My friends Brittany Mytnik, 28, and Ben Nicolaysen, 27, enjoy to prepare dinner together and speak about their days when they get home from work. In that way, they’re like most couples. Although the food they prepare varies, their procedure follows a consistent pattern: Nicolaysen visualizes the recipe in his thoughts and gathers ingredients from the refrigerator and the kitchen’s wire pantry rack. Mytnik takes on the role of sous chef, preparing and chopping all of the vegetables according to mild directions. They did, however, conduct differently from most other couples for a year in one significant way: when they completed cooking, they would plate the hot meal in his apartment and move it upstairs to dine. We gathered about speaking and making stir-fry one night after work, and I asked them why they don’t stay in one location for supper. They told me that Nicolaysen, as the relationship’s consummate chef, had all of the equipment and food—as broccoli sizzled and popped in hot oil in his wok, on his stove—but they eat upstairs because Mytnik has the larger, prettier table and the homier visual style.
I realized they were enjoying the best of both worlds: all the advantages of coupledom without sacrificing their individuality. In other words, they shared an IP address without having to share a physical address.