The most fun you can have with the lights on
April 4, 2020 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Help me think of indoor activities for couples, besides the obvious one. (Or, at the risk of chatfilter: what hobbies and projects are you and your partner doing to pass the quarantime together?)

We have a little money to throw at (or "invest in") this, but not a lot of room. We live in the city, in a 1br apartment and don't have backyard/balcony space, so we're mostly interested in indoor hobbies (and hiking/cycling trails nearby have been absolutely packed full of people who aren't maintaining much distance, even when there's plenty of room to do so).

We already watch lots of movies/streaming TV, and we also already spend too much time in front of screens for work and leisure, so I'm looking for something a little less passive. (That said, we'd definitely be into recommendations for videogames, especially cooperative/collaborative ones that don't involve shooting zombies, and especially ones you can play on a Mac or Android device.)

We also already cook together a lot and are mostly interested in projects--like sourdough, fermentation, or a similar skill honed by repetition--rather than just making meals together, which we do almost every day.

My "Besides the obvious one" sass aside, if anyone's having great sex and incorporating some sort of daily variables into it ("Today let's try X new/different thing, and tomorrow we'll do Y.."), I'm all ears. Unfortunate wrinkle: astonishingly squeaky bed + downstairs neighbor.

That said, despite my caveats above, I'd love to hear what you're doing to pass the time, whether or not it seems appropriate to our situation; if it's adaptable, that's great. If it's not, maybe it'll be a useful suggestion for others!
posted by tapir-whorf to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
You know, modern board games are super fancy these days. Consider a cooperative like Mansions of Madness?
posted by praemunire at 4:05 PM on April 4, 2020

Husband and I are having a mocktail hour each evening. We have to come up with new drinks made from things already in the house (I'm sort of cheating because I have a lot of Topo Chico stocked up, even when its not a quarentine). Anyway, we're doing mocktails because 1. Husband doesn't drink alcohol and 2. When I drink Alcohol I crave cigarettes which is even more verbotten now than normal times, but you could do regular cocktails if you wanted. Its fun to plan our drinks, and try new, admittedly sometimes awful, combos.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 4:13 PM on April 4, 2020

Best answer: We started a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle last night, while watching a friend's band stream a living room concert on YouTube. I haven't done a puzzle since I was 8 years old. We've also done a a couple of salsa dancing lessons that we found on YouTube.
posted by COD at 4:14 PM on April 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

dancing, bananagrams, movies … but the most fun was dusting off the Wii and playing Wii Fit for laffs.
posted by scruss at 4:30 PM on April 4, 2020

A few possibilities in the boardgame realm:
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Codenames Duet
Ganz Schon Clever
The Rise of Queensdale

If you're up for something on the expensive and complicated side, Gloomhaven is a gigantic box of co-operative monster-fighting fun that will keep the right kind of couple occupied for months.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:33 PM on April 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

We are doing a devilishly hard jigsaw puzzle (partner mutters under his breath "this thing is like the Battle of the Bulge") and we're going to try to make masks tomorrow. We're also working our way through Karen Overall's relaxation protocol with my insanely excitable dog. And I've been cooking a LOT.

I have an accordion I never really learned to play and a series of teach-yourself-the-accordion books. I might give that a shot.

I don't actually have all that much more free time because I'm lucky enough to still have a job and be able to do it from home, but it feels like I need to fill the time I do have with soothing activities. Banana bread. Jigsaw puzzles. Movies. In real life (B.C.), we didn't normally do much more than cook dinner, walk the dog, and sit around talking over a drink. It's weird.
posted by HotToddy at 4:44 PM on April 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

If one of you has long enough hair, the other should learn how to French braid it.
posted by Charity Garfein at 4:47 PM on April 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

posted by Wild_Eep at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2020

Oh yeah and he needs a haircut. That should be entertaining.
posted by HotToddy at 5:02 PM on April 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I'd say we're having the most fun with our '80s childhood rumpus-room throwback nights. I downloaded torrents containing hours and hours of old MTV broadcasts (1981-1984), including all the commercials (some on YT!), and we throw those on as if we're watching them live while we make dinner. And I recently had my original Atari 2600 modified to work with our TV, so we've been booting that up after dinner and playing all the old games.

Project-wise, we converted our porch to a catio using chicken wire and bird netting, so the kids can hang outside, and my partner made us a nice little Burning Man-style chill spot with string lights and cushions and fabric in one corner.

We're also both musicians, so we've been having songwriting challenges where we lock ourselves away in our respective rooms/studios, and at the end of the night just before bed, we play each other what we came up with. Super-inspiring in both directions, and it's keeping us creatively active during a time of anxiety-induced stasis.
posted by mykescipark at 5:11 PM on April 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Go through a deck of card and determine if either one of you is psychic.

Japanese bondage -- learn to tie some knots????
posted by zengargoyle at 5:32 PM on April 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

On the off chance both of you sing, it's possible to find some music online for two voices. We've done a little of that. Memail me if you want some pointers on where to find.

My bf is making sourdough and I am sorta helping-ish and it has a lot of steps which can be good in times of boredom. None of them last a really long time but it's engaging in its way.

