So on Sunday, when I may or may not have been very hung over (the jury’s still out on that), I met Barton and Rachel at Centennial Park. They brought Rachel’s dog, a GeneriDog puppy named Emmet, and I brought my dog, a furry cocktail weiny named Chloe. That’s her on the right, on one of her good days.
I was kind of concerned about this, since Chloe doesn’t usually make friends with other dogs. When she first traipsed into my family’s life, I brought her over to The Across the Street Starbucks. At this time, there was an older guy who was a regular there, and he had a big, friendly, white dog that looked kind of like a husky. He brought his dog over, the two dogs sniffed, and Chloe morphed from a happy, Dug sort of behavior to a snarling I-Will-Shank-You convict. Her face contorted into a demon’s, and the growl was terrifying.
The man and his dog retreated, I apologized, and Chloe calmed down and reverted to her attention-seeking normal self. Since then, I’ve figured out that she only likes dogs she can dominate. To wit, her “friends” are a miniature dachshund, a Jack Russel Terrier slightly smaller than herself, and a… dog named Hot Dog that seems to be oblivious to most things around it.
So I got the call Sunday afternoon when I was sitting around watching a discussion about U.S. – China relations (because I am a nerd of gargantuan proportions), and was a bit weary. But, I figured, I needed to get out of the house, and this was a good excuse to do so.
So Chloe and I left, went to the park, and met up with the three of them. Emmet, the GeneriDog, immediately submitted to the terror of Chloe–a dog who, if you don’t remember, looks like this:
Ten minutes later, Chloe was ignoring Emmet, and the latter was walking around chewing sticks and plastic bottle caps.
Then we happened across a bloodhound. The bloodhound looked like it was from a Disney cartoon. It had an excessively droopy face, lolloped more than walked, and was ridiculously friendly. The dog saw us coming from about ten yards away and started wagging its tail.
Emmet jerked at his leash to make a new friend.
Chloe started growling. I knew what was coming, so I got a better grip on her; she flipped shit and started barking in a way normally reserved for hellhounds. I pulled her away and we got out of there.
A few minutes later, we happened along another dog (no surprise, it’s a friggen park and I’m an idiot for thinking there wouldn’t be dogs that day). This time, I went with my usual Alpha Plan. Chloe’s small, and easily portable, so I scooped her up and stood around while Emmet made friends. Chloe twitched for the first ten seconds, then resigned herself to her near-hovering state, and snorted.
Then I got to thinking: Is this Chloe’s way of making “friends?” Is she socially awkward to the point where she thinks attacking other members of her species is the way forward? Then I started assuming a whole lot of things, as I am wont to do, and came up with this handy four-step How-To guide, courtesy of my psychotic dog.
Step One: First Impressions
As we’ve been told by countless self-help gurus, first impressions are the key to starting off a relationship. If you want to make friends, you have to make a good first impression.
The typical advice is to, let’s say, give a firm hand shake and maybe tell a joke, if the situation warrants it. You want to establish yourself as a good guy, someone who’s trustworthy, and not a psychopath.
However, after observing my dog’s interactions with other dogs, I’ve come to realize that all of that is bullshit. Don’t tell a joke. Humor is a defense against the universe; but instead of being on the defense, one needs to be on the offense. Instead of making yourself seem funny, and thus harmless, flip the person off the first time you meet them.
Now, you’ll probably get a weird look, but that’s the perfect time to follow an obscene gesture with something like a “You look at me like that again, and I’ll gouge your eyes out.”
Step Two: The Conversation
The usual advice is to follow up the hand shake (or suitable substitute) with a conversation to determine mutual interests. This way, you establish a roughly level playing field–so to speak. You’re not two strangers, you’re two huge fans of Megadeth. You’re not two strangers, you’re two people who share the same unhealthy obsession with Mary Tyler Moore.
Now, the problem with this is that it makes you equals, and doesn’t properly set up the alpha-everyone else dynamic that we, as a social, hunter-gatherer species evolved to promote a hierarchical mindset, thrive upon. And, after all, this is America, damn it, not some pinko Commie country.
That in mind, do you want to be the alpha–the guy getting all the tail, respect, and power–or someone else–the schlub who has to do the grunt work and get the cast-offs from the alpha? Buddy, you aren’t going to be the alpha if you have a civil conversation about the season in which MTM was hottest.
Now, setting yourself up as the alpha is easy, and you have two options. The first option is a nice follow-up to threatening to gouge someone’s eyes out: Physical violence. Physical violence shows that you’re not some wuss who doesn’t follow through; you’re someone who makes a threat and isn’t afraid of prison. The second option is to use a string of obscenities so vile that every clergy member within a three hundred mile radius will have a heart attack.
This latter may seem like it’s backing out of the threat of physical violence, and, from a certain point of view, it is. However, it’s more of a tactical retreat: Leading your enemy to follow you into The Hot Gates of your interaction. A bottle neck from which they will never escape. With such a string of obscenities, you are showing that you have the mental cleverness to think up something so unholy, you kill nuns with words. Would you want to fuck with such a person? I didn’t think so.
Step Three: Hanging Out
By now, you’ve successfully proven yourself as the alpha in the relationship. The other person knows their place, that you are the dominant one, and they are the subservient follower–the permanent intern, in a way.
The next phase of a friendly relationship is to hang out in one-on-one or group settings. The general advice is to find something mutually enjoyable, like bowling, mosh pits, constructing shrines to Mary Tyler Moore, or getting coffee. This continues to show that the two of you are equals, and that is the basis of a friendship.
But we know better, don’t we, Dear Reader? You don’t want to be equals, you want to be the motherfucking alpha. You want to be Samuel L. Jackson. Sam Jackson doesn’t go what the group wants to do, Sam Jackson does his thing and people follow.
Thus, instead of finding something of interest to the both of you, demand that your followers do what you want to do. Remember your Machiavelli: It is better to be feared than loved. Take your followers–your pack, if you will–to something visceral. I suggest a slaughterhouse.
Or, you can do what my dog does to her “friends”: Ignore them. I guess this is Chloe’s way of showing she doesn’t need them, and they benefit from simply being around her.
Step Four: And the Sky’s the Limit
From then on, it’s easy sailing. You’re friends now. Buddies. Nights of Super Smash Brothers and Call of Duty and excessive drinking are on the horizon. It’s essentially up to you what to do from then on, all the experts have to say is about the time leading up to this step.
For us, the spirit is the same. Your goal has been reached and you are the alpha of your gang of followers. The key is to always remember to keep your followers in their place. In the wild, alphas are challenged and, occasionally, replaced. Don’t let that happen to you. If you sense that one of your followers is displeased, replace them. This is the key to making “friends,” and anyone who says differently is a bleeding-heart liberal scumbag yearning for the glory days of the Soviet Union.
A Final Word
This guide was brought to you by an overweight Australian Shepherd-Corgi mix with a Napoleonic complex and an eating disorder. Use at your own peril. In the words of Chris Flynn, you would be friendless, and not getting laid.
Then again, he’s no Machiavelli.