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She Wanted a Man with a Good Job Who Is Nice to Animals (nytimes.com)
221 points by danso 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 140 comments



What a coincidence. Picked up an Austin Chronicle for the first time in a year because I needed to kill time at a restaurant while a kid ate their way through a giant rice krispie treat.

This was the front page story: https://www.austinchronicle.com/arts/2019-08-16/causing-trou...

It may appear to be the same story, but it is a completely separate article on the same topic written by the same author and published the same day.


At the bottom of that article it says:

> A version of this article appeared in print on August 16, 2019 with the headline: Causing Trouble as We Smiled

I wonder if that accounts for the differences?


What the hell I don't come on HN to cry. WHAT IS THIS?!


I had to close the article. I went with my future in-laws and future wife to put down their dog just a week before our wedding. Now we have our own not-quite 2 year old dog and a 7 month puppy. I had to take the older to the vet this morning to be put under for x-rays and potentially pulling a tooth, and it brought back strong memories of putting down my wife's dog. I'm hopeful for a long good life with these two dogs, but I already dread the day I have to let them go.


While it's a tough process I believe it helps prepare us in life for the big tragedies of having to let go of close loved ones. Whether they are 2 legged or 4 legged. It's better to love and lost then to never have loved at all.


I've got an older dog and it got me too. That was quite a touching piece.


I haven't even got a dog and I don't like them much; still touched me.


Pretty much when I finished reading it I got the news that my old dog had died. We were kind of waiting for it already, but it still hurts.

The article timing couldn't be better. Definitely a touching piece.


I wasn't planning to read it until I saw your comment, got me as well. I have an older dog who's hips are starting to pain her.


Give her massages! I've had even young dogs absolutely melt with joy from a good hip massage.


Good way to get nipped when she's nearly due for another anti-inflamatory injection. She'll accept a day long head massage though.


Tears flowing down my face. Didn't see that coming.


I'm glad I always read the comments before reading the articles on HN.

I've had dogs all 30 years of my life. I'm not reading this. Nope.


I had the exact opposite reaction. The details the author includes and the way he tells the story conjures up an image in my mind of the kind of person I want nothing to do with.

The whole article reads like a submarine advertisement about how the author checks all the boxes a stereotypical millennial urbanite is supposed to check.


My partner and I went the traditional route. We married then we (okay, she) rescued a dog from the local shelter. Coincidentally also in Texas. We later had our own kids but Sadie was our first one for us to bring into the family. We loved that dog even if Sadie was as stubborn as anything. We cried when we finally had to let her go a few years ago.

The next month after Sadie's passing my wife and my two boys introduced me to Freddy. And so goes our family with another happy member to share our love.


The author also wrote about Dusty in 2012.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/fashion/dog-anchors-man-f...


> I took Dusty for one last walk so he could feel the sun on his nose. We had treats and watched a comic-book movie together. The vet gave him drugs. Dusty died at home, in my arms, his nose on my knee, only days before Ilse and I got married. As he closed his eyes, I whispered, “I’ll guard the castle.” We wrapped him in blankets, placed him in a basket and a white van took him away.

We lost our cat to cancer this year. She was everything to my SO. The cat and I got my SO through grad school and really helped out my SO with a pain disorder that my SO has been battling. We had her euthanized at home as well and I was lucky enough to be the one that plunged the vial into her, relieving her of the pain. She was my cat afterall, just as I was her human. Then we wrapped her in her favorite blanket and the specalist took her away. We got the ashes a while later. I still can't bear to open the bag that they sit in.

It was ... tough. It is tough still. She is everywhere and I still look for her when something perks just outside of my sight. I still think she's just in another room. But she is not. The cancer took her away from us.

Pets are amazing, and it's a testament to the love they reflect that we miss them so much. I wish the author the best in the new journey and the new life, I'm certain that the new couple will find another pet to love and care for. Based on the essay, it will be a very lucky pet to have such great owners to love.


But what happened to Oscar Wilde?


From Sunday NY Times weekly Modern Love story in the Style section. I dont think there is any requirement these articles are autobiographical or fiction, but some sound more one way or the other. They tend to be about quirky current situations. I almost always read it.


What a perfect story. Very nicely done.


Here I thought Men who defeated seven-deadly-sins are ideal partners.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins


This is the male version of "being basic."

I cannot, for the life of me, see organizing and playing a twenty one kazoo salute for a dog I loved. Dear God, Ilse made him change his clothes. The article is so bloodless.


