Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dogs are from Mars, Cats are from Venus

There are dog people and cat people. And then, there are people who behave just a bit like dogs and cats.

I always joke that I am part cat; I share a cat's liking for my own company, I prefer peace and quiet to parties, elegance and order to chaos, and the opportunity to have a thorough bath/shower every day and feel well-groomed. I have a regrettable sense of schadenfreude that any cat would appreciate, and my night vision isn't bad either. There are times when I don't want to be touched; if I had a tail it would swish with annoyance then. I am a cat person.

That being said, I also own a dog whom I love dearly - I have had both cats and dogs in my home since childhood. But I relate better to cats than dogs when all is said and done.

My husband G on the other hand has something dog-like about him. When I first met him I was reminded of a jaunty terrier, cheerfully sniffing around me. If he had a tail it would wave plumily and happily. Many men are like that; they're like dogs sniffing for a bitch on heat. G is gregarious, and enjoys human company far more than I. He's bigger than I both in height and width and when he walks in the door at the end of the working day the house seems much smaller and less spacious. It's a small place anyway but suddenly, like the cats, I'm having to weave around furniture and G to get from point A to B.

You've all seen that joke Diary of a Cat and Diary of a Dog. The cat's diary tells of plots and plans of escape; it is complex, while for the dog everything except a bath is simply "My favourite thing!"

G reminds me of the dog's diary every mealtime. Even if it's only bacon and eggs for breakfast, or a simple steak and veg for dinner, or even just crackers and cheese for lunch, he responds the same: "Oh Wow!" When I present him with a divine and powerful curry, or a dish that has taken a couple of hours to pull together perfectly, it's still "Oh Wow!" My favourite thing! I have to laugh. (And he eats like a dog too, shovelling food into his gob as quickly as humanly possible!)

Like our dog, G manages to position himself in my path when I'm trying to do things around the house. I do most of the cooking because I truly enjoy it, and it's a creative release at the end of the working day - that or the opportunity to take my frustration out on food with a big, sharp knife! Whichever cupboard I need to open, I can guarantee that G will have moved himself in front of it, arms hanging gormlessly at his sides.  If it's not him, it's our dog. With the dog, I can point to the door and say "Out!" and she'll give me That Dog Look and move to the living room. With G, it's a constant, polite "Excuse me," as I move him from in front of the cupboards time and again, until he gets the message and stands next to the dog! (The cats, meanwhile, have found themselves high perches out of the way.)

G loves me with a dog-like devotion. This is a good thing, as my previous relationships were mostly toxic, with me being the one doing all the loving. He has had very high-maintenance, cloying women in his past and when we first started dating he used to ring me from his home interstate every night. I mean every night. Sweet as it was it could be a bloody nuisance if I was going out with friends; if he couldn't get me on the home phone he'd try the mobile, worried that I'd be annoyed if I didn't hear from him. When he's on business travel he tries to ring every night and I've told him not to when his itinerary is a full one. I am very understanding having had jobs in the past myself which involve quite a bit of business travel and won't get cross or feel abandoned if the phone doesn't ring. Like our dog, I think he suffers a bit of separation anxiety when he's away from me!

Still, I am blessed. I have two beautiful and loving cats (really! they are!), a lovely dog and a great husband. Love my own company and my solitude as I do, I suspect I am better with him in my life than I was before I met him.

So, can you draw a cat or dog parallel with your partner - or yourself?

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