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Don’t judge a book by its cover.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

You never know someone until you get to know them.

Beauty is only skin deep.

We’ve all heard these warnings to look further than what the eye can see. Somewhere deep down inside we all know that it’s important to get to know people for who they really are. We all know it’s the right thing to do.

Yet we still rarely scratch below the surface. And when it comes to dating, this is dangerous.

Ladies, have you ever met a man and immediately dismissed him thinking, He’s just not for me?

Gentlemen, have you ever been introduced to a woman only to instantly look away because she’s just not your type?

I’ve done it. Sometimes I don’t even feel bad about it. I mean, it’s my life, right? Why should I have to go above and beyond to find someone that’s got it all — someone who’s perfect for me on both the outside and the inside? Why can’t that instant attraction that turns into deep, meaningful love happen to me, too?

And then I saw a horse with horns.

It really happened. I’m not making it up. I was driving in Nowheresville, Texas, last week with my brother and his wife. We’d just left one wine tasting and were on our way to a second. I was trying my best to keep my lunch down as my brother did his best Mario Andretti impressions around the winding country roads of the Lone Star State. Then, somewhere between flipping through country music stations and nearly barfing all over my brother’s backseat, I saw it. My sister-in-law saw it, too. We freaked out, of course, followed by a lots of squealing and giggling.

My brother didn’t believe us. Neither did the people working at the second winery.

“It was probably a longhorn,” one of them said.

Longhorn

Oh, give me a break! You’d have to be blind, deaf and completely oblivious to be in Austin for five minutes and not know what a longhorn is. (Note to Austin: Enough with the burnt orange already!)

“Was it an ibex?” one guy asked.

nubian-ibex

No. We didn’t say “goat with curly horns.” We said “horse with straight horns.”

“Some kind of antelope?” said the young girl pouring the wine.

roan-antelope

Hmmm… possible. But not exactly right.

Then a fellow tasting customer giggled and muttered, “A unicorn?”

Unicorn

We all laughed.

A random eavesdropper even chimed in, “Were you drinking before or after you saw this horse with horns?”

Wine

Fair question. I do realize my sister-in-law and I sounded a little crazy. Even a little drunk. But I only had one glass of wine at the first winery. Even for a lightweight like myself, that’s not enough to cause fleeting mirages of horned creatures grazing the vast Texan fields.

Google searches on our iPhones for “horses with horns” or “horned animals” really only made matters worse.

Crazy goat

Twisted horns

Horned Animal

We passed the field on our drive back home that night, but the darkness made it impossible to see the animals that I know were there just hours before. If only I’d taken a closer look beforehand. If only I’d asked my brother to pull over, real quick. If only I’d not passed them by with such haste. Then perhaps I’d know the truth.

But I didn’t.

And now I’ll never know.

Same goes for that guy that asked my friend out at work recently. She immediately said no because “I don’t date at work,” and “He’s not my type,” and “Why would he want to date a girl like me?”, and “It’d never work out anyway.”

And now she’ll never know.

~Ruth