Finding Love

Nearly all the single readers I've met have told me how hard it is to find someone who starts with the same basic mindset that they do. They talk about going on dates and trying to figure out when to ask someone "so, do you believe that industrial society has a future?" Or "what do you think the odds are that a resource depleted society can continue economic growth and what would you suggest we do about that?" It is a tough row to hoe. For those who are part of minority cultures, the struggle is even greater - finding that hot hispanic woman or Jewish guy with the dream of living offgrid can be a challenge.

For years, I've been getting emails asking me to talk about single life and finding love. And for years, I have avoided this topic because I'm not sure I have anything to add to it. I don't claim to understand how I got Eric - I mean, I understand the basic mechanics of it, but a friend of ours once observed that if she had to pick someone for me, Eric wouldn't even have been on the list - because at a superficial level, we seem to be incompatible. I've been with people who were compatible with me in all the ways I would intellectually have looked for - and had miserable relationships in some cases. To me, the fact that my marriage is as happy and compatible as it is is honestly something I view as an inexplicable bit of good fortune, or a gift from G-d, depending on my mood. I don't claim to know how to reproduce it for others.

And yet, there's manifestly a need. I know there are places for environmentally aware singles, but a lot of them tend to attract people with a different worldview. There's at least one doomer and one homesteader site I know of, but again, these aren't for everyone. So I'm wondering - if I tried to set up a place for single people who at least have my blog in common to talk to each other in the hopes that the same miracle or good fortune would descend upon them, would that be worth doing? Is there enough interest to make that worthwhile?

Just curious.


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Ah, Sharon- nobody ever pays attention to me. sniff.

:-) If you recall (ha)- some months ago right here in your comments, I casually made a very serious suggestion; about exactly this.

YOU, I said, should start organizing a Green Wedding Fair.

Ok, I'm SO not interested in all the ifs, buts, and probablies. Of course they exist. But. Could it be done? Yes- and make enough money to pay for itself- and result in some very nice matches. (and a huge amount of community building- and new friendships...)

It's an old phenomenon, for places where it's just difficult for people to meet. You advertise a year in advance- and make sure it becomes an annual event; easy to find and plan for.

It lasts at least 4 days. Kind of looks and runs like a RenFair. At the end- you have weddings- any that happen to be ready to to go; not necessarily just those formed in the previous 3 days. But a big celebration. Music. Babies. Grandparents.

It's combined with other green activities- set up a booth for your green craft if you like.

Etc, etc. etc.

The big problem with a website is- web personas are just not the same as real life.

In fact; I found Spice on the internet. But it was a long process. I looked for several years; emailed and im'd dozens of nice ladies; physically met 6; only one of whom turned out to be certifiably psychotic; but 3 of whom were desperately neurotic.

Basically; your ability to be cute and engaging in an IM has just nothing whatsoever to do with who you really are- or any of the personality traits that are important in a green lifepartner. Zip. No correlation here.

I think it would be far more functional to meet; from the outset, or nearly. In a place where you're comfortable- and it's a given that most of the folks here are looking for "serious".

You have the network here to do this; between you and Crunchy and the many others; you could set up 3 or 4, regionally.

The coverage by the MSM, incidentally, would be enormous.


a little less talk; a little more action.

I have to give my husband credit for us getting together, but everyone I know says "we would never have matched you two together, but in a strange way, it really works." We'll have been married 10 years in April and although we have our areas of disagreement, we are mostly happy. I don't think you can ask that another person agree with you 100% of time on 100% of things so if people are looking for that they are doomed to disappointment. I guess if people were willing to priortize and then compromise on their partner "wish list" it might work.

Laura in So Cal

By Laura in So Cal (not verified) on 20 Jan 2010 #permalink


I think, sometimes, the key to a good relationship lies in how well you disagree.


As a single woman in small town Northern Ontario the single side of things can be very challenging. It really feels like I know everyone in my demographic. I still try and get out there though and meet people, maybe sometime there will be someone new.

A singles site always sounds good but in my experience, there just isn't a population base in this area to support it. When 'local' on green singles is 600+km what would far away be?

I think there would be interest.

My youngest son is 23 and single. He dates occasionally but nothing ever comes of it. He would love to find the right young woman for himself. Someone who knows gardening & small livestock, who is alright with heating with wood, who is fit to ride a bicycle & to hike, who loves critters & babies. I don't think he would care if she came from rural Zambia or from Mars, Minnesota, so long as they got along. A service whereby a guy like my son could hook up with a compatible young woman would be greatly appreciated, I think. I would inform him of such a site.

By darwinsdog (not verified) on 20 Jan 2010 #permalink

I second Greenpa's idea! Unfortunately, I don't have much of a venue here in Anchorage to put one of these "marriage fairs" together.

However, something like that already happens in Alaska...sort of...

