by: Nico Lang
I’ve come to this point in my mid-twenties where all of my friends are getting married and having children, because to paraphrase Gore Vidal, man + woman + family pressure + reruns of Leave It To Beaver + time = baby. You think that being queer might get in the way of that, but science and marriage equality had to go and make all of us queer babyphobes accountable. Two of my old friends back home are about to have a baby, and I’m ludicrously happy for them. I love the idea of children, just as long as they belong to other people, because I’M JUST NOT THERE YET, MOM. That was a lot easier to insist to my family when being able to legally get married was lightyears and endless filibusters away. But these days, every single marriage equality video that pops up on the internet insists, It’s time, and I reply: Only if you mean hammer time. I swear those adorable Australian dudes are in cahoots with my mother.
However, the overwhelming desire that my high school friends have to reproduce all over my Facebook page has manifested itself elsewhere. My biological clock isn’t ringing; it’s howling, and it wants its belly scratched. I don’t know when it started or where it came from, but the only pitter-patter of little feet I want to hear these days are the kind you need to periodically keep from humping your leg. Maybe it’s just the changing of the seasons or those Sarah MacLachlan commercials, but I want a dog so badly I can’t stand it, even if 90% of all the landlords I’ve ever had disagree with me on that. This summer, all I need is Puppy Lovin’ in my life. I want to have summer days drifting away into summer nights with a furry, fifteen-pound bundle of joy by my side. I want to run through the field and see a slightly mangy rescue Lab bounding toward me with a frisbee hanging from his mouth. I want to pretend to be so mad when I wipe his doggy drool from my face.
I can’t decide on what breed I would want or what I would name it, and that generally depends upon my mood. When I’m tired, I think about owning a Bassett Hound named Sherman who almost never moves, kind of like that dog on scrubs. When I’m feeling down, I need one of those Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mixes by my side, because I feel like they understand my pain. When I feel like jumping up and down for no reason, a Terrier. When I’m feeling not quite with it, a Chow Chow. When I want to chase mountain lions and boys, a Hunting Dog like in Where The Red Fern Grows, but not one I have to shoot at the end of the book. And when I just want to stay in bed and cuddle, I want a Corgi, a dog that’s just made to share a lazy Saturday morning with. We can do the crossword together, watch reruns of South Park, make our own submissions to the Lawyer Dog meme and play fetch with my unopened student loan envelopes.
Sure, I don’t think I have time for a dog, but doesn’t everyone always think they don’t have time? Everyone in the world is so busy, but somehow manages to find the time to spend seventeen hours every day looking at memes of cats on Facebook. This tells me a couple things: First, Mark Zuckerberg is evil. But after that, it shows me that we will do anything for our love of pets, including spending the entire day posting pictures of them wearing funny hats, because we swear they love it. We are culturally obsessed with pets and pet ownership, in a way we aren’t always about kids; no one accidentally became a pet owner one night after prom and pets won’t bill you for therapy later or write a tell-all about you. My mother worked three jobs to raise me, and I was drunkenly conceived between wine coolers in a hammock. When I think about that, I think to myself: “If that’s how babies are made, I can surely find the time to juggle my hectic Twitter and Facebook schedules with cleaning up the vomit of man’s best friend.” And from what I hear, if I wait long enough, he will just clean it up on his own. Mission accomplished!
I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely ready for a dog. How do you know when it’s right? How do you know when you’re there yet? Every time I get to that point—that almost moment where I’m just going to go to the pet store, pet some puppies and see what happens—I tell myself not now. Wait five years. Wait until you’ve gained some perspective. What could you even teach a dog, anyway? You have nothing to give. But then I walk down the street and I see a dogwalker barely holding back a Retriever and a Boxer coming at me with love in their eyes and slobber all over their mouths. And I’ll just know. It’s time.
Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a columnist for HEAVEMedia. At HEAVE, Nico writes a column on film called Found Footage and talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Elsewhere in podcasting, Lang hostsBroad Shoulders, a monthly podcast for Chicago’s Live Lit community. Nico is also a contributor at Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, the New Gayand on their mother’s refrigerator. Nico is poly, pansexual and genderqueer but really just identifies as whatever David Bowie is. Follow Nico on Twitter@Nico_Lang or on the Facebook.