Back in 2008, I learned of a new eco-phenomenon — Green speed dating! An e-mail from the organizers revealed plans to help single environmentalists find each other on the quick — and although I didn’t go myself, I mentioned the event on my personal blog — which was enough to entice a couple of my female friends to sign up!
Did they find green love? Sadly no. In fact, their experiences were so bad that I felt rather guilty for talking about the event with such enthusiasm. Chief among the issues? The organizers signed up twice as many women as men, a decision that my girls obviously weren’t happy with. According to them, the few men who were there tended to be on the extremely unique side, with one repeatedly professing to be a peaceful warrior.
Only one man there interested my two girlfriends. Both expressed their interest in him on their post-speed dating cards — but alas, he apparently did not feel the same way about them. On the upside, that prevented any potential uncomfortable dating issues between my friends!
With that green dating-by-proxy experience in my memory, I clicked with gleeful interest on Grist’s latest article in its green dating series, TreeShagger. Originally titled something like “How I did not find love on a green dating site,” the article has since been retitled an even bluer “Do all green dating sites suck?” And according to the author, Holly Richmond, the answer is a rather lonely yes.
You’ve got to read Holly’s article, because it’s hilarious. In it, she tries her luck at five green dating websites — most of which seem quirky, to put it kindly. At Planet Earth Singles, for example, “You have to specify your Chinese animal sign and Ayurvedic body type, as well as what you’re looking for, with options ranging from ‘tantric partner’ to ‘celibate marriage.’”
The dealbreaker with all the sites for Holly, however, comes down to the math: there aren’t enough men on the sites. The scarcity, of course, makes for funny reading. Only one guy seems to really grab Holly’s interest, but she doesn’t grab his: “I find a cute, divorced 36-year-old who likes coffee ice cream for breakfast, Wes Anderson movies, and This American Life. Jackpot! I sent him a free prewritten message, allowing a tiny bubble of hope to gurgle up in my esophagus. Then he hides his profile and the world hears a teeny popping sound.”
I've met plenty of great green guys at nondating-oriented environmental events — so I don't think male environmentalist in and of themselves are scarce or categorically strange — at least not by Southern Californian definitions. But is there really a dearth of normal, single environmentalist men interested in meeting green women? When the green speed-dating organizers e-mailed me to let me know about their next event, I let them know about my friends’ negative feedback. I wondered — were my friends exaggerating?
Well, the organizer himself was a guy, and this, to his credit, was his honest reply:
I don’t know if this is typical of speed-dating events or if maybe guys in general are just less likely to attend these events, but we’ve done everything we can to get more guys out there to attend. I’ve participated in a few of the events myself and do agree that a lot of the other guys in the group were a little weird (I hope no one thought I was like that!).
Well, I’ve now heard plenty of complaints from straight women about the difficulty of finding green men at green events and dating sites. But how about men seeking women? And the LGBT crowd? If you’ve tried green speed dating or green Internet dating, share the pleasures and perils of your experience in the comments.