Rather tongue-in-cheek is the annual Wilderness Woman contest in beautiful downtown Talkeetna, AK (pop. 772) followed by the Bachelor Auction and Ball. All single women over the age of 21 are invited to participate where they will have to perform a number of necessary activities when living on the Last Frontier.

"The first round is a qualifier, in which, three or four women at a time run 100 yards with empty buckets to a âcreekâ, and return the same distance with full buckets. If any water is spilled, time is added. The five fastest finishers advance.

In the second round, women are asked to prepare a sandwich and open a beer for a lounging bachelor, and then head out into the âwoodsâ. The five finalists must put on snowshoes, and move from field to stream while shooting a latex âptarmiganâ, sawing a small piece off of a birch round, snagging a salmon, and evading a lonely âmooseâ.

Round three measures the five finalists snow machine skills. Each woman must fill a sled with split wood, then tow it by snow machine and feed the wood into a bonfire, around which bachelors tell lousy stories." (from the website)

Later in the evening is the Bachelor Auction and Ball. Winning ladies get a drink and a dance - guaranteed - from their "purchased" bachelor. Anything after the drink and dance is up to the lady and bachelor. Bachelor's apparently go to great lengths to drive up the bidding - well, you'll have to browse the website for photos *winkwink*

The events are sponsored by the Talkeetna Bachelor Society which is really a subset of the Denali Arts Council. Proceeds from the events get distributed to various charities that support women and children in crisis.

While this is done entirely in the spirit of silliness, it wouldn't take a whole lot to turn this into something closer to a matchmaker event. I'd change the contests around a bit to include agricultural activities and add a couple days where participants have more opportunities to mingle. Perhaps when things really start to tank around here the emphasis will shift. Something to keep an eye on.

Kerri in AK

By homebrewlibrarian (not verified) on 20 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm glad that I'm not single. I couldn't do that again. Strangely though, when I married my Jewish hubby, neither one of us thought we'd be going down this road. Now, I've got my hispanic neighbors reading your books and traveling the same road. Sometimes it just needs to grow on people.

My love story and yours ran along very similar veins --- I fell in love with someone who was a city guy and not really interested in homesteading, then I dragged him to the farm and he blossomed.

I think that in a way people are thinking too hard when they assume they must find a mate who shares all of their values. You'll evolve as a couple and hopefully end up somewhere good, but chances are it'll be nowhere near where you imagined you were going!

That said, when I was single I didn't even bother dating because I believed I'd never find someone who would be interested in homesteading and simple living. So, I probably would have visited your hypothetical site. :-)

Yep... waiting... where's my HONEY??? How many permaculture meetings, transition town forums, farming demos, etc. etc. can I go to and only see married men or what appear to be really confirmed batchelors? Of course, at my age, 62, that's probably par for the course. I'd run to one of these... even help coordinate one for sure!!
The other side of this is I'd sure just like to hook up with some folks who'd like to share the adventure of farming with me. Other communards out there, male or female, that just want to dig around in the muck with me?
I'm low in money and energy, but supremely high in enthusiasm and stick-to-itism! I can cook...

I know my brothers have a really hard time finding girls that are willing to put up with their 7-days a week, sun up to sun down (and later) work ethic. Most people don't understand that when the boys NEED to fed the horses, they need to be fed and that may mess up their dinner date plans. Or that they may get a phone call in the middle of the night that one of the houses they built has a leak or someone needs something. It's sad, but I think people who live this agrarian lifestyle are stuck looking for others who also live it, and I think men have a harder time of it than women. Mostly because I found it pretty easy to find my husband, and like you, I think it was mostly luck that we get along so well and are so happy, because we're very different people.

So... I'm on the lookout for nice girls for my little brothers... they're 25 and 20 years old, hard working, both over 6'4", know how to drive horses, build houses, weld, drive tractors, grow giant pumpkins, fix cars, and relax at home on the farm. And if I do say so myself, they're pretty handsome. I'd love to have some nice girls added to the family! Any takers?

My first marriage was based on both of us wanting to homestead. Great, huh? After 5 years he changed his mind and decided he preferred the city. After the divorce, some friends set me up with another guy who also claimed to want a rural life. After 7 years of waiting, this past summer I moved ahead with the rural part but he chose to stay in the city.

So where are these doomer/homesteader sites? I'd like to find a guy who is already doing adapting rather than me trying to explain it to him!

So yes, I'd love such a connection source.
Abbie: How do your brothers feel about older women? (I turned 40 this year.)
Misi: Come on up to Maine. Our homestead could use some more folks. (2 single adults and 1 child thus far, wishing for more friends and loves!)

By curiousalexa (not verified) on 20 Jan 2010 #permalink

I think it's a good idea. Finding a mate isn't easy even without the Peak Oil and incipient major changes in society added in. In the town I live in it seems like all the intelligent young men have left for the city and there are few interesting people my own age to talk to, let alone date.

