By Betty Slade | PREVIEW columist
Sixteen city women, pushing 30, single, lonely and with one thing on their mind. They’re all looking for love. They’re jumping the last muddy ditch for the farmer of their dreams.
It’s reality TV and they’re singing their song to the farmer of their choice, “I spent a lifetime lookin’ for you, single bars and good time lovers were never true … I was looking for love in all the wrong places.”
My Sweet Al, along with other television watchers, glues his eyes to the screen every Wednesday night watching these women compete for love. They’ve gone through the city guys, as if there weren’t enough to choose from, and now they are going to the country for love.
“Farmer Wants A Wife” is a television program. The caption for the show: “These farmers are buckled up and ready! Will these women from ‘the big city’ change their lifestyle to find love in the heartland?”
Living in the country is a hard existence. Old-time ranchers and farmers from around here know what I’m talking about. They would probably say, “Heck no. These fancy women will be gone before morning.”
The show is halfway over; four farmers are hanging onto the women and loving all the attention. But the guys are not looking for love, they’re looking for someone to help them haul hay, muck the barns and pull a trapped cow out of the mud. All the farmers were very clear when they said they wanted a wife, but, more than that, they wanted someone to help do the work.
I told my Sweet Al, who’s looking through rose-colored glasses hoping they find a husband, “Those city wanna-be brides are looking for love in all the wrong places. They’re not going to make it out on the farm. Breaking those perfectly manicured nails and stepping in cow manure in high heels will send them packing. When those cameras go off, reality will step in.”
These farmers are down-to-earth, good, hardworking guys. They’re looking through the lens of reality. Reality would be hiring a good farmhand, getting a good day’s work for a good day’s pay.
The women have stars in their eyes. They want a good-looking cowboy who will hold them in his arms while he whispers sweet nothings in her ears. Those sweet words will probably sound like this: “We’ve got an early morning. Time to mosey on home. Those fences need fixin’ before the cows get out on the highway. They won’t fix themselves.”
One of the farmers sent home a contestant. He said she was too emotional and he didn’t deal with emotions very well. The other hopefuls in the house appeased her as she cried her eyes out. “We don’t think you’re emotional.” Really?
Another one threw up when she saw cow manure on her fingers. The farmer took her hand and wiped the manure on his jeans. No big deal, but to her, yikes. How could anyone wipe manure on his clothes? A rancher would do that.
One blonde wanted the farmer to kiss her. He hedged against it until he gave her a peck. She’s crying and telling the other women he kissed her. They’re mad. He’s not paying any attention to her. It’s been a month and she’s still crying. I’m sure this makes the ratings go up, but she’s wearing thin and getting on everyone’s nerves, especially the farmer.
Walking through the barn, one woman said, “Everything is dirty.” In the country, everyone gets used to dirt. I have a feeling she’ll be going home. It’s harder to stay in love than muck the barns.
The show has made me look through my own lens of reality. We bought land on the Lower Blanco in 1965. We were the second family on that road. I called it my wilderness experience. No electrical lines or phone lines, only a dirt road and a river out back for bathing and drinking water.
I also had stars in my eyes. I understand where these citified dreamers are coming from. Al and I moved from the city with paved streets, running water, inside bathrooms and central heat. Believe me, I thought it was going to be fun, living off the land in a continual state of camping. Not glamping. Camping. I’ve always said, “It’s easier to dream your dreams than to live them.”
I traded my high heels for work boots, rocks on my fingers for rocks on the road. A weekly trip to the beauty salon for shampooing my hair in cold river water. A nice luxury town car for a four-wheel-drive truck.
When the old-timers say they walked 2 miles in the snow to school, my children can say they did the same thing. They walked 2 miles in the snow to the bus stop.
Final brushstroke: The show makes for a good country song and an interesting night of TV. All in fun, the television program keeps us off the streets and out of the bars at night. I only have to look over at my Sweet Al rocking in his recliner to find love in the right place.
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