I got the feeling that he likes his dead dog more than the wife he met on... Tinder. If my wife had diabetes, or really any medical condition, I would never reveal that in and article written in the New York Times. Her nagging him and having diabetes appear to be her only qualities from his description in the article.

All I get from this is that Dusty was an awesome celebrity dog who died and this guy's wife whom he met on Tinder sucks and is diabetic. The structure also implies that he put his dog down so that he wouldn't get in between him and his bullying wife.

I would never write anything disparaging or potentially embarrassing about my wife in a public article.


Maybe he missed out a lot of redeeming qualities about Ilse that made him go through with the marriage. From the content of the article he doesn't seem completely on-board with it, and makes her seem callous towards the death of his dog for the sake of _her_ big day.


It's the Manic Pixie Dream Male.


Glad it worked out for him but for me she'd be packing a ton of red flags. Changing his fashion? Changing his diet? Watching the Hallmark Channel?

>After a year of dating, Ilse began pushing for marriage >She said it’s difficult for an entrepreneurial woman in her 30s to find love with someone who has a good job >We had a back and forth, like playing chess. So she's actively trying to convince him to do something she knows he doesn't want to do.

>One evening, Ilse said if I wasn’t going to be with her, I had to let her go so she could find someone else.

"Giving ultimatums" appears on every single list of "signs of abusive relationships" you could care to find.

If I had been this guy's friend I'd have been telling him to break up with her, and saying so regularly.


Ultimatums are one of the best tools for people in terrible relationships to use:

"Give up the bottle, or I leave."

"Stop hitting the kids, or I call the cops."

(Other ultimatums, such as "Marry me or I kill the dog" are obviously abusive.)

In this case, the woman is forcing the man into a choice, but he still has a choice. "Show me that I'm not wasting my time or I leave" is in the grand scheme of things quite tame.


If you have to give ultimatums about abuse you should already have left.


That’s easy to say from the outside.

There are many reasons to call attention to things not working (e.g. the bottle example given above) and the ultimatum can be the last step. And when kids are involved (not in this case) it’s typically better for all concerned to have two parents if that’s possible. So you may hang in there longer than might look sensible from the outside.


Having experienced the kid side of this both ways, let me say to any parents in this situation: if your marriage is shit, don’t “do it for the kids” because of some notion that two parents is better. Get that divorce! Your kids will be far better off with two sane single-parent households than one messed-up two-parent household. Neither is great but being the third wheel in a broken marriage is worse.


> Your kids will be far better off with two sane single-parent households than one messed-up two-parent household.

Perhaps, maybe even probably — but what about two messed-up single-parent households?


That sounds all fine and dandy until the custodial parent goes out and finds a spouse that creates the same problems all over again. Then you've got the same situation but with three stakeholders and one with a lot less interest in the kids' outcome.


I am well aware. But saying is a bad situation because you might get into a bad situation again is not a good strategy, and the fix for that problem is to get out of that problematic marriage too.


Should, yes, but with real people in real relationships it's rarely simple.


Threatening to leave being the only persuasive argument that works on your significant other is a good indicator you're dating someone with borderline personality disorder.


Ordinary people occasionally need to be knocked back into seeing what they will lose if they keep up their present course of action. Life is full of temptations, most people are not very self reflective, and people naturally push boundaries.

In particular, textual flirting with the opposite sex is something that is easy to fall into, starting innocently and delivering a strong dopamine hit with each correspondence. The dopamine-addled S.O. can easily rationalize to themselves that they are just writing, that their privacy is suddenly Very Important, it's not cheating, and surely that's not innuendo! ("When we finally meet for coffee we'll just be friends.")

The well-delivered ultimatum, although blunt, makes the situation clear and leaves no room for rationalization: the emotions associated with the proto-affair are inappropriate to an exclusive relationship.

I've had to make this ultimatum twice. 50% of the time it has resulted in the recipient suddenly becoming self-aware and making an effort to change her behavior. As a result, I'm quite certain the current S.O. is not BPD.


> ...if I wasn’t going to be with her, I had to let her go so she could find someone else.

That's not an ultimatum, though I can see how it might read that way. She felt a need, which he wasn't meeting. She told him that if he wouldn't meet it, he needed to let her go seek its fulfillment elsewhere.


>She told him that if he wouldn't meet it, he needed to let her go seek its fulfillment elsewhere.

