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The Cowboy and the “Wannabe It’s Saturday night and the fast paced, hurry-up and get behind pressures of everyday city life have come to a temporary halt. Time has now arrived for many of the “Yuppies” to discard their three-piece suits and Wall Street Journals for an evening at Gilley’s East. You can get there either by taking the subway, Porsche, Jaguar, or Lotus Spree right up to the front door where the insured parking attendant will take the responsibility of securing a space for your vehicle in their underground garage at a nominal charge. Right here, surrounded by the bright lights of Manhattan’s lower east side, is where the New York City cowboy comes to life, if only for a night. Here, in this small part of the concrete jungle, their childhood dreams manifest into reality as they pass through the metal detectors into an imaginary realm of sawdust and peanut-shelled covered floors and barrel shaped tables. This is where men can be what they’ve always wanted to be as they strut around, in their brightly colored Justin three-quarter high boots and skintight Gouchi jeans. In this world they can promenade around the dance floor, wearing their Lorentis western style silk shirts and snake skin belt, that is held closed by a four inch buckle, advertising an imaginary past Rodeo Championship from somewhere in the world, and be proud of who they are pretending to be. Just walking through the doors of this establishment enables a person, whose main words are “deese,” “dem,” “dose,” and “boid,” to gentlemanly say, “pardon me, ma’am,” “yes, ma’am,” and “you bet, ma’am,” without blinking an eye. “De old lady” immediately becomes “the little woman,” and their well-behaved children become “a pacel of youngins.” After several hours of drinking imported beer and Perrier with a twist, and telling elongated stories on their recently accomplished equestrian abilities (while knowing that the only available horses in New York City are either under a policeman or pulling a hack through Central Park), the evening draws to a close and once again reality sets in. City life takes over and their world of dreams comes to a close. Another week goes by, it’s nine o’clock, and the setting sun is creating a kaleidoscope of orange, pink, and purple hues over the tops of the mountains. A serenity settles over the ranch as another day comes to an end. The last of the ranch hands ride into the yard laughing and joking with each other and trying to guess which ones of them smells the worst after a day of chasing down strays. There’s a dance in town tonight but before they can get ready for it they must unsaddle, feed, and bed

down their mounts so that the animal will be rested and fresh for the morning. A quick shower, clean jeans and a shirt, and a short chat with some of the other hands about the events of the day, and they’re on their way. As they drive to town in their mud-covered Chevy work truck, the one with the two rifles hanging in the back window and a dog sitting in the bed chomping at the wind, the topic for discussion is booze and girls. Soon they pull to a stop in the parking lot of the LaBonte Inn, the local gathering spot for most ranch hands. They hop out their truck and stroll up to the side door, where they stop to brush off the tops of their boots on the back of their pantleg, shake the dust from their hats, and go inside. Here there are no parking attendants or metal detectors to intrude on their main objective. The first order of business upon entering this historic establishment is to order a domestic long neck beer; a glass is not necessary to a cowboy. The second is to scan the crowd for female company. Once they spot their target and make their move, nothing will stop from accomplishing their goal, which is to have fun. There’s no dressing up to “impress the Jones’” or sitting around exaggerating about their accomplishments, these boys don’t have time; they are too busy drinking, dancing, and sweet-talking their ladies into a little loving before the night is over. As the evening ends, and the bar closes, those who are left wander out into the wee hours of the morning. There is little, if any, anticipation for the long day ahead of them. They really don’t mind riding fence or chasing strays with little or no sleep to back them up. Nor, does it bother them to face the mooing of cows while nursing the world’s worst hangover. To a cowboy, that’s part of life on the range, and that is what makes him who he is. Being a cowboy is a way of life, not a way to escape it.


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