Before I left Chicago last fall and moved in with my long-distance boyfriend in New York, I thought a lot about all the benefits such a lifestyle change could create. I fantasized about Sunday mornings with my boyfriend when neither of us would have to worry about rushing off to catch a flight. I thought about mundane weekday evenings, too, making dinner and hanging out after work, something we’d never experienced together before. And I thought about the career opportunities, culture, and new friendships, not to mention fabulous shopping that awaited me in the world’s finest city. What I didn’t think about, however, was the benefit my move would have on the environment, something a recent article on Slate suggests all LDR couples should consider.
In fact, in the article, author Barron YoungSmith argues that the carbon imprints of long distance relationships from their frequent flights and long drives are ruining the environment, suggesting that the lifestyle of a hypothetical bi-coastal couple is “about six times worse for the environment than that of the average gas-guzzling American.” But that’s not his only argument against LDRs. He also writes, “By spending all their free time out of town or staring at a webcam—that is, in their apartments or airline cabins, rather than in parks, bowling alleys, and pubs—long-distance lovers erode civic commitment and social support networks.” YoungSmith is so displeased by and all this “erosion,” he proposes a “robust Date Local movement” similar to a local food movement. But I have news for YoungSmith, dating locally has severe social and environmental implications, too. Here are the nine negative effects of dating locally:
1. Cruising and bar-hopping for dates increases CO2 emissions, as well as the possibility of drunk driving. Also, are bars really recycling all those empty beer bottles? Probably not.
2. YoungSmith indirectly argues that dating locally increases bowling alley attendance, but has he considered the price of diseases spread through shared bowling shoes and bowling ball finger holes? Very costly, I’m sure.
3. Couples who spend a lot of time together, like those who live in the same city, start to look and act alike over time, much like dogs and their owners do. This decreases unique world views and creativity. It’s also very annoying.
4. Dating locally increases the odds of running into exes in the laundromat or at the deli, and if there’s anything more awkward than making small talk with someone who’s seen you naked while you’re washing a load of intimates or eating an egg salad sandwich, I’m sure I don’t know what it is.
5. Couples who live in the same city watch tons of TV because after a while that’s just all there is to do together. And you know what all that TV-watching uses? Electricity — lots of it.
6. Dating locally means fewer excuses to miss significant others’ boring office parties and family events, which can lead to an increase in headaches and ulcers!
7. Ulcers are not easily diagnosed. There are often many tests involved, which mean frequent trips to the hospital, which increases CO2 emissions.
8. Ulcers also increase trips to the bathroom and use of toilet paper — paper, need I remind you, that cannot be recycled!
9. What are people in small-town Kentucky supposed to do? Date their cousins? That’s just gross.