Thursday, May 8, 2008

She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

by Cassondra Murray

She thinks my tractor's sexy
It really turns her on
She's always starin' at me
While I'm chuggin' along
She likes the way it's pullin' while we're tillin' up the land
She's even kinda crazy 'bout my farmer's tan
She's the only one who really understands what gets me
She thinks my tractor's sexy

That's the chorus from a Kenny Chesney song, written by multi-hit songwriters Paul Overstreet and Jim Collins. That song is from Kenny's album, Everywhere We Go .

I'm not actually a Kenny Chesney fan, but it's a cute video. You can see it and listen to the song here.
I think tractors are sexy.

Actually, maybe that's not the best way to say it. It's not tractors per se that I find sexy..... it's the men who use them.

Men are strange creatures. (Okay for all you men out there, let me say that I understand you feel the same way about us. Hang on. I think it'll all make sense in the end.)

Let me start with what happened last week.

Last week I was on my mail route and due to a set of unfortunate circumstances I ended up like this.


That's not my car. But that's exactly the way my car looked--with its poor little rear wheel off the ground, and the right front tire dropped off the edge of a culvert. I had to do something. Fast. On a mail route there isn't time for a lot of dilly-dallying around or you won't get the mail delivered and still make dispatch.

I didn't even have to think about it for thirty seconds. I pulled out my phone book and started mentally clicking through the mail stops on my route until I got to what I knew would be my salvation.

A farmer.

Farmers, you see, are capable.



Unfailingly capable.

And to me, capable is sexy. But sexy wasn't my point. Well, not much of it anyhow.

I looked at my car and figured that a decent size, capable guy or two could tilt the front end of my car up, reconnect my back wheel with the pavement the way God intended, and I'd be on my way again, dropping off mail, without a lot of fuss.

But here's the key. If it proved to be more involved than a simple push, a farmer would have the tools and the know-how to use them--to get me out of that ditch--because almost all farmers have that one possession that few other people have.

A tractor.

My mail route is mostly farm country. So about three stops from the car-vs-ditch incident there lived a farmer. In a day of unlisted numbers, I've found most farmers are still listed in the phone book. They're available to neighbors who need help. Amazing isn't it?

I called his home number. His wife answered. Fortunately it had rained the day before so he wasn't in the field. She called his cell and about fifteen minutes later, a big, gorgeous guy showed up, and just as I'd known he probably would, he brought his big, gorgeous hunk of a brother. Farmers are not dummies. They come prepared to do the job the first time.

They both grinned a little, their eyes twinkled a bit too much, but I didn't care.

Do you think they wasted a lot of time standin' around worryin' about the best way to approach the problem?

Nope.

They didn't even have to talk about it. They stepped off into the ditch, said, "put 'er in gear," grabbed the front end of my car and I was back on the road.

Capable.

Did I say I think capable is sexy? Oh. I guess I did.

By the time I had the door open to say thank you they were climbing back into their truck.

"Sorry for takin' you from what your were doin," I yelled as the farmer started his engine.

"No problem," he said out the window. "We were headed this way anyhow." It was probably a lie to make me feel better. They each gave me one last twinkle, and they were gone.

Capable and nice.

I've come to realize as I've grown older that this rare, deadly combination of capable and nice is something I find most attractive in a man.

A lot of modern men, I notice, are missing that capable factor.

Consider, if you will, the yuppie.

The one who drives something like this, for example.

Now Beemers are very nice cars (this one is particularly striking don't you think?), and I've enjoyed driving the ones I've driven. But they don't hold the same inherent "Ride to the Rescue" capability for me as does a truck or a tractor. When a man drives up in this and my car is stuck in a ditch, what do you suppose he'll do? Well, if stereotypes were accurate, he might well whip out some digital doohicky, punch the speed dial number for his secretary, and have her phone a tow truck--and a capable man-- to come and get me out of the ditch.

Hmmm.

Okay I like money. Maybe more than some. And that's a really hot car. And all that money may be a major turn-on for some women, but not so much for me. I'll take a guy who'll save me all by himself, without any electronic thingamabob, and without a secretary. The guy in the Beemer may well do that. But the farmer is almost certain to do so. I think it's part of what we love about the cowboy hero, the firefighter hero, and the cop. At least it's part of what I love about those heroes. A perceived undeniable capability that for me, goes with the hard-working, hands-on guy.

Last week, my knights in shining armor showed up in something that looked a lot like this.I know without having ever seen the actual articles, that there was a big honking log chain and a tow rope in the tool box in the back. Along with a few wrenches and screwdrivers, a hammer and probably some jumper cables, and quite likely a small cooler with some cold Coca Cola and a bottle of water or two, in case we got thirsty while they slayed my dragons...uh...towed my car out of the ditch.

You can often tell a lot about a fellow by the horse he ri....er....what he drives.

As far as I know, duallies are not the vehicle of choice for serial killers.

And speaking of serial killers, if the guy who stops to help you has actual cow pie and mud on his boots, it's a given that he's probably not gonna rape and kill you and bury you in a shallow grave.

This guy, on the other hand.....

He may well be Prince Charming. But as nice as that jawline is, he's probably never owned a tractor.

Hmmmm.

Does he look like he could get anyone's car out of a ditch? I'm thinkin he'd be too worried about getting his hands--and suit--dirty.

As I was musing on this subject of capable men, I came across the website of an image consultant named Jae on KinoWear .com .

Jae has a lot to say about image. Particularly about the yuppie image. On one of his blogs, Jae says, "Before I start writing about the Yuppie mentality, I’ll tell you the key to attracting women. Ask a woman what the most important quality they look for in a man is, and the most frequent answer will be: confidence."

Okay, Jae. I'm with you so far.

"If confidence is the key to attraction, how does one come across as confident? Well, after talking to many intelligent women who can better articulate their thoughts than most, I’ve found “confidence” is better explained as self-assurance."

Still with you on this one.

"It’s also something that you are, rather than something that you do."

Yup.

"All that is required of you to come across as confident, is a healthy love for yourself. "

Uh.......no.

Sorry, Jae. When we're stuck in a ditch, we need a healthy dose of "Git-r-done." Nothing wrong with being happy with ones self certainly. But....

We need a guy with a dually and a tractor and the know-how to use them. For me, confidence is a matter of competence. Of being capable and knowing it. Not in an uppity sort of way. Just a real-life can-do sort of fellow. No matter what he wears, he won't mind getting it dirty to help me when I need help.

None of the heroes I fall in love with in books--no matter what their social standing, job, or income level, spend a lot of time worried about which bracelet they'll wear that day. This guy is one of the yuppies from Jae's site. Jae, the image consultant, has a whole blog about bracelets for the male. I'm figurin' this fellow on the right doesn't have a tractor. What do y'all think?

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with my husband at our favorite sushi bar when a friend of ours walked by from the back. She had her daughters, ages 13 and 14, with her. It was her daughters' first date. They each had a boy with them. Mom was taking them on a group date this first time, to dinner and a movie. I say, good for Mom.

Now this mom is about five-two, recently left the Marine Corps, has the figure and face of a cover model, and is a corrections officer at the regional jail. A no-BS kind of gal. Like me, this mom has a certain "capability" expectation for the men she dates, and for the men her daughters will date. Let's just say the bar is set fairly high shall we?
While we stood there the young fellows walked up to join mom and daughters. Mom turned to the young men and said, "Did you leave a tip?"

Boy number one's lip jutted into a pout.

"She brought us the wrong food," he whined.

Mom turned to face boy number one.

"Go over there," she said, "and put a dollar on the table."

"But," he whined, lip poking toward the county line, put-upon look on his face, "she brooooought us the wroooong fooooooooooood!"

Mom leveled her "prisoner-done-broke-the-rules" gaze at the kid, stretched out her arm and pointed toward the back of the restaurant.

"You," she said. "Both of you. Go back there RIGHT NOW and EACH of you put a dollar on that table."

The two boys slunk off toward the back of the store--well, as fast as boys can slink with their pants hanging around their knees, hair hanging in their eyes and their caps on backwards. The two daughters started to follow.

"No," Mom said, and grabbed the oldest daughter by the arm. "They have to do this by themselves."

After the mortified daughters and dates left for their allotted five minutes alone in the car, mom told us that she'd had to teach both fifteen-year-old boys how to pump gas, how to check the oil, and how to check the tire pressure and add air to the tires. She was not impressed. They were clueless and helpless.

"No daughter of mine is gonna date a helpless, ungrateful wuss," she said, as she headed for the door. I looked at my husband and said, "What is wrong with those boys' parents?"

It's unlikely that either of those boys will ever own a tractor.

I grew up on a farm you see. And I don't have a lot of patience with bratty, whiney, self-absorbed men, no matter how pretty they are. Even at fifteen, the boys I hung out with knew how, not only to take care of a car, but how to drive. They all learned the same way I learned. By driving their fathers' tractors.

It's a right fair bet that those farmers who pushed me out of the ditch don't shop at the same stores as this Abercrombie fellow. They don't need designer lables to be hot.

They've got common sense, big hearts, time to stop and help somebody, and tractors. Oh, and belts to hold their pants up.

Don't get me wrong. I like a sensitive guy. And this blog is not about financial success or the lack of it. A capable man can be very successful, and a successful man can be capable. But every now and then when I see the way the world appears to be headed, I start thinkin we'd be better off if more men owned tractors.

I said earlier that men were strange creatures. Well, I hold to that.

But women are even stranger. Each of us has her own inner guidelines for how much is not enough, just enough, and too much. Each of us has our own inner sense of how much "he-man" we want in a guy. It's a fine line men have to walk isn't it? The line between "sensitivity" and "total wuss," between "strong man" and "neanderthal?"

Guys with tractors tend to have a fairly good sense of where the line is as far as I'm concerned. Guys who work the land and work with their hands have a certain appeal for me that seems to never go away.

See this cutie pie with her prize-winning lamb?

I would bet money that her daddy owns a tractor and that she can drive it. When a girl can get herself out of a ditch, she generally doesn't have a high tolerance for guys who can't do the same for themselves or for her. Cant, or won't because they're scared of a little dirt.

Do you suppose she'll marry one of these guys?