This seems like a vague sense of displaced blame, however; so I can understand how people will view it as a red flag: There's nothing preventing her from leaving of her own volition but it's inferred that she has no possibility of choice (without him having to have made a choice) - even though he's already signaled his desires multiple times before.

In that sense, it is an ultimatum but one that tries to absolve guilt by making the "decision-maker" the "owner" of the result/consequence - even though, in reality, both would suffer the consequences of the choice.

Further still, is the impression inferred that she's a prisoner because she's "bound" to him because he needs to "let her go" if he won't fulfill her desire[s]; inferring that, somehow, he - alone - wields power over her self-agency.

That doesn't quite make sense - when a healthy relationship should be two independent people sharing in the relationship "power" dynamic. In other words, it should not be so skewed that one has power/control over life, destiny, etc. of another.

In this perspective, it does seem to be a very troubling red flag.


Well, i would much prefer a partner that explicitly states what are his/her show-stoppers for the relationship, than one that states preferences but not their importance and then just leaves when key preferences are not satisfied.

Also, i do not understand why ever speak about guilt in this case - if there is no commitment then there is no guilt when relationship is dissolved.


The vintage term is "guilt trip."

If you reverse it - the man says "If you don't marry me, I'll get another dog" - it looks rather less convincing.


What need? The need to continue doing what they were already doing but under contract?


Some people see marriage as more than just a contract.


Just because you don't see a particular value in something does not mean it lacks that value for others.

Frankly, I find this to be far more a "My way or the highway" kind of attitude than the quoted bit from The Fine Article — you don't seem even to concede the possibility of marriage being more than a "contract", when, for most people, that's among the least of what it's about.


Clearly yes.


I just read the article, and there’s an ambiguity there re: the fashion bit. Early in the story he talks about not needing to change his clothes. She may have changed his fashion, but she might also have just requested that he put on clean clothes!


Yeah, the article didn't really give a good indication as to whether she just forced him to grow up and actually do his laundry once in awhile (perfectly reasonable) or threw out all his work jeans and painting shirts for being stained.


> "Giving ultimatums" appears on every single list of "signs of abusive relationships" you could care to find.

“If you don't ____, I will ____.” boundary setting statements with consequences are as likely to show up on lists of how to deal with relationships with communication problems as ultimatums are to show up on lists of signs of abusive relationship.


Nature has cruelly given women who want children the ultimate ultimatum. If she is such a woman, giving men an ultimatum isn't abusive.


I would far, far beyond gladly change far more than my clothes for anyone who would even finally show up to a first date with me. More and more of us are isolated from the rest of our species by the technologies interting themselves between us to create billionaires that we don't even have a friend that we could tell that we finally got to go on a first date. How could you tell me to break up with a human like this if I ever was so blessed?

Does this change of perspective mean anything or help at all to anyone?

I've been crying all night, almost every night for about 3 weeks now, sleeping 0 to 3 hours a night, because Google's Recapcha service a few weeks ago, for no apparent, communicated, or appealable reason decided to reject all of my captcha answers no matter how accurate they may be. This means I have been sent out to an internet leper colony so hideously lonely that I can no longer even post on 4chan or talk on Omegle.

And you would tell this person to dumpster a real life in-person human being because she was worried she'd wind up as defenseless and alone as me.

...relationships have to get way more actually abusive to be worse than no relationship at all, which is the threat we frankly all face.

Help please


Hey just saying as someone who has been in a relationship and then been alone for a long time, there's no magic cure-all involved in being with someone else. And on the flip side you can live a fulfilling and inspiring life by yourself. And if you can take the steps to improve your life and your mental health that in itself will make you more attractive to other people. I've been questioning a lot lately about how much effort to spend looking for dates or a relationship, and it seems like the less I worry about it the happier I feel.


Hey man. It's hard being an introvert but you sound pretty cool... Just try to talk to people in real life the way you can articulate yourself on Omegle. The trick is just finding a group that is as nerdy and introverted as you. I joined the chess club and it helps a lot. Everyone needs someone. For some people it takes a long time to make friends so you just need an activity where you see the same people everytime you go, like chess club or something. Try finding a local group that you're interested in the activity and you'll find friends. I can't help you with the girl advice though, same boat.


I absolutely hate that I'm giving this advice, but in a state of desperation you should be able to overcome the recapture exile by making a Google account, logging into gmail, using Chrome (logged in) and not using Tor or a VPN.

