I am a bit of a profession snob, tending to eschew men who I don’t feel have a similar job status. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. I’ve tried dating blue collar men, and I’ve never found it worked well.
So you’ll be surprised to learn that I had a first date with someone on the other end of the career spectrum — a shepherd.
Where does one even find such a rarity? Online. No, there is not a ShepherdDatingCentral.com — although there is a site for dairy farmers in England.
He was a high-level manager in a high-profile company for 30 years before retirement. Which is when he took up shepherding. He’s educated, intelligent, articulate, cultured — he just happens to enjoy doing sheep herding and shearing demonstrations since it’s a bit of a dying art in the US.
He and I had been in contact for many months, emailing and talking on the phone, since we enjoyed each other’s conversation.
But as you can guess, he doesn’t live in a large city, as there is little call for shepherds there. So he lives in a remote part of the country, near which I was working recently. I told him of my upcoming visit and he said he’d drive the 2.5 hours to come meet me. I then shared that my dilemma was how to get from my client’s city to another remote town several hours from his, as a friend had invited me to visit her there. He offered to come fetch me (herd me?) and drive me — in a car, not running while being nipped at by his dogs — to her town, even though it would be a 5 hour drive from where I was working, and another 2 hours home for him.
He — and his two Border collies — arrived at the appointed time and we embarked on our adventure. He regaled me with stories of the gentleman shepherd’s life (he lives in a comfortable house on acreage where his sheep graze and he and the collies sleep inside, of course). I learned all I could hold about lambing, shearing, herding, tagging and selling sheep. Luckily, he had a broad range of conversation topics so we ebbed and flowed easily. The five hours passed quickly.
When I shared with a friend of his offering to drive me the five hours, she seemed incredulous that someone would do this for a stranger. I responded, “I have some allure.” Afterward she asked how it was. I told her it was fun and that he said it was the highlight of his month, she responded, “Must be a slow month.” Aren’t friends grand?
Will I see the shepherd again? We live too far apart to try to strike up a romance. If we are in each other’s neighborhood, we could have dinner. But he is much more of a mountain man than I am a mountain woman. While I enjoy the outdoors, I don’t relish camping and long hikes, nor am I fond of cold. So we will remain pals.
Have you dated someone in a profession that you thought you’d never consider? How did it work out?