Nah, I don't think so either.

I'm thinkin she'll pick out a guy with a tad more of that self confidence Jae blogs about but doesn't really understand.

She'll choose a man with real grit and maybe some mud on his boots. A man who can get her out of a ditch, and who won't check himself out in the mirror more often than he checks out her butt.

There's a fair chance he'll wear clothing that fits, whether it's jeans or a suit, he won't have three bracelets, he'll own a belt, and if she's lucky, he'll own a tractor.

I know some of you don't like country music. I don't like all of it either. But this one's worth listening to. Country music is said to be "three chords and the truth." Brad Paisley has that down to a serious art. He's brilliant at pointing out the differences between men and women. He wrote this song, and he's a genuinely nice guy as well.

I didn't ask him when I met him, but I figure he can drive a tractor.

Written by: Lovelace, Kelley/Paisley, Brad/Miller, Lee Thomas
Lyrics copyright-EMI Music Publishing


So what about you? Whether it's a real-life guy or your favorite romance hero, what says "capable" to you?

What says "sexy" about a guy...or a girl, fictional or real?

Where's your line between "caveman" and "knight in shining armor?"

What pushes your "wuss" button?

Is it a car that makes you think "capable?" Or a particular job?

Is it my country background, or do you think tractors are sexy too? If not, what conveyance catches your eye?


126 comments:

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

I think guys in suits are fabulous and it probably means they're holding down a job and supporting themselves. That's not to say that casual dresser isn't bringing home the bacon. Even when I'm reading about dukes and earls, I find that I respect them more if they're trying to supplement their inheritance or lands by making investments and not just sitting around doing squat.

Cassondra said...

jane said:

I think guys in suits are fabulous

Me too, Jane. In particular, I like guys in tuxedos.

That said, I like guys who aren't afraid to get dirty if they need to.

I guess it's my country upbringing. ;0)

Cassondra said...

Oh, and Jane, you get the Golden rooster for the day!

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra - The only time I think tractors are sexy is on a crisp October night when they're pulling a load of hay and my husband and I are in the back staying warm *g*.

My knight in shining armor is a city guy (who used to bale hay)but is there for me whenever I need him. He's capable at most things (except serious plumbing)and has even knocked down a guy or two defending my honor. But heaven knows, I love the love of a dark suit on a man.

Of course, the right man in flannels and jeans can look mighty fine, too. Guess it all depends on the man.

Cassondra said...

Donna said:

He's capable at most things (except serious plumbing)and has even knocked down a guy or two defending my honor.

Well there you go. THAT says capable to me. I know you well enough to know it was love at first sight too! And he used to bale hay, which is a mark in his favor I think. Not afraid to work hard, that guy of yours. ;0)

The smell of fresh hay is amazing, btw.

Cassondra said...

Oh, and Donna said:

but is there for me whenever I need him.

I hit the wrong button and didn't get this in. THIS is the key for me. A lot of the guys I dated before my husband were NOT there when I needed them. They expected me to be there, but did not reciprocate.

Incidentally, my husband is a city boy too. He can hold his own though. But he STILL hasn't learned to drive a tractor.

Minna said...

That song reminded me of this:
You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When...
You no longer laugh at tractors parked in the student parking lot.

Cassondra said...

Minna there HAS to be a story behind that!

Do students really drive their tractors to school in Finland? (I've never been there.)

Christine Wells said...

Cassondra, fab post, as always! I LOVE that song. What a classic.

Jane, congrats on nabbing the rooster!

Sexy is the way a hero comes through when the chips are down--you're right about that, C. But what if your problem wasn't as fundamental as a car breaking down? What if you needed suit kind of help? How would your farmer give that to you? I think basically, my favourite heroes (fictional) are capable in their chosen fields and smart enough to know how and when to get help when they need to.

I like all kinds of heroes. Love the easygoing, assured SEP gorgeous hunk kind of hero, love the lethal as a blade Regency rake, love the brutal Anne Stuart/Linda Howard hero, love the taciturn, passionate Rochester type. I like a man with a wicked glint in his eye. But the only requirement is that they are there for the heroine when the chips are down.

Christine Wells said...

Ooh, Donna, your man has knocked down guys to defend your honor? Do tell! Clearly, I haven't been leading an exciting enough life.

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Minna. I wanna hear that story too.

Cassondra said...

Christine said:

What if you needed suit kind of help? How would your farmer give that to you?

Well that's a fair question Christine, and I guess it would depend on "WHAT KIND" of "suit kind of help" was needed.

If it was show up as a witness at my murder trial I'm thinking my farmer would do just fine all dressed up in a suit. If I needed a lawyer, well..I'd call you! ;0)

I don't think any person can fill all shoes. If it's the guy in my life though, I want him to dive in with all that he is, and often that means physically for me I think.

In a way I guess it's reminiscent of the gentleman laying down his expensive cloak for a lady to walk on so she doesn't get muddy. Simpler than that, but I think maybe the principle is the same.

Riding to the rescue can mean a lot of things. So what about you? Is there one type of hero who meets most of those requirements? Do your suit guys need to know how to pump gas too?

And absolutely it's about being there when he's needed. The guy who isn't there when you need him doesn't pass muster.

Cassondra said...

Christine said:

Clearly, I haven't been leading an exciting enough life.

Me either, obviously. It's been a long while since my guy got in even a near fight because of me--but it's been a while since I needed that too. And that's a good thing. As romantic as those encounters are in fiction, I can't say I'd want them to happen often in real life.

Cassondra said...

I know I'm in the minority but SEP's heroes are some of the most difficult to like for me. Everyone else loves them but I have a hard time warming up to them. They're often such jerks! Of course that showcases her brilliance as she redeems them, but it's her heroines I love. Her heroes--well, some of them could stand to spend a little time around a few farmers I think. ;0)

Minna said...

I've heard that in some places students do that. But those tractors belong most likely to dad or mom, as they are not cheap. I haven't seen anyone to drive to school with a tractor here, though. And this is countryside. Guys (who are under 18) around here ride with their motorbikes to school when the weather gets warm.

Cassondra said...

Minna said:

Guys (who are under 18) around here ride with their motorbikes to school when the weather gets warm.


Oooo. Now motorcycles--there's a whole other image!

Tawny's having computer woes but based on her hot guy from Does She Dare I'm guessing that's the ride of choice for her heroes. At least for her fictional ones.

I love flying down the road on the back of a bike. Even aside from the bad-boy image of the biker, there's something powerful about a motorcycle, and accurate or not, for me there's a certain image of "capable" surrounding guys who ride them.

I admit that when I see a gorgeous bike parked somewhere I'll actually stop and stare at it. Way more than I stop to look at a pretty car.

Cassondra said...

Minna said:

But those tractors belong most likely to dad or mom, as they are not cheap.

No they're not! I live in the midst of grain farms, and the big tractors they use here cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each! Even a smaller tractor costs a hefty sum.

Minna said...

The motorcycles those guys ride are not exactly Harleys. The ones I've seen them ride are quite a bit smaller -and Japanese.

Cassondra said...

Yeah I figured they were not necessarily high-end bikes. But they're still really young after all. And Harleys cost a bunch too.

I wonder if the girls in that school in Finland think biker boys are sexy?

Cassondra said...

Incidentally Minna I learned to ride a motocycle on a small bike probably a lot like those you mentioned. I was a teenager at the time too.

It was pure, unadulterated FUN!

Minna said...

Probably. Unless they are a bunch bullies like the guys in my class when I was in elementary school. Even a Harley wouldn't have made any those guys seem sexy to me.

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, yeah. A topic near and dear to my heart! As I've said before, both hubby and I grew up on farms. Capable! It's why the neighborhood consistently comes to my dh to fix the leak or kill the snake in the backyard. They were in shock when my dad showed up, machinery and nail guns in hand, and we did our own re-roofing.

Capable!

It's the reason when we go to the sale barn with my dad or mom, I tell my teenagers to quit looking above the guy's ankles :) and take a good look at his feet. See those worn out work boots and ball cap?

Capable!

See those sparkly clean cowboy boots and shiny new hat? Ugh! Cowboy wannabes from the local junior college, where rodeo is strong. NOTHING wrong with cowboys or wanting to be one, but you don't get the honor of the title by dressing the part. You've got to get a little dirty. . . (ooh, that sounds a little naughty. . .but who doesn't love a good cowboy romance?)

My own tractor-driver also has a masters in physics. It doesn't get much sexier than capable and brainy. *g*

Love this post, Cassondra! :)

Helen said...

Congrats Jane have fun with him

What a great post Cassondra thank heavens those great guys were there to help.
I love a guy in jeans just as much as a guy in a suit I think it is their personality that counts and I love tall strong guys who help damsels in distress and well as being good listeners.
As for heros in books I like Dukes Earls and I love cowboys anything really as long as they are tall strong and caring.
Have Fun
Helen

peggy said...

i like a man in jeans and t's.
but who is also willing to wear a suit when needed.one who is sure of himself.and i must say i think
a duke and earl.are sexy.
i dont like guys that bully woman or kids.or will not work.

Amy Andrews said...

LOL Cassondra. So what you're sayng is that you love men who can ride tractors?
I freakin' loved this post. Must be the country girl in me :-)

You know I've been trying to figure out why my fav hero's in romances are builders and plumbers and cowboys - give me a blue collar guy over a magnate anyday - and I think you hit it right on the head - it's the capability factor. Capability IS sexy. I was going with the muscles and the tool belts and the calloused hands but nah, you're right, it's definitely how capable they are.

My hubby grew up on and around farms. When I met him he worked part-time on a farm as a general hand which included bailing hay (even went with him at midnight one night just before the frost came in and sat in the cab of the rickety farm truck with my head on his shoulder). He can fix anything inside or out and can even rescue me from the blue screen of death. Oh and those farm boy legs...did I mention them??