It's a terrible state of affairs that this might be what's required to access the fucking internet (@Google, @Cloudflare), but it's better than what it sounds like your alternative has become.

On a different note, here's what you might tell yourself if you were in a relaxed and emotionally healthy enough state to think clearly and positively (it's very hard like to think like this when you're deep in the mires of it all, but maybe it will help):

- if you're in a part of the world which allows it this time of year, get outside and get a little sun most days.

- find a hobby which needs to be done outside of the house. Even if you only like to read, do it outside where you will come into contact with other people outside of a work environment. Then work up to other hobbies which can be done either individually or socially (indoor rock climbing, learning a language, music, cycling, lifting weights, whatever).

- get and appreciate some little wins in your hobbies and reconnect that pathway which says that if you work at something you can achieve it, that you can enjoy yourself and that you're a normal human.

- go to places regularly and smile and nod at the people who you recognise. If you like music, go to gigs or places where people with similar tastes tend to be.

- start face to face conversations with people with no expectations for where it will go, even if it's ordering a coffee or commenting on the weather. Ideally, look for something (non-sexual) which you appreciate about someone and casually let them know. Maybe aim for doing this once per day. Start conversations with "wow, I wish I could do that/that looks like so much fun. How did you get started?"

- when you get talking to people, mention any interests which come up which you also share (or might share, if you explored it). Mention any hurdles you've had in pursuing them and that you'd like to find a way to overcome them. If they extend an offer to help (by offering to let you know the next time they're doing it, for example), take the chance to exchange details.

- follow up with people, if you feel like it makes sense. A lot of "ohh for sure, we should definitely do something!" talk happens, particularly when alcohol is involved, but you can break through that (or see it for what it is) with a follow-up message some time later. Don't be needy, but you're basically just letting them know that you meant what you said about wanting to hang out.

- find some friends this way before you let yourself start thinking about a relationship. Relationships are messy and it helps to have friends who can help you ride out the lows, and, as you mentioned, share the highs.

The thing is, being social and having a social life both take work and can be forgotten, just like any other skill. Despite the dystopia which we can be mistaken in believing when we look at the state of social media and the internet, the real world is still out there to be a part of, more or less just like it was before.

This varies a lot depending on where you are, but in general people are looking to get through their day as positively as possible and if they can make a new friend and it feels natural enough then they would generally like to.


I'm not using Tor or a VPN and I'm logged in to Google; I shant ever log into Chrome, though.


> This is the male version of "being basic."

As far as I can tell, "basic" as an insult usually means "having a sincere and unashamed interest in something I'm not into."


Except that would work both ways. Whereas basic is something negatively connotated with everyday activities, not those of the elite (vacationing in exotic places or whatever they do... can't really be called basic even if you're not into it)


My point is that it's about shaming people for things that are harmless, but socially frowned upon. The specific category of thing doesn't matter. If you love Magic: The Gathering, you're a nerd; if you love pumpkin spice lattes, you're basic. You shouldn't take either one seriously, or listen to people who use them as unironic insults.


Yes agreed and the best part about this is that it quickly transitioned to being recognized as a silly term and used tongue in cheek


I agree. It's like he's going down the list of boxes an urban millennial hipster is supposed to check.

Once drove an old Toyota... check

Plastered said Toyota in the kind of bumper stickers you usually have to be a Prius driving tenured professor to amass... check

Ethically sourced pet... check

Uses said dog to woo women on tinder... check

Girlfriend makes demands and he caves to them... check

Doubles down by marrying her... check

Had the author gone on to discuss his preferred micro-brews, farmers markets and the best way to die your hair blue I would have assumed this was a satirical piece.

I have no problems with the people who do all these things. I check a few of these boxes myself. I take issue with the people who broadcast it like it's something virtuous.


Nothing can ever replace your dog.


If you don't like dogs, you will probably have zero interest in this. It has nothing to do with programming or society at large.


I like dogs, but I saw it more of a story about the expectations we often have for folks in their 30s, in terms of life responsibilities and relationships. The author describes having to move on from the perfect love of a dog:

> Dusty taught me everything I needed to know about life, but over the years there had been something missing. My friends Ben and Rachel insisted I join a dating app to expand my horizons. That’s how they met, but I loathed the idea.

