The case of hiking dates

I have always found the idea of ​​natural selection a little insulting. You think I’m not evolved enough to weigh a potential mate on their merits as a conversationalist, rather than their biceps plowing the field, Mr. Darwin? And for over a decade, I’ve lived my beliefs – it’s been years since I’ve dated a man over 5’8. I’m going to take a nerd with a sly wit on a beefy buffalo hunter any day of the week.

Truth be told, however, I had not beaten Darwin. I had simply chosen naturally for a changing world. The plurality of people I have dated have been computer programmers, a 21st century skill if I have ever seen one. And I continued to adapt. During the pandemic, when I couldn’t access public transportation, I found a partner with a car. Once vaccinated, I found a partner who liked to go out. It’s not natural selection in itself, but my romantic preferences change depending on the disaster of the day. And today, as my anxiety about climate change rises with sea level, I find myself dreading a world I need to survive in the woods – and I long for a partner who can. join me.

Let me clarify right away, before I start typing an email that I won’t read: this is specific to me. I am aware that life in the woods is not the most obvious risk of sea level rise, and furthermore, hiking doesn’t have to be something everyone is ready or able to do. And yet my personal journey of climate anxiety manifested itself as a desire – on an almost primitive level – to live without modern comforts. To be a person of the earth. A less boring Walden, if you will. And although I consider myself independent, the thought of assuming the fetal position in my thin-walled tent while a bear steals my marshmallows makes me want to save.

I started my hunt in the most obvious way – I wentogle “backpacker dating apps”. Google didn’t show me any dating apps, but instead told me I needed to join a hiking club. It felt like a lot of work to me, so I moved on to Plan B – finding partners in the usual way (apps) and then seeing how they did in the wild. Can they choose the right berry? Do they know which mushrooms are poisonous and which are fun? What do they do when they see a bear? What if it was a cute little bear and I really you want a picture ? Are they put off by the fact that I literally drop a squat anywhere? (I love to pee in nature. It’s so pure.) I would take my dates to the woods and find out.

On this subject, my friends have questioned my judgment. I see their point – spending time in isolated areas with almost complete strangers is generally not advisable. I’ve never been to the woods on a first which, to be fair, hasn’t done much to allay their concerns. The rest of my actions were typically impulsive. I invited a second date on a camping trip with two of my best friends. I assumed he would say no. When he said yes, I tactfully assumed he must like camping. Or at the very least, know what camping was like. On the contrary, he did not bring his sleeping bag. The camping trip was lovely (for me), but the date was a disaster – you can’t expect me to provide all the warmth!

I took another to Breakneck Ridge – a mountain along the Hudson River known for its neck-breaking ability. My female parts tingled on our first date, when he said he had walked 400 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Excellent, I thought, a real Cheryl Strayed guy. The rest of his personality looked like a lag, but I was advised not to try this trail on my own. I thought that if he climbed the steepest slopes with the delicacy of a gazelle, I might forget our incompatibilities. When he asked me why women sit urinating, I couldn’t.

I suggested rock climbing to another (who listed “rock climbing” as an interest on Hinge, no less). He told me he only climbs indoor rocks. Ah, okay, I’m just going to tell the moving glaciers to keep things inside. I took another REI first aid course, so we could develop our survival skills together. He ended up failing the final exam – he couldn’t identify the difference between a bandage and an Ace bandage, that’s when I decided to stop recruiting men from Bushwick .

My hopes of finding a partner with whom I could handle the extreme weather conditions began to fade. Then I met someone. It only takes one for the exhausting process of dating to suddenly feel the opposite of futile. Sadly, there isn’t much for the mountainous and rugged outdoors. It prefers a flat topography. I told him that in the event that we are running away from a tsunami, we cannot expect the road to be flat. He told me he doubted our ability to outrun a tsunami. That’s when it hit me. Wait! In the event of a tsunami, I might be the one to wear it!

I don’t need a partner who can survive in the wild, I can do it on my own. Or at least, more capable than the majority of people I meet in New York. I’ve learned which berries and bears are formidable, and I know the correct position to crouch in a lightning strike. Our partners don’t need to be people who can protect us, and we don’t need partners at all. Maybe the looming apocalypse is a chance to find ourselves, solo.

But I still want my partner to go to the woods with me – not because I think it will be necessary, but because I think it will be fun. Much like my newfound reluctance to fly to weddings I don’t want to attend, I use climate anxiety as an excuse to exercise my own preferences. But, of course, if you find the idea of ​​having sex on the side of a mountain exciting, I’ll probably drop my number on you.


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