That isn’t a euphemism, although it is a generalisation. What I really mean is that I like a man who’s not embarrassed to be seen in public with a small dog.
Small dogs, in my experience, no more equate with small penises than do small cars. And yet there still seem to be guys who feel their manhood is somehow tied up in these external trappings. I’ve yet to meet a girl who hears the revving of an engine at traffic lights, or smells the burning rubber from a hoonmobile and goes weak at the knees, unless it’s in fear of being run down. Likewise, I don’t look at a man with a Bull Mastiff and immediately think “bet he’s a viking in the sack”.
Of course sometimes a guy hasn’t really made a choice, but was caught up in a reverse-custody situation and landed with the pooch. Now that kind of commitment does win points: to take on the dog of a woman who broke both their hearts and deserted them. Especially if the canine in question is named Muffy or Tinkerbell. Try calling them and maintaining your dignity.
But it’s not just about appearances. Watching people interact with their dogs quickly gives you a sense of their true nature. For example nothing pains me more than seeing a dog – after being home alone all day – finally taken out with a constant jerk on the end of the lead. Pardon the pun, but why can’t these jerks understand that for a dog who’s been in solitary confinement all day, to be denied the chance to stop and smell the flowers (or trees) is a form of torture. To us it might just look like a boring tree or lamp post, but to the dogs it’s a community noticeboard announcing Rrrrf or Wowf (which is how I imagine dogs think of themselves) was here. Put yourself in the dog’s paws and you won’t find the meander such an irritation. A guy who is prepared to be patient while the dog catches up on the news is also likely to be a good listener in a relationship.
Likewise when they don’t recognise the signs that nature is calling. You see the poor dogs getting dragged along, sometimes whimpering softly, sometimes just walking more and more slowly, until finally in desperation they ignore the jerking and stop to relieve themselves right in the middle of the path or road. And yet he’s caught unawares when love leaves. “I had no idea you were even unhappy!” No surprises there.
And don’t get me started on dealing with the results of calls of nature. People who don’t pick up after their dogs are the scum of the earth. You’ve seen them. They quickly look the other way once the dog squats, pretending they have no idea what’s happening. Or they bag it, but leave the bag there by the playground or in the middle of the park – presumably for the poo fairies to collect. I had a neighbour who refused to take his dog for walks anymore because he had been compelled by other walkers to do the pick up. “It’s humiliating, having to clean up after a dog like that!” he angrily said as he chained his Rottweiler to the clothesline for “self-exercise”. It makes you wonder how well they would deal with the nitty gritty of periods, childbirth or dirty nappies.
Just when you’re thinking where have all the good men gone, you come across one. Someone who accompanies their dog on an exploration, happy to move at the canine pace; who senses when to throw a ball and when to just give a gentle rub behind the ears; who arrives home from such an outing cold, tired and hungry but always gives the dog a brush down and feed before he has a hot shower or cracks open the beer. Someone who understands that it’s a privilege, not a right, to share the company of such a loyal best friend. Someone who’d be proud to step out with a Jack Russell.