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The Unsexy Truth About What Dating Will Look Like In A Future Climate Crisis

Photo: Christian Vinces / Shutterstock
Couple gazing into the ocean at night holding hands

If there’s anything that could give humanity a collective kick in the posterior over the biggest issue ever to threaten our species, it’s going to be the effects that climate change will have on your dating life. No one wants to be embarrassed, inconvenienced, or otherwise compromised in front of a potential romantic partner. 

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Unfortunately, there are bound to be a whole bundle of compromising situations in the dating lives of future couples. 

Everyone splits the bill going forward

Paying for your date’s drinks is about to get a whole lot more expensive. It’s true that many of us already struggle to decide who’s picking up the tab or whether to split the bill, but after the world loses a huge percentage of its barley production and the cost of beer skyrockets, we’ll be having more serious conversations about our dates’ drinking habits. 

Europe alone is projected to lose half of its barley yield by the end of the century. The price of a single bottle of beer is going to rise anywhere from 43% to 383%. Of course, this won’t happen all at once, so expect to see the cost of booze going up throughout the course of the rest of your dating life. 

It’s not just beer we have to worry about, either. We’ll begin to lose all kinds of plants that sustain our lives across a variety of areas like food, clothing, medicine, and more. 

Long walks on the “beach”

Get ready to enjoy beachfront strolls like you’ve never seen before. 40% of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas, so it’s no wonder that dating profiles are filled with people who love long walks on the beach. 

Beach dates of the future will involve a lot more physical exertion and hiking than we’re used to. We’ll be climbing over submerged rooftops, hand-in-hand, because rising sea levels will have swallowed up America’s coastal properties. 

And we’re fast approaching a scenario where melting ice sheets will trigger total system collapse, which will only accelerate rising seas. 

So, if you and your date are into hiking or rock climbing, you’re going to have a competitive advantage over other couples who struggle with the new normal of beachfront walking. 

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No more stressing over what to wear

Good news! It’s not all bad. Wardrobe choices will soon be a thing of the past. We’ll only need one garment when we step outside. Soon we’ll be meeting our dates in all the same clothes. 

Because, if you aren’t wearing your trusty Hazmat suit for protection from the sun’s increasingly fatal UV rays, you’ll be burned to a crisp and covered with cancerous growths faster than you can say, “I had a really nice time.” 

No more strutting around in revealing bikinis or banana hammocks, or worrying about that scar on your hip, because the full-body protection your totally encapsulated self will enjoy will conceal anything that stresses you out until you’re feeling comfortable enough to share. Plus, the places where you’d normally wear these things will be underwater, anyway. 

Fake tans will be all the rage, underground

Even before the point where we’ll all be dressed in the same protective body suits, where we’re headed, the entire population won’t be able to step outside without running risk of dying from direct heat alone. It’ll begin with the hotter and drier regions, but quickly involve parts of the U.S. like the lower Mississippi Valley and even New York City. 

So when we’re all living and dating in underground tunnels, potential couples will want to find a way to maintain that rosy, healthful glow. And we’ll want to do so without involving any UV light, because death. 

Moisturizers and lotions for all skin types and tones will be readily available to make your dreary and wrinkled subterranean goblin skin come alive again. You’ll draw stares from all the single cave dwellers in your section of the underground if you remember to apply liberally every morning. 

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More destination dating and long-distance relationship success

More good news; traveling will be huge in the near future. You’ll get to take your date on destination getaways to new places on a regular basis. As climate refugees, the two of you will be constantly escaping to safety after your current home is rendered uninhabitable by heat, flooding, desertification, food shortages, or government collapse. 

This will be a great time to enjoy the depth of culture and variety of cuisines across the globe, all the while practicing the phrasing you’ve picked up from your new lifetime subscription to Rosetta Stone, which is soon to be a necessity for all people everywhere. 

Research suggests that governments could begin to crumble by 2050. As each new state descends into chaos around you, be sure to plan your new refugee vacations to regions that can sustain human life for a decent number of years before you’ll be forced to move on again. Everyone knows that external stability is a necessary factor in any successful romantic partnership. 

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And, if you’ve been dating long distance, this could be your lucky day. Maybe you’ll get to finally meet up with the guy of your dreams as you're both evacuated into tent cities on the edge of the latest abandoned civilization. 

Eventually, as some suggest, we could even travel to other planets to escape the devastating effects of climate change. Stargazing with your significant other is about to get a whole lot more intense. 

So, whether it’s a simple inconvenience like sharing the bar tab, or a major one like constantly traveling to escape newly collapsing societies, there will be a lot of adjustments for dating in the climate crisis. 

Kevin Lankes, MFA, is an editor and author. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Here Comes Everyone, Pigeon Pages, Owl Hollow Press, The Huffington Post, The Riverdale Press, and more.