I don't have any particularly strong feelings towards tractors but yep - the men that drive em, yes please. I think I've mentioned before it's amazing what one can do in the cab of a tractor ;-)

I have my fav capable man story. When my dd was just a baby I was alone in the house with her when I looked up at the window beneath which she was sleeping and saw the biggest spider I'd ever seen in my life on the screen. I swear it looked like one of those hairy bird-eating ones. I'm sure it could have made a meal of her easily. Now, I'm not a fan of spiders and I just knew I wouldn't be able to sleep that night if it was still lurking somewhere in the house. My hubby was at work but the man down the road - a truckie - he was home, under the hood tinkering with his engine. I explained my dilemma and that man didn't even bat an eyelid. In fact he barely spoke. He just walked straight into my house and hunted that nasty arachnid down for me like he was slaying a dragon.

Capable.

I'm stoked that you posted a Brad Paisley song - I've just bought 3 of his 5 albums and LOVE that song. You're so right, his insights into gender differences are spot on - love "You Need A Man Around Here". His lyrics make me laugh out loud sometimes.

And damn right - bet he can drive a tractor.

Joan said...

Excuse me while I drive out to the country :-)

I think capable in any guy comes across in thousands of ways though being astride a vehicle of many kinds (tractors, horses, motorcycles...I think it's incredibly sexy to see a guy on a motorcycle at a stoplight....just balancing the machine between his legs...)

Ahem.

Anyway, a man with myriad capabilities is the sexiest to me.

Kirsten said...

Cool post Cassondra, and such an interesting set of comments already. I heartily agree with you, and I love that tractor! The funny thing was, I assumed everyone would agree with your post, so I was surprised to see that this tractor thing was not universal.

And then Donna and Jane and Christine got me thinking that this CAPABLE thing has to be both PHYSICAL and INTELLECTUAL. My Prince Charming is a small town boy who grew up working on farms and ranches. He's big and strong. He fixes things, lifts heavy things for me, and kills bugs. Masculine.

But then he's also smart as a whip. He's a vice principal, the teachers adore him and would follow him anywhere. He's a leader. He can be a little bit bossy. He doesn't understand why people avoid conflict instead of facing it head on. Alpha male.

So I realized I wouldn't want one without the other. You've got to be capable in all ways to really float my boat.

Kirsten said...

Okay, here's my problem with Harleys. I hate noise, so it's a given I'm going to find them irritating. More than just being loud, they're loud for the point of being loud. And they're loud when no other machine on the road gets to be that loud. Why? Why do I have to listen to someone else's loud Harley?

A man driving a Harley has some need to have people look at him. Isn't that what the noise is really about? Look at me! it shrieks. I just don't see a real man needing that. A real man doesn't attract attention purposefully. He does his work quietly and capably. He isn't loud.

(ducking!)

Amy Andrews said...

Here's another great country song by a young aussie guy, Rob Black. I think its not just their capability but they're so regular guy with it. Fix an engine - no big deal. Dip a flock of sheep - all in a days work. Plough a field - easy. Pull a stranded woman out of a ditch - no sweat.
No grandstanding about it after, just taking it all in their stride.

Don't know if this link will work but here goes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBccrIBipqc

doglady said...

Great post Cassondra! I live in the country too and you are so right about those country boys showing up with everything they need to fix a problem.

Congrats, Jane on nabbing the GR! Take him for a tractor ride!

My late dh grew up on a farm so he could definitely drive a tractor, string a barbed wire fence and wrestle a cow to the ground.

He was also one of the most well-read, smartest, and cultured person I have ever met. He always knew he wanted to be a psychiatrist and it was not easy for him. His family were country people who did not believe in psychiatry at all.

When he became Dr. H and dressed the part in the nice suits he STILL knew how to take care of the car and get his hands dirty.

Gillian is SO right about the cowboy wannabes. I buy wheat straw for my doghouses and my dog vaccinations, etc at the local feed store. You can look at the boots of the guys that come in there and tell which ones are "capable" and which ones are just for show.

I think it is an attitude more than anything else. It is that "I've got this. I'll take care of this." attitude. Most of the time they don't even verbalize it. They just show up and do it.

jo robertson said...

Cassondra, you've done it again. Fabulous topic.

I do know what you mean about lurving the fellow who can get you out of a ditch, literally or metaphorically. There's something very attractive about capable men, no matter whether they drive trucks or not!

I like knowing the men in my life are "fixers," whether it's the broken sprinker head, the plugged drain, or my computer!

jo robertson said...

I absolutely agree with Christine and the rest of you who said it's about being there for you when you need him that's sexy about a man.

Conversely, it's NOT being there when you DON'T need him. Sometimes a gal just wants to vent; she doesn't need a fellow going all ballastic and fixing the problem. Not necessarily. Not all the time. You know what I mean?

Ooooh, Jane, forgot to say congrats on capturing the golden rooster.

Trish Milburn said...

Minna, that's a funny saying. :)

Like with any type of guy, there just has to be some balance. I like farmer guys fine as long as they're not too "rednecky" and are fairly open-minded. You know I grew up in a rural, farming community too, and I respect a guy who can do things like raise food and do carpentry. As long as he's not behind the times in his thinking. I admit I have a different outlook on the world than a lot of people who still live in my small hometown. That's why I like the romance heroes who are perhaps well-educated but who choose to have a life as a rancher or smokejumper or whatever. I like heroes who defy stereotype.

Trish Milburn said...

My own tractor-driver also has a masters in physics. It doesn't get much sexier than capable and brainy. *g*

That's what I'm talking about. That's my hubby too. He can fix things, grew up on a farm, and has a degree in economics (he majored in physics for two years too, Gillian).

Minna said...

Trish, it's not the only one. There are also for instance these sayings:
You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When...
You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage.
You don't think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.
Silence is fun.
Your native language has seriously deteriorated, now you begin to "eat medicine", "open the television", "close the lights off", and tell someone: "you needn't to!". Expressions like "Don't panic" creep into your everyday language.

Anna Sugden said...

Another fab post, Cassondra.

I must admit - a sexy twinkle in his eyes and a nice pair of legs in faded blue jeans and I'm sold *grin*.

I'm like Jo - I love a man who can fix when I need him to, help me fix when I need him to and support me when I need to fix by myself! (Not asking for much then!)

My hubby - who always says he comes from a family of 'carrot pickers' [who live in a small village in rural Cambridge ... but have no tractors] is as sexy in jeans as he is in a suit.

Esri Rose said...

Not living on a farm, tractors are not my thing, but I fell in love with Angel Joe when I saw him sitting on the floor, legs straight out in front of him, putting a new phone jack in the wall.

He also soldered 60 copper-plumbing joints in one day in our basement. That's my kind of man.

But he also owns a tuxedo.

Donna MacMeans said...

Gillian nailed it - capable and brainy equals sexy as all get out.

Sorry Christine - my life isn't as exciting as all that. The incident occurred back in my college days (when exams were chiseled onto rock slabs *g*). One of my roommates and I were having...ahem...difficulties. Her boyfriend said something derogatory about me to my then-boyfriend, now-husband and the little guy ended up with a black eye and a bloody nose.

I must admit, the whole time I was lecturing about violence not being a solution, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside about my guy.

MsHellion said...

I just have to stand up and whoop and holler for this blog! Outstanding and great point! And I think you just pointed out what I loved most about LK's Blue Eyed Devil.

When we meet Hardy in this book, he's a millionaire *yawning* but at one point, she's stuck in an elevator, and her cellphone is nearly dead. Who does she call? Her big strapping brothers? Nope. She calls Hardy. Hardy comes running--and though I think he was wearing a suit, he's covered in goo by the time he pries her out and rescues her. *SWOONS* Capable and NICE. And he twinkles a lot. I like men who twinkle. *LOL*

Farmers are sexy sons of guns.

And I've been on dates where the guy I was with admitted he didn't know where the oil was located on his car. He just has Jiffy Lube do it. I mean, I can't technically change my oil, but I can FIND IT and check. And I don't think he could change a tire either. Useless. He was scrapped immediately.

As for nice and capable, you don't have to be a farmer. I came out of yoga one day, my tire was flat. Dead doornail flat, and I pulled out my tire and stuff to change it. (Hey, I can change my own tire.) Only this was a newer car and I hadn't had to yet--and thus, I didn't know where the crowbar was. In the last car, I have a fancy X looking one. I took everything out of my trunk. No luck.

I call my friend Pam, whose husband is very capable, very nice. They were on their way to town. He stops by, and he doesn't just point out the crow bar, he changes the TIRE. He puts everything back, he shows me the crowbar without making me look stupid...the whole bit.

It was their wedding anniversary. They were on their way to town to go out. *LOL* And he didn't even mind. And then he said, "Now go to the tire place and get it fixed. You can't drive on the dummy one for very long." Sweet guy.

Cassondra said...

Minna said:

Unless they are a bunch bullies like the guys in my class when I was in elementary school. Even a Harley wouldn't have made any those guys seem sexy to me.

Oh Minna, YUCK! This is my point exactly. If he's a jerk, it's a lost cause! You can't shine him up enough to make him attractive. Ugh.

Cassondra said...

gillian said:

See those sparkly clean cowboy boots and shiny new hat? Ugh! Cowboy wannabes from the local junior college, where rodeo is strong. NOTHING wrong with cowboys or wanting to be one, but you don't get the honor of the title by dressing the part. You've got to get a little dirty.

Amen, Gillian! Even if you clean and spit shine the real deal, you can always tell whether the boots have seen some real mud.

It doesn't get much sexier than capable and brainy. *g*

Isn't this the deadliest combination? You can talk until the wee hours about anything, then he can fix stuff for you in the daylight!

That's one of the things that struck me about these farmer guys who helped me. They both have higher degress--you just about have to nowadays to manage the kind of operations these guys handle. But they didn't blink an eye at stopping the work day to come and help. LOVE it. Even in the rural areas now there are folks who can't be bothered.

I could have called a tow truck of course, but that would have taken hours and I just didn't feel that I was $75 worth of stuck! :0/

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

think it is their personality that counts and I love tall strong guys who help damsels in distress and well as being good listeners.

Me too Helen. A big part of the charm was the ease with which these guys came to help. No making me feel rotten about it. In fact, if you can possibly enjoy getting stuck in a ditch, I think I did!

Cassondra said...

Peggy, it's true that you run into a lot of more "casual" guys who are so uncomfortable dressed up that they make themselves AND you miserable about it. I hate that. It's nice when a guy can handle any occasion easily isn't it?

i dont like guys that bully woman or kids.or will not work.

