The Marlboro Man isn’t for me.  He’s the strong and silent type- it might be a romantic image on film, but it doesn’t look like much fun in real life. He probably eats an unhealthy amount of meat, that’s a given. A legendary smoker- no way would I let him in my barn. I doubt we would share the same taste in horses, (or anything else.) A hug from the Marlboro Man would feel like carrying an arm load of sticks and cans- way too boney for my taste.

And wouldn’t the Marlboro Man be looking at me squinty-eyed all the time? Nope, he’s not for me.

Give me a Dude Rancher. Well, that’s what he calls himself.

He has a pair of Justin Ropers that he wore to our wedding. It’s years later and they still look brand new. He has a western shirt, flannel with an insulated lining- he calls it his house coat. The Dude Rancher drives a Subaru.

He saw a photo of me before we met and complimented my smile. It was a photo of me with a horse over my shoulder. I told him it was truth in advertising, there usually was a horse over my shoulder. The Dude Rancher probably didn’t believe me.

The first year he lived at Infinity Farm, I think he pretended that there were no buildings north of the house. You know what’s on the north side, don’t you? The Dude Rancher never had a dream to live with a crowd of animals in a little house on the prairie. His family thinks he’s lost it.

Still, he eventually became a member of our herd. The dogs are even starting to listen to him.

He never offers to throw hay during blizzards but the Dude Rancher always asks if everybody is okay out there.

The Dude Rancher is handy with a hammer.  He has built hay storage onto the barn and some great furniture. I’m glad he isn’t wasting away, watching sports on TV while I am in the barn.

I don’t mean to spark envy here, but the Dude Rancher does occasionally muck … on weekends… if it’s warm outside… if there’s not much going on… and it’s too early for a nap. I notice that he does lose time scratching donkey ears and whispering to a certain bay mare.

Horses will never be a passion in the Dude Rancher’s heart, but he shows the remarkable good sense to not be jealous of them. Men who complain about the amount of time or money women spend in the barn are just looking for trouble.

I know horse friends have who have found a positive version of a Marlboro Man, someone who shares horses and riding with them. Congratulations and much happiness.

Some of us prefer our men not in the barn too much. It’s the Dude Rancher for me. If Geek Chic is the new cool, then he is at the very top of the list. Let your freak flag fly, Dude Rancher- glad to have you in the herd!

The Dude Rancher and the Marlboro Man do have one thing in common- I wouldn’t expect a grandiose gesture on Valentines Day from either. They leave that to our horses.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

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Comment by Anna Blake on February 24, 2012 at 6:57pm

AWK! Toothless Rednecks!

Comment by Sarah Fairfield on February 24, 2012 at 4:07pm

Beautiful, lucky you.  I'd take either, there's a shortage here in the North, all toothless rednecks.

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