Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Dog Park

Last night, at Steve McClure's birthday party in Brooklyn, a sassy English professor approached Jeepers with a quandary: what to wear to the dog park? The professor complained of an insidious fog of despair that overcomes her on mornings when she finds herself besieged by sloppily dressed dog owners insistent on drumming up inane chit chat. Was it possible, she wondered, to nudge dog-park culture higher through wardrobe alone?

Yes. Wearing this dress (or any other floor-length gown with bustle) while also forcing other dog owners into deeper discussion (i.e. "How can we work together to bring about world peace within the next four months?" Or, "Tell me about your marriage and why you think it is failing?") can change both the professor's neighborhodd and our world.

Gentle Readers, let us start now: Be more strange. Dive off the slow barge of weather assessment and dog breed comparisons into deeper waters. Ask strangers startling questions, wear a fake nose to the grocery, do not go gentle into that good night wearing appropriate clothing. We must stop being so boring.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jeepers,

Thank you for your excellent advice. I arrived at dog-park this morning in a gown fashioned according to your specifications. Although the dogs remarked without hesitation on how much they delight in a bustle, at first the people seemed to give me a wide berth. Soon, however, people began to inquire about my morning’s fashion choice. No, I said, it wasn’t last night’s finery not yet put to bed, it was what I was going to wear to dog park from now on. Suddenly people began to remember items of clothing that they longed to wear, the treasure troves hidden in the back of their closets. One woman, often previously seen sporting a fleece with an Aztec print and a Ben and Jerry’s baseball cap, mentioned her grandmother’s velvet opera coat. A man who favors a kind onesie-for-grownups confessed that what he really longs to wear are the dapper suits that clad the gangsters in Jean Pierre Melville’s movies.

It was not only long cherished, seldom aired sartorial fancies that began to emerge. Suddenly people were looking around the park, noticing the beauty of the one tree whose leaves have changed color. The tree was lovely, we agreed, but how could we, as lovers of dogs and our park and by extension the whole natural world, do to address global warming? And what about the man who has lived in the park as long as many of us have been going? Couldn’t we think of something better than just not throwing sticks to our dogs too near to him--something, in other words, to address the systemic problem of homelessness in NYC?

But, Jeepers, perhaps the most astonishing fact was one I realized as my dog and I made our way home, my gown trailing behind me. No one—not one person— in the entire twenty-five minutes we had spent in the dog park had mentioned real estate. Jeepers, you must believe me: nobody breathed a word about rent or co-op fees or closing costs.

All of this is just to say what an important service I feel that you provide in helping those of us who need to know What to Wear This Very Second.

12:15 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

I always knew this was my problem. Every morning, I would tumble out of bed, grab superdog and a handful of poop bags, and stumble to the park in the same red sweatpants (you know the ones with the gaping hole in the rear end), flip flops, and hooded sweatshirt. And then upon arrival, would glare at my fellow dog parkers, wearing dirty t-shirts and pj bottoms. We all had the same miserable, fashionless stare in our eyes. We found ourselves unable to speak of anything beyond the weather, the price of chew toys, and getting pee pee stains out of the carpet. Truly, such a lack of human connection has never been seen before.

Plus, none of the cute boys wanted to talk to me.

So this morning, inspired by your ever-wise advice, I woke up two-hours early for hair and make-up, pulled out my Vera Wang cocktail dress and 4-inch Manolos, and started on the uphill trek through the a.m. drizzle to the dog park.

Imagine my joy when the gay men (it is near the Castro, afterall) all approached to ask about the dress, to touch the gentle silk, and to stare longingly at my diamond accessories. The moms with strollers ceased all talk of their diaper genies. Talk shifted to the gallery opening, to the latest election, to the disintegration of community in the city.

But then, the most surprising thing of all happened; as I attempted to squat in my Vera, teetering on my Manolos (a difficult thing to do on a grassy knoll), in a environmental-quest to scoop superdog's poop, a voice came from above: Can I help you?

Yes, you guessed it. A cute boy was talking to me.

As he packed superdog's poop into the crinkled plastic baggie, and the two of us strolled hand-in-hand down the street for coffee, I realized that truly, dear Jeepers, your wise advice is the key to reconnecting our flailing humanity.

5:27 PM  

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