There is a ramen soup restaurant here in Berlin (where I live) that is so good people voluntarily stand in line in the freezing cold for hours to get a table. The other night, my man and I joined the line at 9:30 p.m., with at least five parties in front of us. A waitress told us to wait by the park opposite the restaurant to avoid blocking the pavement. There we stood, silent and hungry, like a secret cult waiting for their leader to guide them to pork belly heaven. My boyfriend lent me his Arsenal London hat and let me warm my hands in his coat pockets while we listened to a podcast together (the wait was one hour). It was very cold. It was also very romantic.
They say people fall in love in springtime, when the cherry trees look like little pink clouds. They say people have a lot of sex in summer, when the nights are so hot one can only sleep naked. I say the colder the air, the more love is in it.
Winter, after all, is a hostile time. It’s when you lose your gloves on the coldest day of the year, when you can barely tell the difference between day and night, when you really need a hot meal but are too tired to cook it. It’s also a time of longing (for sun rays warming your back) and dreaming (of Campari-colored nights). The sum of all this suffering and longing and dreaming is an increased willingness to find someone who will warm your back at night and let you put your hands in their coat pockets. Spooning is the sunbathing of winter.
And isn’t it outside, in the cold, where great love stories begin? I’ve never smoked, but I hear a lot of people meet while sharing a cigarette outside. It’s in the blunt light of a snow-white winter day that we really get to see (and decide whether we really like) someone, not in the dusk of a booze-soaked night at the club. It’s the sight of your special person, the one you always patiently wait for even when the snow storm blows horizontally, approaching from the other side of the street that makes your heart jump because it means you’ll be wrapped in the best scarf one could ask for – a pair of warm arms – any second.
And then there’s Valentine’s Day, of course: a wonderful occasion to throw yourself into a gloriously romantic outfit. But I’m not here to tell you to buy a fancy new lace bra for your Valentine. In my opinion, it’s a total cliché that love flourishes best in bed — and thus requires a corresponding wardrobe. I have always found the bed to be a rather apathetic place, romantically speaking. The bed is where women moisturize their hands and men secretly masturbate under their duvets and people lay in strange positions while stalking other people on Instagram. It’s not romantic! And if it is, you don’t need fancy underwear for it.
No, if cold weather is love weather, then love weather logically has to be coat weather. Have you ever wondered why The Holiday’s Amanda Woods, a Los Angeles resident, packs THREE incredibly chic coats for her winter vacation in the English countryside? Here’s the answer: She wants to fall in love (and yes, I KNOW she hops on the plane right after Iris promises her there are zero men at her destination, but believe me: She wants to fall in love. The coats say it all.) She wants to go for long walks in the woods, she wants to hold hands in queues outside restaurants, she wants to smooch in the snow like Phil and Rita do in Groundhog Day. And the best companion she could ask for to facilitate all of this is a really good coat.
For a coat will do everything in its power to provide you with a feeling of safety and comfort and an air of confidence and grace. It will, in fact, make you forget about everything else you’re wearing (lingerie or lack thereof included) so you can relax and have a good time. And that’s all that really counts on a date, isn’t it?
Photos by Julien Barbès.