men and women with dogs
Monday, July 17 2006
Gretchen is always raving about how everybody loves it when she brings the dogs into various stores and what not, and I'm sure for her this seems true, but when I bring the dogs with me into a store, the same stores where she is bathed nothing but unqualified dog-positive vibes, it doesn't always seem that way to me. Today, for example, the dogs were on their best behavior in Herzogg's (the hardware store in Uptown Kingston), roaming the aisles but mostly sticking with me. But when Sally wandered behind the counter of the new home decor section the guy back there asked me if I could please get my dog out from there. What, did he think she was going to rob the safe? Admittedly, he was the only one who seemed to have any reservations about the dogs at all; the guy back in the bowels of the paint mixing area had no problem with Sally at all when she went snuffling there. I suspect the difference between how people react to the dogs with Gretchen versus with me is rooted in our respective genders. A woman bringing dogs into a store is assumed to be nurturing and concerned about animals, and her dogs are seen as unthreatening babies. A man doing the same thing is viewed as imposing and arrogant, and his dogs are seen as potentially violent.
On the way back home I stopped for a swim again along the Esopus, which Sally and I swam across not far downstream from the Wynkoop Bridge. Eleanor, on the other hand, did a little snuffling up on the highlands and then, instead of joining us down in the creek, jumped into the car through an open window and spent the rest of her time hanging out in the backseat. A group of four or five teenage boys came up the creek while I was lounging in a swimming hole and Eleanor barked at them enthusiastically as the climbed the bank and walked past the car. These boys seemed to exhibit a volatile combination of "from wealthy families" and "bored," a combination that manifested partly in them saying nothing to me at all when I said hello.
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