I once had a boyfriend who had an inappropriate relationship with his dog.
Well, alright, that was never proven, but all signs pointed to àYESß.
For example, on the night of my college graduation when all of my hard-partying friends were also graduating and we’d decided to get together at the most popular bar in the city, located just a few blocks off of campus, this is what said boyfriend told me: “Oh, babe, I’m sorry. I can’t go. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with Ruff lately, and I know that college graduations are kind of important, but…” here was the exaggerated, sharp intake of breath intended to convince me that he felt bad "...I’m gonna go ahead and hang out with him tonight.”
Yes, the dog’s name was Ruff. As in, the barking sound.
And yes, I promise that this was a 21-year-old male that I was dating and not an 8-year-old little girl.
Now, if the boyfriend had been anywhere near the neighborhood of good-looking—perhaps even in the same zip code where good-looking resided—this might have been acceptable. It might have even been cute on him.
But he wasn’t. He was a dorky little man, weighing in at about 10 pounds lighter and 2 feet shorter than me, who didn’t have a very fun personality (aka: didn’t drink much) or particularly good teeth.
But beggars can’t be choosers, and this semi-reformed horseface? Well, back then, she was a beggar.
When we first started dating, he insisted that Ruff sleep in the same bed as we did. (On a side note—if you can believe it, we never had sex. In fact, I’d say sleeping with him was akin to my parents making me share the bed with my younger brother during overnight visits to my grandma’s. I’m not sure why this didn’t provide a clue as to the repulsion that I actually felt for the little dog-loving dude, but somehow I stayed with him for 4 months…)
I’m not a dog person, peeps. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you judge a person’s character by whether or not she likes dogs, then let me save you some time: I’m an asshole.
Now that’s not to say that I walk around kicking dogs or anything, and in fact, I get mad if I see others being mean or neglectful to them. And really, back when I had time to drink, the drunker I’d get, the more I’d find myself planting slobbery kisses all over their sweet little doggy faces.
But that doesn’t mean that I necessarily enjoy my self-esteem taking direct hits as I consistently come in second place to a dog, and also? No amount of beer in the world could make me want a dog tucked up between me and my intimate partner in bed—even if the thought of actually being intimate with that partner made me want to puke myself.
It’s just not who I am, my peeps.
One morning, after about only 20 minutes of sleep because I had been awake fighting Ruff for the pillow most of the night, I awoke to a tick on my leg.
Here’s the thing: I got a tick bite when I was 17 years old and almost died from a nasty case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. So ticks and me? We don’t jibe.
I told the boyfriend that in regards to the sleeping arrangements, it was me or the dog.
“Can I call you in a few hours and let you know?” he asked.
Later that night, as the dog lie sobbing on the plush doggy bed that had been purchased and placed flush against the bed, I felt a slight tremor from the other side of the bed. I rolled over and looked at my boyfriend.
His face was smooshed into his pillow, and he had his arms over his head. His little miniature shoulders shook as he cried in perfect harmony with the dog.
“I think I made the wrong choice,” he sobbed.
Once, we had a trip planned to my dad’s house, where my brothers and sisters and I were meeting up to have a few drinks on the back deck. Boyfriend asked if he could take the dog.
“Listen,” I warned, “I don’t care if you want to take the dog. But remember that they already think you’re a nerd. No funny business.”
But I may as well have held my breath. When we got to my dad’s, where everyone was waiting, my boyfriend couldn’t bear the thought of putting Ruff on a leash while we were all on the deck having fun, but we also couldn’t have the dog on the deck because one of my sisters’ boyfriends informed us that he was allergic. (I think my sister was just using her boyfriend to—excuse the pun—throw me a bone and give me a few minutes away from the very spoiled dog, but of course I wasn’t going to call them on it. I needed that break.)
My boyfriend decided that the best option was out of sight, out of mind, and he tied Ruff’s leash to a tree in the front yard so that Ruff wouldn’t have to bear the indignity of watching us swig a few beers without him.
