Home Big To Do - BG's Dating Strategies




Big To Do
About Us

Our "Going Out" Guide e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

"At the summit of Whiteface Mountain, a ski area not far from Lake Placid, it was 33 degrees below zero, with an estimated wind chill of 100 below."
-- The New York Times, January 18, 2000

Yow! After suckering the Northeast with a few fluffy Summer-in-January days, the weather has turned bah-RU-tal: ice-cold winds are whipping down the street; little dogs are shivering way more than normal; citizens are disappearing behind coats and scarves... and more scarves... and earmuffs... and a hat... and another coat. Some people are so bundled up, they might as well be home in bed!

Wait! What did you say?

Now there's an idea! You see, all this ear-chomping cold got us thinking: maybe it's time to roll out a "Very Special Big To Do," one that focuses not on getting out of the house (where you could become seriously otter-popular this week), but rather getting in it. Deeply, warmly, wonderfully INside. So with that, we bring you...

Cozy Fan Tutti:
Cozy Go They All

by Colin Lingle

Read on and find the component parts of a lazy morning, a rainy afternoon, that evening in, or a perfect weekend of pure unadulterated coziness. You'll be snug as a bug in the proverbial rug. Or two bugs, depending. Bear in mind that these suggestions are equally potent for one or two people (just double the recipe), as a gift to someone or personal reward to yourself (repeat this mantra: damn straight I earned it, damn straight I earned it...), and generally non-gender specific (pretty floral patterns notwithstanding).

Shall we? Yes, lets.

Make Yourself At Home

Science tells us that coziness, as a state, does not arise spontaneously. Nor can it be manufactured, unlike its overreaching and morally loose relative "atmosphere." Sports bars have atmosphere. The Gap has atmosphere. Cozy... it comes from the soul.

Coziness must be carefully coaxed into being by the strategic accumulation of the "right" things. One must create an environment into which coziness can naturally flow by ordering these things in "just such a way." Once you have put the right things in just such a way, coziness -- arising zen-like -- becomes present.

Begin with your environment, the physical friction point between you and the world. Your home or apartment is obviously where you want to start. Tents, cars, and elevators may appear "cozy" at first glance, but we all know this doesn't last. No, the living space is your canvas. NB: The kitchen and bathroom are ancillary support spaces to the overall coziness, but are not cozy themselves. Essentially, they contain too much porcelain.

(By the way, at the outset, you may be tempted to try and force the issue. Do not allow this to happen. One small error in judgement and you'll never get to the Promised Land.)

First, you'll want to bring in some rich, creamy -- almost fattening -- lighting. Out with the desk lamps, bare bulbs, buzzing fluorescents. Out, out, out. The human retina is a delicate little spot; treat it as such. Candles are obviously a core element for almost any cozy place; if you have the knack, you can turn any studio apartment into a mystical and seductive pied-a-terre with pocket change.

There's no need to be strictly medieval, however. Lamps are fair game, as long as they have a certain... humility. Eschew halogen; it is braggadocio illuminated (and no, it's not noble). Instead, find a classic or inspired lamp that will fill the room gently, elegantly. This is not only soothing, but strategically romantic. The human face is complemented by light of certain warm hues; moreover, it looks funny when it squints.

With the right lighting in place, it's time to move on to the creature comforts. Perhaps the most important element of true coziness, there is simply no substitute for getting rilly, rilly comfy.

Everybody In... Bed

Start at either end; let's pick the one farthest away from your head. We certainly owe a debt to whatever itchy caveperson it was who first saw a sheep grazing in a field and thought, "Hm... maybe I could turn that inside out and put it on my feet." Find yourself some slippers; no backtalk, just do it.

Now to swath the self itself. Here in the 21st century, there are really only two options, one classic, one modern. Those of us who harken back to our roots, who dwell in tradition, in history, will accept no substitute for flannel pjs. Those, on the other hand, who look bravely toward the future, will pajamatically embrace perhaps the greatest invention of the space age: polar fleece.

(Some plucky New Zealanders are trying to reinvigorate the union suit, but that model may -- like the 78 or the villanelle -- have already plunged off the cliff of obsolescence. No hard feelings.)

Once you've come this far, it's good to have something to climb under or into that's really up to the job. Don't skimp. You've got important reading and TV watching to do; you'd hate to be halfway through "Wuthering Heights" or "Dr. Zhivago" and find your sheets weren't really that cozy after all.

Do remember, however, that you're going to need something to keep you in a state of mobile coziness as you go back and forth from the kitchen and the bathroom for essential supplies. Again, flannel or fleece, you can't go too far wrong. There is anecdotal evidence, though, that a fleece-fleece combination is a potentially, uh, charged situation. If you're going to get frisky with a friend, be responsible and ground yourself first.

Cats, of course, are coziness brought to life. Why not get involved with one?

Oh, and one last point on the topic of the Cozy Environment. In winter it's generally too cold to have the windows open. But a really cozy room can, admittedly, get stuffy, what with the candles, the cat, and all that flannel. Don't worry. We've got you covered.


Your living space is well on the way toward deep coziness. But to seal the deal, to really nail the landing, you have to be ready to commit. It's time to make soup. Onion soup, pea soup, chicken soup, asparagus soup, beer cheese soup, or lentil chili, it really doesn't matter. But you'll need a big, delectable pot of it simmering away on the stove. This is non-negotiable.

Soup without bread? Let's not even discuss it.

(Meanwhile, in the course of researching this column, we discovered a whole new way to tell someone they're not "The One." The Big To Do is proud to present: bread for when you can't commit.)

If you are developing an extended, multi-day zone of coziness then you will need to plan a menu of items that will get you through. Cozy-authorized foods include family recipes for chicken-and-dumplings, most mashed potato recipes, and of course cookies. (Would that we were all lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, where cookiesandmilk.net speeds supplies to needy citizens.)

