Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Of Dogs (with a nod to Bacon)
We live in a very odd society. Over the last few weeks – to say nothing of the past 60 years (aagh) – I’ve heard perfectly ordinary, respectable, otherwise kindly people say that they can’t stand young babies (“I like them when they can talk back”) or adolescents (“I’m frightened of teenagers”/”I can’t talk to them”/”they were only nice till they were ten; now they’re awful”). No-one bats an eyelid at such remarks. And the converse is true also – I find that when I admit to having enjoyed my time in the classroom, and that I especially liked teaching adolescent boys, people think I’m a freak.
So it’s ok not to like kids. But try saying in polite company that you don’t like dogs. That’s quite another matter. Especially if you aren’t necessarily afraid of them (not the wee ones anyway). If it’s merely a matter of repugnance then you’re a pariah. Apparently like-minded people, people with whom you have a good relationship, suddenly shut up, as if you’d confessed to necrophilia. It’s very odd indeed.
Imagine this scenario: your best pal takes up with a man who, for starters, always wears a hairy coat. He never takes it off, regardless of the weather. He is, therefore, smelly. He bathes only rarely, but likes to wallow in muddy ditches. Smells again. He never, ever, cleans his teeth. (You’re getting it). He has no awareness of other people’s personal space, which he invades with joyful abandon. He comes into your house, if you let him, and pokes his nose into everything. He sticks that same nose into malodorous messes (supply your own) and then into your face. He scratches his privates noisily and with abandon. He will never grow out of any of these traits, and he will never make up for them with witty conversation.
If that scenario did indeed apply to your pal’s latest (human) squeeze, you could deplore him with impunity to the rest of the sisterhood. But see when it’s a dog?
Very, very odd.