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Black Lamb

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Must love dogs

September 1st, 2013

BY GIL JOHNSON

Out of perverse curiosity, I recently Googled “A dog is man’s best friend,” trying to discover the origin of this old saying. After a good five minutes of following false leads on the Interwebs,
I never found the name of the proverb’s author, though I constantly bumped into a paraphrase attributed to Groucho Marx: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend; inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

The benighted sage who first uttered those words about canine congeniality had his genders confused. Clearly, as conclusively demonstrated by scanning the social media, a dog is woman’s best friend. Or perhaps, it should be “A woman is dog’s best friend.”

Recently I created a profile on the online matchmaking site Okcupid — strictly, harrumph, for research purposes, of course. What follows is a summary of my initial findings.

First, the photos, because let’s face it, men are visual and always check out the photos before reading the words. One of the most common photos in Okcupid ads is the obligatory glass of wine, usually set at a rustic table against a hillside in Tuscany. I was fairly astounded, as well, by the number of middle-aged women who have rafted the Colorado River rapids, explored Amazon jungles, climbed Mt. Everest, and survived skydiving. This could be a bit intimidating to the average schmoe who once made it to New Orleans for the Super Bowl or drove an old VW bus from Cleveland to Santa Fe. But for a seasoned world traveler such as myself, one who has read every book by Paul Theroux, these ventures fazed me not at all.

Nevertheless, the quantity of all these travel photos pales to insignificance when compared to the doggie porn. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of photos of women kissing their dogs. And more of women holding their dogs, walking their dogs, brushing their dogs and, shamefully, dressing up their dogs. If a woman puts up four photos, at least one is of the dog, by itself. One woman advertising on match.com (I felt I needed to branch out to acquire a greater sample size), posted six photos of her dogs and none of herself.

And now for the words. There is a category on Okcupid in which one must list six things that one cannot live without. A regression analysis of all the women’s answers found that “My Dog” does not rank that highly, not nearly as high as “my children,” “my family,” “my smartphone,” and “chocolate.” But that is because the pooch is not merely “my dog.” It’s “my goofy golden retriever,” “my precious Lhasa Apso,” “my sweet little Yorkie,” and “my adorable Corgi” (a total oxymoron).

Then there are the ultimatums, the deal breakers. Suitors cannot be adverse to a dog sleeping on the bed, initial meetings have to be at the dog park, or at least with the dog being walked somewhere. Many women flat out state, “Must love dogs.”

Now I like dogs, and they generally like me. I think most men are like that. But we are looking for a simple relationship between just two people, not a ménagerie à trois.

Finally, to further my research, I met some of the women advertising themselves on these sites. It wasn’t hard. Though I am among the first wave of the Baby Boomers, I can post a striking, dare I say handsome, photo of myself, due to my healthy living, good genes, and expert manipulation of photo editing software. And what woman would not want to meet the man who wrote the screenplay of The Horse Whisperer? After all, if they are crazy for dogs, they are absolutely gaga over horses.

Full disclosure: I once wrote a screenplay entitled The Hoarse Whisperer, about a man who does voice-overs for horror movies. The film people who read it have encouraged me to produce it myself. It doesn’t have horses in it at all, but a lot of people can’t spell, so I got a lot of responses.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of these women are charming, attractive, intelligent, witty, and in pretty good shape. Since they live in the Pacific Northwest, they engage in outdoor activities and are in touch with nature. Most are politically liberal and support environmental causes. And yet they own a dog, often more than one. When I informed them that owning a medium-sized dog leaves twice the carbon footprint as driving an SUV (look up New Scientist, October, 2009), most, well, just didn’t hear me.

After all, have you ever tried to hold a conversation with a woman who is being yanked all over the park by a Corgi? Or who keeps telling her Afghan to heel? Or who has to break up fights between her Rottweiler and virtually every other dog it encounters? At least babies take naps.

So that leads to motive. Are the women who dote on dogs substituting the pup for the children that have grown up and moved out? Or the children they never had? After all, a dog is a perpetual four-year-old.

I’m not sure which is more bizarre, women who speak in baby talk to their dogs, or women who ask their dogs questions in an adult voice.

“Rufus, shall we go to the park today or mosey down to the coffee house? The park? But you know, the coffee house has doggie treats.”

“Isobelle, I’m thinking ordering Thai food in tonight. What do you think? Well, yes, I could get it not too spicy.”

“Samson, what do you think about that last guy? I mean, he’s funny and intelligent and seems nice enough, but I see you don’t like him. And, that’s right, he doesn’t know how to spell horse.”

I would not be surprised if some women asked their dogs to balance their checkbooks or evaluate legal contracts.

What does surprise me is that these women are posting advertisements on places like Okcupid. What more do they need? A woman with a dog has a companion who is fully attentive to her every movement and whose love is unconditional, who greets her happily at the door whenever she comes home. A dog will gladly go on a long walk in the fall rather than embed itself in front of a television all weekend to catch every minute of an endless series of football games. A dog will never complain about her cooking.

She’ll never find a human being who will be all that. Not even her mother is that good.

Intelligent and savvy men, the kind she says she is looking for, mentally sprint away from ads featuring dogs. They know from experience they will never compete; the pooch comes first. She’ll spend her last dime on vet bills to keep Old Faithful alive another few months, but for you, maybe a bowl of chicken soup. Bought at a supermarket.

And then these dog fetishists wonder why they are still single. They should admit they have an addiction that they cannot control. Caninophiles Anonymous is calling.

Of course, they will not meet any men at a meeting. Men are into cats. •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Pets Issue, Johnson | Link to this Entry

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