What's the deal with women over 40 and their dogs? Can I meet you out front so as not to traumatize my dog? I send love letters from me and my dog. Baby talk with doggie-woggie. Walkies with doggie? Treats for doggie. Toys for doggie.
I mean, come fucking on! I do not want to play with your dog and, no, I do not want to kiss your dog. Will you put the dog in the other room, so I can play with YOU?
OK, so dogs are easier to control than men. Is that it? You can withhold food from them. You can make them sleep outside in the rain if they don't behave. You can make them hold it, then put leashes and choke chains on them and take them for walks. You can lock them up for long periods of time, and you can make them BEG!
OK, so dogs can lick your toes, so what. If you want more than that, lock Rover up and call me!
It is with deep regret and not a small amount of disbelief that I find myself defending people who anthropomorphize their pets to the point where they have said pets signing off on correspondence. But defend I must, because you are wrong. Far from being the sadistic control freaks you imagine, the reason so many single women—especially those who've passed the four-decade mark—love their pups (albeit sometimes excessively and in an embarrassing manner) comes down to two words: unconditional love. Say a woman finds herself unattached and nearing middle age. In our youth-obsessed society, this once-vibrant dame is suddenly sentenced to live the life of a pathetic neuter by the court of public opinion. Her married friends cluck over her sadly, while her younger, still-single friends use her as a role model of how not to be. The men she used to go out with are now drooling over women young enough to be her (and their) daughter, and many (though not all) of the men who do deign to date her come equipped with a U-Haul's worth of baggage and are secretly irritated by her independent nature. Ack.
So maybe after she's been dicked over by Jackass No. 438, reality sets in, and it becomes horrifyingly clear that there's a very good chance she's gonna live out the rest of her days with only the Lifetime Channel for company. So maybe this girl decides that, as a Homo sapiens significant other seems unrealistic, it might be nice to come home to something cuddlier than a goldfish and less aloof than a cat. A dog is the perfect solution. Fido worships her even when she hasn't depilated in weeks and is reduced to eating tomato soup straight outta the can, clad only in period-stained underpants and the ripped-up Iggy Pop T-shirt she's had since the 11th grade. When she's sobbing into her pillow because yet another boyfriend has blown her off, Rover will lick her face and wag his tail. How depressed can a girl get when there's a furry little beast begging to play catch? (Hmmm—maybe I should get a doggie-woggie.)
And it's even worse if she's been cursed with the yen to reproduce. A passion for pooches could certainly hit critical mass when she's poring over the 5 millionth panicky magazine article detailing how her once-plump, fertile ovum have devolved into useless, shriveled, raisinlike pellets, rendering her barren for eternity. No wonder so many dogs are running around in awful little outfits!
As difficult as it might be, I'd like you to give these broads a break. God knows, I don't approve talking baby talk to anything—animal, mineral, or vegetable—but c'mon. Think of it this way: Dogs are high maintenance, and they require poop scooping. A woman who regularly handles shit is the sort of responsible, unsqueamish girl who'll hold your hand through your first colonoscopy and then bake you cookies to reward you for your bravery. So what if she wants you to give the dog a biscuit? Play your cards right and you can give her a bone.
Animal, mineral, or vegetable love problem? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.