AMEN! And there are plenty of them about--in everything from jeans to expensive suits. Talk about your NON hero! Ugh.

I think one of the things that made me immediatly gravitate toward calling this particular farmer is that I've been to his house before to make deliveries and he's always in the barn, always busy (as farmers generally are) and his place is neatly kept and he has a very nice wife and great kids. Shirt greasy from working on machinery, but tucked in and tidy.

You can sort of tell can't you? A solid work ethic seems to flow into the way a person handles most areas of life. Not ALWAYS. I know of a few exceptions. But usually.

Cassondra said...

amy andrews said:
So what you're sayng is that you love men who can ride tractors?

Yup. Not just can, but DO. ;0)

I think I've mentioned before it's amazing what one can do in the cab of a tractor ;-)

Hey I must have missed THAT! Okay my imagination is clicking along here, to the beat of the Kenny Chesney song...hmmmm.

I'm old enough, and our farm was small enough that my dad's tractor had no actual cab. So I'm...uh...unfamiliar....with what's possible (though it's not hard to figure out.) What a great plot idea though..Hey! If Amy doesn't want it, I've got dibs!

Seriously the tractors around here are HUGE! I could set up housekeeping in there. But I grew up a bit further east in Kentucky, where the land is more hilly and the farms are usually tobacco and cattle farms. Which used to mean smaller tractors.

Incidentally Amy, one of my hardest high school crushes started during the tractor driving contest, when I watched a tall, dark, strapping fellow with flashing blue eyes backing a four-wheel trailer. And that tractor had a cab!

Hmmmm. Maybe I've been holding this blog post in all these years!

Cassondra said...

amy said:

that man didn't even bat an eyelid. In fact he barely spoke. He just walked straight into my house and hunted that nasty arachnid down for me like he was slaying a dragon.

And he WAS! The eight legged dragons are the WORST! See, it's good to be surrounded by capable men isn't it?

limecello said...

I used to think suits were really sexy - but then again, now I'm surrounded by suits, and it's a bit less fun. As to tractors... the competence is sexy. I require all guys - suits, tractors or what have you, to be competent to be sexy.
A guy who wines, and doesn't have it together, is beyond not appealing. He's probably a jerk in a lot of other things too. [That's definitely my experience.]

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Gillian said:NOTHING wrong with cowboys or wanting to be one, but you don't get the honor of the title by dressing the part.

I went to college at Cal Poly, one of the two California universities known for agriculture. The REAL cowboys at Cal Poly used to call those wannabes "Goat Ropers." :-) The saying used to be that you could spot a goat roper because of his shiny new Tony Lama boots, spotless Stetson, and he drove a Mustang! LOL!

Thanx for the fun post, Cassondra. My capable guy never drove a tractor, but he always brings a unique perspective to problem solving (like repairing rather than replacing a fallen fence) that I love so much! SHHH! Wouldn't want him to grow an ego...

AC

Cassondra said...

Joanie said:
Anyway, a man with myriad capabilities is the sexiest to me.


I agree Joanie. It says he's lived a little, tried out some things, and often it means he's capable of thinking through a process. Capable of logic and common sense. I know some farmers, of course, who are NOT educated and don't have open minds about anything. But I also know some men with multiple doctoral degrees who can't find their way out of paper bags. Lots of book learnin, but no common sense.

Neither is attractive to me. I think it's the combination that does it for me as well--the myriad capabilities.

I guess, too, because I'm familiar with the broad-based skill set that farmers must possess to do their jobs--Everything from understanding and repairing machinery and sometimes electronics, to wiring and plumbing, to animal husbandry to plant science and biology, to a simple grasp of when to take the tractor in the field or not--I appreciate them all the more.

Really good farmers even have a lot of what I believe is solid intuition--about what the weather's going to do and about when the time is right to harvest and how to manage the land--a combination of science and art I guess.

You want the truth? I think a lot of times these sensitivities play out in other....well...AREAS of life as well.

Not always. That's the thing...There just aren't any hard fast rules about men are there? Drat.

jo robertson said...

Donna, that black eye comment was so funny and it reminded me of an incident when I was first dating my husband.

We were fishing -- I KNOW!! What's that about? -- and two brash fellows down the crick (hubby's word) started making snide remarks about me. I was getting a little nervous. Boyd's jaw was twitching.

Finally he said, "I'm gonna beat the crap out of them," and started to rise.

I said, "No, no, let's just go." But that same little thrill ran through me because I knew he could -- and would -- take both of them on -- he's a big dude.

Yes, violence is NEVER a solution. Except, well you know the feeling. Must be an evolutionary throwback. I'm just sayin'.

Cassondra said...

Kirsten said:

I was surprised to see that this tractor thing was not universal.

Ha! Is anything in chemistry or love universal? It would be easier if it were, wouldn't it? But oh, so much more boring.

So I realized I wouldn't want one without the other. You've got to be capable in all ways to really float my boat.

Yup. A guy can be simple and strong on the outside, and hold a world of depth inside, or he can be slicked up and polished on the outside and shallow as a puddle intellectually. And vice-versa.

As I'm reading the comments and responding I'm realizing more and more that it's the multi-skilled, multi-talented, multi-tasker guy that hooks me. A guy who's flexible and can move from crisis to crisis, situation to situation and handle most of them. A lot of people aren't called upon to do that on a daily basis, and farmers are really good at it.

People who work in arts or media are often called to do that too I think, as are higher-level executives in some fields.

Along with the "capable" factor, it's also the broad skill set farmers possess that's attractive to me.

Cassondra said...

Oh, Kirsten said:

and I love that tractor!

Kirsten, you never cease to surprise me! I had you pegged for a city girl who'd think tractors are icky. I dunno why. I guess it's the corporate lawyer thing.

Ha! Just goes to show there are some surprises still lurking in the lair!

Cassondra said...

Kirsten said:

A man driving a Harley has some need to have people look at him. Isn't that what the noise is really about?

Well, you may be surprised, as I was, to find that this is not the case. I only recently became aware of the real reason myself.

I hate noise too, and I get irritated at the loud pipes. But what they're for is to get other, lazy automobile drivers to notice the motorcycle. The saying is "Loud pipes save lives."

Harleys, out of the factory, are actually very quiet bikes as compared to the Japanese bikes that "scream" and have that high, irritating whine to the engine. I absolutely hate those. Harleys are more of a low, gentle rumble.

BUT most riders replace the original pipes with much louder ones because the rest of us don't look carefully enough and pull out in front of bikes because we don't notice they're there. And they can hide in a blind spot like you wouldn't believe. The reason for the pipes being loud is to make the biker safer.

Still, I hate the noise too.

Cassondra said...

Oh, and Kirsten, even more than loud pipes on bikes. I abhor the "boom cars" with stereos so loud you can't hear your own radio over the person's behind you.

Now THAT, I think, is about "Look at me."

Ick.

Nancy said...

Fun post, Cassondra! Jane, congratulations on snagging the rooster.

Cassondra, I wouldn't say I think tractors are sexy so much as I think they're really cool. Not having grown up on a farm, I tend to look more at the potentially fun side than at the serious work side of such things.

The line for knight vs. caveman? Easy. The line is respect for the opinions and wishes of others. Power thrown around for the joy of it as opposed to "might for right," to borrow a line from Camelot. The knight has a willingness to listen if his intervention isn't wanted.

Minna, what a cool saying!

Gillian and Jo, the neighborhood used to come to my dad for patching up pets. He'd been a hospital corpsman in the navy and he was very good at basic first aid, be it for people or animals. He was also very good at building whatever or fixing things, probably because of his naval service and because his family didn't have a lot of money when he was growing up. Daddy was, as Cassondra might say, capable. If you worked on a project with him, though, you did it his way. :-)

Because of Daddy, I knew how to saw a board, drive a nail, hit a ball, and throw someone over my shoulder at a young age and later learned to pump my own gas and check my tire pressure. I know, in theory, how to change the tire. The lug nuts are the problem with putting theory into action. Alas, I moved out before we got to plumbing woes.

Kirsten, I like the way you put it capable means--physical plus intellectual.

Cassondra, I love Brad Paisley. He wrote a song about fishing, in which the guy's wife gives him an ultimatum, and the punch line is "I'm gonna miss her." It's a hoot and a half, and his "Celebrity" video with William Shatner and Jason Alexander was hilarious. Great job inserting the video link!

Cassondra said...

amy said:

No grandstanding about it after, just taking it all in their stride.

Don't know if this link will work but here goes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBccrIBipqc


What a great song Amy! And you're so right. If they made a big deal of it, it would ruin the effect wouldn't it? "Look at me, look at what I did for you," doesn't work. It's attractive that they take it in stride and "just do it."

Cassondra said...

Doglady said:


When he became Dr. H and dressed the part in the nice suits he STILL knew how to take care of the car and get his hands dirty.


Doglady it's more clear every day why you rave about your beloved dh. He was obviously something extra special. And yes, they just show up and do it. No grandstanding. Like the knights of fairy tales, it's just part of the day. I love that.

Cassondra said...

Jo said:
Conversely, it's NOT being there when you DON'T need him. Sometimes a gal just wants to vent; she doesn't need a fellow going all ballastic and fixing the problem. Not necessarily. Not all the time. You know what I mean?

Yes I do know, and you're exactly right. But it's hard to find that combination isn't it?

Often the guy who is capable will feel that he has to fix it all the time. I know women like that too. I'm a fixer, and I have to make myself stop and say, "I cannot fix this for him."

It took me a while to learn that though, and I wonder if that's not really difficult for the guy who's extra capable--the ability to fix and the sense that you have to fix are often two sides of the same coin don't you think?

Is that a life learning process--part of the relationship "training" we all undergo in learning to live with one another? Or is that built in to a guy's temperament? What do you think?

Gosh, we expect an awful lot of these poor fellows don't we? (grin)

Cassondra said...

Trish said:

I like farmer guys fine as long as they're not too "rednecky" and are fairly open-minded. You know I grew up in a rural, farming community too, and I respect a guy who can do things like raise food and do carpentry. As long as he's not behind the times in his thinking

Agreed Trish. I'm from a small town too, and I know some who are exactly like that. Not the ones I would call when I'm in a bind, either. And interestingly enough, those are the same people who try to make me feel belittled for what I write, and who try to make me feel "less" when I'm doing something they see as out of the ordinary for a female.

