A lot has changed since our parents were in the dating scene. They couldn't break up over an SMS, show how they swap spit on Facebook, or hook-up through the plethora of online dating sites available to us now. Some are paid sites like the popular JDate, Plenty Of Fish, or Yahoo Personals, but there are many free dating sites and directories to choose from to meet your match.
But more than how people meet today has been a game changer in the dating scene, with more mindfulness to our planet, navigating through a date -- especially when you find that perfect he or she to be green-minded -- is risky business. If you haven't earned yourself a Green MBA chances are there's a lot to learn. And I am here to offer you some very creative "green" dating tips to impress, seduce and sweep that perfect "green" someone off their feet.
1. Know what they do (and don't) eat
Environmentalists can be tricky to feed, since many stay away from the highly-polluting meat industry. The question is, how much do they steer clear of meat? Your vegetarian sweetheart may not eat fish and your vegan honey may not eat, well, honey. Yeah that's right, honey. Vegans avoid all animal-produced food items (the most obvious of which are dairy and eggs), including the sweet, golden apiarian nectar. So before starting preparations on that romantic home cooked meal, know the deal.
2. Un-pimp your ride
If you're dating somebody who counts carbon emissions like a cheerleader counts calories, consider not showing up for your date in a huge, flashy SUV. Wanna really turn them on? Show up in a super gas efficient car, or better yet - a tandem bike. Don't have either? A walk would be eco-acceptable as well.
3. Wear vintage clothing
While some singles like their dates to be wearing the trendiest, newest duds out there, you are probably more likely to catch an environmentalist's eye by wearing second-hand vintage clothing. Used clothing requires no additional energy (and carbon emissions) to produce, and since it can't be found in a chain store splattered all over the place it is sure to make you stand out as well.
4. Brush up on your environmental lingo
The environmental movement has developed some new terminology since they taught you about ecology and how important it is to recycle in the 5th grade. "Locavore", believe it or not, has nothing to do with locomotive trains and "carbon footprint" doesn't refer to an actual footprint left in a block of carbon. Read TreeHugger, or my own green blog Green Prophet for the latest news.
5. Get a library card and use it
Most environmentalists are all about reducing unnecessary energy consumption wherever possible. This includes reducing energy consumption in the personal entertainment sector which, if you want to have a classic dinner and a movie date, is tricky. Your green date is bound to be more impressed by a home cooked meal (see tip number 1) and a movie rented from the library than a swanky meal at a wasteful restaurant and a movie projected onto a huge screen.
6. Take super short showers
In preparation for your date, haul a timer with you into the shower. You and your date can turn it into a flirtatious competition - who took the shorter shower (and therefore saved much more water) before going out? You get extra points if you use homemade shampoo and conditioner (note to self: add the word "paraben" to your new environmental jargon). Don't forget to wash behind your ears, though.
7. Set the mood with candles
If you're having your green, vegetarian/vegan love interest over for the evening, save a little electricity and set the mood with some candles. Just make sure the candles are made out of soy and not regular paraffin wax (which is made from petroleum and scores you far fewer points). See? Environmentalism can be romantic too.
*Last but not least: there are a number of popular green dating sites out there like Ethical Singles to choose from. But I wouldn't suggest that you limit your online dating search and online instincts by meeting just through sites like these. Today you'll find environmentalists lurking and cropping up everywhere on free dating sites.
I hope some of these tips will both educate and help you navigate your way through a good date, the first step on the road to a green wedding (common law or legal) ... and hopefully green bouncing babies ...
Karin Kloosterman is the editor and founder of the leading Middle East environment news site Green Prophet. You can reach her via email@example.com. Research for this post comes by way of Karen Chernick.