> Why would I want to expand my life? I had a dog, a place to live, a pickup truck smothered in bumper stickers. But out of curiosity (or God knows what), I humored them. I created a Tinder account with a picture of Dusty as my profile picture. No one matched with me until Rachel explained that I was swiping in the wrong direction. The first time I swiped right, I matched.


So he tried to match with every girl before he knew how to use the app?


No, before that he was swiping left (rejecting) everyone.

> The first time I swiped right, I matched.


Yes but he was trying to do the opposite and match with everyone.


nah, i'm not really into dogs but found the story fascinating:

- author's fear of being left without companionship overcoming his fear of commitment/failure (seemingly): ... I didn’t want to lose Ilse, especially knowing I was about to lose Dusty ...

- author's POV about living for more than himself: ... I thought none of this was worth anything unless I had something more to live for.

- how his "youth"/carefree phase sort of died with his dog - travels ending in his truck, etc. - and a new chapter begins with his spouse

- near death experience + how that (seemingly?) kicked off his choice to marry his spouse

lots of good stuff to reflect on here, especially for lone ranger/loss-averse/single people types


Thanks, that makes sense. I don't really recognize those kind of emotions as valid reasons to do anything, so I skimmed without identifying with him or understanding the kind of journey he was trying to tell. Maybe letting the emotions take charge is the only way people do break away from being a lone ranger/loss-averse/single people type. I always have trouble understanding why they do, even when they write a whole essay to explain it to me.


Not at all. And HN posts are not required to be about programming or programmers.

Anyway, I don't even like dogs and I certainly don't have one but I was still touched by it.


Is HN really for trite, emotional, insubstantial stories about people who think their dog has a favourite pizza parlour though?

Seems more Reddit or pulp magazine territory to me.


I agree. I come to HN for tech-ish news. Usually it'll include things related to work/tech stuff, like the economy or employment laws, or whatever.

But when you're just softballing in "human interest" stories about pets then it's just reddit with less features.


Do women have a thing for men with dogs? I've read at certain forums that men with dogs have better success with girls but never came across a study.


I guess it's all in the signaling. A guy who's nice to animals may be perceived as being nice in general. Owning a dog makes for a good neutral conversation starter.

There is a link between cruelty to animals and violence against women, murder, etc.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/domestic-viole...

Owning a cat however isn't the same, and could have a negative effect.


> Owning a cat however isn't the same, and could have a negative effect.

Is this about the American attitude that dogs are always boys and cats are always girls, i.e. having a cat is "less manly"?

The only two things I can think of are that dogs naturally lend themselves to meeting people because they need to be walked, act as a conversation starter and may even approach strangers themselves; and that dogs are (apparently especially in the US) more socially accepted than cats, so the chances of someone being a dog person (or familiar with dogs) being higher than for cats.


I think it's a perception of cats from people who have never owned one and only grew up with a dog, and were brought up to not like cats.

These kinds of dog people tend to associate with the traits in their dogs they like or wish about themselves. I think they then associate cat owners with cat traits (particularly negative ones).


> the American attitude that dogs are always boys and cats are always girls

Really?

How odd.


Yep- all the dogs my wife and I have owned have been female- yet, nearly universally, everyone has presupposed them to be male.

Our one cat, on the other hand, though male, was presupposed to be female.

It's definitely a thing.


Weird.

Personally, I would choose a female dog and male cat every time. Less dominant and more bidable dog and a less skitish cat who's more likely to not take crap from the dog at meal time.



> Owning a cat however isn't the same, and could have a negative effect.

Huh?

All of my ~longtime girlfriends and wives have been cat people. Two out of three wives, at one point in their lives, had more than five cats. The first, when I met her, had over 20 cats. Counting kittens and loosely attached males.

So why not cats?


As a guy...

Different rules for girls, though single and more than a handful of cats and people start whispering Crazy Cat Lady.

Most people I know would identify as dog people and the stats for Australian households with one but not the other are 2:1 in favour of dogs.

Disclaimer: I currently have two dogs, one cat


I rather like "crazy cat ladies". Obviously, I guess.

But why would women not like guys who like cats?

I have a theory. I like cats more than dogs because cats are independent and self-possessed. Whereas dogs are pack animals, seem to always be testing dominance order, and demand lots of maintenance.

So I can see how women who are looking for fathers would prefer dog people. Whereas women looking for friends would prefer cat people.


>So I can see how women who are looking for fathers would prefer dog people.

