The Truth About Love From Instagram’s Favorite Poet Atticus

Mel Stephens
Feb 12 · 5 min read

There’s a reason that New York Times Bestseller Atticus is one of the most quotable poets on Instagram. With people like actress Lucy Hale getting his words inked on their skin, readers often see themselves in the beautiful prose written by the man behind the reflective Guy Fawkes mask. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to chat all things love and romance with our favorite Instagram Mystery Man. “I think poetry for me is kind of the art of trying to explain the ineffable, trying to explain the unexplainable and it can only go so far,” Atticus mused. “The real art of it, the real love and romance is so much more in just the unexplainable.” Love and romance may be enigmatic, but here are six reminders about love to keep in mind this Valentine’s Day (and every day) from one of this generation’s most romantic poets.

Don’t overcomplicate it. Sometimes we worry so much about coming up with the perfect date that we suck the romance right out of it. “One time I brought my girlfriend onto our sailboat and kind of set this whole thing up. I set a projector up and we watched movies and I got all her favorite candy and we had a movie night on the boat and then we went up to lay on the top of the boat and just looked up at the stars,” Atticus said. Can’t hop aboard the Love Boat this Valentine’s Day? You could recreate this idea by building a fort in your living room with blankets, pillows and all the cozy things. Pour some wine and create a charcuterie board of your love’s favorite candies and snacks. Need a romantic movie suggestion? Atticus is a fan of Titanic and The Notebook. He explained, “It’s a classic and some people think it’s cheesy, but I think The Notebook is actually a very well told love story.”

Use your noggin. You don’t have to spend a lot of cash to let the ones you love know you’re thinking of them. “The thoughtful, less expensive gifts are so often the most meaningful. It’s all about being creative and putting thought into it,” Atticus pointed out. Is your bae obsessed with The Office? Snag one of these themed Valentine cards on Etsy, cook up Jim Halpert’s famous grilled cheese sandwich, get them a giant teddy bear that would put Bob Vance to shame and watch their favorite episodes. Romance doesn’t have to equal fancy dinners and extravagant gifts. Sometimes it really is the simple things that show you care.

Remember that romance isn’t just about Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s all the Hallmark movies set in freak snowstorms that have rendered the entire city frozen in a twinkle lit wonderland, but winter has the potential to be prime romantic real estate. “There’s just something so nice about, especially if you’re in a snowy place or you’re going skiing or whatever, there’s kind of like that coziness that I certainly love,” Atticus said. Need another perfect occasion to show your sweetie how smitten you are? Their birthday! When I asked Atticus if he had any examples of romantic things he had done for someone special he remembered, “I was dating a girl once and she was kind of obsessed with Christmas. So for her birthday one year I threw her a mid-year Christmas and I got all of her friends to send presents and I wrapped them all and she woke up and there’s a full Christmas tree and all of her presents from all of her best friends and family and everything. She had a full Christmas in the summer.”

Celebrate all the love in your life. The Beatles once said that ‘all we need is love’ and you know what? They weren’t wrong. “Love is so much grander than just romance,” Atticus said thoughtfully. “It’s companionship, it’s partnership. It’s in so many ways family and it’s friends and on a grander scheme it’s like your quality of relationships and how you put yourself out in the world.” If you’re feeling bummed out about Valentine’s Day, Atticus suggests spending time with friends or family and appreciating the love you have in your life.

Stop snacking. Atticus heard that advice from a relationship coach and it really resonated with him. “What she meant by that was stop wasting your time with people that you know for sure aren’t going to go anywhere because it just completely consumes your space for where you could be finding the right people,” Atticus explained. In a world where people are often spending a lot of energy swiping left or right, ‘snacking’ is a trap many people fall into. He adds, “It’s so easy to kind of ‘snack’ and just have these useless conversations or pursue people you don’t see yourself ending up with.” It may be tempting to chat up some cutie on Bumble this Valentine’s Day just to have someone to hang with. But if there’s no connection, save your energy. They may be a snack, but sometimes it’s worth waiting for the full course dinner and dessert.

Self love may help you find true love. “The better you are and feel the more magnetic you’re going to be. It sounds trite, but that’s when so often that you find someone. When you just work on yourself and make yourself the best version of yourself you can be and present that to the world. That’s when it happens, in my experience,” Atticus said. The greatest side effect of self love? Spending time getting to know who you are, what you want in life, and what makes you happy. This Valentine’s Day, take a long bath, sign up for those cooking classes you’ve been wanting to try, or spend a whole day rewatching every episode of Queer Eye. The bottom line is, do what makes you feel good. Why wouldn’t you want to want to spend time with you? You’re pretty amazing.

For more swoonworthy thoughts from Atticus make sure to follow him on Instagram @atticuspoetry and check out his podcast Naked On Cashmere. I find it’s best enjoyed with a glass of Lost Poet wine available on his website

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