“After all, he was 27, lived about two hours away, and talked about his adventures in ‘rodeoing’ and working on a ranch. I don’t even use ranch dressing on my salad. What in the world did he think we had in common?”
In this scenario, I almost don’t feel like I have to change the name of this very gallant and kind cowboy, as I feel like he would never crack open this book, but would rather spend his time riding the range or bailing hay.
One morning during my summer vacation, I arose at the crack of 8:30am, and discovered that I’d received a very complimentary email from a young man named J.W. Between the name and the main profile shot on Match.com, I could see I was dealing with a real live cowboy! Yippee-kye-yay! This was unchartered territory; even entertaining the idea of going out with a guy who had initials as his name. I was willing to bet money that he frequently spouted off phrases such as “I reckon I should” or “y’all fixin’ to ride that stallion now?”. Is there anything more manly or sexy than a sweaty man dismounting from a horse?
It would be impossible to lie and say that I was not at all intrigued. After all, he was 27, lived about two hours away, and talked about his adventures in “rodeoing” and working on a ranch. I don’t even use ranch dressing on my salad. What in the world did he think we had in common? With nervous trepidation, I opened the email. I could almost hear the Texan accent through the screen, but the text was so complimentary that he immediately had me “roped in”. Sorry, but I have to include some of these puns, though I do want to inform you that I have also shown a lot of unseen restraint thus far.
Anyway, J.W. was not a man of many words, but the ones he used were praising my smile, looks, and profile info. I also found out that his beliefs in God appeared to be similar to mine, which finally answered the question as to what we had in common. Now my inquiry to that was- would that be enough to offset the astronomical and obvious differences in our lifestyles? It was less than 24 hours later that I happened to check my mail and received an IM (instant message) from said cowboy. There was a problem with the IM feature functioning properly, so our conversation was a bit stilted and frustrating. The highlight and memorable detail was that he’d asked me if I wanted free tickets to the rodeo to watch him ride in the fall. Never in my life had I been to a rodeo, and I was definitely curious. Even if we didn’t get along, I liked trying new things, especially new things that involved rugged, tough, and mildly sweaty men.
During the few phone calls that we shared before the rodeo came to town, I found J.W. to be charming, self-depreciating, and surprisingly intelligent. Knowing that I would not want to attend a rodeo without proper backup, I invited my friend Colleen. She loves this scene, and was over the moon that she would be present for my first real cowboy gathering. Figuring that we would go big or go home, we decked ourselves out in blue jeans, black t shirts, and cowgirl hats!
It was important for us to meet up with J.W. before the event, otherwise we would not have been able to get in for free and sit in the VIP section where you could practically smell the cow manure. Via cell phone, we coordinated a meeting place, and my first impression was that he was humble and down-to-earth. Unfortunately, he was not especially my type lookswise. This meant that he was Colleen’s type, as we have completely different tastes in men. Perhaps this had worked out for the best, as they were closer in age. I was not particularly disappointed, but more excited to see the bucking broncos and other events.
About halfway through the rodeo, the winds were kicking up to almost torrential speeds. You could feel the air become thicker, and Colleen and I quickly decided to make a sprint for the shelter at the top of the bleachers. We managed this in the nick of time, because seconds later, the rain beat down like an angry bully looking for another victim. Then the rain transformed into pebbles of hail. Those who hadn’t foreseen this disastrous turn of events were drenched to the bone, not to mention bruised! Thinking the rodeo was over; Colleen and I were ready to leave.
Stuck in the crowd with nowhere to go we finally got a call from J.W. telling us that as the rain had lessened to a mere drizzle, the plan was that the rodeo would go on!
Seriously?! Wasn’t the location of the events a mud pit at this point? That couldn’t be safe. This cowboy culture was obviously hard-core! Even though I was impressed, part of me wondered how dangerous this could get. From a distance, all the cowboys looked alike to me. The only distinguishing feature that J.W. had was his entry number. He managed to stay on the bucking bronco for several seconds, and the crowd cheered for him.
Soon after this event, the hoopla was over. Everything was being packed up, so Colleen and I waited for a call from J.W. to see what we might do next. When I casually mentioned we should go to Starbucks for coffee with him and his friend, Colleen openly laughed at me. “Karen, real cowboys don’t go to Starbucks. That is way too frou frou for them, with all the foam, syrups, and bells and whistles.” Apparently cowboys liked their coffee the way I liked my men- hot and strong. (Sorry I couldn’t resist).
Sure enough, when the arrangements were made, and Denny’s became the cowboys’ desired location for our meeting. Good thing Colleen was there to make sure I didn’t make a fool of myself being the “high maintenance” city slicker I truly am.
When we arrived, J.W. and his friend were sitting by the window, still decked out in all their rugged cowboy gear. I don’t remember his buddy’s name, but he was a very attractive guy. That was until he started talking. Don’t ask me how we arrived at the topic of diversity, but that was when the nameless one suddenly stated, “The first time I saw a black person was in college.” Colleen and I just stared blankly at him for a moment. Ok, so maybe he had been raised in a primarily Caucasian area of Texas, but we weren’t sure what the point of that remark was supposed to have been.
This is where any chance that J.W. had with me went out the window. Mysteriously, the topic had shifted to politics. This date took place right around the time Barak Obama was running for president. It was obvious that the cowboy duo was not in favor of having an African American president, and Colleen and I were challenging their views. J.W. finally declared, without shame, “Obama is my favorite >>>>>>”, finishing his sentence with the horrifically offensive ‘N’ word! In disbelief, my jaw hit the ground, and both Colleen and I were momentarily stunned to silence. Picking up that he had obviously not only crossed, but leapt over the line of what was socially/morally appropriate, J.W. tried to pass the comment off as a joke. We were NOT laughing. Needless to say, the dinner was pretty much over.
Less than 5 minutes after we had parted ways, J.W. called and started talking to me like nothing was wrong. In fact, he was trying to set up the next time we could hang out. Avoiding any type of commitment to a future meeting, it still took him awhile to figure out I wasn’t interested. I could deal with wearing chaps as if they are legitimate articles of clothing, I could deal with the smell of manure at the rodeo events, and I could even deal with the country music. What I could not stomach was the racism. This was something that I could not overlook. Whether he was joking or not, we all know that out of the heart, the mouth speaks.