Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Can You Train Your Mate?

Animal Planet has a lot of dog training shows. I watch them because I want to learn how to teach my dog, a Lab Mix, how to behave. When I was at the park one day, my dog, Diamond, was misbehaving. Whenever we are around people she forgets I exist and proceeds to jump on people. Lucky for me this time, the person who she was jumping on was a lady who trains dogs for shows.

She decided to give me tips on how to train dogs for shows. She complemented my dog by saying how pretty Diamond is. She looked at me up and down. Then she asked me if I was in a relationship. I said, yes I am. She told me training my dog would be like training my man. I had to raise my eyebrows at this one because I was always told that you couldn’t change a man. I told her that.

She smirked and said, “I didn’t say change your man, I said train him.”

She had to leave after that to take her daughter somewhere. I thought about this for the rest of the day. How could I experiment this on my man without insulting him? Do I slip him a treat whenever I thought he did something good? If that were the case, what would the treat be? My imagination went crazy as I plotted my next move. I even let myself be walked back to the car by Diamond. I got home and thought of ways to man-train my man. I found it impossible. My man didn’t jump on me whenever he came home, well at least not anymore. I would catch his eyes wandering however, but I didn’t have a leash to pull him back. What would be my leash and how could I provide him with treats? Let the training begin!

I wanted to go out to dinner. In this economy we have to budget when it comes to eating out. Gone were the days when we ate out three to four times a week. The most we had eating out was the Chinese restaurant that gave us one large plate to share. That was dining out for us. This time I wanted to be pampered and drive into the city to eat out. Test one. Direct eye contact, smile and speak clearly.

“Baby, let’s go out this weekend,” I said.

“What bills do we have to pay?”

That answer is a good answer because it’s not a direct no. I will give him praise. I reach over and nibble on the neck, that’s his favorite spot. He smiles. I tell him we’ll have to double check. Test two. We need to fix the curtains in the living room. I ask him to do it tonight, then I add in if he does I’ll make his favorite chocolate chip cookies and shake the bag in front of him. After weeks of asking, the curtains are put up and his treat is milk and cookies after dinner. He gets to eat them while watching the TV in the bedroom.

Saturday afternoon, my experiment continues. We are at the mall and we walk by a shoe store. My mouth waters. He suggests we go in and take a look at what they have for sale. I immediately see their winter boots under the sign “New Arrivals.” I pick up the knee-highs and feel the soft leather. I look at the bottom of the shoe and immediately put it back. I could only dream. The store clerk asked if I would like to try them on, but before I could say no, my mate tells her to bring them in my size. As she leaves, I ask him why. He says he wanted to see how sexy I would look in them. I agree. When the boots are brought out to me in a box, I see no one has even worn them. They are still wrapped in paper and plastic. While I’m trying them on, I hear him say his friend is having an all day football party tomorrow. I hear him but I’m getting high off the new boot smell. I put them on and look at my reflection. Perfect.

“You really like them?” he asks.

I nod my head with a big smile on. “I’d like to hang out all day with the guys tomorrow, I know we had plans but I really want to go. By the way, tell the girl to wrap up the boots for you. You get a treat.”

I was so excited about leaving with the new love of my life that I just jumped up and kissed him on the cheek. I whispered a “praise” of what he was going to get for the boots later. I ripped the boots off my feet and signaled to the girl to ring me up. We left the store and all I could think about was what I was going to wear with them. He then asked me if I minded if he bailed on couples day tomorrow. Before I could tell him how he promised Sundays were for us, a look at my right hand served as a reminder. The $169 boots were pulling me towards my reality. We never did agree to dinner and I couldn’t ask now. I frowned and said I didn’t mind. In the car he had the nerve to ask me was I cooking dinner. I nodded my head yes; I was the one that was trained!

As I spent my Sunday afternoon toying with fresh Nine West boots and various outfits to go with them, I thought about the lady at the park. I wanted to blame her for lame advice. When Diamond barked I realized she was sitting on the bed. She always sat on the bed. That would never change. My mate was never going to change, football and his friends were more appealing than couples day or listening to spoken word and having dinner at a restaurant. I couldn’t train him anymore than he could train me. My shiny new boots not only screamed this season’s new fashion but it screamed compromise. Diamond knew she would get treats if she did as she was told; that was a compromise. As long as I let her have fun, she would behave. That was our compromise.