Of course, I know some city guys who are like this too. A given profession doesn't make you a nice guy that's for certain. And capable is not attractive if it doesn't come along with nice.

I love your comment about the well-rounded guy who chooses a profession that doesn't fit the stereotype. Those make the best characters--and often the best GUYS I think.

Hmmm. A bit off subject but I wonder if that's the appeal of the "bad boy made good," story?

Cassondra said...

Minna, you're going to have to explain most of those sayings to me! Now you've got me curious.

Cassondra said...

Anna said:

I must admit - a sexy twinkle in his eyes and a nice pair of legs in faded blue jeans and I'm sold *grin*.

Okay, (fans self at description) Anna, writer of the hockey hunks, you're another I'm surprised about the farming thing. I knew your dh was in the business world, but didn't know he'd grown up on a farm!

Farmers do, as a rule, have very good legs.

Which brings me to the whole "farmer physique," which looks very different from a "gym physique" in a lot of ways. Farm boys, I know from experience, tend to be physically really strong for their size, and I admit that I like that look a lot. That lean, corded muscle that develops from outdoor physical labor can't be faked. (fanning self again.)

Cassondra said...

Esri said:

He also soldered 60 copper-plumbing joints in one day in our basement. That's my kind of man.
But he also owns a tuxedo.


Hi Esri! Welcome back!

And yes! Mine too.

Okay, I was awfully hard on poor Jae, the image consultant, in this blog. Picked on him mercilessly I admit. But he was an easy target, with his blogs about choosing the right bracelet--so FAR from how I see a hot guy spending his time.

Nevertheless, Jae did make a good point in his blog about being comfortable in whatever you wear.

I have seen few men who do not look good in a tuxedo as long as it fits well. I see a lot of guys, though, who aren't comfortable wearing one. One thing I appreciate about my husband is that he got the award his freshman year in college for having "the best butt in jeans" but he still enjoys wearing suits. He never fusses when he has to pull a suit out of the closet for any reason. He moves from casual to formal with ease, and looks great both ways, and I enjoy that.

terrio said...

Have to say I totally agree with this entire blog. Just one point. I married a guy that was raised on a farm. Unfortunatly, his parents spoiled him rotten. He didn't know how to change a tire or change the oil. I had to change HIS tire. So, the farm thing is no guarantee. Just sayin'.

Capable is the exact word to describe what I like in a man. My dad is no rocket scientist and wasn't raised on a farm, but he's pretty handy around the house and can build his own truck. And did once. I don't want a guy to build me a car, but I also don't want to know more about them than he does.

And I'm a truck girl. Something about a truck is so sexy. Then I also love fast motorcycles. I guess I'm eclectic that way. *g*

You met Brad?! Oh, I would love to meet him. We actually grew up not far from each other. And how could you not like a guy who names his son Huckleberry?

Cassondra said...

Donna said:

I must admit, the whole time I was lecturing about violence not being a solution, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside about my guy.

Ha! Donna you have illustrated perfectly what I mean when I said women are "strange creatures"--even stranger than men.

I think this is what confuses the poor guys so much. We say one thing, cuz it's the "right thing to want" but the opposite is what we really want. Hmmmm.

Sometimes it amazes me that they keep trying.

I've been on the end where the guy did NOT step in for me when I needed it, and that's no fun at all!

Cassondra said...

mshellion said:

And I've been on dates where the guy I was with admitted he didn't know where the oil was located on his car. He just has Jiffy Lube do it. I mean, I can't technically change my oil, but I can FIND IT and check. And I don't think he could change a tire either. Useless. He was scrapped immediately.

Good for you hellion! Not good husband material at all!

Here's the thing about that didn't know where the oil was on his car that bothers me most.

Nothing inherently wrong...much...with a guy not knowing how to check his oil I suppose....EXCEPT...that I knew how to do this by the time I was..oh..six years old? Because all you have to do to catch on to this is simply PAY ATTENTION. And not even close attention. You just have to watch what's going on around you and you'll see somebody checking his/her oil and there you go.

If a guy gets to college age--heck HIGH SCHOOL age--and has never poked his head above ground to notice something as common as this, and never had the curiosity to wonder how to do it--well....I just question how much he really notices about anything. Namely ME. You learn a lot from basic curiosity about life ya know? A guy who can't change a tire or check his own oil...well, that's pretty darn helpless. Where has he been for the past 16 or 20 years?

Not attractive.

Cassondra said...

hellion said:

you just pointed out what I loved most about LK's Blue Eyed Devil.

Sigh. Okay. I'm seeing this book everywhere. Like I NEED another on the stack. Gotta get this one now. Sigh. You've sold it to me with the elevator scene. Must. Read. It.

Cassondra said...

Limecello, that's my experience too. A whiney guy wears me out like nothing else. Frankly, I'd rather get myself out of a ditch.

After musing on it yesterday and today, I've decided that competence is an aphrodisiac. No matter what the competent guy is wearing. One of my favorite blue collar heroes is in an old Jennifer Crusie novel called Crazy For You.

Nick Ziegler is a bit of a jerk in a few ways, but he's so bloody good at what he does. He's a mechanic, and he's known all around for how good a mechanic he is. And even when he's being jerkish, and conflicted about the heroine, when she's in trouble, he rides in like an angry warrior on a tall horse. Until I started this blog, I don't think I noticed that his quiet competence is part of what carries me through his jerkish behavior.

Anna Sugden said...

I knew your dh was in the business world, but didn't know he'd grown up on a farm!

Oh he didn't grown up on a farm - just in a tiny village surrounded by farm-land. I'm sure he got his great legs from all those hours of playing footie (soccer) as a boy!

terrio said...

Cassandra - Hellion and I were just talking about Nick yesterday. I loved that book because there are no millionaires or tycoons or really rich anything. They are just normal people (well, that bad guy wasn't normal). My contemp has regular people like that and I've been told it will never sell.

Well, I'm still trying. Because I think a good story is a good story and uber-rich characters are not required. Now if I just manage that good story part.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

The line is respect for the opinions and wishes of others.

That's an important one Nancy. It's also, when taken to extreme, the line that determines abusiveness I think. I guess that's ultimately the line for all of us when it comes to the behavior of any other person. You put it really concisely and have, I think, nailed down something really essential.

Working with my Dad it was always his way or the highway too. Some days I loved working with him, others, not so much. He wasn't particularly flexible in the way he did things, and that's a quality that's not really heroic when you have to work with it. Nevertheless, I think the flip side of the coin may be stubbornness and determination to actually get it done. I dunno.

Good on your dad for teaching you to take care of yourself though. I think knowing the basics of getting through life on your own means you can choose a partner because you WANT to be with that person rather than because you NEED that person to make it. Nowadays basic life skills go way beyond using a spoon and fork properly ya know?

And regarding respect for what others want...that's what I mean about the fine line. Donna didn't technically WANT her guy's physical intervention, but inside, she got all gooey cuz he defended her honor. Apparantly he had a good inner sense of the precise line to walk.

Brad Paisley....wrote a song about fishing,

I LOVE that song too! If I'm not mistaken, Little Jimmy Dickens appears in that video as well. Been a long while since I saw it.

Cassondra said...

Anna said:

I'm sure he got his great legs from all those hours of playing footie (soccer) as a boy!

Oh, I thought you were serious about the carrot farm.

And soccer players are SO hot. Talk about your hardbody. (pant pant)

Cassondra said...

terrio said:

I married a guy that was raised on a farm. Unfortunatly, his parents spoiled him rotten. He didn't know how to change a tire or change the oil. I had to change HIS tire.

Oh dear. Sorry about that. It does come back to the way parents handle it doesn't it? Part of why I admire my Marine Corps mom friend. She will NOT let her daughters grow up helpless.

And yes I met Brad a couple of times. It was at events I was running when he was there to perform or accept an award. He wouldn't know me, as he meets so many people, but he's one of the more memorable performers I met because he was so genuinely nice. He was at the level where a lot of artists show up with a ginormous entourage trailing after them. Not Brad. He drove himself there (It was at the Ryman), took care of himself, and was not "needy."

I think that's what impressed me. A lot of performers are "needy." I understand why because of the stress they're under. But still. It was refreshing to see one who wasn't.

And he's every bit as gorgeous in person--maybe more--than he is in his pics. The guy has got it goin' on I'm tellin ya.

Cassondra said...

terrio said:

My contemp has regular people like that and I've been told it will never sell.

Pfffft. I don't believe that. Most of Jennie's books--the ones that made her a star--are about regular people.

If the story is good I think that's what counts.

In June Susan Crandall is coming to blog with us as my guest. I fell in love with her books because they are full of regular people and she does that so INCREDIBLY well.

She's doing some romantic suspense now, but it's those "small town, regular folks" books that won me to her writing. They're just phenomenal.

I don't believe readers will ever get tired of a great story they can relate to--about people like them--normal folk who overcome the odds and find lasting love.

Phooey on the naysayers. Your day will come.

Cassondra said...

Aunty Cindy said:

The REAL cowboys at Cal Poly used to call those wannabes "Goat Ropers." :-)

LOL! That's the first time I've heard that term. We used to call them "Saturday Night Cowboys" since that's the only time they put on their boots and hat. A hat just doesn't fit right until its been rolled under a horse a time or two. The Stetson without a smudge or a wrinkle is a dead giveaway.

Now the real cowboys I know have a "dress up hat" which they wear with a suit, and it's often pristine. But for everyday or even a weekend night on the town, it's SO obvious when it's an affectation and not real.

We don't have a lot of actual cowboys around here. Except on Saturday nights. ;0)

MsHellion said...

Yeah, phooey on the naysayers. (This came up because we'd heard your Hero has to have The Power, or have some powerful, or be the most powerful guy in the room...whatever it is, I don't get it. It sounds like a twit with a BMW. More mouth than competence.)

Farmers aren't what I'd call "The Power" guys. They're regular guys. You don't exactly get ahead on the Money Totem Pole being a farmer; but I don't think they're without power. In fact, they carry a hell of a lot more street cred than, oh, Donald Trump. (Somehow thinking he can't change his tire either.)

