As if straight from some beautiful Jane Austen novel, it was 2 a.m. and I had coerced a date into a few too many cocktails. We were at the point when we could continue to drink until I said something really offensive that I only half meant, or we could move on to the next activity with my dignity somewhat still intact. Ever the Michael Cera of life, I awkwardly waited for any sort of indication from my date that this wasn’t going as horribly as it was in my head. I was prepared to settle for a lifetime of spinsterhood over the risk of rejection, when he popped out this little gem: “Do you want to come over and meet my dog, or what?”
Let’s break this down. While I’m very aware that I’m not the first lady that this person has ever so nonchalantly want-to-meet-my-dog-or-what-ed, I wasn’t put off by it. I’ve heard some bad, bad lines (shudder), but this wasn’t one of them. Not completely repulsed by the thought of spending more time with me? Great. Trusts that I’m not a serial killer and will invite me into a personal home? Lovely. And, yes, I’m the world’s biggest sucker when it comes to animals. I did want to meet his dog.
Dating is weird and uncomfortable, and wanting another being to partake in your misery is completely understandable. I’ve lost count of the number of times that my friends have guilted me to into some sort of awful song and dance that makes them “look cooler” around a potential romantic interest. (I’m looking at you, anyone who has talked me into going out and then didn’t pay for my dinner.) The great thing about animals is that they are creatures who live among us, pant-less, every day — they don’t have the same social standards that we do. Instead of forcing some poor friend to lie about how great you are, should we all be showing off our pets instead? It made me think: How many of us use our animals as our wingmen?
I rounded up a group of my closest cat-owning friends, and in the name of scientific research, I asked: “Serious question. Have you ever used your cat as an excuse to get someone back to your place (and into your pants)?”
Lea: Yes, pretty much. It worked! So I’m cat-sitting again this week …
Erik: No. If anything that would work against me because he’s allergic to cats. [Author’s note: He didn’t actually use the word “cats” here, but I’m a lady and felt the need to clean it up a bit for you, dear readers.]
Sarah: Ugh, no. I use my cat as an excuse to avoid hanging out with people.
Sarah No. 2: No. I have in fact used it as an excuse to break up with somebody, though. He was allergic to my cat and I was allergic to his personality.
Cory: My wife kind of used her dog on me. But I’d totally fall for a cat. I’d be slightly more excited about the cat than the person, to be honest.
Pamela: Yes. Yes. Those kittens of mine always need to be fed. I even made my boyfriend buy cat food on our first date.
Rury: Duh. Girls love cats.
Susan: No, I’m using my [two] cats to try to get my husband to move away.
Matthew: Does that work? You really ought to come over and meet my cat.
Nick: Yes. Oh, what are you doing today? I need you to come over to look at my cat!
Happy dating! If this trick works for you (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) it’s only fair that you tell me every last detail. And for the record, I did meet the man’s dog. But in her slobbery, kiss-filled greeting, she nicked my nose and I bled all over my face, clothes, and the apartment. High five, you guys. Sometimes even a good line can’t save an evening!
Read more by Laura Jaye Cramer
About the author: Laura Jaye Cramer is a freelance writer and ballet dancer based out of San Francisco. When she isn’t busy tending to her sweet little cat baby, she can be found drooling over artifacts in a museum, building a shrine to Dolly Parton, or eating a trough of guacamole. Stalk her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.