Unless you mean they have daddy issues and are looking for a partner that's just like their dad, no. In my experience of dating in a big city, every 30+ white American woman who has no kids, and doesn't even want kids, still goes on and on in her dating profile about how "obsessed" with dogs she is. These women only want men with dogs. It's not because they're looking for someone to be a father to her kids, it's just because that's the fad she's jumped on and decided to center her whole life around, and any man who isn't into that same fad isn't going to interest her.

It's just like women who are all into veganism, or social justice, or Trumpism, or some particular religon, or keto/paleo diets, or whatever. Americans these days all have to have some cause to rally around, and they don't want to date someone who isn't into that same cause, or can't be easily converted to adopt their cause.


Dogs make you go outside on a regular basis. So there’s that.


I think the link is between men owning cats, not women owning cats.


OK, but why would it be different for women?


No idea. Perhaps men are indifferent to the pets women have, while women do care?

As the initial poster was stating, men who have dogs seem to fare better at attracting women, while men who have cats seem to fare worse. There was nothing about women's success at attracting men, and the effect different animals have on it.


> As the initial poster was stating, men who have dogs seem to fare better at attracting women, while men who have cats seem to fare worse.

What's your evidence for that? There's nothing in the Independent article about it.


I'm not claiming any evidence, just restating what the earlier commentator had said.


Toxoplasmosis (which is due to a parasitic protozoan that is passed on by cats) effects men and women's personalities differently. It may be due to this effect that there would be a sociological difference.


Interesting. But that would require that women, collectively, be aware of the difference. And that seems unlikely.

If this is a thing, I guess that "likes Lassie" is as good an explanation as any.


This makes no sense because as someone that has always had cats you have to put up with a lot of bullshit from cats and they don't even care if you continue to exist.

Caring for cute, furry little sociopaths with razor sharp claws should be the gold standard of signalling patience and niceness.


It's all about American culture, because this just isn't the case for women from other parts of the world at all.

In America, being an extremely LOUD, boorish, extroverted person is esteemed, and that's who white American women want to date and marry (regardless of whether they want kids or not, as many of them these days don't). Men with dogs fit into this stereotype well, whereas men with cats don't, they're stereotyped as "nerds" and introverts, and white American women have no interest in dating them.

Again, note that this is entirely cultural (subcultural?), and not universal, even within America. Immigrant women are usually not like this at all (which is part of why I only date non-American women these days), and also black American women aren't real keen on pets either.


Its funny to see how liberal Americans (I'm might be wrong but I assume you would call yourself that?) seem to have adopted a kind of reverse-patriotism where everything non-american is always better and foreign countries are looked upon with rose-tinted views.

I am from central Europe, but have travelled in America and have family over there too, I can tell you that women being attracted to loud, boorish, extroverts its not at all specific to white Americans. This is pretty much a universal human trait.

Its also interesting that you say that immigrants in America are not like that at all? Because in my experience, at least in the black and hispanic communities - they have far more of a macho culture than most white Americans do.


>Its also interesting that you say that immigrants in America are not like that at all? Because in my experience, at least in the black and hispanic communities

I guess you've never met anyone from Asia.


Happiness in slavery. :) Not every potential partner might be into that or the faking of good leadership qualities that owning a dog enables.



This is such a weird and obtuse way to look at human relations, and as a dog person it's so weird to see this alien take on a pretty common part of culture.

I'm guessing 'certain forums' is code for the PUA community?

You might want to think of 'women' as being a category with a lot of different and divergent people in it. Some of them like animals. Some of them don't. If they're into pets and you're into pets, then that might help open a conversation. But that's more like 'women who have a thing for dogs'.


I read it on Quora and the answer was written from the perspective of establishing good(and lasting) relationships(unlike what you guessed) and that's what I meant with "success with girls".

I understand that women are a diverse lot but there are articles which do talk about bond between women and dogs[1]. But since we cannot just accept articles as facts, I thought of enquiring if this has been academically studied.

1. https://www.caninejournal.com/women-and-dogs/


> I'm guessing 'certain forums' is code for the PUA community?

Nah, not really, this thing has been 'round since a 2008 study in pet owner forums/FB groups and gets recycled in the summer news hole every other year.


In America, absolutely yes. Basically every single white American woman over the age of 30 has a dog, or really wants to date a guy who has a dog. Every one of their dating profiles says how "obsessed" with dogs they are.

