Monday, June 15, 2009

The Dog Parkist: It's a Brand New Week

Q: Here is a question that only you can answer, Dog Parkist. One of my dogs is the source of discomfort at the Dog Park. My male dog is often the center of attention because of a particular part of his anatomy. Let's call it his banana. Other male dogs are consistently intrigued by his banana, almost to the point of obsession. We often have to shoo them away. I don't mind so much, but the male owners of the enthralled dogs often seem hugely embarrassed. What can I do?
Yes, We Certainly Have Bananas

A: Dear Yes, the Dog Parkist is so glad that you brought this problem to her attention. Really, to whom else could you pose it? It's a delicate matter that requires an explanation of that deepest, darkest of black holes, the male brain. 

First, a caveat. Although the Dog Parkist did grow up in a household with a father, a brother, and two male dogs—all intact, none imparted any insights into the male experience. And although the Dog Parkist was once briefly married, the husband was the kind of male who urinated while sitting on the toilet. (He claimed it was a German practice. Sigh. So is building fancy sports cars and invading France.) Needless to say, that relationship also yielded little practical knowledge of normal American males' hearts, minds, or anything else. All I have to offer  you are knowledge gleaned from arm's-length observation and deep reading of Victorian fiction. 

First of all, bananas are a fact of life. Half the populations of most species have them. (Ours is one that covers them up, thankfully.) Second of all, males of the human variety tend to be overprotective of the bananas and other related fruits of their dogs. Mention neutering a male dog to a male owner, and the human instinctively, reflexively blanches and winces. (To be fair, female owners identify with their female dogs, too. We gladly sign off on spaying, delighted to relieve our animals of the burdens of monthly crying jags, bloating, chocolate cravings, and, of course, puppies.) So you must forgive them. They are instinctively protective not only of the bananas in their care but also of the reputation of their dogs. Dogs who are interested in bananas that are not their own may seem less cool or less in-control, and that is soooo embarrassing. 

Which brings us to the third fact of life. For females, sometimes a banana is just a banana; for men, a banana is rarely only a banana. This is the great psychic divide between the sexes. And it is a good thing. Where would Western culture be without it? There'd be no Homer's Iliad or Shakespearean sonnets or Star Wars or international diplomatic crises. Imagine how boring life would be. So, my dear, while it is empathetic of you to be concerned about the men whose dogs are obsessed with your handsome boy, you must let them work this problem out themselves. (I hear you girls laughing. Yes, I know. They'll never work it out. They'll just go home, have a beer, and watch a game and forget about it until the next time. I'm just trying to give the poor dears some credit.) 

Dear Readers: Just to clarify: Even a deeply imaginative soul such as the Dog Parkist can't make up questions like this one. Please keep asking questions. How else will you ever learn? 


  1. We had a great chuckle over your diplomatic and subtle response.

    Bananas, fruits, oh my. The dog park sounds like a fruit cocktail mix.

  2. German style? Really? That is so crazy...but I just cannot bring myself to google this! Forget the dog-related question but I never realized that there was a variety of international peeing styles.


Please write a comment here or e-mail me directly at Thanks!