Where is Prince Charming?

2013-02-14 00:00

“GO on,” my friends and colleagues urged me. “The Hitching Post has been matching couples for years and a nice lonely farmer would be just the thing.”

This Farmer’s Weekly service has been spoken about for decades. I have sworn off Internet dating, so I briefly considered it. “Mmm.” I was not convinced. Back when I was 18, a life out in the countryside with a guy in khakis was just my idea of paradise. But I have evolved … just a bit.

Back then I wanted different things. My best friend and I headed to KZN as students in the eighties. She had decided she wanted a city job and a home close to the action in Joeys after studying nursing. But I was quite keen on a simple life in the backwaters.

I pictured cute lambs in the fields and cows gently ambling about. Being a city girl, I had absolutely no idea what life on a farm entailed — luckily.

Fate intervened and my friend, freshly graduated from Grey’s Hospital, landed a farmboy from Cedara, and I was the bridesmaid. I still get to visit them in Donnybrook when I can and they are one of the luckiest couples, still going strong and happy together.

I eventually looked at the Hitching Post which has modernised and gone online. To be honest, the pickings are slim — the average age of the men is 60 to 75. Most of them sound like they are advertising for prize heifers, while the women, on the other hand, are concerned with flouting their home-making skills and their virtuousness. I couldn’t resist being mischievous.

My ad read: “Liberated woman seeks farmer in scenic spot with pots of money. I can’t cook, but I hope you can. I am not wild about bakkies, so I hope you have a cute 4x4 runaround. Can make the house homely, but don’t like muddy footprints on the carpet. Gave up being shy and virginal a long time ago. I am like a weathered sofa — worn and comfy. Reply to ….”

I’ve waited weeks for a response, but clearly I’ve lost the magic touch. I am told, according to recent newspaper reports, that the Free State is the place to go hunting for lonely bachelors, but I am not sure that I would swop the beautiful Midlands for a boep and a stoep in some god-forsaken platteland dorp. So I guess I have standards.

Valentine’s Day forces us to examine our relationship status, but most of the time I really don’t think of myself in that way. I am alone, but not needy enough to starve myself and lose the 50 kilograms required to become a desirable Barbie doll lookalike. Sadly, I was born in the generation when I was told Prince Charming would come and rescue you on a white horse. It’s taken me years to re-educate myself. I’m just not good on horseback.

I try to tell my daughter that it would be nice if she can find Prince Charming when she grows up, but actually it is a fantasy created by Hollywood. Most men and women are average and full of flaws, and if she can love one of these people for the rest of her life, then she will have managed to do what most of us cannot.

I remember once in primary school a chap called Brendan was in love with me, and he stole his mother’s pearl necklace and gave it to me because I was leaving town and moving to a new school.

He had tears rolling down his freckled cheeks when he handed me the coveted gift. I was speechless and unaware of its value. We used to hold hands behind the piano during singing lessons until they were hot and sweaty. We were six years old.

My dutiful mother returned the necklace to his slightly peeved mother and I never saw him again. I wonder if he reads the Hitching Post.

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