There is POWER in competence and being capable. I think so long as your hero is competence, willing, and capable--it's fine.

I'm pretty sure the people who told us the guys need power would disagree. Someone apparently needs money or no one can live happily ever after. *shrugs*

Cassondra said...

Hellion I guess I get what they're saying in some ways about power.

But "power" as you say, can be a lot of things. There are lots of ways to be powerful. A strong character and real integrity are powerful.

I think anyone who is extremely good at what he/she does is perceived as powerful. And I suppose we need that to feel that he deserves our heroine.

Now a lot of the lines revolve around men with money--the Greek Tycoon, etc, and that's one kind of power--but even then, most of those heroes are actually very good at what they do or they wouldn't be heroic, right?

But there are lots of kinds of power. And other lines that revolve around the ordinary guy, and the power derived from competence and inner strength. The firefighter stories, the cop heroes, and the farmers and ranchers are classics that way.

Nick is powerful in a quiet kind of way. He's not a big hunky muscle man. In fact, the bad guy in the story is that, and at one point Nick says to him "you're a lot bigger than me and you can almost certainly beat me to a pulp...." but while he was saying that he wasn't letting go of Quinn. His competence and integrity and his choice to do what was right in spite of the trouble and conflict it caused him, made him powerful to me. Yet he was the guy down the street.

I think Jennifer Crusie is brilliant at painting the ordinary guy in those ways. We see his faults right alongside his gorgeous blue eyes. But he's always good at something. A guy who's floundering, I guess, is not particularly powerful?

MsHellion said...

True. And a powerful guys also KNOWS what he wants and is usually on the move to get it.

Admittedly, men who are often in "search of themselves" aren't a big turn on for me.

I might have to find Nick's book again. I'd forgotten just how sexy he is.

p226 said...

I cannot comment for my entire gender. But I can comment for myself. "Capable" is an attractive quality in women too. Take the subjects of that Jae dude's blog. I'd call that a metrosexual. Blech. Now apply that to women. The BMW. The designer purse matching the designer shoes matching the gucci hair-clip thing holding up a $300 hair-do. Us guys have a phrase for the female equivlaent of thta Jae dude's subjects. That phrase is... "High Maintenance."

As long as I can remember, I've avoided "High Maintenance" women like the plague. Capable women? A woman that can hold her own in a physical confrontation? A woman that's just as likely to climb under the car with a wrench as to ask me to do it? A woman that throws a 75mph fastball straight down the pipe? Oh yeah. She doesn't need me to be "capable." She might ask me to. But it's not needed. She can hang. She can do.

And she's probably not high maintenance.

And she looks better in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt than a designer gown.

And best in one of my flannel button-down shirts, and nothing else.

Her daddy may not have owned a tractor. But there's a good chance she's helped him disconnect a transmission in a '67 Chevelle because she was small enough to fit in there with a wrench.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Cassondra! Another great post. Congrats on the first-post-Golden Rooster, Jane!

Reading the posts has been lively fun. It's amazing the variety, but the core seems to be just what you mentioned, Cassondra, capability, kindness, and confidence.

I love tractors too, BTW. My delight in them goes back to Uncle William and calling the pigs. I got to ride on the tractor, then sit on it and toss slops. Grins.

Of course I also love capable men. My DH isn't a farm boy, but he's got that easy can-do-will-try, no job too difficult kind of go to it attitude. "Never tried, that, but let's give it a go" he's not all that mechanical. I am. He'll say. "I'll hold it in place, you screw it in. I'm good common labor."

Grins. Honey, we need to move these bushes. Okay, never done that. Where do we start? What's not to love?

Give him a spreadsheet though and he's King. Numbers? He's your guy. He does know where the oil in the car goes, he knows how to change a tire, pump gas, and by-God change a diaper. Capable.

Sexy as hell. VBEG

Cassondra said...

And a powerful guys also KNOWS what he wants and is usually on the move to get it.

Yep. And if he decides he wants the heroine, for instance, get the heck out of his way!

I've re-read Nick and Quinn's story a few times, trying to figure out exacly how Crusie hooked me as hard as she did with a commitment-phobic mechanic.

And the interesting thing is, he's kind of going nowhere when the book starts. He's happy going nowhere, and he's successful at what he's doing. A LOT rides on his competence at what he does. His caring about his brother, and about his brother's marriage is a mark in his favor too. He doesn't want that for himself but he obviously VALUES it.

And you'll notice later in the book, when what Quinn needs is money, Nick is not rolling in it, but he's not a slacker either. He's able and willing to help. He's been responsible all the time he's been playing it off as though he's sliding through life without a care. His outward appearance and "shrug it off" ways have been, in some ways, a big fat mask.

And somehow Crusie let us see that in snippets right from the start. He's an every day kind of successful and he's not stingy with it when the time comes. It's definitely worth a re-read. She pulled it off masterfully. Part of her brilliance, for me, is in building characters who are not what they seem at first.

Okay now I've gotta re-read it and see how the heck she did that.

terrio said...

Alright, now Jeanne is just bragging.

And can we clone p226? Just a suggestion for us capable-low maintenance-single girls still looking.

p226 said...

Oooo. Now motorcycles--there's a whole other image!

One I exploited for years.

Cassondra said...

P226 said:
Her daddy may not have owned a tractor. But there's a good chance she's helped him disconnect a transmission in a '67 Chevelle because she was small enough to fit in there with a wrench.

Preach it brother! Been there--uh--under a '59 Chevy--but that was for my brother, not my dad. And the principle is the same.

Thank you for saying that women also would do well to be "capable."

Recently a friend of mine told me "My dad brought me a book when I was 18. The title was 100 things you should know how to do. I already knew how to do 98 of them because he'd taught me how to take care of myself."

One of the things she couldn't do was sweat copper pipe. Okay, I can't either. And it bugs me that I don't know how.

The thing about being capable, as a woman, is that you get to choose somebody because you WANT them, and not cuz you NEED them, and that's really important because I think it sets the relationship on a whole 'nuther level. It does the same thing when a man can, and will, do his own laundry, pick up after himself, and cook a meal for the family.

Don't get me wrong. The older I get, the less I like grease. But if I need to do it, I CAN do it. And that makes it double nice when the guy does it for you.

I think women should be capable too, and I'm really glad to know a guy thinks so as well.

Not all guys feel this way. You should see the crowd that gathers when I tune up my SUV at the local garage. The mechanic is nice enough to let me use his tools. People stand around and watch and sometimes make rude comments while I'm sitting, literally, inside the engine compartment, bracing my feet on the head and the firewall to get enough leverage to ratchet out a spark plug.

The only good thing about it is that if I need muscle, it's standing about five feet away. ;0)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Wowweee, Cassondra! You threw a party to day! Love the topic!

We didn't grow up on a farm, but my dad did have a tractor (he likes heavy equipment) & insisted that before any of us got a drivers license we must competently: a) change a tire, b) check the oil & c) drive a stick shift.

Just by virtue of these three simple rules, I was more capable than 75% of the men I've ever dated. Thanks, dad. :-)

But I totally know what you mean about capability being way attractive. My husband couldn't be less like my dad--he's not mechanically inclined, he doesn't own a tractor, he doesn't build/fix things. But he's scary smart, he's incredibly talented in his chosen field, & he *never* assumes I need saving. He assumes, until I tell him otherwise, that I've got things under control, & I find that remarkably attractive. He thinks highly of my ability to make it on my own. He's glad I'm on his team. And to have somebody I admire so much think so highly of me? It's a compliment I never get tired of. :-)

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

My DH isn't a farm boy, but he's got that easy can-do-will-try, no job too difficult kind of go to it attitude. "Never tried, that, but let's give it a go" he's not all that mechanical. I am. He'll say. "I'll hold it in place, you screw it in. I'm good common labor."

I think this may be the most brilliant example of the day so far! And I think it's a product of his upbringing surely. Fewer and fewer guys seem to have this going on.

Not only is he willing and capable, but he's not intimidated and doesn't get all bent about your knowing something he doesn't.

My husband is like that too about a lot of things. And he's a numbers guy as well. Which is something I CAN do, but don't particularly enjoy.

The thing that says confidence, in spades, is being good at something, but also allowing someone else--namely a woman--to be good at something you're not, and being okay with that. And I don't mean kitchen stuff (watch me scrunch up my face in a pained expression here).
You're right. Sexy as hell.

Cassondra said...

And can we clone p226? Just a suggestion for us capable-low maintenance-single girls still looking.

He's unusual. I think we're not the first who would like to clone him. ;0)

Joan said...

One I exploited for years.

Ahhhhh.....it's good to have p226 back!

:-)

Cassondra said...

Oooo. Now motorcycles--there's a whole other image!

One I exploited for years.


Indeed. Clearly we have our own bad-boy biker right her in the lair--but see--it's the REDEEMABLE bad-boy biker. And all it took was one small, spunky woman to do the job.

Ha! The quintessential romance, right here before our very eyes...er...keyboards.

Cassondra said...

Susan said:

We didn't grow up on a farm, but my dad did have a tractor (he likes heavy equipment) & insisted that before any of us got a drivers license we must competently: a) change a tire, b) check the oil & c) drive a stick shift.

YES! (pumps fist in the air). Your daddy cared about his daughter. And the thing is, your husband may not be able to do all that stuff, but I bet he wasn't intimidated because you COULD. And that's key. I had to go through a lot of guys to find one who appreciated that I knew how to put tire chains on a car and he didn't. No posturing. No bullsh*t.

Being intimidated by a smart, tough woman is not competent, confident, or sexy. Liking her for it IS sexy.

Cassondra said...

I've gotta go have dinner with my husband. Y'all keep the party going while I'm gone!

Back in a few!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

She goes and gets us all worked up over this topic...then trots off to have dinner w/ that cutie of a DH of hers. Sheeesh! (Then again, I'm gonna do that too, here in a little bit, so I shouldn't complain!)