Cribbage, if you have a deck of cards, is easily learned. It's not riveting but it passes half an hour with a very low stakes sense of competition. Theoretically it requires a scoreboard thingy but there's no reason not to keep score on paper.
posted by less of course at 5:33 PM on April 4, 2020

We’re doing a lot of crossword puzzles (usually two at once, until one of us gets stuck, then we switch.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:45 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Our go to game when it's just the two of us is Spit (also called speed?) We played that a lot when we traveled and had time to kill.
posted by freethefeet at 5:56 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can oil your bed to make it quieter btw. If you need more specific tips tell us the basic design etc but you’ll go a long way with a jar of 3-in-1 oil or silicone spray lube.

Also put each foot on foam or even cardboard for further noise isolation.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:04 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

-dressing up in wedding/fancy/weird clothes and using the tripod to take portraits around the house (ooh, or you could take boudoir pics!)
-trying to get better at food photography and plating
-learning and playing old songs together, me singing and him on the piano
-at home karaoke (song + karaoke or lyrics on YouTube, singing acapella)
-reorganizing our kitchen together and rearranging furniture
-cards/backgammon/board games

And, I gave him a haircut today! It went surprisingly well and was a lot of fun (for me, at least). This is the video I watched before I did it. Be careful not to nip the base of your fingers.
posted by stellaluna at 6:29 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

You could take turns reading to each other. Or, read the same book and discuss. A mini book club of sorts.

Learn/practice massage.

Ellen Degeneres has been building a huge LEGO set.

Are you working out/doing yoga together?

For bedroom activities, you could do the mojo upgrade quiz!
posted by yawper at 6:44 PM on April 4, 2020

Best answer: I made a Spotify Coronavirus playlist, and Mr. Yenta danced to it using only his ears.

We discussed whether or not it was a wise idea for Mr. Yenta to clean his own teeth using the Dremel tool.

We discussed why the flashlight that got dropped in the broken, flooded water softener was his “best” flashlight.

We drive a cat crazy with the red laser dot.

We’re trying to find the perfect carrot cake recipe and the perfect bread machine recipe.

We are eating a lot of carrot cake and a lot of bread.

We are shit-talking about people who support “the other candidate”.

We are discussing where we’re going to escape to, permanently, after this is all over. Locations both foreign and domestic, and we watch YouTube videos about each place. I also join Facebook groups and Reddit subs about each place, and we discuss the pros and cons of things we learn there.

I am learning Spanish, and am telling Mr. Yenta in Spanish that I have a hotel reservation, and I need water.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:09 PM on April 4, 2020 [6 favorites]

Guess I should have linked the playlist.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:21 PM on April 4, 2020

Writing songs together.

Old school dance parties by virtually going to Clifton's.

"Going" to these wonderful interactive shows. Some candles and a bottle of wine and you're set.


Paint nights.

Dance classes
posted by shadygrove at 10:31 PM on April 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Making pasta - lots of variations, and a skill that can be reasonably rewarding from the start and also develop over time.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 7:10 AM on April 5, 2020

We like marathoning things and get competitive over streaks, so we keep up a bunch of daily rituals and challenges (individual and together) and see how many days in a row we can Duolingo, or do Ring Fit, or bake a different cookie every night, or watch every Scooby-Doo episode ever made, or yes sex. Right now, we're playing one round of every game we own, one a night, to determine the Ultimate Winner.
Other ideas:
* 36 Questions to Fall in Love
* Bird feeders provide endless entertainment, start a house bird list with all your observations.
* Grow things. We have an indoor grow spot with an Aerogarden, lion's mane mushroom kits and a bunch of regrown produce.
* Put that mattress on the floor.
posted by Freyja at 7:13 AM on April 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

We have been exercising in our living room together. This is something my husband does even during normal times and he absolutely loves being my fitness instructor. We’ll put on some energetic music and do a bunch of squats, leg lifts, stretches, things like that. Then he draws me a bubble bath. It’s become a weird highlight to my day.
posted by cakelite at 8:30 AM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

We now have a Mommastrong and a Pappastrong subscription.

I first read it as a recommendation here on Metafilter and it’s been such a great thing. Spot on, easy to do - 15 minutes of fitness every day. And Courtney is the best! And it’s just 5$ a month.
posted by mathiu at 9:04 AM on April 5, 2020

We’re trying to listen to all of the records in our collection and get them organized. My kids had an idea to sleep in every room in the house, which could be interesting for you to try?
posted by areaperson at 10:08 AM on April 5, 2020

I'd broadly endorse the concept of legacy games, where each game affects the next, and there's usually a sort of over-riding story that lasts between games. If it's not too on-the-nose, my wife and I have been enjoying working through Pandemic Legacy. My kids and I enjoyed Charterstone.

Also, if you ignore the bit about mismatched players, my answer to another AskMe applies equally well here.
posted by yankeefog at 4:08 AM on April 6, 2020

Papercraft is fun, works well in pairs, and covers a huge variety of topics. eg I've recently been building AstroMedia's small Newtonian telescope.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:22 AM on April 6, 2020

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