In the past, I’ve written about the pitfalls of dating a horse girl, for the benefit of our would-be, wanna-be, or currently-be significant others. To put it in the words of one of my male friends, we are “a special kind of crazy,” and I happen to believe in full disclosure.
But Dating Street runs both ways, and if we want our journey to coupledom to be successful we need to practice some self-awareness. We, the Hopelessly Horsey, can lose sight of how to interact with our own species. We spend a lot of time hanging out with animals that stick their faces into their lunch bowls and wipe their noses on the wall when they’re finished. By comparison, the fact that we eat with our fingers and wipe our hands on our jeans probably seems civilized.
According to my Horseless friends, there is an easy solution: find another horseperson to date. In theory, that sounds ideal. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people have very, very different ideas about training and caring for horses.
I frankly envision knock-down drag-outs over whether to use a light or medium blanket, or over just how clean a clean stall should be. And I do not trust myself to respond graciously should he assail me with the dreaded “there’s a better way to do… (insert name of horse activity you have done for 35 years and are perfectly competent at).”
No, I don’t want to date another horseperson.
With that in mind, I’ve created the following quiz to assess the probability for success when dating the Horseless:
You’ve just met a charming man in the checkout line at the grocery store (which is the only place you’ll ever meet anybody, unless they miscalculate a turn, drive their car through your fence and end up on your lawn). You talk for a few moments and he asks you for your phone number. What do you do?
a) Ask him for his phone, enter your name and number in his contacts, and give yourself your own cute ringtone.
b) Stand there like a deer in the headlights because it’s been so long since anybody asked for your number that you can’t remember what it is.
c) Nicker and stomp out the digits of your number one by one.
He asks you what you’d like to do on your first date. You:
a) Suggest the hot new jazz club you read about in the “Lifestyle” section of the Sunday paper.
b) Go with the tried-and-true dinner and a movie
c) Leave it up to him, because you have no idea what people without horses do with their time.
It’s first date night! How do you prepare?
a) Arrange your day so that you’ll have plenty of time to come home, take a shower, wash your hair and do your ‘date night’ makeup
b) Rinse off your hair at the washrack, scrub most of the Betadine stains off your hands and dab a little Belvoir behind your ears.
c) Absolutely nothing. If it’s good enough for your horse, it’s good enough for your date.
During your first date, you talk about:
a) Art, music and world events
b) Your family, your childhood and your careers
c) Your entire history with horses from the first riding lesson to the current afternoon.
He shows you photos of his vacation to Europe. You show him:
a) Your collection of limited edition art prints
b) Photos of all your pets
c) The gnarly bruises you got when you fell off the flatbed and into the manure pile.
He’s hosted you for dinner a few times, and it’s your turn to reciprocate. You:
a) Invite him over. It’s a great chance to break out the good china
b) Hire an entire cleaning crew to make the place look/smell presentable
c) Realize that you’re going to have to move
You’re going someplace where the dress code is “formal.” What do you wear?
a) That little black dress you’ve got for special occasions
b) Whatever your best friend can loan you
c) White breeches and a shadbelly
He meets you for lunch and asks how your day is going. How do you respond?
a) You say it’s fine, and ask him about his day
b) Tell a funny story about something that happened to you that may or may not involve horses.
c) Regale him with the story of removing the bean from your gelding’s sheath, complete with photos and hand gestures
He surprises you by renting two horse movies for video night. You have seen and hate both of them, but you:
a) Thank him profusely, but suggest going to the cinema to see that new action flick he wanted to see instead
b) Watch them anyway, because you’re happy just spending time together
c) Watch them but spend the entire time blurting out all of the inaccuracies
Your beau tells you he’s feeling ill. You:
a) Offer to get him some antacid tablets and ginger ale from the drug store
b) Tell him you hope he feels better and to call you when he poops
c) Show up with a bucket and a long hose and ask him where he keeps the mineral oil.
