Monday, February 28, 2011

Bad Boys?

After years of wondering why I’ve never found bad boys attractive, I finally have an answer: I only like the canine ones.

He can sip from my drink any day...
Even though I was relatively young when the Star Wars movies were in the theaters, they loomed large in my peer group.  All the girls wanted their hair wound into danishes on the sides of their heads like Princess Leia, thought the Ewoks were adorable, and were in love with Han Solo.  That’s where I found myself adrift: I could get on board with the danish hairdo, had no trouble finding the Ewoks cute, but did not get the attraction to Han Solo.  He was rude, dirty, messy, and worst of all, he constantly broke the rules. The horror! In short, he was a bad boy, and I couldn’t figure out how that was attractive.  Personally, I found him annoying and didn’t see why he had to be in the movies at all!  I may have been the only person watching Star Wars who was devastated to find out that Leia and Luke were siblings, because it meant they couldn’t be together. I thought Luke was perfect: he was kind, humble, clean (check out that white outfit that had nary a spot despite trips through garbage compactors, deserts, and weird bars!), and, most importantly, he was good. He didn’t break rules (or at least, he didn’t do so without a lot of consternation and thought), and he did the right things, even when it wasn’t fun or easy.  I was truly perplexed: who would choose Han Solo over a guy like that?

Sadly for me, I found that my friends’ fascination with bad boys wasn’t a childhood folly: as we passed into our adolescence, I began to see that this was a central theme to almost every girl’s attraction to boys. Though the level of “badness” varied, running from rakish pranksters like Kurt Cameron, Sean Astin, and Mario Lopez’s “Slater” to the hard party boys like Corey Haim, River Phoenix, and Emilio Estevez, it seemed like every girl I knew had a crush on guys who either misbehaved or played characters who did.  Meanwhile, I found guys like Wil Wheaton’s character on Star Trek: Next Generation attractive: clean cut, thoughtful, conscientious, and good.  Of course, the very fact that I was watching Star Trek might have given me a clue that I wasn’t likely to fit in, but that’s another story…

Obviously, I was odd woman out when it came to being attracted to bad boys. This has been true my whole life, so I’d pretty much given up on ever understanding my friends’ attraction to roguish boys when I finally experienced it myself.  It happened on a cold, snowy day in upstate New York, and from the moment we met, I knew that I’d adore him, no matter how cheeky he might become … and probably because of it!  My husband and I were traveling with our dog, Angel, to check out a possible companion for her. When his foster mom introduced us to Otto, a St. Bernard mix with springs for legs, I fell instantly in love.  His naughty tricks only made me find him more attractive: stealing toys to play with them in the snow after his mom told him no, standing on his back legs to snuffle along any surface he could reach and grabbing whatever was there, doing a play bow and expecting the rabbit to fetch, jumping up to eye-level from a standing position right in front of us, shaking ice and mud everywhere…I found all of it utterly adorable and amusing. Somewhere outside myself, like in one of those dreams where you watch your dream self behave in odd ways but are powerless to stop it, I realized that I should have been dismayed by Otto’s behavior, but I just wasn’t.  I thought he was such a catch and couldn’t understand why Angel wasn’t running after him with her tongue hanging out and hearts in her eyes.

Who needs a laptop when you have a cute puppy boy?
When we got home, having decided that Otto wasn’t the right fit for us (mostly due to my husband’s clear head), I rationalized my experience, figuring that this was a one-time happening and had nothing to do with misbehaving males.  After all, Otto was fixed. How could his sex have any impact on my finding his behavior adorable, even if he were intact?  Oh, how I underestimated the allure of the bad boy!  We went on to meet several other dogs, some female, some male, and while I enjoyed the girls (who were, in general, very well behaved), it was the goofy, unruly, adorable boys that I found myself yearning to bring home.  I’m sure that’s part of the reason that we ended up adopting Cody, a 10 month-old Chihuahua mix, to be Angel’s companion.  What I find darling, she finds obnoxious, so I doubt we based our entire decision on her response. No, I’m pretty sure that the enthusiasm both my husband and I had for Cody had a lot to do with bringing him home… and with the reason our house is now turned upside down!

Cody has the cutest grin you’ve ever seen. You often see it right before he tears through the house, growling, rolling on the floor, and trying to rip the slipcover off the couch. He can jump several feet in the air and even do acrobatics while he’s up there.  He loves to give kisses and will sometimes sneak in an inappropriately intimate exploration of your mouth when you aren’t looking. We found out on the first day he was with us that he enjoys leather.  I’m not talking about a fetish for jackets and chaps, I’m talking about leashes.  Cody finds them extremely tasty, and managed to chew through two of them before noon.  Did any of this bother me? Of course not!  It seems the more he misbehaves, the more adorable I find him.  I even thought he was especially smart to have chewed through the handles rather than the middle of the leash. What a cutie! 

Not our dog, but isn't he cute?
When we met him, we noticed that Cody likes to dig, using his foot long legs to make quick work of whatever pile of snow or dirt is in front of him.  Of course, I found that darling.  He’s been with us for two weeks now, and I’m already wondering if they make crate pads that are indestructible: he’s dug through at least one bed and is working on finding China on the other side of a couple others.  It’s not the fact that I’m totally nonplussed about this digging that really lets me know how far gone I am, though: it’s my total inability to get upset about Cody’s aim.  Obviously, I’ve never had a male dog before.  Although I wasn’t surprised to see that Cody squats when he has to “do his business” rather than raising a leg, I was a bit surprised to see how poor his aim is, as far as most humans would see it.  Cody continually manages to hit his front left leg whenever he pees.  You’d think this would gross me out or, at least, bother me a little.  But I think it’s hysterical!  I joke about it with my husband, and I don’t even fret when I realize I’ve forgotten to wipe off his leg after coming inside.  I’ll even cuddle with him in spite of knowing where his leg’s “been.” 

Perhaps it’s not so much that I’m attracted to mischievous male puppies that makes me adore our Cody already.  He’s incredibly affectionate and loves to snuggle.  When he’s sleeping, he looks like a little angel.  A former puppy mill dog, he’s been through a lot in a short time, and it’s clear that he’s still learning to trust that things can be good in his life. The need to protect and comfort him runs strong in me.  But the way I respond to his crazy antics, in spite of my usual need to control the universe, tells me that something is definitely different with this one.  I guess I’ll have to admit it: I’m attracted to bad boys…just as long as they’re canine.


  1. Not sure first comment went through. I'm chuckling while reading this. Can't believe Cody has made you so laid back! You're so cute. Love, Mom

  2. Ah Laurie, I'm right there with you when you talk about preferring Wil Wheaton's Wesley Crusher; I was the same way. But in my case, it's not so much about being a "good boy" as opposed to a "bad boy," it's about his being a smart boy. I was a sucker for the smart boys.

    Thanks for a great post, I look forward to reading many future posts!

  3. Oh, I so hear you about smart boys, Jenni! I am still a sucker for the smart ones! ;)

    Mom, I'm not nearly has laid back as I'd like to be...but the puppies are definitely helping me get there. I'm a lot more laid back about dog slobber, and downright negligent in caring about messes on the carpets. Oops...I'm sure that tidbit is unlikely to convince anyone to come visit! ;) Don't worry: I have an overused SpotBot.