How do I love thee? Let me count the watts!
And so it goes when betrothed to a well-meaning eco sentinel, a man on a mission to recognize the dangers and combat the plagues of global warming.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m very committed to a greener lifestyle. I write for EcoSalon (Exhibit A) and turn off the tap when brushing my teeth (Exhibit B). I recycle, compost, carpool and use bath towels at least twice before washing. I rest my case.
Still, I never figured the “other woman” in my marriage would be our beloved Mother Earth, a demanding temptress in constant need of love and attention.
Image: E.L. Bradley
Here’s a list of the ups and downs of my low energy/high drama, marital life – one fraught with the challenges of not just getting along with a spouse but also saving a beleaguered planet.
Pro: I have learned everything I ever wanted to know about sustainable living, including never wearing flip-flops when I leave the house because you can’t outrun a tsunami in these poolside-only shoes.
Con: Vigorous beach walks are often disrupted by his loud, pedantic diatribes on the dangers of the sea level rising due to melting ice and the heating and expansion of the ocean. “This will all be under water, soon enough,” he observes. Sometimes a gal just wants to talk about the pretty day or how many calories she’s burning.
Pro: It can be quite romantic preparing and eating dinner together in the dark.
Con: It’s tricky wielding sharp Cutco blades to chop organic vegetables assisted only by the flick of a BIC® . I have a tendency to turn the lights back on to see better and that can cause some friction in the relationship.
Pro: There is tons of space in the closet and dresser for my stylish dresses, tops, swimsuits, lingerie, shorts, shoe troves and workout clothes.
Con: His one purchase in five years, a cruelty-free patchwork vest from Haight Street, is embarrassing at black-tie events. I know, I know, I should be less conventional, but I do miss the Brooks Brothers-clad Ken Doll I married. Give him back, earth lady! Ken was the best prop a stylish girl ever had.
Pro: All this frugal living has greatly lowered the utility bills.
Con: My living room is the Tundra. “Hey, it’s summer in the City, honey,” I complain, teeth chattering, frost accumulating on my bob. He jokes, “You aren’t cold, you’re just dying.” Very funny, Ken. Toss another blanket on your Barbie, mate, while we await those solar panels.
Pro: Fuel-efficient bike riding has greatly aided my summer weight loss program. Where did my big butt go? Anyone seen it? Anyone seen a big Jewish tush?
Con: The uphill battle of saving energy is murder. His legs are iron. That’s why he can climb the Alps of San Francisco saddled with a backpack of groceries without a huff or a puff. Damn him!
Pro: I’m not tied to one of those superficial yuppies who talks about money and deals at dinner parties, has a wandering eye or sports tacky pinkie rings on our jaunts to Vegas.
Con: I never get Yurman jewelry from Neiman’s on my birthday; flights to the Four Seasons in Mexico are replaced by short getaways to rustic cabins at Costanoa; we have to walk to the Avenue for dinner or take the train downtown (sometimes scary) even though my legs are sore from biking. His old, 8-cylinder Mercedes remains lifeless in the garage. He refuses to sell it ’cause someone else will drive the gas hog.
Con: You are on board as first mate every day of your life whether you like it or not. Once they get their hooks in you, their whale wars are your whale wars. Hence, a simple walk at the beach, trek through a forest or hour of CNN will never be the same again.
Main image: CarbonNYC