I’ll sometimes give the benefit of the doubt to a woman when a first date doesn’t always go the way I hoped. After all, people can have bad days, so when Janet’s preferred topic of interest, during our initial meeting, was her puppy I thought she might be nervous or simply excited about the new addition to her life. Since the date wasn’t a complete nightmare, I felt a second one would be okay.
I used Sparky as an excuse and suggested we could take him for a walk from her place, through a local park, and to a nearby café with outdoor seating. Receiving no objection or alternative suggestion, I showed up expecting this to be the plan for a relaxing “let’s get to know one another” date.
Upon ringing her doorbell, I was greeted by shouts of “Quiet, Quiet! QUIET!”, combined with unrestricted barking before the door even opened. When I entered the audible commotion ceased, replaced by a leaping 45-pound, three foot tall, “puppy” determined to not only remove every last spec of previously applied sunscreen from my face and body, but soak my clothes while doing so. The free rein attack was paralleled by Janet’s laughter, who offered no assistance in my defense. Either I was satisfactorily bathed, or Janet feared I might be more enamored with Sparky than her, for she ended la lucha libre by dispensing a treat to the animal.
I had but a scant moment to try to make sense of what had just occurred before I was presented with a new horrific scene: a pair of Lycra leggings taxed to its maximum limit. I prayed that she would not sneeze for fear that the fiber, upon reaching complete exhaustion, would finally surrender its prisoner.
“Would you like a beer?”, she asked while wobbling into the kitchen.
I knew I needed something far stronger than beer, but accepted the offer and sat on the sofa after it was suggested. The act of sitting was taken as an open invitation by Sparky for wrestling; round two, this time adding my hair and trying to tailor my cargo shorts by ripping all the pockets off of them.
“Oh if you have food in your pockets he’ll smell it and try to get it.” Janet informed me from the chair directly across from me.
“I only have my keys in one pocket and have never had any food in any of the other pockets.” I informed her, while struggling with Sparky and thinking, “That’s too bad, I guess I can’t make a habit of carrying ham sandwiches in my pockets any more.”
“Oh he’s just teething.” was followed with more laughter.
The next hour was spent fighting off the “cute little thing”, who saw me as his new teething toy, and listening to Janet go on about him, with an occasional interspersing of “Just push him off if he’s bothering you.”
“Push him off?!” What the heck did she think I had been trying to do, since I entered her place? Seriously? Push him off? I was obviously being double-teamed and defenseless. Not even an octopus would have helped me against the beast, nor a bullhorn make it clearer every time I suggested a walk.
I learned my lesson and finally left her place with my tail between my legs. Second chances are a coin toss; they can open the door to something completely different or simply reinforce the obvious. Dogs often reflect their owners. By going a couple of rounds with Sparky, I was obviously spared a worse trouncing by Janet.
Carmen Valdés is a pundit of bad dates living near Los Angeles.