Last week Manyu did something that makes no sense to me. Usually I attribute our differences to cultural distinctions. She is Taiwanese and I am American. This action had nothing to do with heritage, but everything to do with gender. She did something I suspect few males would do. 

In preparation for Christmas, Manyu had our dog Jack groomed and then immediately bought him dog clothes so he wouldn’t be cold. I saw this indignity to both me and my dog coming, so I have to assume part of the blame. Had I been thinking long-term, had I been thinking at all, I would have taken Jack in for a trim late October. If he gotten a haircut then, he wouldn’t have looked like a ball of sheep’s wool come December, and I might have pushed his next haircut to beyond the coldest days of winter. I go four months between cuts, so it seems my dog should be able to do the same. As an aside, my haircuts cost $16, Jack’s cost $60, and we both get what we pay for. Jack looks sharp immediately after a haircut; I have wait a month after a trim for my hair to grow back to where I like it. 

The end result of Jack’s mid-December grooming is that I – a fully bearded, broad-shouldered, rolled-up sleeves male – now take a sweatered lapdog for walks. Jack, of course, could not care less. So long as we go for a walk and stay out for at least an hour, we can dress him up anyway we want. The poor guy was neutered after all. A small thing like having to wear clothes is insignificant in comparison. 

My mental image of walking a dog is unleashing a mastiff into the brush, then bringing him home to pull off ticks and burrs. My reality is walking a clothed yorkipoo on the sidewalks in my neighborhood, frequently checking my pockets to make sure I brought along enough poop bags. 

As sweaters go, Jack’s sweater looks good. It is an attractive pattern in beige and black. If I had a sweater of similar design, I’d wear it. I wouldn’t, of course, wear it when I was walking Jack. Matching my wardrobe to my dog’s would be an insult to my manhood built upon an insult to my manhood. Jack, in spite of his small size, his emasculating surgery, and his seasonal apparel, walks proudly. I need to be more like him. 


Steven Simpson