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May I have pets?


Fine by me. But don’t get carried away and turn into a cat lady.

Let me say this right up front: I am very happy living pet-free, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like pets – as long as they belong to someone else. I like dogs. I like cats. They are often very sweet – even cats – and they can be very entertaining. I love to visit dogs and cats, and even have them come visit me occasionally. I’m not exactly gaga for reptiles and other things that live in cages or in tanks of water, but I’m certainly tolerant of them.

I’m not anti-pets. It’s just a matter of perspective.

Because I don’t have to focus a lot of time and energy on animals, I have more time and energy to focus on human beings – specifically men, of course. Connecting with men is sort of a major reason for me being out. And this is especially important for those of us who are late to the party. If you’re going to find a husband before it’s too late for Viagra to do you any good, you’ll need to get busy.

Obviously, the cat lady thing is a bit of hyperbole. But since I came out, I have run into a number of gay men who seem to be heading in that direction.

I know a really nice guy who I’d consider quite datable, except for the fact that he has three unfriendly cats and his entire house smells like a litter box. The smell doesn’t seem to bother him, but his lack of romantic prospects does. I haven’t told him why I think this is. Yet.

There’s another guy, who I have dated, but can’t I get him to stay over – or even stay very long at a stretch – because he always has to run home and feed or otherwise care for his sociopathic terrier.

Neither of these guys is a late bloomer and neither is exactly a cat lady either, but the point for us late bloomers remains: Unless one of your personal goals is to end up old and lonely – and perhaps buying kitty litter 500 lbs. at a time – you’ll have to put some time and focus into human relationships. This isn’t only about pets, of course. Pets are just a convenient metaphor for anything you allow to get in the way of connecting with others.

For those of us who just got here, this isn’t always easy. Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. I know. After I came out, the first time ­I got my ass over the threshold and into a gay bar, my heart was racing so fast I thought I might be having a heart attack. I wasn’t trying to do this all by myself, either. I went there to meet a friend –  and I still went into a blind a panic.

It’s easy to hide out. Focus on the pets who love you without condition, and nobody gets hurt. On the other hand, if you put yourself out there and try to connect, you will likely get hurt a time or two. But hiding out with the cats will hurt you even more in the long run. And the wounds will be self-inflicted.

One more thing: Assuming your pets are of the warm-blooded variety, invest in a good lint roller before you sally forth in search of Mr. Right. There’s nothing quite like mammal hair, irrespective of its length or color, to mess up an otherwise snappy look.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. nanci Reese permalink
    10/26/2010 5:09 PM

    Dear David, Well said. you haven’t written(SP) in awhile and I missed it. I would love a cat or terrier or even a rat( I did have when Greg and I were together and we let Taylor in the bed and he would go crazy with bliss. But I am allergic to about all animals I can be around them for a while but no sleeping at a cat place or dog place. What really kills me is in SF ever block is opening up a cat and dog store – toys or whatever. And I have heard of at least 4 people going to extreme measures to keep their animal alive – I mean thousand and thousands. One friends cat did not like me- I would vaccum their place and Aretha hated me. She was about 82 in cat years. I would move her from her special places before I went into the room. but one day she came to me and was crying and crying. She wanted to die. I petted her and talked to her and told her it would soon be over. she was shaking she was in so much pain. Why do these people spend thousands on a pet that wants and needs to die when people are homeless, people are losing jobs and health insurance etc etc. I know there is a special bond between the two but animals know better than we. Let Go damn it.

    I am sorry – I am ranting. and if I wasn’t allergic I’d probably have a cat. But I wouldn’t be able to keep up with vet bills etc. I had a cat in Georgia near graduation and I was going to Indiana. My cat was loved by so many and so many people loved him. but he some how knew I was leaving and ran away. many people were willing to take him.

    I am so proud of you getting out there. I wish I could do the same. I have a really good relationship withe Greg my ex but basically we hold hands and hug or kiss(one not many) There is a guy I am interested in but I scared him away summer 09 and now he is starting to come aroun again. but I have been given firm advice . DO NOT call him. He is very gun shy and I may take 3 years before we kiss. But sometimes when we are together it is like comedy improve – we have the best time. He has taken acting lessons so I think that is where that comes for – actually I think he has Asbergers( a high funcction form of autism.)

    Well,now I have really ranted.
    Love, Reese

    • 10/27/2010 5:51 PM

      Well, um, yes. But it’s always nice to her from you and I’m glad you enjoy the blog.

  2. 11/03/2010 5:02 PM

    We have two cats, brothers, and we (or I should say I, because I’m the one who got the bright idea in the first place) got two on purpose so that they could entertain each other when we aren’t here. Works out great. Now I want a pug to add to my collection, because pugs are somewhat like cats in personality–easy going and low maintenance. But will you still love me if I have three animals? I promise I won’t turn into the cat lady any time soon…

    • 11/03/2010 5:07 PM

      I’ll love you even if you do turn into a cat lady.

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