Tale of Two Lives: Being Country in the City

Today’s musings compliments of Oilfield Arm Candy:

I think Brandy said it best when she summarized being ‘a little bit country and a little big city.’ We have one stiletto firmly planted in the concrete jungle.  We chair meetings with CEOs, speak fluent Starbucks and navigate a cocktail party.

But our hearts are in the country. No pair of Louboutins will ever replace a worn-in set of cowboy boots. Eat take-out? No thank you, some of us prefer to hunt our own dinner. (I haven’t had the pleasure, although I’m increasingly intrigued.) We prefer drinking beer by a horse trailer to any bar in the city.

There are more of us out there, living double lives, than you think. Double life, you ask. It’s not like we’re Batman. (Unfortunately.)

But yes, it is a double life. How do I know? Try popping into Starbucks on your way to (or from) the barn. Carhartt – even purple Carhartt – is not a designer brand most Starbucks-goers are familiar with. They may recognize the Lululemon hoodie I have under it, but can’t comprehend why it’s stained with arena dust. Or what that even is. The boots I’m wearing aren’t the latest Corral snip-toed, stack heeled beauties. They are dirty and obscenely comfortable. And then the pièce de résistance.

I have forgotten to take my spurs off.

Spurs are loud and obnoxious in a normal (read: arena) situation. In Starbucks, they are downright deafening. And it never fails – someone asks what they’re for. Have you ever tried explaining ‘steel inspiration’ to a city person?

Here’s another example. Beer.

In the country, the only qualification for good beer is that it be cold and the name easily pronounced. Stiegl-Radler is delicious, but not often found on the shelves of your local small-town liquor store. Many of us grow up on Bud Light and Coors Light. Coors Original is a delicacy saved for trips to the U.S. It’s actually an unwritten law. If you cross that line, you bring home the maximum limit of Coors Original for your buddies.

Here’s a “country in the city” dead giveaway. We’ll be in a trendy new beer hall with literally hundreds of micro-brewed choices. You know what we want? Bud Light. You’ll see us in the back, trying to subtly peel the label off as fast as possible so we don’t have to defend our choice to drink swill in the presence of liquid gold.

But it’s our vehicles that blow our cover. My truck is usually filthy after weekends spend on gravel roads. When my friends jump in with me, I usually have to move a saddle, or a bridle, or a bag of dirty leg wraps that need to be laundered. One day I had to move a mounted deer head. That’s a fun conversation;

“Sure, I’ll give you a ride. Just don’t mind Bruce in the back.”

“Bruce?” (Yes, he has a name.)

“The deer.”

“You know what? I’ll take a cab.”

Suit yourself.

Usually we’re able to manage both lives. I always think of Rudyard Kipling: “Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” It’s rare when the two lives blend seamlessly together. There usually needs to be a shower and a wardrobe change in the middle.

We slip up though.

When everyone else orders salads, we want chicken-fried steak.

We admit a fondness for strange taxidermy.

When we’re being driven home after one a few too many margaritas at a new Mexican place downtown and happen across a seven point buck in our suburban yards, we lament about not having a weapon at hand.

But even with the awkward moments, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my city life. My sushi, my Vietnamese food. My boutique shopping and designer labels. And I also love my country life. Loping circles on my horse. Riding the quad. Moving cattle.

My goal is to get more comfortable at moving between the two. This spring, to celebrate my life as an oilfield wife, a country bumpkin and a city sophisticate, I’m bringing the country to the city and hosting a pig roast in my suburban yard.

Dear Starbucks: if you thought the spurs were bad, just wait.

You ain’t seen nothing yet.



Love this! It’s so true. I have a place in the country and one in the city and I am crazy happy in both locations, although almost prefer the country. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone


I think there’s lots of us out there Melissa living that “double life” 🙂

Suzie Salmon

Add the mountains and the fact that I speak “dude, like, you know” too and you’ve got me pegged! And Jessi I think you’ve inspired me to hold a pig roast this summer 🙂


LOL – so so been there and know from whence you speak … things I miss about both but the saddest is the city dwellers don’t know their neighbours and have no real sense of community. They should all grab a lawn chair by the horse trailer and set down for a beer …


Couldn’t agree with you more DJ! I love the friendly waves of a passing car on a country road with your neighbour, whereas if you tried that in the city, they look at you like you’re an axe murderer

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