The Man Whisperer

I pride myself in being, well…a man tamer. No really, just ask my friends. And I’m not talking about subduing bargain basement, low self-esteemed, gumpy man-children — I mean six-foot-four, dark chocolate, Colgate smiled, genetically superior, testosterone dripping, delicious MEN. Yup…under my thumb, cooing like babies; just scratching themselves and grinning. And it’s all kinda strange because I’ve never been the girl that every guy just has to have –- but I’m like a lovely, complex, delicious…cigarette: if I can get you hooked, chances are, you’re mine for life.

Which is why, this week, when I found myself up at four ‘o crack pondering my wilting relationship and my unruly boyfriend, it was cause for high alarm and orange airport alerts. Something has gone very, very wrong. He’s not calling, he’s breaking every promise he makes, I haven’t seen him in two weeks and instead of feeling like Billie Bad Ass, I’m feeling rejected, unattractive and sorry for myself. And this isn’t the first time. It’s become a frigging pattern. Ladies, gents…I’m being punked. And not only is my heart and my future on the line, my frigging reputation is at stake!

To make matters worse, I ran out of flax oil last month. So instead of a having my usual hardly noticed it’s there visit from Auntie Flo, I’m an attitudinal, crying at E-trade commercials, tender-hearted, brittle-haired, water-retaining menstrosity. And so lieu of using my precious hiatus (read: out of work) time to write the juicy movie idea that’s been running around my head like a Banshee for weeks, or putting the finishing touches on my long overdue documentary proposal, I can barely manage to crawl out of bed and onto the sofa. Listless and dehydrated, I muster just enough energy to press the power button and over a four-hour period, my greatest accomplishment is being Tivo Knievel. But then on the fifth hour, because the Universe is unconditionally loving and oh so kind, it happens. I land upon….

A “Dog Whisperer” marathon.

I’m not a dog fan. Sorry. Actually, I’m not sorry, I take that back. Love dogs as God’s precious beings, but unless they’re sheep herding or dragging a sled, I think they’re a little, well overrated. And I think this whole take my dog everywhere, constantly petting and kissing my dog, I’m driving and the dog is sitting on my neck breathing into my ear, my dog is my baby thing, is just out of frigging control. Enough already—you came into this world alone and you’re going to die alone so for Buddha’s sake, can’t you use this precious incarnation to practice being alone for ONE MINUTE out of your darn day? Gosh.

That being expressed, when two of my most precious human friends tried to convince me to watch Cesar Millan whisper to frigging dogs (“It’s really good. And something about him’s kinda hot!”) I thought no and heck no. But today, I’m at my lowest point and I don’t have the energy to change the channel. So I watch.

And watch and watch…as Cesar transforms barking, vicious, insecure, temperamental canines into loving, sweet, civilized, obedient, happy pets. I even crack a slight smile as I think, “Wow, I wish he could come tame Unruly Boyfriend.” And just then something occurs to me. Ah-frigging-haaa. Cesar’s motto is, he rehabilitates dogs and trains owners. What if it’s me that needs training and not Unruly Boyfriend? What if I’m the problem?

As I listen to the Gospel according to Cesar, I realize that I’ve become one of the things more abhorred by fellow East Oaklanders—a symp or in Cesar’s terms, I’ve lost the respect of the pack and my dog, I mean, my boyfriend has become a dysfunctional pack leader just running amuck and acting crazy. Oh no. What would Cesar do? He’s a little engrossed, so I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure this is what he’d say:

  1. If you’re not being a pack leader, your animal will lose respect for you and dominate you. I LOOOOVE men. For real. They’re so precious and wonderful and strong and nurturing and beautiful that sometimes I just cry at my good fortune and past life karma to be loved by them. And no, men are not dogs, they’re living, breathing, evolving human beings. But they are hopped up on testosterone, which is a very different animal than its counterpart, estrogen. It’s a drug, people. And certain things come with that drug, like the desire to run in packs, an instinct to hump stationary objects and competition for dominance. So let’s see…its day tres without so much as a phone call, I haven’t been taken out on a proper date in ages and I’m so desperate and sleep-deprived that a very nice Mexican fella on National Geographic has become my new guru. Yep, I’m being dominated.
  2. Always have calm and assertive energy. Nobody like a hysterical, insecure…chick. And although crazy girls are rumored to be great in bed, any man will tell you that just around the corner is a post-coital brick through the window or a pot of hot grits. And all the experts say that healthy men are attracted to our faces and bodies, but fall in love with our confident way of being in the world. Cesar says you can’t lie to a dog because they’re not listening to your words; they’re reading your energy -so walk with your chest out, looking straight ahead and speak to them with calm authority. I ain’t been doing that lately. I’ve been wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. And then sad and tearful, and then pissed, and then really loving and then pissed again. Damn. Strike two.
  3. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you have to be consistent. On the show, the dogs that are caught in a pattern of insecurity, dominance and acting out feel agitated and out of control. And they actually become relaxed and happy when they’ve been disciplined. Whatdaya know about that! But here’s what Cesar always says: the dog’s behavior changes as soon as the owner’s behavior changes, but the positive behavior must be maintained daily for it to become the dog’s nature. And this, folks, is where I definitely went off program. I have a good man. He’s a beautiful spirit, he loves me like God loves me, and he really wants to do right in the world. But in the last few months he’s gotten lazy and overconfident and I’ve let him act a fool. And then I’ll get fed up and pull away, but at the first hint of reformation, I’m back with Scooby snacks and back rubs and in a day or two, he’s acting like Donald Trump and Chef Gordon Ramsey at a meth party and I’m left wondering why life is oh so unfair. Must do better.
  4. Do not give dogs affection until they’re being calm and submissive, otherwise, you’re rewarding their negative behavior. Ditto, ditto to what I wrote above. I know better. For goodness sakes, I’m a frigging man tamer. And not to get too deep into the psychobabble, but part of my swagger is really a defense mechanism for my almost-healed-but-still-lingering abandonment issues. And so sometimes when I’m tired, over or under-worked and feeling insecure, I just want to freestyle it. Some company is better than none. It could be worse, I say. But Cesar always says, when rehabilitating a dysfunctional animal, no eye contact, no talking, no petting. I know, I know, Cesar. But sometimes he’s just so cute — until he starts acting like frigging Cujo and then I kinda hate him. A lot. Like now.
  5. To be healthy and well behaved, all dogs need exercise, discipline and affection – in that order. Hmm. That’s deep. Cesar always complains that people are so busy being all over their pets that they neglect the dog’s primal needs as a pack animal. And so, many household dogs have never experienced their true natures by having role models and being in a healthy pack. They actually think their anti-social behavior is normal. Hmm-hmm. Word. And on the show, the dogs that are in the greatest danger of being sent prematurely to doggy heaven are the ones whose owners think that if they just give their pets more affection, they can love them out of their crazy behavior.

    Wow…I think we can all do the math on that one, so I’m just going to give it a moment of silence and then a great big wooo-saahhhhh. I feel a healing coming on!

…Which brings us back to the subject of me and Unruly Boyfriend. OK, I started out on the brink of calamity and now I’m on the brink of enlightenment. Or at least sanity and confidence. I’m the pack leader of my world, darn it! Billie Bad Ass is back and times are a-changin’. Cesar would be proud.

Kali Love is my sometimes brilliant, often obnoxious, alter ego. If I’m Chuck D., she’s a bit, well…Flava Flav with hers. So to protect my career as a writer/producer/Veuve Clicquot-sipping philanthrope, I shall remain nameless. But Kali Love? There’s no telling what she’ll say. My collection is exclusive to

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