You also write: "I used to dream of clawing my way back into the past, back to a time when things were more real." Do you think relationships used to be more real?
I have this Rousseauist ideal that by being close to nature two people could somehow make a culture. It'd be great to meet someone and go off to a cabin up in the mountains and just rough it. You'd grow and hunt your own food, and it'd just be you two against everything. It's a ridiculous ideal, but I can't give it up. At the same time, I also live in the contemporary world. People can't be that close; you don't want to be that close anymore. You're two things very much in your own orbits. This book's a lot about how those orbits clash. As for relationships being more real in the past—and I'm speaking of a survivalist past—they were definitely more joined. Your physical well-being was tied up in how well you got along. If you're a hunter-gatherer and you've been with someone for four years, you're not thinking about breaking up. It's just not an option.
Describe the perfect woman.
I guess my ideal woman would be a good-looking, female version of my brothers. Someone who eats whatever I make, goes on trips with me, never turns on the TV, reads a lot, likes the movies I like, and wants to live in different places. That's what I want, but I'm fooling myself. This is not going to happen. I've never dated someone who's into the outdoors—ever. In my life, I equate women with the intellectual side and guys with the nonintellectual side. Dating someone who is intelligent, who I can relate to emotionally, is more important to me than anything else.