During my single college years, I had an ideal. I'm sure everyone does, but mine was very specific: a dark-haired cowboy. And not just any cowboy. Mine had to be a good Mormon cowboy. Which narrowed the field. Considerably. But I was determined that becoming a country wife on some desolate ranch was part of my destiny.
One afternoon at work, I got into a conversation with a wise co-worker about dating and how hard it was to meet anyone. He told me about a girl he really liked who wasn't sure if she wanted to date him because she had always pictured herself with someone more athletic.
I laughed out loud. "That's ridiculous!" Then I caught myself, remembering my cowboy obsession. But I was different, I explained to him. I wanted a cowboy because horses were a big part of my life and I wanted them to always be, not just because I'd always pictured myself with a cowboy.
"Bags," he said, which is what most of my friends called me back then, "don't you think that even if a guy isn't a cowboy, if he loves you, he'll learn about horses and how to ride? As long as he has all the really important qualities you want in a guy, the less-important ones will work themselves out."
As hard as it was for me to admit to myself, it made sense. Perfect sense, actually. I wondered how many great guys I had passed over because they didn't meet my ideal. Taking my friend's advice to heart, I decided to start dating with a more open mind.
Fast-foward two years. I meet Mr. Brown Eyes, who is not dark-haired or a cowboy. But I throw my ideal to the wind because I am so in love with everything about him.
And, wouldn't you know it, things unfolded just the way my co-worker said they would.
Even though he didn't know anything about horses, Mr. Brown Eyes was fully supportive of my desire to buy a house with horse property. Then he spent an entire July afternoon in the thick, blistering summer heat, welding a fence so my horse, Sultan, could come live with us. He shoveled manure, loaded hay, stayed home when the horseshoer came, even listened to Sultan's bowel sounds with a stethoscope on several occasions when Sultan refused to eat.
Nope, he wasn't a cowboy.
I've got my cowboy,
The Brown-Eyed Girl