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They all agreed that the age was gray and dull, and time felt cheap and endless, as if continually extruded out of a machine. The men were sad and listless, too scared to admit their loneliness for fear of breaking their own hearts. They watched boxing matches, played video games, and gave themselves extraordinary chests with barbell exercises and strict dieting. But nobody was happy. And the women wrote essays about love and breakups, and others about women writing about love and breakups, and cried alone or with one another about their lives not living up to what they imagined. They bought expensive little dogs and wore skin-tight leggings and hated how much they loved the attention from ugly strangers. All of them agreed—the women and men both—that someone needed to do something, but nobody could say just what.

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