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Here’s What You Need To Know Before Dating An Environmentalist

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Flickr / Steven Depolo
Flickr / Steven Depolo

Does your significant other get really bent out of shape trying to explain to friends and family members the looming threat of unlabeled GMO food? Maybe he or she is really into organic farming and spreading awareness about the dangers of recombinant bovine growth hormone. Doesn’t it just drive them crazy, thinking about big oil, about fossil fuels and climate change, about the rising levels of mercury in our already overfished waters? If you can identify with me, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re dating an environmentalist, which is a pretty big catch-all label, sure. But environmentalists care, they really, really care. That’s the whole point.

And so when dating an environmentalist, you’ve got to anticipate all of that extra caring, you have to react accordingly. I used to try so hard to live up to the expectations of my environmentalist girlfriend. I made several attempts to incorporate organic locally harvested flaxseed into all of my favorite recipes. There were all sorts of new foods that I was assured were healthier not only for me, but for the environment. For example, have you ever had to press the moisture out of a block of extra-firm tofu? Talk about a ton of extra prep-work. And for what?

It was all for nothing. Because even though I poured my heart into meeting my girlfriend’s environmentalist dietary habits, she was always complaining that my food didn’t taste good. Worst of all, she would blame it on me, saying stuff like, “I can tell that you don’t really care about the importance of free-range quinoa. Holistic cooking is more than just following a recipe.” One time I baked her these kale chips, and after one bite, she grimaced, telling me, “Rob, these kale chips have no heart.” I didn’t know what she was talking about.

It turns out that I was going about it all wrong. Of course I’d never be able to live up to her environmentalist standards, and that’s because I figured out that I was trying too hard to play a game that I never had a shot at actually winning. What I mean is, of course those kale chips tasted gross. Have you ever had kale chips? They’re gross.

So I tried something different. I went the grocery store and bought a box of Cap’n Crunch. I poured the cereal into a food processor and ground the nuggets into a really coarse flour. After that, I mixed in about half a jar of Marshmallow Fluff, and kept pulsing the machine until I had a gooey paste. I rolled the paste out and cut it into thin squares, then baked the squares in the oven until they were golden brown.

“Honey,” I showed my girlfriend the treats. “Look what I made!” She looked at me skeptically, asking me what they were, but I told her to trust me, to just try one, that she’d love it. And she did love it. After just one bite her face lit up in an expression of joy I didn’t know she was capable of feeling. “These are delicious!” she was beaming. She finished the whole batch.

Afterwards, she asked me what they were, and I made something up about whole-grain sorghum, sweetened with small-batch agave nectar … I don’t remember exactly what I said, I threw in a ton of buzzwords, but she totally bought it. And she was genuinely happy. I found that the source of her discontent was this constant search to satisfy her environmentalist ideals while at the same time placating her basic hunger for food. Was it wrong of me to pull such a blatant deception? I struggled with that, sure, but ultimately I found that I was doing her a favor, allowing her to have good food and peace of mind.

And although food is a big part of every relationship, there’s so much more to dating an environmentalist than just whipping up some faux-healthy snacks. Like every once in a while she’d watch some documentary on YouTube about melting ice caps or giant oil spills, she’d spend days at a time lamenting the state of our collective carbon footprint. So I went to the Home Depot and mounted some tinted plexiglass to the front of my house, I told her, “Baby, look, I installed solar panels. I’m totally off the grid.” And she was so happy. “Thank you,” she said, and I said, “You’re welcome.”

Buy her a pair of sick leather boots and tell her they’re pleather. Print out a bunch of official looking receipts and tell her you donated a bunch of money to a humanitarian organization. Tell her you made all of the donations in her name. She’ll be really happy. Trust me, it’s really hard to practice the ideals of environmentalism. Just, for your significant other’s sake, take a few shortcuts. Do it on his or her behalf. You’ll both be a lot happier in the long run. I promise. TC mark

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