Dear Sara,

I met a handsome man walking his handsome dog, and I only talked to the dog. This has happened before, too. What’s WRONG with me?

Doggone Girl

First of all, I want you to memorize the following line:

“Goodness! I don’t know who is more handsome!” which should be delivered with your best smile, while looking back and forth between handsome man and adorable dog. Follow with petting the dog; move on to other questions.

But I’m guessing that’s too strong for your blood, else you wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. Let’s take a step back and do this methodically.

1. Study this Google image search thoroughly. I want you to have as much time as you need, in the safety of private browsing, to fully ponder the lady-hormone-phenomenon that is the Handsome Man + Dog Effect. (Of course, it can happen to men too.) Acknowledging the full power of the problem is your first step. I want you to respect yourself for tackling a worthy adversary; an age-old conundrum of single female life, especially in the city. Take as much time as you need, and feel free to alter the search with whatever inspires you. (Suggestions: Cary Grant dog, Adrien Brody dog, etc.)

2. Consider the following formula:

Talk to the dog directly, but as a foil by asking him questions that he can’t actually answer. Maybe this seems too obvious, but people tend to ask dogs rhetorical questions because the dogs can’t answer back. Example: “Well, aren’t you the sweetest?” No. Better: “What’s your name, little fella?” swiftly making eye contact with the dog’s owner, which is the important part. If the dreamboat owner answers before you have a chance to make eye contact, you’re back to square one and will have to try again with the next question. Repeat. The more he engages in conversation, the better. If his answers are monosyllabic and disengaged, let the pair carry on along their way.

3. Consider getting a dog yourself. And for godsake, get a rescue. Lots and lots of great, amazing, healthy, well-behaved dogs need love; you need love; people with dogs are statistically healthier, and as a bonus, it means you get to experience this problem as a fellow dog owner. Which includes delights such as your respective dogs playing with and sniffing each other, which leads to tangled leashes, which leads to adorably awkward moments of untangling said leashes that produces giggles and glances aplenty. Plus it’s a kind of launching board of immediate mutual interests and shared experiences to talk about. I mean the dog love is a no-brainer all around.

As a dog owner myself, you should understand that people with dogs are used to having folks stop and talk to them. It’s like you’re walking around with a big sign that says “Strike up a conversation with me!” In fact, exactly two men have offered me $20 an hour to use my dog to pick up chicks. Which I have always declined. A dog-on-leash is not a prop, it’s evidence of his manhood being expressed in the successful care and protection of a gentle creature.

And as always, if the dog growls at you upon approach or there is a yellow ribbon attached to him, ask if he’s friendly first or avoid altogether and wait for the next handsome pair. To experience this phenomenon in the field and for practice with your new skills, proceed immediately to your local park.

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2 replies on “Handsome Men and Their Dogs”

  1. I loved your answer to this conundrum. So many shy (yet wonderful people) have this difficulty in engaging in conversations. You offered some real solutions. I had a friend, many years ago when I lived in Manhattan. I told her to get a dog; she did, and she ended up marrying another dog owner. Good advice!

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