Sometimes I Wish I Didn’t Have a Dog
Having sex with a Border collie in the room is really weird sometimes. Nobody wants to have sex with a dog watching. I think it’s because you imagine what he’s thinking. I mean, on the one hand you know he’s thinking, “Is it time for Frisbee? Is it time for dinner? Got any rawhide on you?” But you also project your own attitudes and insecurities on him.
That’s what dogs are for. For example, I’m neurotic about my weight, so during sex I’m always wondering, do I look fat? And you can’t ask the dog. He always says, “Yes, you look fat. Now make me fat too.”
My husband Alby projects completely different thoughts on the dog. Alby assumes the dog wants everything he wants. He feeds him straight from the table and says, “See? I told you he prefers organic quinoa.”
I say, “He prefers organic cat shit too. What’s your point?”
But it’s the same thing during sex. Alby’s convinced the dog wants a piece of me.
Sometimes it does seem like the dog might be into it, and that just freaks me out. Then when you add the Kama Sutra sex really gets complicated. I want to get an A in Kama Sutra, because that’s the kind of overachieving privileged white chick I am. You have to have the manual right there next to you on the porch swing. What really makes sex complicated is doing the Kama Sutra in the room with a foster dog—I mean, there’s no telling what they’ve seen. One evening Alby and I wrapped around each other, stumbled down the hall, barged into the bedroom, tripped over a squeak toy, fell onto our bed, turned to page forty-three, and began our first foray into the Sacred Fog of Intimacy with a foster dog in the room. We were just easing into the Reverse Sherpa when Alby said, “Is she watching?”
I peered over his ankle. She was.
“No,” I said. “Besides, she doesn’t know what we’re doing.” Soon she settled on the floor with a chew toy. We relaxed and managed to ignore, for the most part, the loud slurping sounds she made.
We’d just finished our journey up the Magic Mountain when Alby said, “She didn’t bother us once. She’s a good dog.” Then I saw what had kept her so busy—my panties. She’d chewed the crotch right out of them.
That freaked me out, so when our new Border collie, Mick, was still a tiny puppy and we grown-ups went upstairs, we left him in his crate downstairs. But that didn’t last long, once he discovered yodeling.
Alby’s South African, so he said something like, “Aw, hartseer, arme brakkie. Let’s bring him upstairs.”
I’m a teacher, so I said, “Mick needs to learn delayed gratification. We don’t.” But the boys won.
By the time Mick was six months old, foreplay meant wandering around gathering all the treat-dispensing puzzles. I buy the ones that promise to improve your dog’s critical-thinking skills and produce higher scores on standardized obedience tests. We only had about twenty back then.
“How long do you think these’ll keep him busy?” Alby said, stuffing cheese into the seventh Kong.
I calculated, “Twelve minutes.”
“We need more sex toys,” Alby said. His first language isn’t English, so I cut him some slack.
I said, “You mean dog toys.”
The first time we let Mick stay in the room, we set him on the floor with his puzzles arranged in a sequence to scaffold Bloom’s Taxonomy. Once Mick was completely absorbed in Bob-a-Lot Sudoku, Alby and I attempted the Easy Rider Aardvark, which, as you may know, requires that both of the woman’s feet be planted firmly on the floor. (If you get the twelve-thousand-and-first edition of the Kama Sutra, it comes with these really helpful rubrics you can tape to the mirror.) Anyway , from the Aardvark position, a couple can smoothly transition to Piston Bolt Lotus, which is what we were doing when I felt puppy arms wrap around my leg and go tug-tug-tug-tug-tug.
Alby said, “You still think he doesn’t understand?”
“He’s a puppy,” I said. “It’s dominance. A power-grab.”
He said, “Bul kak, I know what kind of grab that was.”
I rolled over onto a wet tennis ball. Mick’s little face panted at the edge of the bed. “Ignore him,” I said. A moment later, Mick jumped onto the bed, paced one end to the other, then groaned like a teenager and flopped down against my back. Alby couldn’t stifle his laughter.
“Ignore him,” I said. Or I might have just thought it. “Ignore him” had become my silent mantra.
Sometimes, for example, when we’re in the Suspended Wombat position, Mick drops his eighteen-inch knotted rawhide bone on my forehead. He investigates every change in my breathing, especially when we’re doing the Long-Distance Donkey Trot. I know I should be supportive—Mick wants to be an Ear-Nose-Throat service dog when he grows up. But still, I have to swat him away. Now I need one arm free to fend off the dog. I can’t do any of the handstand poses anymore.
The other day, we collected, loaded, and put all the dog puzzles on their “gifted” settings. We even got Grand Theft Auto for his Wii. He loves Chop and all the car-chasing. The dog didn’t interrupt us once. We got so absorbed in what we were doing, we never thought about him, not even when we aced the G-Force Square-Peg Town Crier.
Then, we saw what had kept him busy. Mick’s puzzles lay untouched, and his back was turned to us. He was in the Hunchbacked Sphinx position and pointed toward the bathroom. When we went to look, we discovered our cat, Audrey, hiding in the sink in the Sulking Tiger position, only her watery green eyes brimming over the rim. Turns out Mick and Audrey can stare at each other like that for hours. Problem solved.
Now whenever Alby’s in the mood, he says, “Want to throw the pussy in the sink?” His first language isn’t English, so I cut him some slack.