My First Dance, or Why Dogs Make Me Pee Myself

I spent a good chunk of 2008 and 2009 working on my memoir. It will probably never get published, and that’s probably for the best, but I thought it would be fun to share some stories from it on the blog.

Here’s one of those stories…

My first 7th grade dance was far and away my most memorable, but it was what happened before the dance, and not during it, that made it a night I’d never forget.

I showed up a few hours early to my friend Mike’s house to catch a ride with him to the dance. You should have seen how rad I looked. Stylish, black V-neck International News sweater, teal blue Ocean Pacific t-shirt, and pants I probably borrowed from a clown.

I had a hunch I was going to be attacked that night. Those 7th grade girls were going to be all over this piece of adolescent hottness. (Turned out I was only half right).

When I knocked on Mike’s door I was immediately greeted by the sound of a large barking dog. Now, as someone who has never been a big fan of dogs (aka, I have always hated dogs with every fiber of my being) this did not make me happy.

When I was younger, my grandmother told me not to be scared of dogs because they could sense it. I remember looking at her like she was nuts for telling me that…

“Let me get this straight. This animal has the ability to sense my fear from 15 feet away like some type of cyborg, and you think telling me this is going to make me LESS afraid? Information FAIL.”

After a few seconds Mike’s mother opened the main door to the house, leaving a thin screen door as the only thing separating the dog’s barking incisors from my tender flesh. The dog would not shut up, but Mike’s family seemed convinced he was just telling me he loved me in dog language.

“Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. He just gets excited,” Mike said as he let me in.

I put on a fake smile as I stepped inside, but I wasn’t fooling anyone; especially not the dog. You could tell by the excitement in his bark that he had never sensed levels of fear in a human this high before.

Mike kept a firm grip on the canine assassin’s collar while we made small talk, but after a minute or two when it seemed the dog had calmed down, Mike let him go. That’s when we all realized I wasn’t the only one in the house pretending to be calm.

The second he realized he was free, the dog charged at me from across the room and lunged to bite. Because I had never stopped believing this dog’s sole purpose in life was to kill me, I was as ready as I could have been for the attack. In the few seconds I had to brace myself, I spun around and shielded my face, exposing my back to the rabid beast. He tried to bite my spine in half, but only managed a mouthful of my brand new V-neck sweater.

The next few minutes played out the way you’d expect them to. There were effusive apologies, loud scolding of the dog from the other room, claims that “he’s never done that before”, and an interrogation as to whether or not I had rolled around on the kill floor of a butcher’s shop before I had come over.

The only silver lining was I finally felt vindicated for all those years of being afraid of dogs.

I wanted to call up everyone who had ever told me, “Oh don’t worry, he doesn’t bite” and say “YES! YES HE DOES BITE! BECAUSE HE’S A DOG AND DOGS BITE PEOPLE!!!

Mike and I spent the next hour in his room listening to the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff while he sewed up the hole in the back of my new sweater.

I probably should have went home after that. His Doberman was the only action I got all night.