Or, Why opposites attract

I’ve just never gotten it, why women seem attracted to cats and men to dogs.  We typically think of women as nurturing, caring individuals.  Cats are not, dogs are.  Men, at least stereotypically, are independent, go-your-own-way types who may seem like they don’t care if you’re around or you’re not.  Dogs aren’t like this, cats are.  It’s a conundrum that has puzzled mankind from the beginning of time (okay, maybe that’s a bit overstated).  Is the people to animal relationship really as simple as the old axiom we apply to people to people relationships that opposites attract?  I get it but I don’t think so, if that’s possible.

I don’t know a lot about women, never having been one myself.  In fact if you asked the women in my life they might regale you with stories of how little I do in fact know about the fairer sex.  So, please accept these observations as those of a rank amateur who only knows that the women in his life are some of the most caring, compassionate and giving humans he has ever had the good fortune to associate with (and no, I’m not just sucking up, well, maybe a little).  The women in my life have been concerned with my well-being.  They have adopted my struggles, tried to help me with my plights and done their level best to fix my broken-ness.  I’ve never seen a cat do so much as lift a paw toward any of these endeavos.  Never have I experienced the warm fuzzy feeling of a feline who nuzzles next to me gazing into my eyes as if to say, “I get it buddy, I’m with you.  How can I help?”  Heck no, that’s a dog’s place!  Cats are more likely to be concerned with washing some of their nether regions than they are with my lot in life.  Nope, with a cat, you’re on your own big boy.  That’s why I, and so many others of my gender prefer dogs.

As men (and I can speak to this because as far back as I can remember I have been one) we value being our own man.  We’re proud to say we grabbed our axe in the dim hours of a cold January morning and headed to the woods to split logs in flannel and denim and wool.  We attacked the drain plug on our ’71 Nova and hot, dirty oil splurged forth, draining the life blood of our internal combustion identity only to plug it right back up and renew it with pristine, clean 10W30.  (Somewhere in the distance Tim Allen utters a guttural cry)  And yet, in our pets of choice, we choose the one who can hardly walk ahead on the path without a look over its shoulder to see if we’re still coming.  We have aligned ourselves with that animal who runs to us when we walk in the door or open the kennel, the one who jumps up on us as if to say, “I love you!  You love me too!! Right?  Right??  Right?!!”   It’s unseemly behavior and hardly the type we’d be caught dead exhibiting and yet we love the furry mutts.  How can this be?

How can it be that the objects of our passion (and who we hope return it) do not seek someone like them, the lovable, giving canine?  How can it be that we (masters of our own domain) do not gravitate toward the aloof, independent feline?  Can it be we’re merely drawn by that being that so clearly represents the thing which we are not that we admire its possession of qualities we don’t have?  Or are we just so weary of fulfilling a role in our human relationships, being the yin to someone else’s yang that we crave being let off the hook?  Do the women in our lives want a break from a needy man who hungers for support and compassion so much that their cat, who really can exist on his own thank you very much, is just what the doctor ordered?  And do we men just want a companion who needs nothing from us other than, well companionship, someone that will be vulnerable without asking about our feelings; loving without expecting us to be strong?  Perhaps we should blame society’s stereotypes for driving us into our pet selections.

Maybe women don’t always feel so nurturing.  Maybe men don’t always feel like He-Men Masters of the Universe.  Maybe our pets give us license to be something, someway, we’re hardly ever allowed to show.  Our cats allow us to just take care of ourselves already.  They’re all, “Nah, you go ahead, girl.  Have that dish of Haagen Daz, I won’t tell a soul.”  While our dogs allow us to drop the tough guy façade and snuggle up to the hound, who’s all like, “Yo, I got this, bruh.  You ain’t got nothin to worry ‘bout.  Jus take a breath, man.”  It’s the hidden part of our rounded personalities our pets bring out in us (I have no idea on you reptile people).  So, it’s not really opposites attract, it’s more license to be a whole person.

Maybe if we’re lucky we find an actual person that does the same thing for us.  Who knows?

I’m sure I’ll have dog-loving women profess their adoration for their furry buddies on this one but I have to admit I’ll be surprised if I hear from any cat loving guys.  We’ll see.

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