Longtime reader, first time commenter, here.

I've been trying to find my "organic farmer with an arsenal" for four years. I'm 36 and live in Seattle. While I don't find it too hard to find men who like me enough to tolerate my doomer mindset, I'm really seeking someone who can be a partner in these endeavors. That's harder to find.

I've suffocated my former lawn over the winter, and I'm set to till and start my garden next month. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm excited to get started learning hands-on. And as I said, a partner, that would be terrific...

I think the site could be more broad than just finding mates. It could be a good way to find people in your community; just for socialising, work-sharing, trade and bartering, land sharing, support....the list could go on

Looks like there are a few of us in Maine.


Ummm, dunno what to tell ya. Found mine in 1976 and never let go! For the record, I was married 3 times before that.

Greenpa's way, in person like, makes best sense to me.

LOL, ok I give up, my google skills are failing. Sharon could you please point me to the Doomer singles site you mention in the column. The homesteading site would be nice too, though I've found a few of those.


By Central PA Chris (not verified) on 20 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm with Alexa - would the brothers be interested in a more mature woman? (I'll be 44 later this month - Sharon, Alexa, are you coming to the party?)

I think part of the problem is that most of us homesteading women are extremely competent, and that scares the goolies off of many boys. (not men, mind, but there are lots more boys out there than men, far as I can tell)

I'll sign up as "cautiously interested"..can't hurt to give it a try right?

and Abbie you/your brothers are not by any chance Jewish are they? ;)

Re-reading my post I see I failed to answer your (Sharon's) question. Yes, I'd take a whirl on the Chatelaine's Matchmaker services. However it does seem like this is a far flung group and I suspect your arranged marriages would be few and far between.

37M, w/homestead, Central PA :)


By Central PA Chris (not verified) on 20 Jan 2010 #permalink

Greenpa: While your idea is intriguing, a Wedding Fair to me implies an event for already-committed people. Other than that, it sounds a lot like the Common Ground fair here in Maine. Sadly, I learned about it after the fact this year.

I wonder if they have a Yenta booth? [g]

By curiousalexa (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sharon, this is quite a challenge! You're probably not going to find a group of people more UNwilling to relocate!

I'm in the market for a doomer-lite sort of person, myself :-)

You know, I'm very much for localization in many respects, and for people who are deeply committed to a place already, localization of romance is good. But serious exogamy also has a long tradition, and as uses of resources go, is not one of the worst. In both a biological and cultural respect, exogamy is generally good and enriching. Sometimes going out to and finding someone is the only way to go.


Yes, I wonder about how mobile I'd be if it weren't for raising a child who spends half his time with his dad. I'd like to think I'd have the chutzpah to relocate for love...

Hmmm, this topic brings up the flip side of the conversation. A decade ago I thought I found the perfect woman. Wanted to live in the country and do small homesteading and such. Seemed to me from some Amish influence in her life when she was young, she would know what it's all about. After a couple of years into it, she didn't want to live that way. We now have children, live in the city, and except for my occasional visit, rarely get to our cabin in the woods. Does differing lifestyles constitute grounds for divorce and starting over? Even the "gentling in" process that was recommended earlier (couple of years ago) doesn't go anywhere.

It's one thing to look for someone to match your intended lifestyle, but what when your match now doesn't want that lifestyle?

@Bob - it's a really hard decision. For me, the short answer was yes, differing lifestyles did constitute grounds for divorce. But just saying that doesn't indicate how much thought and agony was involved in the process. Yet I've done it twice now - once in 2001, and again in 2009.

Both times I still loved the guys in question, but my attempts to compromise failed, leaving me miserable. (I had such high hopes for urban homesteading, but was still surrounded by too many people and not enough trees!) At some point, you have to take care of your own needs because if you don't, you cannot take care of anyone else's. (See: airplane oxygen mask instructions!)

You really just have to sit down and figure out what's most important to you. If it's food independence, can you go the route of the Dervais? ( If it's population density, can you explore small town, yet in town, living? Maybe scheduling time to take the kids out to the cabin more often would work for you.

Best wishes to you,


Thanks for your insight. I see you've got a blog, so I'll read up a bit there, but assume I'll have some more questions, so I hope you don't mind an email or two.


you could always try

By hickchick (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I wonder if instead of reinventing the wheel, if it would make sense to suggest people join a regular free dating site like OKCupid but include a standard keyword that enabled them to find each other. Like, have everyone list you as their favorite author or something. :)

I've about given up on finding someone with similar mindset, and most of your commenters are like me: single women of "advanced" (i.e. >30years) age and far-flung across the continent.

36F (1 child) in SE Michigan iso partner and permanent homestead location.