Welcome to Tough Love. We answer your questions about dating, breakups and everything in between. Our advice giver is Blair Braverman, dog sled racer and author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. Do you have a personal question? Write to us at [email protected]
Any advice for someone whose partner really loves dress and accessorize the dog? It seems outrageous, because the dog knows no better. He hardly goes anywhere without an outfit, even for walking or driving. Is there a gentle way to ask him to relieve himself on dog clothes?
One of the great things about dogs is that they don’t care about the same things people do. They literally eat each other’s shit out. They roll into carcasses. They work on the furniture in front of the guests. Dogs care about many things – care, love, exercise, comfort – but dignity is not one of them. In fact, if a dog is walking around in a t-shirt, and more people stop to pet them, they probably just love it. He doesn’t know his shirt says BUTT SNIFFER. He’s just happy with the attention.
Obviously, if a dog doesn’t like to wear clothes, or if certain clothes are uncomfortable, this is an important reason not to wear them. And there are appropriate times for different dog outfits, just like there are appropriate times for different human outfits. There is an inherent awkwardness in dog clothing that can appear disrespectful at solemn events, for example, or in professional workplaces. But most of these places don’t welcome dogs anyway, and if your dog wears a bow tie for a dog wedding, there aren’t many people who will think less of you. They will probably benefit from it. At the most, they will think that you and your partner are genuinely in love with your dog and that his reputation is much worse.
If it really bothers you for the dog to constantly wear outfits, you can try a strategy straight from the dog training manuals and focus on your partner’s behavior. In other words, work with her to develop a time and place for the dog costumes, and be sure to celebrate and reward them at those times. She could set up an Instagram account and post dog outfits every week, or come up with party costumes for seasonal events. If your partner is focused on dressing the dog for a specific purpose – and if he feels your full support for doing this – she may not be as concerned about dressing the dog every day.
If you are worried that people will think that you are the one that dresses the dog – if that doesn’t match your personality or whatever – you can make others understand that this is your partner’s thing: “Let’s see the outfit that Hannah invented today ! ”
But if you do that, it has to be serious, not dismissive or passive-aggressive. You need to view your partner’s enthusiasm with your own pleasure and make sure that others can say that you are proud of her.
After all, we’re all after our little joys, and your partner has found one that they both like. If it doesn’t hurt anyone and it makes your loved ones happy, then it is worth learning how to kiss.
I don’t know how else to say this, but my six month old boyfriend is growling in bed. I think it started from an inside joke about bears, but I’m not even sure anymore. The first time it took me by surprise, so I burst out laughing. But since then he has continued to growl from time to time while we were in bed together. It might be once a week or so. I think he thinks it’s funny and sexy, and I don’t know how to tell him it’s not very sexy at all.
Part of having fun in bed together is being able to mess around and trust your partner to be honest about what they like and don’t like. It’s not that you both have to like everything you try; it’s that you are always communicating and you can experience and have fun in a way that is safe and comfortable for everyone. It is essentially a play space.
So unless your boyfriend is unusually safe, it will sting you to hear that you have been turned off by any of his movements the entire time. It could open up a whole box of other insecurities: what else have you been thinking about in bed, without saying? How does he know that when you say you like something, you really like it? In this case, your best course of action may come down to how a lot you don’t like grunts. If this is actively stressing you out, then it’s definitely worth having a conversation (out of bed) and explaining the situation. But if you find it ridiculous, it might not be worth facing.
That doesn’t mean you should live with the growls forever. But unless the growl is your boyfriend’s peculiar pervert (and if it is, it’s pretty harmless), it’s probably something he’s doing to make you laugh, because you have laughed the first time and it made him happy and he wants to continue to be happy together. In this case, try to focus more on communicating what you are do like. Tell him (or show him) when he does things that you think are hot, sweet, or funny. Be explicit in your praise. My hunch is that if he’s rewarded for other moves, those other moves will start to take over pretty quickly. And when you communicate well and have so much fun together, you might not even mind the occasional awkwardness. grr.
Main photo: Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash