Most of us have either seen or heard of the television show called “The Bachelor.” The show is all about a single man in search of a bride. Of course, these days there are many ways to find the girl of his dreams, and most men would never go on television and let some reality show match him up with ten women for him to choose from. Of course, the idea of online dating sites is new and for some of us, still shocking too.
Many years ago, in the old west…especially during the gold rush days, the men in the west found themselves lonely…very lonely. They didn’t want to go back east, and few good women came to the west in those early days. Those were desperate times in the emotional lives of the gold rushers. The west was wild and unsettled, and even into the 1900s short on eligible women to marry.
There were no computers or smart phones then, and no dating apps or websites. So in an effort to find a wife, several eligible bachelors would stand in front of a log cabin, spiffed up as much as they could be, I suppose, many with beards, trying to let ok like a great catch. The photograph was then placed as an advertisement in papers back east. Personally, I don’t know if I would have been very inclined to jump on a train and head west to meet up with a man who was looking for a wife. Mail-order brides, sort of. These men would still have to woo the women, win them over, because these women weren’t slaves, and they weren’t required to stay. These bachelors would have to “sell” themselves and their lifestyle to these women, along with making the women fall in love with them.
I wondered, what kind of woman would answer such an ad. I don’t mean a loose woman, but likely a woman who was a little bit past the normal marrying age of that time. An eighteen year old girl would never be the one to go. Her parents would likely never let her, but s woman who was in her mid-twenties would be viewed as a spinster, usually a school teacher, so she could take care of herself. She could tell her family that she was taking a job in the west. I’m sure they would be upset, but it would be her choice. And her family would have known it. Some women had no one, so there might be nothing to stop them. Still, going into the unknown like that would be scary. I don’t know how many of these men successfully found wives this way, but I suppose that if even a few did, it would be a successful bachelor show…of the time, anyway.
Tonight was our second night of bowling, and as is normal for this time of year, there were a number of people who weren’t there. I guess bowling just can’t hold a candle to the hunt. Of course, lots of people love to hunt, but it always sticks in my mind that it is men for the most part. I remember as a little kid, that my parents both went hunting, and there was an antelope bust mounted and hung in our living room for all of my childhood. In fact, I’ll bet it is still up in my mom’s attic…somewhere. We got to go hunting with them on time as little kids. I don’t remember much about it, except that it was cold and boring. I guess that must just be because I was seeing the whole thing through the eyes of a little girl. After that we stayed with grandma while they went hunting, and that was usually a better option…unless I managed to get myself in trouble…never a good thing with my grandma.
Hunting has been a tradition in many families since time began I suppose. Of course the main purpose is to provide food for the family, but there is more to it than that. For many men, it is a time shared with the guys they hang out with, while their wives stay home. And while the guys are hanging out in the woods for a week, believe me, the wives are not at home pining away. They are having some nice me time at home and with their friends. Oh, I know that doesn’t apply to every woman, because I know several that like to go hunting.
One girl I know who would like to go hunting is my niece Jenny. She and her family love to go out and shoot their guns, and recently her oldest son, Xander passed his hunter safety course, so this would be the first time he would actually get to hunt. They were all looking forward to the trip, when Xander told his mom that he doesn’t want her to go hunting with them this time, because it is a boys trip. Whether she is a hunter or not, on this hunt, being a girl is apparently very uncool.