Cowboy meets girl, part 1

At eighteen years of age, I thought I had it all figured out. I was a freshman at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. My parents, being old fashioned and overprotective, insisted that I attend either a private christian college or a women’s college. I decided on the women’s college. And for the first time, I felt I was completely where I belonged. I had a ton of great friends who thought I was a bit odd because I came from Oklahoma, wore red cowboy boots and drove a truck. But they loved me anyway.

One night, they talked me into taking them to a country bar. Now, remember, I am eighteen and from a very overprotective family. Did I tell them I’d never been in a country bar before? No. Of course not.

So we all loaded up in the truck and drove out of the lights of the city to a small dimly lit gravel parking lot and an old worn out building.

Gulp.

Well, as college girls do, we herded together and I led the way into the smoky, dimly lit building. And being young college girls, we didn’t need to pay to get in. As we knew that there was no way we could get drinks here, we hit the dance floor.

And here’s where my being young and innocent knocked me over the head.

I didn’t know how to say no when someone asked me to dance. So by the time we’d been there about two hours, I’d danced with a lot of big, unattractive old guys. And one kept asking me to dance over and over. I was eye level with his belly button. He was wearing plaid….with suspenders. I remember, quite vividly, that red plaid. He had a beard. He was a lot like Santa crossed with a lumberjack.

But he smelled bad.

So after about three times around the floor in a row, I would have danced with the devil just to get away from this guy.

But thank goodness, I didn’t have to. The next song was a line dance. So, I lined my friends up and taught them the steps and off we went.

Now for those of you who don’t know about line dancing, it can be quite a show. The girls all line up in rows and do a “routine” to a song. Different songs have different steps. The guys stand around the floor and watch. The girls laugh, smile at each other and pretend they don’t know they are being watched. But they are. And they know it.

And I knew it that night. A small group of young cowboys was watching my group of friends in particular. Any of these boys would be a catch, so we were all really shaking it and pretending to be all coy about it.

That’s when the real me decided to make her appearance.

I tripped. And took out two other girls with me.

And wanted to die.

So I hid for a long time. Which saved me from the smelly Santa.

But apparently I wasn’t that well hidden. Because someone found me.

He was tall (but not too tall) and very cute. His green eyes sparkled. He was freshly pressed from hat to boots.

And he didn’t smell bad. When he leaned in to ask me to dance, I noticed he smelled like leather, hay and Stetson aftershave. An altogether pleasant combination.

So we danced. And to my surprise — I mean he had gone through an entire bar to track me down — he was shy. He said “yes, ma’am.” He held me at arms length. He barely looked at me. Except when he admitted to watching me wipe out a bunch of line dancing girls. He said that was pretty impressive.

He didn’t grab my bottom.

After the song was over, he thanked me and walked off into the crowd.

And I couldn’t stop thinking about him. From that moment on, my brain never worked correctly again.

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