Or attheveryleast, he tried, and I didn?t know how to respond to that.
Photo by Diego Lozano on Unsplash
As a general rule of thumb, I try to keep an open mind about people and refrain from judging them. I have made many stupid and embarrassing mistakes, so I do try to keep that in mind when I run into somebody else who?s done something weird, silly,or gross.
When I tell stories about other people?sactions, I?m often surprised how many readers judge certain behaviors or tend to read more into it than what I?ve actually written. I try to be matter-of-fact about bad behavior and recognize that we all have reasons for doing what we do.
Even the shitty stuff.
In dating, though, there?s something called a ?dodged bullet.? My sister once dated a guy who was later suspected of being a serial killer. He died in prison. My sister sure dodged a bullet when she ended that relationship. I once dated a man whose mom cried about her ?baby leaving her? when he proposed to me. She also stuck up for Mother Gothel in Disney?s Tangled. You know, the character who kidnapped Rapunzel and held her captive in a tower. His mom thought Rapunzel was???gasp!???disobedient. So, I think it?s safe to say I dodged a bullet when I didn?t marry that boyfriendbecause having herforamother-in-law? It wouldn?t have been too fun.
There?s another bullet out there that I think I dodged, though it?s much more difficult to talk about. I once dated a young man who confessed to trying to have sex with his dog.
You might have a lot of questions. I know I did, though I kept my mouth shut as he told me the story. But the most obvious question, I think, is how a person even begins a conversation that ends in, ?I tried to have sex with my dog.?
As it happens, we were having a conservation about libido. He mentioned having a high sex drive and I said that?s fine. A high libido has never bothered me in a man. What actually matters is the attitude he carries along with it. And as it turns out? This dude?s attitude was not great.
He went on to tell me a story that I will never be able to forget, and it will likely forever haunt me in some way as I get to know a prospective partner.
A self-described ?horn dog,? this guy told me that it?s something of a curse all the men in his family must endure. ?My dad says it goes with being very well-endowed,? he told me. ?We?re so horny we can?t control ourselves.? I didn?t like where this conversation was going, but I listened anyway. I was curious where it would end up. After all, it seriously sounded like he was telling me that his dick was too big for him to control it.
?My dad told me to never tell anyone this,? he began cryptically. ?But he walked in on me once. We used to have this family dog??
I was instantly sick to my stomach as this man I was just beginning to date, a dude who?d already been ?vetted? through a few friends described the night his father caught him trying to fuck the family?s old dog.
I?m still not sure how to organize my thoughts on this one. The guy was clearly ashamed, but I didn?t know how to not judge him for what he was telling me. From everything he said, he was ashamed to have felt so desperate for sex. Ashamed to have done something pathetic.
What he didn?t express was shame for abusing an animal. Or the fact that an animal can?t exactly give consent. I think that?s what I found most disturbing. The way he completely glossed over the abuse. How he didn?t seem sorry for anyone but himself.
The other thing that really worried me was his father. Or rather, the comments he claimed his dad made. Everything was framed around this mindset that these men couldn?t help themselves. The poor guys. As if their high sex drives must be answered and sometimes, that might hurt someone else. Oh well.
I wondered how that sort of mindset would unfold with a human partner. A man who looks at a dog as an outlet ? how would he see me? And I wondered how the hell to trust someone after they admitted to doing such an awful thing. In general, I try not to ?rank? offenses. But? bestiality? I realized that?s pretty much up there with pedophilia for me. A dog can?t really protect itself from a man, much like a child.
I definitely questioned the character of a person who could admit to such a thing without remorse or regret for hurting a living creature.
This was a hard, hard pass.
Sometimes I think about that conversation when I talk about things like guilt or shame. Or when I bring up that quote by Fred Rogers???the one that says ?everything that?s human is mentionable.?
I still think that?s true and yet, at the same time? Maybe some things can?t be forgiven or overlooked. Perhaps I could have forgotten it if he recognized that what he did wasn?t simply pathetic???it was wrong. But he didn?t and I couldn?t forget what he said. There was no reality where I thought a man could justify that sort of thing, or that he should ever mention it without being clear that it was a regret.
With this guy, none of that was clear.
And so, he became another dodged bullet. I didn?t bother to explain why. I never told him the extent of my feelings about what he?d disclosed to me. Just that we were not going to work out.
I have to admit, however, that I could have gone my whole life without ever hearing that sort of story. Because foraverylongtime, whenever people said something to me about how so and so ?is such a nice guy,? I couldn?t help but wonder what sort of secrets might be hidden in their closetsor drawers.
And I seriously hoped to God it wasn?t anything like bestiality.
Honestly, I still do.