Ask Alison: When to Get a Number, Replacing Dogs, and Long-Distance Confrontation

Good advice from someone who is terrible at dating
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If we started talking at a bar, and I just wasn't feeling it, but I got the impression you were, would you prefer that I ask for your number and never call, or just not ask for your number?

I was recently at a house party where a guy with a big stupid mustache came up to me, asked for my phone number and never called. He had to penetrate a wall of friends and interrupt a conversation to get it -- neither of which are easily accomplished. I gave it to him, even though he had a big stupid mustache, and I honestly can't think of anything worse. In my mind I was already planning out my polite text decline as he walked away. Then he never contacted me, and I was furious. Never ask for a number if you don't plan to call.

You are more than allowed to change your mind in the sober light of day and opt not to call, or if she offers it to you without asking, but just taking the number knowing full well that you're never going to use it like you're Vince Vaughn in Swingers is just mean.

Plus, I think most people just use Facebook at this point.

I met a guy on a hiking trip through some friends, and we've been talking for a few weeks. I don't know his middle name, but we've slept together a couple times and generally have fun doing outdoor stuff. Long story short, I'm more into his dog than I am into him. Is there a way I can end it and still potentially see the dog?

Speaking as someone who owns a dog that is far more charming than I am, thank you for giving me a new phobia.

Speaking as someone who owns a dog that is far more charming than I am, thank you for giving me a new phobia. Do you know how many dogs there on the planet? It's a lot. I think statistically speaking, that more things are dogs than not dogs.

Here's a thing that I know will probably get me into a lot of trouble but, dogs are all pretty much the same. Sure some are mean, and some are crazy and inbred, but underneath that, they just want food. It's all food-based. My little dog Harvey, who I love more than anything, is pretty much interchangeable with any other dog. Like, I could stroll into any animal shelter and as for a small terrier with separation anxiety and make a purchase. The same goes for my dog. If I die tomorrow, he would probably go live with my buddy Dave, and he'd be fine. Dave would feed him and walk him and pick up his poops and Harvey's life would continue on as it always had. Much like the dog that you're talking about will NOT care when you stop showing up.

No, you can't keep seeing the dog after you break up with its owner. Get your own dog, weirdo. Wherever you live, I promise there are shelters and private rescue centers that would love to match you up with the right pet. If you're not ready for a 10 to 15 year commitment, you can also foster animals for a few weeks until they find permanent homes. You'd be doing a good deed without making anyone uncomfortable.

As for the guy, please end it with him. So many women in their twenties just refuse to end relationships, I swear. Something about cutting ties is very uncomfortable for us. We love to linger, we love to "check in." Breaking up with this guy but continuing to see him and his dog is just a way to maintain communication, and why? He's just some guy you dated. He's going to keep doing the same dumb things he was going while you were dating and it doesn't sound like you were too into it. Or, you're using the dog as an excuse to stay. Why stay in a casual thing that you're not into? No one likes dogs that much. Not even me, and I've cried at a Iams commercial. I guess it's easier to say "I love his dog!" or "He's so nice!" or "He's got a cool apartment!" than to admit you don't like the idea of being alone or giving up regular sex. But I promise that both of those things are better than being with someone you don't like. Forget him and his dumb dog. There, his dog is dumb. I said it. Find a different dog.

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Alison Agosti is a writer living in Los Angeles.


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