If you're a guy with a cat, you will have a very hard time getting a date with a white American woman. Luckily, there's other (better) women out there who don't insist on having animals that are totally impractical in the city.


If I believed everything I read on a dating profile, I'd be convinced that every woman is "fluent in sarcasm", "obssessed with travel" and is "looking for the Jim Halpert to her Pam Beasly".

In reality, most people don't truly know what they're looking for and definitely cannot afford to travel more than 1x a year, if that. Hell, I "travel" that much and it'll never be a bullet point on my profile because it's not something I really value.

People put in the most formulaic BS on their profiles in the hope of appearing "normal" to a potential match. The UX of most dating sites encourages this kind of self-pigeonholing as well.

In rare cases, people will actually write "I really don't know what to write here, it's hard to summarize myself this way". But I find that to be a truer reflection of a person rather than the boilerplate text people tend to post.


When a woman puts in her profile that she has a dog, and her favorite activities all revolve around the dog, and she has pictures of herself in bed with the dog, that isn't "formulaic BS", that's her life.

Sure, you can say things like "love to travel", "fluent in sarcasm", etc., without those being huge parts of your daily life. But you can't own a dog and not have it be a big part of your life.

I do see some women who don't own dogs, and will say stuff in there about how much she loves them, wants to get one, will totally swipe right for your dog, etc. But usually they actually do own one.


> I do see some women who don't own dogs, and will say stuff in there about how much she loves them

That's the scenario I was referring to. For potential matches that already have pets of some kind, I usually see that they ask that the other person be OK with dogs/cats, which is very reasonable compared to "you must also have pets".


That's not at all what you wrote above. You said they were adding things like that just to sound good, not because they truly value it. You gave travel as an example, because you (correctly) assume many women put in their profiles that they like to travel, when in reality many probably only do it every year or two at best. This isn't the case with a dog: she must value it quite a bit to put up with living with it.


>animals that are totally impractical in the city.

Having a dog signals that you will take on caring for another being even if it is not in your financial best interest and that you can at least keep the thing alive. Think with your lizard brain and it makes perfect sense why women are attracted to that.


Having a cat also signals that you will take on caring for another being even though it is not in your financial best interest. But when you live in a condo with no backyard, or some other city dwelling like that, a cat makes far more sense, and doesn't require the ridiculous amount of maintenance that a dog does.

Why childless American women who explicitly don't want children aren't attracted to men who like cats, I have no idea. It's not like this in other countries; this is mostly an American phenomenon.


>But when you live in a condo with no backyard, or some other city dwelling like that, a cat makes far more sense, and doesn't require the ridiculous amount of maintenance that a dog does.

That's exactly what I'm saying. The dog is conspicuous consumption. It's signaling that you are willing to burn resources (time in particular) in a similar manner you would on a child. The lizard brain eats that shit up and the human brain is none the wiser. As a byproduct of being far more practical in terms of time/money resources the cat does not broadcast that signal. Nobody is saying the cat is not more practical. That's a given.


You seem to be implying that it's biological. It's not, it's entirely cultural. Non-American women (unless they're highly Americanized) aren't like this at all. Chinese women aren't really big on pets, because people there don't have indoor pets very much. Also, black American women don't have dogs (or cats) very much at all. This is a cultural thing, and so I don't see how you can claim it's some kind of innate biological thing, unless you're going to claim that white American women are biologically different from everyone else in the world.


The lizard brain likes seeing conspicuous consumption (indication of wealth/status) and signs that you are possibly ok pissing away resources on a kid. Having a pet dog is the way we Americans prefer to signal that. The interface is biological. The implementation is cultural.


The founders of OkCupid researched this sort of thing quite a bit before their site was sold off. One of their studies showed that, for men, having any sort of animal in your profile pic is the best thing you can do to get women's attention-- better than having a sixpack, better than showing off an awesome hobby, etc.

https://web.archive.org/web/20110126111953/http://blog.okcup...


It's really a shame that site was sold off; it was a great site before that happened. It hasn't been completely ruined yet, but it's definitely not as nice as it was.


My wife used to joke that she should be worried about me walking the dog as dogs are “chick magnets”. As it turned out my dog was so magnetic that I might as well not have even been there.


It's an American thing and it's more than that. Having a dog is like a signal that you're 'normal'. If you don't have a dog, there may be something wrong with you. The lack of a dog or love for dogs is actually the red flag. The dog just raises you closer to the baseline. If you don't like dogs and have the audacity to voice your preference out loud, prepare to be a social outcast/weirdo/creep.


