Goat ropers need love too

Times:

A lonely-hearts column for unmarried British farmers has led to rural France being gripped with the promise of passion and controversy after being adapted as a reality television programme.

L'Amour est dans le Pré (Love is in the Meadow), has become one of the most popular shows in France.

Six million people tuned in to the first episode of the latest series this week in what was a remarkable success for the small M6 channel. M6 said that it had beaten the main public and private stations for ratings.

The programme has attracted criticism from French farmers' unions, which said that it gave farming a bad image. The National Federation of Farming Unions said that its members came over as macho characters “who don't have much consideration for women — which is not true”.

The series is based on an idea in the British magazine Country Living, which ran a feature about single farmers entitled Farmer Wants a Wife.

“They work such long hours in such a mechanised environment that they often never see another soul,” Suzy Smith, the editor, said. “In the old days you joined the Young Farmers' Club, you went to the dances, you met a girl, you got married and that was that. Now there is often no time or opportunity for a social life.”

Country Living organised blind dates between bachelors and their suitors at barn dances. “We have had 15 weddings and 10 babies,” Mrs Smith said.

The magazine had to stop its lonely hearts column in 2005 because it could no longer handle the volume of mail.

...

The headline on this post is from a bumper sticker I used to see around Austin, Texas back in the 1970's. It even made it into a Jerry Jeff Walker song. Al least it made more sense than the Oat Willy's "Onward through the fog" sticker which I think may have had something to do with chemical stimulation. The goat ropers were right up there with the cedar choppers as a profession with not too much appeal or satisfaction. Maybe the ones in France will have better luck. The bumper sticker is still available here.

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