Dear Writing Huntress,
I’m a proud huntress in a small town, so dating opportunities are limited to the guys I’ve gone to school with since first grade — slim pickens at best. However, this new guy from Indianapolis wants to date me, but there’s one problem — he doesn’t hunt. He’s never even eaten venison! I’m not sure what to do. He is really nice, but he wears a suit and puts pennies in his shoes. Is he too city for my country ways?
Wishing for Mr. Perfect along the Wabash
Allow me to answer your quandary by reminiscing of my relationships of yore.
Much akin to your situation, a guy at work (we’ll call him Freddie) who was mighty cute, wooed me a year before I met my husband. Freddie loved gyms, pushups, working out and girls who have a rudimentary knowledge of firearms. While he was already planning the wedding, I was, like you, attempting to figure out how dating a non-hunter would work.
Unfortunately for Freddie, our relationship didn’t go beyond a handful of dates. He refused to detach himself from the gym for more than 2 hours at a time; I refused to give up my early morning hunts to accompany him to sunrise yoga.
In the end, there is only so much you can do about compatibility, obviously something the gym rat discussed above and I lacked. However, the non-hunter hurdle can be overcome.
The keys, I found, to dating a non-hunter are: clear communication, pie and introducing him to your passion.
Tell your city boy exactly what your hunting life entails, so he won’t be angry come November when his girlfriend disappears into the woods and fails to return for weeks on end.
Explain to him that empty tags must be filled, scouting must be done, bows must be shot and the time must be spent to accomplish these tasks. And that you cannot accomplish this task list in simply a couple of days. It is important to be extremely clear about that point so your city boy doesn’t think you’ll be available to insert pennies in his shoes 3 weekends a month during rut.
Luckily, Freddie already had a hobby of his own to keep him company, the whole chugging whey protein and going to the gym everyday thing. This worked out well for a while because it meant both of us had separate time in order to pursue our passions. However, I had to work in order to keep our time pie equal.
Imagine your life is a pie – blueberry, rhubarb, chokeberry, what have you. Hunting takes out a large slice of that pie, and so does work, family time and household chores. Be sure to cut out a piece for your city boy and cement it in place, because as soon as your non-hunting time together begins to fall by the wayside, he’ll be gone quicker than a herd of jackalope at a mythical animal convention.
When in doubt, cook him a delicious meal using meat that you’ve harvested. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, after all.
Introduce him to your passion
Freddie had no interest at all in hunting, but he did like shooting guns, which ended up being the reason our relationship progressed past the first date. He had an interest in a facet, albeit small, of what my hunting life entailed.
Before you write your city boy off as “not country enough,” introduce him to your life a small bit at a time. Take him along with you to your local skeet-shooting range, teach him about firearms or even take a shooting class together. If you’re perfecting your archery technique in your back yard, urge him to join you or take a turn at slinging a couple of arrows down range.
Most importantly, if he shows any interest in learning to hunt or shoot, take the time to teach him or learn again with him. If he needs to take a hunter safety or a basic shooting class, take it with him, even if you already have.
Don’t forget to be true to yourself. Freddie believed that I’d abandon my hunting ways in favor of working out thrice daily and surviving on wheatgrass, which, obviously, was absurd. Before I was blessed with meeting my quack-a-holic husband, I’d meet many guys who thought it was cool that I hunted, until my schedule clashed with theirs or I had to miss Friday night dates in favor of cleaning the esteemed members of my gun safe.
Your city boy may be exactly what you need in order to expand your horizons, and, who knows? You may have found your perfect hunting buddy hiding in a city suit and spare change loafers.
This retro WON column was first published on July 11, 2013.
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