Exactly. My profile clearly states that I have cats, and at least on OKC, I do have the audacity in the "questions" (in a couple asking if you have/want a dog or like dogs) to say that I don't like dogs much, and like them about as much as I like goats and horses (which is to say, they're fun to see on a farm once in a while, but that's it). I rarely get any interest from white American women, but I get tons of interest from Asian women.

I agree that this is an American thing, but moreover, I think it's a relatively recent thing too. I don't remember this dog craze existing back in the 90s.


Here is one, claiming (in n=120 for each case) over triple the reaction rate of "approaching woman w/ dog" (9.2%) to "w/o dog" (28.3%): https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/...

The article also mentions other studies which focus on the "why" part.


You switched the percent rates, it should be: approaching woman w/o dog" (9.2%) to "with dog" (28.3%)


It’s much deeper than a story about a man and his dog.

The real moral of this story is to not have any attachments. It’s all fleeting in the end. When the time comes, you need to accept it with open arms, instead of holding on in futility. Death comes for us all eventually.


It might be more fulfilling to learn to have attachments and to cope with loss.


That’s the path toward suffering. What if I choose to have zero personal attachments, but still celebrate human life? Complete strangers become immediate friends, family even. I have no need for such selfish bonds that will lead me to suffering.


I guess that's your choice, but please consider that avoiding suffering at the expense of all other factors is an extreme choice, and you may miss out on something worthwhile.


>you may miss out on something worthwhile

sorry, you should correct that to :

you will miss out on everything worthwhile


Nothing is actually worthwhile. Our "worthwhile" sense is perfectly capable of telling us that building the largest Beanie Baby collection is worthwhile, that joining the Westboro Baptists is worthwhile, or starting a juice bag startup is worthwhile.

Do other people's lives seem more worthwhile to you because they have some relationships with people you'd care nothing for? Not to me -- the worthwhileness is an entirely subjective feeling for them. Whereas suffering is a real thing that subtracts much more from life than worthwhile adds.


If the highest you can attain in life is a lack of suffering, then death is the reasonable option. As a mindset, I think that's not a great one to have.


>As a mindset, I think that's not a great one to have.

It's the thesis behind one of the world's great religions.


It is in fact not, unless you are talking about some cult I don't know about.

If you are talking just from the elimination of suffering angle, sure. But they make the theological case that the absence of suffering itself leads to a state that is far more than just the absence of suffering. I don't think we can or should take that as a given, just as we don't take other theological truths as a given.


Perhaps, but sometimes it's the right thing to do even if it's painful.

Imagine for a moment a person makes the decision to commit suicide but needs to stay alive for a while longer in order to complete certain professional obligations. Would it be appropriate for that someone to form attachments, to be selfish and make friends knowing that he will hurt them terribly when he kills himself? If one of them were to be the one that discovers his dead body, or by the ones coping with his disappearance?

Or is it better that he do the right thing, and sever any attachments that may exist so that they won't get hurt when he does kill himself? To contain the suffering to just one single individual.


How do you make decisions about whether or not to exercise or when to go to the dentist?

I find it hard to believe that you could read a story like this one and what you come away with is the idea that dogs bring suffering.


The only way you can avoid suffering is by not being born and since you are already here, you have lost from the start.


I'll give you the summary:

- Man and dog are best long time friends

- Man meets over 30 yr old diabetic sexual abuse victim on Tinder

- Woman pushes him for marriage contract

- Dog dies 2 days before wedding

- She pushes him to still get married and cares more about "At least smile for the photos"


Surprisingly accurate summary.


"You’re in private mode."

"Log in or create a free New York Times account to continue reading in private mode."

I guess Chrome incognito is still detectable. Hard pass.



Disable javascript and then you can read the article is what I do.


I opened it then hit the reader mode button.


In Firefox you can prepend about:reader?url= to the page that you want to show in reader mode if the icon does not appear or the page redirects too fast by the way.


Newspaper sites are a lot of things, but too fast isn't one of them.


Right click on the link and 'save to pocket'.. although now I have said that the free ride is definitely coming to an end..


Firefox containers work well


Phew, for a brief moment there was only one New York Times article on the front page. Glad we're back up to two!


I didn't come to HN to cry!!


Please don't link to articles that require creating an account.




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