Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Luca Brasi Sleeps with the Fishes

When it comes to relationships, there are few proven ways to determine compatibility.  Issues alone aren’t pre-determining.  What draws some people together splits others apart.  And the allure of character traits isn’t necessarily consistent over time.  That which initially made a person appealing can wind up being exactly what drives a lover to study the contraindications of every pill in the medicine cabinet before making that special someone that special dinner.  (See, boyish/immature, attentive/clinging, mysterious/uncommunicative, etc.) 

Religion, ethnicity, economics, geography, age, appearance, intelligence, politics – none are prohibitive; none are guarantees.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Astrologers proclaim that certain signs don’t mesh, but they don’t rule it out.  Shakespeare nailed it: It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. 

But science has found a black swan; one insurmountable hurdle between lovers.  No matter how strong the heart or head, neither organ is as strong as the nose.  Simply put, if you don’t like the way your lover smells, wave good-bye.  Typically unconscious, nose-crinkling reaction penetrates any layers of perfumes, soaps and eau de toilette (far from the most appealing scent name in any event.)  It’s said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” – and the sense of taste is controlled by sense of smell.  Hmm, about that special dinner…
That it?  Smell?  That’s all?  Well, no, not really.  I found a gray swan.  The animal simile is appropriate because there’s a sure-fire way to foretell whether a prospective date will be a strike or gutter-ball: pets.  People that like pets don’t click with people who don’t.  And before you argue (or get your own blog), I’m going to address an issue that’s a subset in relationships among pet lovers.  Sleeping with your pets.

This being Hollywood, I turn to the movies to illustrate life.  In the rare film where a pet sleeps with adults, it’s almost always for comedic effect and usually the bigger the animal the funnier the bit (i.e., “Beethoven”.)  One great exception is for one great movie. The “Godfather” inhabitants lived topsy-turvy to normal society where crime was good, and  police, bad.  Conforming to this inside-out perspective, sleeping with animals had in their world a Grand Guignol twist.  Bedding down with critters was decidedly unhealthy.  Luca Brasi slept with the fishes while a Hollywood producer awoke with his favorite horse’s head, each providing a suitably twisted meaning to “bed wetting.” 

Pet lovers can encounter rocky roads over who’s sleeping with whom.  The argument can be so torrid you almost wish the battle was over something simpler, like adultery.  Kicking a date’s treasured pooch from the bed will be your quick ticket to the dog house.  It’s not just newcomers who are fed to the dogs.  One friend articulates her bedroom rules to each prospective boyfriend: if it ever comes down to her two Siamese cats or him…   Another lovingly allowed her cockatiel to sleep under the covers.  This may be great if a damaged L4 spinal disc requires you to sleep rigidly on your back, but is hell on the relationship should the guy inadvertently roll over in his sleep.  Not so good for the cockatiel, either. 

There’s more than love and loyalty involved.  Mass counts.  One couple let their 215 pound bull mastiff sleep between them.  Whether this was their idea or the mastiff’s, they’re not saying.  But they do have a harmonious marriage.  Whether it’s because of the mastiff, they’re not saying.  The mass problem can be as tricky with small dogs – as when it’s a lot of small dogs.  A friend once tried dating a woman who heads an animal rescue group and whose bed was a nightly repository for anywhere from five to eight dogs.  He reported that finding space among them banished any Kama Sutra-like thoughts.  All that came to mind were the instructions inside the box cover of the game “Twister.”  To this day he recalls the various contortions and stacking arrangements – and remains uncertain whose legs were under his.

So, to choose someone for a relationship, find someone like-minded about pets.  If you don’t like them, find someone who also doesn’t.   But if you both like critters, go to step two.  And remember the adage: those who lie down with dogs wake up with fleas.  

Subject for subsequent disquisition: how in my particular case, fleas resulted in me being hospitalized.  It was comedic.  Just like the movies.