Hookers and johns of suburbia
It was a late-December South Carolina cold, the kind that looks warm from a Minnesota window but sneaks up on you when you leave the house with too much exposed skin. I was in a thin t-shirt and a light jacket. Maybe my jeans were a little too tight. My sneakers were well-worn from taking the same walk countless times. Maybe I was asking for it in the way I walked. I should’ve expected the old car to stop, the window to be rolled down, and the 50-something man to poke his head out the window. I should’ve felt it coming, but I didn’t. It was December 29th and no one stops in the middle of the street and rolls down his window unless he wants something. It would be a minute or so before he used the phrase “beautiful specimen.” By that point I would already be suffering some acute cognitive dissonance and a case of the heebie jeebies like you wouldn’t believe. But he started like this:
“Have you see that Golden Retriever of mine?”
I was sucked in immediately. I’m a sucker for a lost dog. My old mutt wandered off once, and for the hour she was missing, I was a panicked mess.
“No, I’m sorry,” I said. “I just got out here.”
The man’s head was craning out the window, and I noticed a leer that didn’t jibe with the unease he must be feeling. I thought he might be salivating.
“You going to get her fixed?” he asked, maybe panting.
I looked down at my four and half month old yellow lab and thought, “You slut.” Here I was thinking this man was pulling over to solicit me for an illicit, homosexual rendezvous in the back of his car, and he’s making eyes at my dog.
I had been listening to a podcast from The Moth, so I pulled an earphone out to make sure I’d heard him right. Sure enough, he wanted to know if I was going to spay my puppy.
I answered in the affirmative, not bothering to tell him my reasons. First, I believe in controlling animal population. Second, if my dog goes out whoring around one night, I don’t want to have a litter of Bull Dog/Lab mixes running around the house. Third, spaying a female dog before she goes into heat greatly reduces her chances of having breast cancer later in life. Lastly, I signed a contract saying I wouldn’t pimp my bitch out (it’s very liberating to be able to say that without fear of reprisal). But, what was it to this guy? Did he have some female labrador fetish? Was he going to go home and look at his Lab of the Month calendar with a glass of rosé and some Al Green?
I listened closer as the man talked about his dog, and my dog, and what a “beautiful specimen,” and…well, let’s just get to it. Best I could tell, this man wanted his dog to screw my dog.
I am proud of our new dog. After losing our veteran mutt over the summer, I wasn’t sure I’d want another puppy, but this girl is quickly becoming a part of our lives. She’s not perfect. Though you would only catch me at a dog show if I was drunk and someone convinced me there would be pistachio gelato served, I’ve learned that my dog’s nose pigmentation would likely disqualify her from showing, to which I say, “Well, suck it, because I don’t cotton to nose racists, human or canine, you fatuous puke.”
So, while my dog isn’t going to make it on the show circuit (thank dogness), she’s regal, she’s fun, and she’s smart. But she is no whore.
“Well, she’s having her operation in a few weeks,” I said calmly, not adding, “so you can find another slut for your good boy.”
It was about that time that another car pulled up in traffic and forced the lecherous lab fetishist to pull away, shaking his head with regret.
“Heel,” I said. “You can thank me later.” And my girl slid in beside me to continue the walk.