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We bought a gift for Kal and Addis

When my friends Brittany Mytnik, 28, and Ben Nicolaysen, 27, arrive home from work, they like to cook supper together and talk about their days. They’re like most couples in that manner. Despite the variety of foods they create, Nicolaysen’s method is consistent: he visualizes the meal in his mind and gathers goods from the refrigerator and the kitchen’s wire pantry rack. Mytnik takes over as sous chef, chopping and prepping all of the vegetables according to the moderate instructions. For a year, they did, however, behave differently than most other couples in one key way: after they finished cooking, they would plate the hot dinner in his apartment and take it upstairs to eat. We got together after work one night to talk and make stir-fry, and I asked them why they don’t stay in one place for supper. Nicolaysen, the relationship’s consummate chef, had all of the tools 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, finer table and the homier visual style. They had the best of all worlds, I realized: all the benefits of coupledom without surrendering their individualism. To put it another way, they shared an IP address rather than a physical address.

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