Please, single women, listen to me. I wish someone had told me this when I was actively looking to meet men anywhere but bars, online dating sites, or blind dates. Get yourself to a dog park immediately. Oh, and you should bring a dog too. If you don't have one, consider getting one. Or at least borrow one on a regular basis.
I go to our local dog park at least four times a week and, although I'm definitely not looking for a boyfriend or a fling, I can say that I've had at least ten potentially flirty conversations with eligible men. And I assure you that I go there dressed in my nastiest outfits, hair in a ratty ponytail and no social intentions.
But if you are a dog lover (or at least a dog non-hater), you can't help but get pulled in by the pure joy that goes on around you at a dog park. The owners are relaxed and focused on their pets enjoying themselves, not on impressing the humans. I don't know about you, but to me people look their best when they are just being themselves - something you rarely find out there on the Dating Battlefield.
I even have my own little secret dog park crush - Jinx's Dad. He's tall, relatively handsome, sweet and somewhat quiet. Every time we see each other we wave and end up chatting because our dogs tend to play together. I barely know anything about him - not even his name, nor does he know mine. But he just seems like a good guy. Perhaps I give a dog-owning man too much credit. But I can't help but see it as a good sign when a man is willing to take on the responsibility of another living thing and find such joy in it.
Luckily, Jinx's Dad had one distinctive feature that made my crush 100% harmless - a really bad mustache. Not a goatee. Not a beard. Not a flavor savor. A straight up mustache. The kind that made him look like a cop or maybe a gay male stripper. It just didn't seem to fit his face and I always wondered why he had it. But from the moment I laid eyes on him I thought, "Man, if he got rid of that mustache he'd be hot." Thus he was safe in my book.
That was three months ago. Two weeks ago I spotted Jinx running around the park and looked up to see his Dad waving at me - no mustache in sight. Uh oh. He looked hot. The first words out of my mouth were, "You shaved your mustache." Kind of a strange comment since we'd previously exchanged zero conversation of a personal nature. Let alone about personal grooming habits. He responded with a little "Yeah..." and then we went on talking about our dogs.
All of a sudden I felt very self-conscious. A little less like myself. Perhaps it was because Wine Guy and I had been fighting earlier, and then I walked out of my front door and found myself accidentally flirting with a now-hot guy. But I know me and I know I don't cheat. So I tried to keep my cool.
Tonight he was there again. And this time we talked more than ever before. I felt like I should walk away, not linger too long before I gave him the wrong idea. Instead I opted for the subtle slipping in of the words "we" when talking about where "we" let the dog sleep at night. I admit, I felt a little sad putting that out there. Perhaps he would be less friendly to me next time?
Then he spilled the beans and all of my little anxieties and guilt trips went out the window. He's moving in one month. Back to North Carolina.
Normally when I part his company I give an ultra casual I-don't-owe-you-anything "see you later." This time I veered and gave an enthusiastic, "Well I gotta go. I'm sure I'll see you before you move. Good night!" Perhaps the last time I see him I'll even utter his name. No harm in that right?
So ladies, get thee to a shelter and adopt a dog today. The dog park awaits.