“It’s ok, the cow can’t really bite you, they don’t even have incisors on their upper jaw. They have a toothless dental pad, no canine teeth, and only chew on their back molars, so you would have to have your hand way far back in their mouth to really get bit, see?” I push the lips back on the baby cow and look over my shoulder to the spot where the (apparently disinterested) Dutch girl had been standing. She was gone.
Eh, I figured she was either truly afraid of the Hairy Coo or didn’t care much for my detailed explanation of the physiology behind the bovine dental formula. I looked at the mini-cow and added, “it’s because your a herbivore and a prey animal.” Before scratching her nose and walking over to my friends.
Truthfully, standing on the fence with my fingers inside a strange cow’s mouth was the least awkward part of my day. Dearest readers, take a seat. This is going to be epic.
A week or so ago, my dear friend Frenchie asked some of us to accompany her on a tour of Scotland to see the Hairy Coo. Being a champion vet student, I agreed to any tour involving visiting fuzzy local livestock and didn’t even bother checking the website. I don’t think anyone bothered checking out the website because when our guide mentioned our itinerary, he was met with a bus full of blank stares…we were in for a full day tour around the Highlands!
The first stop was, Winterfell. Or the Monty Python Castle – whichever fanbase you prefer:
I went pee here. Twice.
I rushed off to the toilets as soon as we parked, and just as I was getting on the bus to leave (half an hour later), I needed to go. Again. J asked me if I had a medical condition. I said, “I think I’m just excited, but I don’t want to risk peeing on one of the Highlands or whatever.”
I asked our guide (McDreamy) if I could “please go potty again really quick?” I am 29 years old and I asked to go to the bathroom like I was a kindergartner. He nodded and I scurried off, running-walking-running to the ladies’ room. As I washed my hands, I realized that I may have been a teeny-tiny bit attracted to McDreamy and that was why I got a teeny-tiny bit nervous when I talked to him. I looked in the mirror and gave myself a teeny-tiny pep talk:
Erin, you are a dating professional…wait, don’t call yourself that or people might think you are an escort. Erin, you are perfectly capable of holding yourself together and playing it cool even around charming, tall, dark and handsome men with banging Scottish accents. Now, get a grip and get back to the bus before people start to speculate about what could be happening within your bowels!
When we got to the field with the Hairy Coos, J captured several of my proudest and most dignified moments, like when I dropped a piece of bread by the Coo’s horn:
Even the coo looks a bit insulted by that one…
Talking about my hair, this shot inspired me to throw it all into a braid. I did look a little too much like a Hairy Coo!
With neatly braided hair, I felt a little more confident and decided to strike up conversation by asking McDreamy about some of the music he was playing on the bus. I showed my extensive prowess of Scottish artists by name-dropping Amy Macdonald. I said I liked his selection and asked for more recommendations of Scottish bands.
McDreamy raised his eyebrows, possibly surprised I recognized the young Scottish singer/songwriter, and then caught me completely unawares by asking me, “Well, what kind of music do you like?”
I froze like a deer in the headlights, completely caught off guard with this (somehow) unexpected question! In the end, I bought time by pretending like I needed to concentrate on keeping my footing walking down a hill and then mumbled something about, “Acoustic-Alternative-Indie-Punk-Folk-Rock.”
So, that was a fail, but I wasn’t yet deterred.
Back on the bus, I sat entranced by McDreamy’s recount of Scottish history, everything from the biblical Stone of Destiny to the dude who punched the guy on fire in the face. It was fascinating, romantic and more exciting than any history class I’ve ever sat through. He was hilarious, in the understated way I’ve noticed people in Scotland are some of the funniest and most winsome people in the world.
We continued around the highlands, seeing beautiful Scotland at every twist and turn. I snapped a few quick photos from my window, but caught myself watching McDreamy a lot.
That last sentence makes me sound a bit like a creeper. Maybe I am (I do take pictures of attractive strangers and write blog posts about them), but it wasn’t all me watching the his mouth move in the rear-view mirror as he talked, I was truly, wholly engaged in his stories about Claymore swords swinging around like helicopter blades and witches with red hair, green eyes, and birthmarks. Every once in awhile, I felt like he looked directly at me. Maybe because I was still on the edge of my seat….like a creeper… the whole time! Maybe, I was frightening him.
McDreamy offered to answer any other questions we may have; there were so many I wanted to ask!
I wanted to ask about current Scottish politics and music and places to go and which types of whisky you are not supposed to drink with ice. I wanted to ask if there was any place in Scotland that sold corn meal. I wanted to ask if people went searching for the real Stone of Destiny since I believed the story about the one in the castle being an ancient latrine cover. And I wanted to ask him to tell me the story about the terrorist who lit himself on fire in the Glasgow airport and the Scotsman who punched that flaming terrorist in the face again, because it was awesome! I wanted to ask about Edinburgh’s tunnels and ghosts and talk more about the failed colony in Panama.
He wasn’t wearing a ring. I really wanted to ask if he had a girlfriend.
In the end, I asked the worst possible question; an epically, completely, wildly, embarrassingly I-can’t-belive-I-am-putting-this-on-the-internet level stupid question.
Essentially, I asked how closely the movie Braveheart followed the real story of William Wallace. However, since this is fumbly jumbly me, both my out loud and internal voices were going strong:
“So um, you know how you said that there were no dumb questions, I am probably going to prove that wrong, because this is a pretty stupid question (Then, why are you asking him, Erin! Stop it.) and probably a total American question (why the shit did you just say that!) and, well, I was just wondering if, you know the movie Braveheart? (Of course he knows the movie Braveheart! ughhhhh what.are.you.doing.) Was that accurate at all or was it all Hollywood? (Really? You really just asked him that? What are you thinking! stop talking. stop talking. stop talking). Because I really loved the film (SHUT UP) and…yeah.”
He was kind in his answer, but my outer voice ran off again:
“And the part about the French princess?”
He shook his head no.
“Aw man, that was, like, my favorite.”
At that point, I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. I really wanted to go soak my head in the nearest Loch.
There was a time in my life that my painfully tongue-tied awkwardness around attractive men was a form of job security. I was a dating columnist and staying single was a good way to keep the extra $$$ coming in since, no one wants to read about happy people in functional relationships.
Old habits die hard.