Trouble was, Ruff knew what the hell was going on. He lived up to his name, barking loudly from the front yard for the entire two hours we were at my dad’s. But that wasn’t the worst part: My boyfriend was up to his old tricks. For 1.5 of those hours, he sat in the corner of the deck and cried.
He literally cried.
At least he tried to hide it; I’ll give him that. But the point was that that dumbass sniffled into his sleeve for an hour and a half while I tried to enjoy a little bit of family time.
My dad kept shooting me looks, rolling his eyes as he swilled his beer. Finally, he pulled me aside. “Holy shit, Shay, it’s not the barking that’s killing me. It’s the sight of that sad little gnome bawling his eyes out in the corner of the room. Get the hell out of here—and take the dog with you!”
Dad never has had a whole lot of tolerance for bullshit.
As I opened the front door of the car, my boyfriend fixed me with his red-rimmed, watery eyes. “Really, Shay? You’re taking the front? I think he deserves at least that after all he’s been through tonight, don’t you?”
As I climbed into the back seat, I promise you that little bastard dog winked at me from over the front seat.
Okay, so maybe I am making that part up. But he did look really happy, all with his tongue wagging out and shit.
But the last straw was on 4th of July that year.
One of my older sister’s friends was having a barbeque, and this guy was a blast. But when I called the boyfriend to excitedly inform him that we had plans with cool people that day, he pulled one of these again: “Oh, Shay, I’m sorry…I don’t think that I can. I haven’t spent any time with Ruff lately, and I know it’s 4th of July, but I think I’m just going to—“
“Listen, dick. They've already said you can bring the dog. If you say you’re going to skip the party to spend some one-on-one time with Ruff, it’s over.”
“Come on, Shay, let’s not make me choose again. We know how that normally ends up…”
“Yes. You pick the dog. But this time I will not take you back.”
“Well, I can’t promise anything. Ruff has been feeling neglected lately. I’ll see if he doesn’t mind heading that way after we’ve gone for ice cream.”
You think I’m exaggerating again, don’t you?
That day, as I yukked it up in the cool friend’s backyard with my sister and friends, my sister suddenly stopped as if she’d just realized something. “Shay, where’s the boyfriend?”
I rolled my eyes. “He’s hanging out with Ruff. I told him if he didn’t show up, it was over.”
As the minutes ticked by faster and faster and we got drunker and drunker, there was still no sign of the boyfriend. I’m not sure who started laughing first, but soon, we were all laughing uproariously at the stupidity of the situation.
Suddenly, my best friend Leigh checked her watch and called out between gasps of laughter, “Did you set a time limit? Because it’s midnight, asshole, and William Little isn’t here. You know what that means, don’t you?”
“Did you just reference The Littles?” I said, looking up at her and shrugging in response to her question, laughing tears rolling down my face.
But then it suddenly grew silent, as if everyone in the darkened yard simply couldn’t go on living without hearing what Leigh was about to say.
Big bunch of comedic timing douchebags.
“It means he chose the dog,” Leigh finished. “HE CHOSE THE DOG!!!!”
Then, someone else’s voice, who I still believe to this day to have been my dad’s, although it’s never been proven: “Was there any doubt? Was there any doubt?!”
As we all started screaming once again with laughter (If you can’t beat ‘em and all that jazz…), I wish I could have been consoled by looking into the future to see how I would be able to use this story on my ragingly successful blog in which all of the stories that I write to make fun of myself net a whopping 0.0 dollars per year.
Okay, maybe not that. But anyway, as I ponder the situation now in light of all of the other Worst Date posts circulating the blogging world, I feel like, in much the same way that Ruff deserved the front seat for being pathetic that day at Dad’s, I too, deserve the Worst Date title for being pathetic for the duration of this 4-month relationship.
Am I right, peeps? Am I right?