I love mountain men. This was a summer revelation, though perhaps foreshadowed by my weird predilection for hairy-ish men with a significant amount of facial scruff. I like it rough. Unfortunately, it took me a long nineteen years to discover this new breed of man, mostly because I rarely venture out west where the real mountains (and men) are.

As often happens in new territory, I didn’t quite speak the native language.

I met MM at a dinner party, where I was immediately attracted to his overgrown locks and bronzed, godlike appearance. We started chatting, and he said he was researching hocs for the summer “until something else comes up.”

Hocs? My knowledge of post hoc and ad hoc didn’t contextualize, so I assumed it was some new bacteria I hadn’t learned about in the zero science classes I took last year. It isn’t. After some confused looks on both our parts, it turns out he’s doing field research on hawks, which he patiently explained are large birds of prey.

Seriously, he pronounced the word funny.

True to form, MM spends his days in the wilderness for no pay, lives in someone else’s house, pays no rent and is passionately dedicated to saving hawks and all other species of nature’s flora and fauna. Girls really can’t resist boys who love animals, even if the animals are fierce, killer birds of prey.

Some girls like to flirt by playing dumb. I disapprove, but at least it’s a lot easier when you’re not feigning ignorance. My first and only hiking adventure was my six-day FOOT trip last year, which was the most physically and hygienically taxing week of my life. But MM hikes every weekend, and even complained about not having been rock climbing in the past month. Apparently, hanging off precipices is an established habit in his life. He also has a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of wilderness shoe brands and all the hiking/climbing/bouldering/swimming/slacklining places in the state.

MM also shoots deer — with a bow and arrow.