Things happen when you own a dog. A dogfight might occur, and your dog might get a tear in his inner ear cartilage and then you have to pay your last $500 until payday on Friday to get the poor sweet pup looked at by your vet.
You might walk into the operating area of your vet's office where a team of five people including the vet have managed to secure your whimpering but extremely well-behaved dog in a cloth muzzle as his ear is thoroughly cleaned out and a stitch is put in and when you see him so obviously in pain your heart drops and your love goes out to him with such overwhelming force, it almost brings you to your knees.
You might take your dog home as he's wearing a blue Triceratops-style cloth bendy cone and see the delight on strangers' faces because while the dog is more miserable than he's ever been, he looks so ridiculous as to perhaps underscore the ridiculousness of life in general that even couples mid-fight-about-their-future can't help but break down with a sympathetic smile or world-peace-unifying laughter.
Then, as you're walking across 17th Street in busy traffic with a waiting line of cars seconds away from being given the "go" of a turning green light, your dog might suddenly decide to squat down in the middle of the intersection, refusing to move, and then sadly look up at you as he poops that specific brand of not-feeling-well poop that breaks your heart to watch. Then as you tug him quickly across to the sidewalk, you might watch as symbolically, metaphorically, prophetically the poops all get ground into nothingness in a Sartre-esque moment of profundity as truck after truck barrels over them.
My Poor Little Boo-Boo Samsung Sweetie-pie. (My dog's name when I rescued him from Animal Care & Control, if you are a first time reader about my pit mix, was somewhat bizarrely "Samsung." I joke that I named him after my flatscreen. A lot of the time I just call him Sam. But Boo-Boo is a frequent go-to term of endearment as well.)
After a long night of enduring the cone like a champion, Sam looked up at me with one final plea to take it off. So when I had a firm hug around him, gave him his pain medication and antibiotics and slathered some ointment on the ear, I worked out a position where he was lying next to me and I could be sure he wouldn't scratch at his healing ear as we slept.
Then we fell asleep.
It was at 8 this morning I woke up to the sight of Samsung over my face looking not unlike girlfriends of mine in the past who I have held their hair back as they vomited out the poison from a bender of a night before. But before I could say, "Do you want me to hold your ponytail?" or "Don't worry, no one saw you hook up with him," it was too late.
Samsung was puking on my face.
I closed my eyes, grimaced with bitter amusement and reminisced on other acts that have also defiled my unprepared face with far less well-orchestrated majesty, and said, "Oh honey, I'm sorry you feel so bad."
Sam looked at me and whimpered his apologies.
Better than I can say for -- OK, sorry. I'll stop the gross analogy now.
I grabbed a towel and wiped him off, wiped my bed off, wiped my face off and proceeded to start what I knew was going to be a great day. (Puke on the face is usually a propitious sign of health and wealth, no?)
Then we went outside to resume the Great 2013 Cone of Shame Walkabout we began yesterday.
I once read an article by that Chuck Klosterman guy that one of the only ways to get noticed in New York amidst a sea of attention-seekers and strangers with face tattoos and mohawks on fire would be to do something truly different.
Like carry around an ironing board on the subway.
I believe the Cone of Shame on a pitbull accompanied by a 6'2" blonde owner is the equivalent of this.
One after the other, handsome strangers engaged me in Cone of Shame Small Talk. (New "View"-style TV potentiality? Anyone?)
"You hang in there, be strong, brother," one man commented and struck up a friendly conversation with me on Eighth Avenue.
"Gosh, what a great way to meet people," another man said, strolling up beside me and walking along as if we had known each other all our lives. "How long does he have to have it on for?" the man continued as if we were sharing breakfast in our sunset-facing kitchen nook as part of the lifetime of commitment and trust we were building together after taking our vows so long ago.
"Oh, baby, what I would do with that body," a third man said, ignoring the cone completely.
I walked a little faster away from that guy.
Seriously, ladies. If Cone of Shame Commentary Does Not Fit? You Must Acquit.
Then the lesbians started getting in on the action.
One woman abandoned her girlfriend and growling pugs who angrily kept walking, annoyed by not just the flirtation but the breed betrayal at large, and she said, leaning in conspiratorially, "Oh man, it's all fun and games until the cone of shame. That's what I always say. So, you live around here?"
It was at that point that I decided to make Sam sit while I pulled out my compact mirror and touched up my makeup. If I was getting this much Cone of Shame action, the least I could do was make sure I looked as good as my dog did, right?
As I got closer to home, a handsome older man approached.
"I love your dog," he said to me as Sam glared at the guy with what can only be described as the dog stare expression of: "Seriously?"
"Thanks," I said, rubbing behind Sam's ears where he likes it. "I do too. But I should probably take him home so I can keep nurturing him back to health."
Sam looked up at me gratefully.
I suppose something about dogs is that they don't actually want to be your wingman.
And if I'm truly wedded to this icebreaker concept, perhaps when his ear is fully healed and mended in a week's time, if I still want to use this tactic to meet guys, I will simply walk around my neighborhood wearing the Cone of Shame myself.
Think about it.
He's just not that into you? Or he's just not into the fact that you aren't wearing a Cone of Shame?
You're welcome, ladies.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.