But these can all leave your kitchen in a state of wreckage, and god forbid you get your new flannel pjs wet doing dishes.This is why choosy cozeurs adore lasagna. Make it once (say, Friday night), and you can eat until Monday. It's lunch; it's dinner; it's a balanced meal and a bedtime snack.

"But it's such a production," you lament. "Who has time? I have three back episodes of Buffy to get through before I can even start on 'Groundhog Day!'" Ah, but you'll be relieved to know that, in these modern times, an expansive and provocatively conceived lasagna needn't be an all day affair. If fact, it's downright quick. Furthermore, if your taste doesn't run to the traditional Italian style, remember that the dish itself is only a Platonic ideal; there as many variations as can be imagined. As you cook, so shall you be fed.

Neglect desert at your peril. Three words: challah... bread... pudding. Cozy etiquette also demands vast quantities of tea, which should of course be no problem for you. Tea, tea, tea. Always plenty of tea to be had.

And of course, now that we're doing cozy in (dramatic pause) the Year 2000, the truth is you don't even really need to leave your house. Any number of considerate companies will gladly bring your groceries to the very threshold of your fortress of cozitude. Depending on where you live, you can get varying levels of service and freshness. Other folks will be happy to hook you up with straight up delivery... and some even want to do dinner and a movie.

Tell Me a Story

Which brings us to the last -- but oh so essential -- element you need to be truly, madly, deeply cozy: a good read, a great flick, the right tunes. With all the other elements for an exquisite escape in place, you'll finally make it over the rainbow with your favorite author, actor, or musician whispering sweet somethings at you. This may be the most highly subjective realm of all, for as they say, every time a different person picks up a novel, it is new all over again. That, and there's no accounting for taste. The Big To Do, not so vain as to force it's views on anyone (oh, wait), solicited opinions from around the country as to the "talent" whose art is innately cozifying. This is what we found...


The jazz singer leads the pack of cozy artistes, and there are so very many to choose from. Diana Krall's album "Love Scenes" was mentioned among contemporary singers. Chet Baker's "Best Of..." collection was a classic from the past. Experts agree, however, that Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald are at the very top of this particular game. How wonderful that we don't need to choose between them.

Cozy rock-n-roll is a robust oxymoron, but music is as broad as the world. A new album from a little-known New Orleans combo, Stavin' Chain, is rich, sweet, bluesy collection that works just fine on a cozy day. From the classical section, the soundtrack to the film, "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould," collects dozens of easy-to-enjoy piano pieces (primarily those of the masterful and melodious Bach) while at the same time remaining a serious consideration of Gould as a musician. And a surprise suggestion, but one worth looking into, is Danny Elfman's score for the film "Edward Scissorhands." Every cut is excellent.


Suggestions from the FOBTD (friends of... ) include Mark Helprin's "A Winter's Tale" and Nicole Mones' "Lost in Translation," which an esteemed colleague describe as "a totally absorbing chronicle of an American translator living in China. She is hired to work on an archeological dig, in search of the missing remnants of 'Peking Man,' and, of course, love and adventure ensue. Totally groovy magic carpet ride to China, if you're into that sort of thing." And so we are.

Also, "The Country Life" by Rachel Cusk is reportedly "fantastic. A strange and cerebral tale of, big surprise, a city girl's trip to the English countryside." And, if you've already made your way through the continuing Harry Potter series (which, notably, is perfectly acceptable subway reading in New York), then you might try a lost treasure called " Bridge of Birds," by Barry Hughart. It's the most extraordinary adventure, a "tale of an ancient China that never was."


Which brings us finally to the movies you'll watch as you settle under your chenille blanket in your fleece pjs all filled up with soup and cookies. The cozy film must be crisp enough to keep you awake (hey!) but not too demanding. Strangely, John Hughes (in general) appeared again and again in our informal survey results, so there's a whole genre you can go to in a pinch.

What else is popping out of the VCR? "The Philadelphia Story," with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart is a timeless classic (and how could you go wrong with that cast?). "Anne of Green Gables" gets a sentimental nod, as does "The Little Princess." (The 1939 version, that is; but the 1995 remake was well done, too.)

Ah, but what is a cozy night in front of the flickering screen with out a foreign film? Try Bill Forsyth's comedy "Local Hero," which is a riot; a subdued, Scottish one, but a riot nonetheless. Or, for a lovely movie about how we love the movies, take home Giuseppe Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso."

Cozy Is as Cozy Does

Warm? Comfy? Sleepy? Happy? By now, everybody should be making plans to ride out this cold front in style. Just apply the techniques above, sample from our suggestions, indulge yourselves, and invent your own perfect escape... without ever leaving the comfort of your own house!

The Big To Do will be back next week with more extroverted extra-curriculars. But in the meantime, have a cozy weekend!

By the time you read this, Colin Lingle will be on the sofa with a big piece of lasagna.

Back to Main To Do Page | Next Date


blog | advice | comics | animation | goodies | to do | archive | about us

Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb
© 2008 Just Friends Productions, Inc.
| privacy policy
Cool Aid!

Important Breakup Girl Maxim:
Breakup Girl Sez

The 10 worst first-date locations

True Story: I even moved to be near him

3-Day Free Trial Offer

Next To Do
What's This?

Web BG.net

San Fran
New Years
Look Back
BAR Tampa
Dawson, NC
Blah Blah
Big Sib
Change of Heart
10 Things...
TalkBoy Pen
Oscar Party
Kurt Elling
Amy's Machine
V-Day TV
Sex on the Web
1st Saturdays
Il Buco
Mary Jane...