Saturday, June 26, 2010

When a Man Pretends to Like Dogs to Get Into Your Pants

This essay appeared in the Bark magazine in March 2009. Now that enough time has passed, I can admit that the Friend I referred to was my own self.

Blind Date Faux Paw
Rule #1: You can’t fake dog love.
Lee Harrington | 31 Mar 2009
Does he or doesn't he really love dogs?

This story comes from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous on the off chance her former blind date reads this. (We are hoping enough time has passed that said Blind Date will no longer be Googling my friend). They didn’t hit it off, you see, because Blind Date committed the unpardonable act of pretending to be a dog person. He knew my friend loved dogs, and he knew my friend was attractive, and single, so he lied—-all in the name of trying to get into her pants.

We are not impressed.

The setting of the story: a holiday party, last December. My friend loves holiday parties, so she readily accepted an invitation from a man she barely knew. She had just moved to a certain rural town near a certain hip city, and had not, to date, made any new friends. She thought this party would be a grand and fun entry into her new life. Plus, the man claimed that he loved dogs.

The evening included bluegrass Christmas music, nutmeggy eggnog spiced with cognac, and cool hippy-types who wore their grey hair long. But let us fast-forward to the moment when Date invited Friend to sit next to him on a sofa near the fire. He patted a cushion, which prompted the host’s dog—a shaggy, little Wheaton-mix—to run over and leap onto the vacant spot.

Friend said: “How cute!”
Date? He pushed the dog to the floor.

As you can imagine, Friend made a decision right then and there never to see Date again. He tried to snuggle with her on the couch, but Friend snuggled with the dog instead. Date repositioned his body on the sofa so that his legs and arms touched Friend’s, but she kept moving further and further away, to the point where she was almost sitting on some fiddle player’s lap.

It was a long night for Friend. She’s typically not a grudge-holder, except when someone roughs up a puppy.

On the drive home, Date—perhaps sensing Friend’s disappointment—tried to regale her with what he thought were amusing dog stories: the time he tried to put his own dog to sleep and it took three days for the poison to kick in; the time a farmer shot his daughter’s dog and how he and the farmer ended up becoming good friends. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but my friend found none of this funny.

(Date concluded the evening by telling Friend she had no sense of humor and that she needed to ‘loosen up,’ but that she was still a hot babe and he’d be interested in sleeping with her.

I love the ‘but’ part. As if being hot somehow made up for all her perceived character flaws.)

Anyway, quite a few novels and movies have been written about such scenarios—about men who pretend to be dog people just to get into a woman’s pants. But in those fictional accounts, the men usually end up falling in love with the dogs and everyone lives happily ever after. In this case, a true fraud was exposed. But my friend was at least grateful her date had exposed his true self before the relationship progressed any further. Dog love is not something you can fake. So fellas, don’t even try.


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Lee Harrington is the author of the best-selling memoir Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog (Villard, 2006). Her novel, Nothing Keeps a Frenchman From His Lunch, is forthcoming from Random House in 2010. She is working on both the second volume of her Rex and the City memoir and a screenplay version of the first volume. Lastly, she is the lead singer of an all-female Who tribute band, Pictures of Lily, and, late at night she blogs about dogs at

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