Terrio, I'm not afraid to brag... isn't that another Country song? Grins. Trust me, I know I'm one of the luckiest women on earth. :>

Susan, you and I had the same kind of Dad. My Dad did grow up on a farm - didn't like it though! - but one thing he insisted on was that we learn how to change a tire and all that. I can still hear the rant: "No daughter of mine is going to get cut up into little pieces by some maniac on a dark road because she doesn't know how to change a tire."

BTW, I get the good imagination from him. Ha!! My mother, a strong woman, insisted as well that the boys know how to cook a meal. "Shouldn't have to depend on a woman for a meal. Leads to bad choices." Grins.

Back to the tire thing, though. As some one mentioned though, the actual doing of tire changing is really challenging if the lug nuts were put on with a power wrench. URK.

Also, gotta say, the mental image of Cassondra sitting INSIDE the engine trying for leverage... Priceless.

Joan said...

Ok, my MOM insisted I get AAA...

end of tire changing worries :-)

Sorry to say though that over the years not ONE of the AAA guys ever twinkled at me. :-(

p226 said...

Also, gotta say, the mental image of Cassondra sitting INSIDE the engine trying for leverage... Priceless.

Hah! Many years ago, the starter went out on my truck. A chevy K15 long-bed with a lift kit and oversized tires. It was a big truck. A manly truck. Ar ar ar ar ar ar!

At this time, I was only vaguely aware of my wife's ... mechanical get it done background. So she's wandering past the driveway where I'm nearly at the tool-throwing stage of frustration. It wasn't that things were too cramped to get tools in to pull the starter off. It was that I couldn't REACH it from above, or below.

An evil idea quickly takes shape in my mind. I pick her op, and toss her into the engine bay. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Here's a 5/16th wrench, the starter's down below the..."

"I know where the damned starter is. You got grease on my jeans!" She then literally DISAPPEARED in the engine compartment. There was clanking. There was swearing. A little feminine hand appears out of the engine compartment, covered in big gothic silver death metal rings and grease, holding a starter motor.

"Um... thanks?"

Out she climbs.

She threw the wrench at me.

p226 said...

Oh yeah....

Then there's the time I came home just a couple of years ago to find several rooms no longer in the house, but out in the yard.

Yeah.

The whole rooms. She knocked down the walls with a sledge hammer and took everything out in the yard for me to haul away.

I missed it all. I would've LOVED to see her swinging a hammer bigger'n she is at those walls.

A while later, new rooms. She built 'em. Framed 'em, drywalled 'em, painted 'em.

Yup yup. Capable is hot.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, what a fantastic post! I love your blogs. Maybe we should just get you to blog every day. I wanted to go out and marry a farmer when I finished!

Anne Gracie makes the point that a really compelling hero is capable - except she uses the word 'competent'. I 100% agree with her. I also love it when a hero can do something that not a lot of other people can do.

Jane, I think in reality running a huge estate isn't that different to being the CEO of a huge company. Even a small estate took a lot of work to keep going.

Ooh, Gillian (you sweet YOUNG thing!), your husband sounds absolutely wonderful. I love the mixture of physical deftness and brains!

Hellion, I think I needs to find me that book! Hardy sounds gorgeous!

P226, I'm going to steal that story about the car and put it in a Regency context. Just letting you know so you can get in contact with a suit wearing a bracelet and organize your legal action, OK? ;-) By the way, I'm a complete klutz with anything physical. I'm incredibly incapable. Sigh. I think that's why I envy people who ARE capable!

By the way, Cassondra, meant to say one of the reasons I love your post is that my dad was a farmer and he was one of nature's gentlemen! Yay, farmers!

p226 said...

Just letting you know so you can get in contact with a suit wearing a bracelet and organize your legal action, OK?

Hahahah, last time I was at my lawyer's office, he was wearing khaki cargo shorts and a t-shirt with a trout and a fly-reel on it. He's the evil SoB that got me sucked into racing back in the day.

I have seen him in a suit though.

"Dude, what's with the suit, got court?"

"No, headed to a deposition in Welch."

"Oh man, I'm so sorry to hear that. Why the suit then?" Welch, WV is ... well, about the most backwards place on the planet. Makes the setting for Deliverance look like a Boston cocktail party with the Kennedys.

"Oh, they hate suits in Welch. And the only thing they hate worse than a suit in Welch is a city slicker wearing a suit. And the only thing they hate worse than that, is a LAWYER in a suit."

"Well, I guess you're deposing the other side then. See ya next week!"

Sometimes, you just dress for battle. Sometimes, your battle rattle is jeans. Sometimes (apparently) it's a suit.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, P226, your reply made me think of a friend of mine's accountant. He wears sarongs (basically a skirt!) and black nail polish. Who said accountants were boring? Certainly not us with the fabulous Donna MacMeans in the lair!

Nancy said...

Ms. Hellion, I can also check my oil. I mean, if you're stranded on the side of the road and the car's running hot, Jiffy Lube's too far away to ask.

Cassondra wrote: I abhor the "boom cars" with stereos so loud you can't hear your own radio over the person's behind you. Or my steering wheel is vibrating to his (usually a him, though not always) bass. I HATE that. How do these people hear emergency vehicles? Those sirens are hard enough to pin down on direction as it is.

Then you wrote: I think knowing the basics of getting through life on your own means you can choose a partner because you WANT to be with that person rather than because you NEED that person to make it.. We're really in synch today, C. I think that's the whole key to a successful relationship, and you put it quite well. The upside, for me, of not getting married until I would have been not ony ON the shelf but WAY BACK on it in the Regency, was that I'd learned to be okay by myself, so I knew I was getting married because I wanted to, not because I was scared to stand alone.

And yes, Little Jimmy is in that video, too!

BTW, Trish and Jeanne, Brad Paisley is a Battlestar Galactica fan. No kiddin'. He was on the SciFi Channel special that kicked off this last season of the show. And he was wearing a BSG t-shirt. He's clearly a man of multiple universes.

Jeanne, the changing a diaper thing is so important! It's not rocket science, for cryin' out loud, and any guy who says he "can't" do it is dancing around "don't want to." Uck. So unappealing. Yeah, Cassondra, that's my wuss line, I think.

p226, capability is the key to independent living. I don't think a helpless woman would last longer, for instance, in the lair than a helpless guy. Guys who seek out helpless women worry me. Loved the starter story!

Gillian, I know what you mean about wannabes. Unless it's a masquerade party, people need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

jo robertson said...

P226, you're hilarious!

My first four years of teaching -- in an up-scale chi chi community, I wore suits, heels, and nylons every day. That was my battle attire b/c parents of those teens looked down on anything else. I stood my own against them in my power suits.

Then I taught in a very middle-class neighborhood. Jeans and tees, high tops and sox all the way. Wow, I could breathe again.

My students always commented about my outfit. I just told them my daughters dressed me (which was mostly true anyway).

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

P226, your wife is a woman after my own heart. Give her a hug for us. Grins.

Jo, one of the things I love about consulting and writing is not having to wear "power suits" anymore. Freedom! Not that I ever wore ordinary IBM-kinda-cookie-cutter suits, couldn't stomach that much complinance, but suits, none the less. :>

Fo, I love the sarong and black polish wearing accountant. Huzzah! to him! Ha! (I'm telling my DH about that)

Ya' know Nancy, the diaper-line's my wuss line too, I think. Thankfully there was no need to worry w/ my DH. He's a full-service kind of Dad, from diaper to tickle monster to coach.

Cassondra said...

P226, I have to meet your wife next time we're over there.

For my high school FFA home improvement project, I built a room on my parents' house. Haven't stopped since.

My husband came home from work a few years ago and I'd torn all the walls out of the dining room.

I bet she and I could find something to talk about.

I've never disappeared inside my SUV but hey, it's Japanese. They pack the stuff in there so tight a snake couldn't get to some of the parts without tearing half the engine down.

Cassondra said...

Anna said:

I think in reality running a huge estate isn't that different to being the CEO of a huge company. Even a small estate took a lot of work to keep going.

Interesting that you say this. In the rough draft of this blog I said that I thought the farmers were actually reverting to a way of life similar to Lords and Earls in that farms have to be so LARGE now that often the farmer is basically an estate manager, putting out fires and dealing with problems and overseeing workers who do the actual farm work.

Though the farmer owns the land sometimes, a lot of times it's actually leased from other people.

A good many have higher degrees in agribusiness and they spend a good amount of their time at the computer doing paperwork.

That's kind of a sad thing in a way, as most farmers have stayed in the family business because they loved the farm life--and loved the work that was included. But they don't really do much of that work themselves. It's all hired labor.

Unfortunate and yet, it does show the necessity of the variable skills and knowledge of the modern farmer or rancher.

Let's hope we don't see the day when the farms are owned by the government (as they were technically owned by the crown weren't they?). I hope at least some of the farmers will always be able to own and love their land as they did when I was a kid.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Jeanne, the changing a diaper thing is so important! It's not rocket science, for cryin' out loud, and any guy who says he "can't" do it is dancing around "don't want to." Uck. So unappealing. Yeah, Cassondra, that's my wuss line, I think.

Amen. You nailed it. "I CAN'T" is the sound of "I don't want to cuz it's gross."

Yeah. Uh-huh. You want some cheese with that whine, Mr.?

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

My students always commented about my outfit. I just told them my daughters dressed me (which was mostly true anyway).

LOL! I bet your students LOVED it.

Cassondra said...

How do these people hear emergency vehicles? Those sirens are hard enough to pin down on direction as it is.

They CAN'T hear them Nancy. And in about ten years they're not gonna be able to hear anything else either.

Can you imagine how loud everything is going to be in a few years when all the people who are teenagers now get to be middle aged? Ouch!

Beth said...

Great post, Cassondra! My husband is one of the most capable people I know *g* He has an insatiable appetite to know how things work which is lucky for me since he can do most anything he sets his mind to :-)

My favorite fictional heroes are usually blue collar workers - carpenters, law enforcement, cowboys - doesn't matter to me if they drive a tractor, a motorcycle, a police cruiser or a horse -- they're all sexy in their own way :-)

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

I don't think a helpless woman would last longer, for instance, in the lair than a helpless guy.

Nancy this is an interesting point. We are all strong individuals aren't we? I think that's what makes us fun though.

And I guess it's no surprise that we get called "rowdy" by onlookers.

