How a woman can make you be a man.

A West Coast phenomenon, which I’m none to pleased with, is the tendency for people to bring their dogs to bars and restaurants. Rarely a night goes by without noticing a mutt sitting under a patron’s chair on a patio while I’m trying to enjoy wings and suds. If the restaurant doesn’t permit it, no problem; tie the pooch up just outside the front door and set a stainless bowl of water in front of him. I’m sure he doggy dreams about having numerous strangers pat him on the head, showering compliments like “nice doggy,” “oh, he’s so cute,” “I wonder if it is a he or a she,” and the ever-popular “aw.”

I don’t hate dogs, mind you. They have their place, which is nowhere near me while I eat. I don’t want my toes sniffed. I don’t want my knee licked. I don’t want to touch him and then my burger bun. I’m not feeding him scraps. I’m not delivering anything other than a sneer to him and his owner, because I don’t condone this activity.

So, last night, as I enjoyed a cold beer on a warm patio, a lovely specimen climbed aboard the patio with her beast of burden. Admittedly, the pooch was cute–cuter in his doggy bed in the family room than blowing doggie boogers around the patrons. Pets sense people who are annoyed by their presence. They approach these people and try to win them over. The pooch stared at me while his owner awaited my reaction.

“Your son’s going to need braces,” I remarked, noticing his under-bite with one tooth protruding over his upper lip.

“Fuck you. You’re an asshole. How dare you pick on poor, defenseless Curtis.”

“Whoa, easy,” I reeled while my buddies about peed themselves.

“He can’t help the way his teeth are. I rescued him. How could you pick on a defenseless animal?”

“Hey, I’m not picking on anyone. I was making an observation.”

“Dogs can’t wear fucking braces, you jackass.”

“Calm down. I wasn’t being literal.”

“What if this were my child. Would you say that?”

“Yeah, if he had a snaggle tooth, I probably would.”

“I should kick your ass,” she threatened, and she wasn’t kidding.

“Back me up, fellas,” I begged, hoping for support from my brothers. If we were women, I wouldn’t even have to ask. Men love nothing more than watching a bus cream a buddy, especially when it is driven by an attractive woman.

She became so enraged that she left the patio. (Job well done, if I must say so myself.) An hour later, she returned without her “son” and continued her assault. Because I’m a non-confrontational pussy who doesn’t want his ass kicked by a woman, I attempted to defuse the situation.

“I’m sorry. I was kidding. You know that, right?”

“No, you’re an asshole.”

“Granted. I apologize.”

“I’ll think about it.”

Again, if this were a group of women, they’d have my back. My buddy, however, saw this as a prime opportunity to make his move on her. I sat back and observed the inevitable approach: Angry girl was going to find a reason to be angry with him. It took less than five minutes for her to begin lecturing him because he made a comment about a man she was hanging around.

“Is your boy over there Abercrombie or Fitch?”

“Fuck you. He’s from England, asshole. Why do you have to pick on him?”

I sat back and chuckled. My pal handles situations like this differently–un-pussy-like–so he let her have it.

“No, fuck you. Fuck you in that great ass of yours. Fuck you and all the goofy-toothed men in your life.”

She stood there stunned. I awaited flying fists and beverages. Nothing.

“You’re right, I’m sorry,” she responded, “I know you didn’t mean anything by it. Can I have a hug?”

As they hugged, I about lost my shit. I realized this woman had a strange, yet effective strategy to get a man to be a man around her, and I failed miserably.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

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