He surprises you by showing up to watch you compete at a horse show. What is your reaction?
a) You let him follow you around while you politely explain everything you’re doing and why
b) You explain that you need to focus, but if he gives you some space now you’ll let him hold your ribbons later.
c) You round up all your friends, get their food and drink orders, and send him to the Taco Truck. By the time he’s back your classes will be over and you’ll be hungry.
It’s your turn to provide munchies for movie night. You bring:
a) A plate of home made appetizers
b) A cheese tray you pick up at the bakery on the way home from the barn
c) The carrots and apples leftover in the bag in the trunk of your car. You almost included the soft-bake horse cookies, but decided that your date hasn’t done as much to earn them as your mare did in your lesson today. When he can do a bounce-stride-oxer-stride-bounce, you’ll reconsider.
It’s his birthday! You:
a) Cook his favorite meal for him
b) Take him to his favorite restaurant
c) Make him a bran mash
Your beau buys you a lovely necklace for Valentine’s Day. You:
a) Wear it every day
b) Wear it when the occasion calls for it, if you can find it
c) Return it and use the money to buy that blinged-out ear bonnet you’ve had your eye on. After all, a necklace would look pretty silly on your horse.
He’s invited you out dancing! You:
a) Pull out your dancing shoes and brush up on your technique by watching a few YouTube tutorials
b) Claim to be excited, but secretly plan to “hurt” your foot the day before
c) Wear your tall boots and perform the entire winning freestyle routine from the World Cup Dressage Finals on the dance floor
He stays overnight. In the morning, you:
a) Make omelets and pancakes for him
b) Sleep in then go out for brunch
c) Get up at o-dark-thirty and have watered, fed and mucked stalls before you remember he’s there. If his car is still in the driveway when you’re finished, you’ll go to McDonald’s and bring back breakfast.
The inevitable happens: He asks if he can ride your horse. You:
a) Tell him “sure, I thought you’d never ask.”
b) Suggest he ride a school horse instead so you can go on a trail ride together
c) Excuse yourself to use the restroom, crawl out the window, change your phone number and go into witness protection (with your horse, of course)
If you chose mostly As:
You are incredibly socially adept, which leads me to believe that you’re not really a horseperson at all. Or, if you are really a horseperson, you’re one of those annoyingly good amateurs that never, ever misses a distance no matter how much evil-eye voodoo we are sending you from the in-gate. It’s bad enough that you are in our class at the horse show. Stay out of our dating pool.
If you chose mostly Bs:
There’s hope for you. You’re not exactly a renaissance woman, but you can behave in a socially acceptable way when called upon to do so. You may actually be capable of holding a conversation on a subject other than horses. Chances are you even own a dress that was purchased within the last decade and that hasn’t been worn to a funeral.
You might occasionally put on lip gloss, concealer and mascara before you go to the barn, because you never know who you might meet when you’re running errands on the way home. Though your focus is clearly horses, you’re very circumspect about life.
If you chose mostly Cs:
You are unapologetically, 100% Hopelessly Horsey. Your idea of an exciting Saturday night is sneaking your dirty horse blankets into the 24-hour LaundroMat. You’re not sure who the President is, but you can name all the members of the U.S. Olympic equestrian teams for the past three decades.
You can’t remember directions when you’re driving, but can give a perfect fence-by-fence recap of the winning grand prix ride from the show last weekend. You know the names and shoeing schedules of all the horses at the barn, but can’t remember the names of your neighbors or what day of the month your electric bill is due. If you find a person who is willing to accept you and your equine-loving awesomeness, hold onto him. He’s a keeper!
And if you don’t find him? Well, just remember this: Boys will come and boys will go. But your horse will always love you!
After years of trying to fit in with corporate America, Jody Lynne Werner decided to pursue her true passion as a career rather than a hobby. So now, she’s an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, web designer, writer and humorist. You can find her work on her Misfit Designs Cafepress site. Jody is one of the winners of the Chronicle’s first writing competition. Her work also appears in print editions of The Chronicle of the Horse. Read all of Jody’s humor columns for www.coth.com here.