Cassondra said...

Beth said:

He has an insatiable appetite to know how things work which is lucky for me since he can do most anything he sets his mind to :-)

Oooo, Beth. This is the sexiest kind of guy evah! The curious mind makes for an interesting person. Men who are curious are capable AND good at conversation cuz there's lots to talk about. Lucky you!

And my motto is, "how hard can it be?"

Now granted that's gotten me in the middle of some difficult spots, but I figure hey, somebody can do it, why can't I? (Okay sometimes there's lots of cursing before I actually figure out how to get it done)

My family is sort of that way--my cousins and brothers and aunts and uncles--if my grandmother's house needed roofing, we'd all show up one weekend at an appointed time, climb onto the roof and Git-R-Done. You just figure it out. It's great bonding, and I don't have kids, but all of their kids are very competent people. I think living in that environment can make us stronger individuals.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, I love the capability of farmers! Now, neither of my grandfathers was a farmer, but both could drive tractors. One grew up on a farm and the other grew up tough (and probably on a farm, though he wouldn't talk about his background). One was a self-taught machinist and carpenter and the other owned timberland, a hardware store, a lumber yard and all manner of other things (that he didn't talk about).

Both these men (and their sons and daughters - my parents included) grew up to be capable people. I think a lot of that was from necessity. When I was a kid in the 70s, everybody was kind of poor. There was far less discretionary income. So, we all learned to change tires and check oil and do all manner of car maintenance. We all knew how to fix things, because there was no money to buy new.

I have struggled to teach my kids how to be fixers rather than replacers. These days, it gets tougher to find capable men all the time. Where I live, we have the biggest AG college in the state. Lots of guys on campus drive trucks and wear cowboy hats and boots. Lots of others wear Abercrombie and drive hand-me-down Beemers.

Honestly, I prefer capable over polished any day of the week. Then again, I'm Southern. Maybe that makes a difference!

Nancy said...

Cassondra and p226, my mother-in-law knocked a hole in an exterior wall (so as to make room for window installation) with a sledgehammer when she was 9 months pregnant with my sister-in-law. I'd forgotten about that until y'all started all this sledgehammer talk.

Susan, I learned to drive a stick, too. My parents' theory was that learning on a stick meant always knowing and pretty much being able to drive whatever was handy, while learning on an automatic made the stick that much harder and less desirable. I learned in my mom's old VW bus (white over green).

Cassondra said: Can you imagine how loud everything is going to be in a few years when all the people who are teenagers now get to be middle aged? Ouch!

Already ouch. I bought an MP3 player for RWA CDs, intending to use it in the car. Which turns out to be clumsy for a lot of reasons we don't need to worry about now. So I was going to use it in the living room and found that, even with the volume turned all the way back, it's painfully loud when the buds are actually in my ears. And they really don't stay if you try to just drape them over. Am "gruntled."

Caren Crane said...

Limecello, I'm with you. I used to kind of dig guys in suits - until I started working at a Bank. Now many of the people I have no respect for wear suits. *g*

p226 said...

with a sledgehammer when she was 9 months pregnant with my sister-in-law.

My active imagination can conjure little more terrifying than the thought of a nine month pregnant woman wielding a sledgehammer.

Cassondra said...

Posh said:

I have struggled to teach my kids how to be fixers rather than replacers. These days, it gets tougher to find capable men all the time.

Amen Posh, AMEN!

It's hard to teach kids a skill when few others around them practice it. And I guess, based on my Marine corps mom's experience, that young girls are tending to "settle" for what I (and she) consider's a wuss because, well, there aren't a whole lot of capable guys out there.

People whine "he's only fifteen, what do you expect?"

Well, I expect at least some semblence of the competence fifteen-year-old guys had when I was fifteen--the competence that I had at that age. Cuz I know they're able to approach that if they'd try. They just aren't willing to bother. And their parents, so often, don't demand it of them.

Lazy. We've raised a culture of lazy young men. And perhaps lazy young women. I don't know about that.

I can relate to necessity being the mother of capability. It was in our family as well. Even more so for my parents and grandparents. Unfortunately with more disposable income we've tossed the baby--capability--out with the bathwater.

That's a shame.

The thing is that teaching your kids to do stuff for themselves also teaches them to problem solve--and to think through stuff until they figure it out. Sigh.

I mourn the loss of capable men.

Cassondra said...

Nancy, recently the restaurants I frequent have been turning their music up WAY loud. At least, it seems loud to me, in comparison to the volume at which they used to play it.

I frequently request them to turn it down just a tad. And sometimes just a tad more.

I hadn't put it together until this blog, but I'm wondering if it doesn't seem that loud to half their customers because those customers can't hear?

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

My active imagination can conjure little more terrifying than the thought of a nine month pregnant woman wielding a sledgehammer

You know, when a woman is pregnant and wants her house renovated, it's not the time to argue with her. (grin) Hand her the sledgehammer and stand back. WAY back.

Cassondra said...

Caren (Posh) said:

Now many of the people I have no respect for wear suits.

Hey, not all farmers are Knights in Shining Armor either of course.

Still. I think I run upon fewer folks with an unfortunate sense of entitlement when I go for the jeans and boots kind of guys.

Kirsten said...

Cassondra and Nancy, I totally agree with you on the noise and loud car thing. I find this so offensive. Our first house was in a tough part of town, and though there were drugs being dealt across the street, and the occasional shooting down the block, the thing that really drove us out of the neighborhood was the noise. Made us very sad, actually. I will never understand why some people believe their needs are more important than the needs of people around them. It's very odd.

Cassondra said...

Kirsten said:

I will never understand why some people believe their needs are more important than the needs of people around them. It's very odd.

Ha! I don't get it either. And I bet there wasn't ONE tractor in your neighborhood Kirsten.

Hmmmm. Maybe that was the trouble.

Keira Soleore said...

Cassondra, oh my goodness. Are you alright?? Your poor car.

I'd like to know if there's such a thing as a tractor-limo. I've been in a hummer-limo, so there's still hope for a tractor-limo, because that's the only way you're going to convince me to ride a tractor that moves.

Cassondra wrote, "For me, confidence is a matter of competence. Of being capable and knowing it."

Yes!! That is why those confident-sounding marketing students (no experience) cause me to gnash my teeth. A real pain in the rear. Worse than ignorance is brash hubris.

I have mentioned my own rescue by a farmer in a tractor before here in The Lair, but I'll do so again. This was in the middle of farmland in rural NE Scotland. My brother and I were attending an honest-to-goodness country fair AKA the Highland Games. It started raining half an hour after we got there. It dripped for two hours, after which the games were over. And the nice dry patch of ground we'd parked in? Yup, a mud puddle. And we had this dinky Ford POS. We tried various thing and all we did was ended up with mud from head to foot (and in my ear--don't ask). Along came a farmer with his ginormous tractor. Pulled up right out and gave a nice big grin. Wouldn't take the money we held out. "Nae necessary."

Cassondra said...

Kiera, that's a GREAT story. And I must have missed it the first time you shared it. That's awesome. Pulled out of the mud by a Scottish farmer?

Wouldn't take the money we held out. "Nae necessary."

Par for the course. That's a farmer for you. Glad to know they're still good people no matter where in the world they farm!

I have not seen a tractor limo, though I have seen some VERY long tractors. Some of them here are so large they're articulated. Some are articulated TWICE and run on big tracks instead of wheels. Now I have a personal bias against that type of "tracked" tractor. I think it sort of doesn't qualify as a real tractor--more like heavy equipment or something--and belongs in a different category. But they're not asking me, so....there you go.

BTW Kiera, YOUR blog this week was wonderful!

Cassondra said...

Oh, and yes I'm fine. Thank you for asking. It didn't qualify as an accident really--just a "wheel off the ground" sort of aggravation. I've seen lots of cars like that but until this incident, I'd never had it happen. Always managed to steer clear of deep holes and culverts. My poor little mail car lives a hard life and has seen worse over the past winter and it's okay too.

In truth though, since the whole culver thing brought about my hunky, competent farmer experience, I wouldn't take it back and undo it. ;0)

Minna said...

You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When...
You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage.
The plastic bags - formerly free, now costing about EUR 0.10-0.15 - supplied by Finnish shopkeepers are vastly superior to those in other countries and the small black plastic bin-bags (not the BIG ones that line dustbin/garbage cans, but the little ones for in-home use) are pretty poor, and everyone uses the plastic shopping bags as temporary storage for garbage till it gets chucked out.

You don't think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.
I've heard this cupboard where you put wet dishes to dry is a Finnish invention. Not to mention we don't have the British habit of not rinsing plates before they are put to the cupboard to dry. The plates and other things are rinsed in hot clean water and then you put them to the cupboard dry. Unless you have a dishwasher, of course.

Silence is fun.
This would take too long to explain. Take a look at When Cultures Collide and Finland, Cultural Lonewolf by Richard D. Lewis.

Cassondra said...

Thanks Minna!

The drying cupboard is interesting BTW. I often put my dishes away a bit wet because...well...I'm just too lazy to dry dishes. If they haven't dried all the way in the drain rack I figure what the heck, I'll use them again in a few hours anyhow!

They're talking about charging for our grocery bags here too. I'll go broke if they do because I can't remember to put canvas bags back in my car. I must own a dozen and they lie there lonely. :0/

Cassondra said...

Thanks so much to everyone who came out for a ride on the tractor with me today. I loved all of your stories.

What a fun day!

See you again tomorrow--it's off to bed for me.

Keira Soleore said...

Thanks, Cassondra, for your kind words on my blog. And yes, he was a bonafide Scottish farmer. Don't remember how he looked, but I sure can picture exactly how his tractor looked in that muddy field. We were rooming with a different farmer in Stonehaven and they were nice enough to provide us with the rags and hoses and water to clean off the car. Took us a few hours. What a tale to tell though!

Farmer*swife said...

I love and adore this post! I heart, this post!

I'm married to a farmer...he's nice, handsome, smart, owns many tractors - drives a big truck, has lots of tools (lots of'em) and can make, build, drive, weld, anything.

He is completely and totally CAPABLE.

:-)

I'm gonna' have to pass this on!

Happy Thursday!