshi’s Oakland
Feb. 11: Afternoon coffee at Babette, South Hall, UC Berkeley
Feb. 12: Hike the fire trails, Berkeley
Feb. 13: Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore and House of Curries, Elmwood
Feb. 14: “Dirty Dancing” and all-you-can-eat pasta bar, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., The New Parkway Theater, Oakland
Feb. 15: Star Meats and Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes
Contact Francesca Hodges at [email protected].