I Touch Myself

Below are a few excerpts from a conversation about masturbation and arousal that I had with my best-friend Bean the other day, with a smattering of statistics thrown in for good measure. The Kinsey Institute should study us.

Bean and I have been best-friends since college, and while we used to live a few blocks away from each other, she’s now on the other side of the country, living in sunny Beverly Hills and writing for an award-winning television show. Distance be damned, we still seek solace in one another when suffering from lovesickness. In this particular episode, Bean, also a label-free bisexual, has a crush on a girl she knows, while I’m smitten by a barely-legal, tanned-and-toned, one-hundred-foot-tall trainer at my gym, who Bean and I refer to as “the puppy” because he’s maybe 22 years old. For those of you looking for insights into female masturbation, this may be illuminating. Hopefully for anybody else it will just be funny. For me and for my pal, we’ll take one for the team and be mortified, all in the name of science, sexuality, and self-stimulation.

For the record, “That Guy” is the nickname we’ve given a past prize, a penis that has been mounted and hung above my mantle, metaphorically speaking of course.

And it should be noted, I’ve recently become a practicing Catholic, excluding the Church’s backward stance on social issues. No, I’m not kidding.

Bean: Go to Babeland. Get a new toy that you name “puppy.”

Me: No way, dude. My brain is bad enough right now, I’ve got overcooked peas in my skull. Half the day I spend obsessing about him and the rest I spend praying to the Virgin Mary to sanctify my body, purify my soul, and protect me from earthly temptation. It’s like two me’s at war. And I like using my hand more than toys…though maybe I could break out one of ’em tonight, just for varieties’ sake.

Bean: You’re like Madonna in the nineties. Half-obsessed with Catholicism and half-obsessed with hot, olive-skinned trainers. And I prefer my hand to a toy also, but sometimes a new toy goes well with a new crush. It’s like you actually brought them in there.

Me: Your imagination is stronger than mine. I can’t even think about my crushes as I do it. It’s all Trent Reznor in the Closer video and Maynard James Keenan from the centerfold of a Hit Parader issue I had as a kid.

Comparatively, us ladies have some catching up to do when it comes to the masturbation department. Two-thirds of dudes beat off, but that fraction seems awfully low to anyone who has ever known a dude, ever. 40% of women in a recent survey say they pet their kitty, with 20% of women under the age of thirty doing it once a week, and 7% doing it every other day. (What about those of us who look at it like brushing our teeth?)

It also should be noted that girls usually start exploring their buttons at around 14 or 15 years old, while boys usually start between 9 and 16 years old, with the average age clocking in at around 12. Predictably, that’s how old I was when I started. By 15 I was a professional and my parents just thought I read a lot of books alone in my room.

Nearly half of all women between the ages of 18 and 49 have admitted to getting themselves off in the past 90 days. Which means that, out of all your younger lady friends, at least half of ‘em have made a puddle. Including your sister(s) if they’re in that sweet spot of legal to MILF.

As for manual versus assisted stimulation, 53% of ladies admit to using a vibe, while 17% of guys have beat it with a buzzing buddy. Gentlemen, where do you put it?

But for those of us girls who make self-love an affair we hold in our hands, we do it in myriad of ways, with 4% pillow humping, 3% pressing their thighs together, 2% using a shower head, and one girl in New York simply listening to the audio tape of Christian Bale losing his shit on the set of Terminator Salvation. (Ahem.) Fewer than five percent of girls surveyed said that they always penetrated themselves, while ten to fifteen percent said they sometimes did. Things that were ingested by the lowest mouth included fingers, sex toys, and, oddly, household objects and candles. I’m assuming tapers, not pillars.

Me: Your fantasies are linear? They have a narrative?

Bean: Yeah I more or less do a slug line as I begin. Like, INT. NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY – EVENING

Me: You hump in the library in your head?

Bean: Sometimes. I mean, all kinds of places. I pick a setting, I describe it to myself, I describe our outfits to myself, then I get started. It’s like a really well thought out porno. It never has a denouement.

Me: You should write porn. Or my fantasies. Because I’m in a healthyish mental state now, it’s harder.

Bean: What do you mean?

Me: I mean that I miss the days of being choked and punched in the face in my head when I came. It was so much easier then.

Bean: Ohhh.

Me: Now I’m all like, “And we lay there. And we listen to Nitzer Ebb and New Order. And the sun rises. And then we kiss.” And it takes me like two hours to get off.

Bean: That’s most women, I think.

Me: It used to be touch, choke, cum/punch, sleep. Five minutes, tops. It was like a hockey fight. Now it’s like a Merchant Ivory film.

The average time a porno is watched in a hotel is 12 minutes, so one can assume that it takes roughly that long to bring oneself to orgasm. Stats show that women are more emo in their sexual fantasies, while men are, unsurprisingly, more “sexually explicit.” Ladies also have a tendency to dream about being dominated, while guys conversely think about being in charge, doing something in particular to a partner, having multiple partners, or Adriana Lima covered in beer.

Oh, and undoubtably related to all of our fantasies, over half the time spent on the Internet is reported to be sexually related in some way. Duh.

In 1977, researchers discovered that men judged being aroused by “blood volume” better than ladies, but that men and women were equally as apt at accurately gauging their arousal based on their pulse. All of this is to say that hard-ons are pretty good indicators of being turned on, but these researchers pulled out all the stops. Penile train gauges, vaginal photoplethysmography, and monitors for genital pulse amplitude, genital blood volume and heart rate were all used. And if you’re one of those awesome weirdos who gets off on medical kink, I just gave you a serious boner.

Apart from the physiological responses of arousal, researchers in the past ten years finally confirmed that men’s fantasies are more focused on the visual, with “explicit anatomic detail” (read: double-Ds, ass) while women fantasize with a greater emphasis on emotions, caressing, and making muffins for them in the morning.

According to a 2004 United States survey, 30% of people fantasize about infidelity, 21% fantasize about having a threesome, and 10% fantasize about having sex at work. So I’m really hoping that the object of my affection is a part of that 10%.

For scientists who really like syphoning the fun out of sex, there are means of scrutinizing the differences between men’s and women’s fantasies. Theoretical frameworks like social constructionism and sociobiology can be used to compare and contrast differences along the gender line. Is it because of social influences that men are more geared towards mental images of a buxom threesome? Do biological factors determine that ladies will fantasize about familiar lovers, or is it the ancient sociological emphasis on chastity and security that still have women daydreaming about their one and only? Fuck it, pop in some porn and let’s find out.

Bean: My fantasies also have really good one-liners in them.

Me: Really? You’re witty?

Bean: Well, like, sexy ones.

Me: I just have That Guy’s one-liner. Over and over and over again. And the way he said it…

Bean: I’m trying to remember. Or maybe I blocked it out. What was it again?

Me: Man, nothing ever done to me will top the Two Things That Guy Did. The one time he said “good girl” and the first time he pinned down both of my wrists with one hand and got me off with his other hand.

Bean: OkCupid asked me how I would feel if someone said that to me in bed! And I said bad! We could never, ever, ever have sex.

Me:  I mean, I would never say it. But it was the way he said it. “Did you come?” “Uh-huh.” “Good girl.” Mid-act. While thrusting.

Bean: Oh barf. Sorry.

Me: That’s fine. More tall boys for me, thanks.

Bean: “Are you getting curious yet?” is one I use in my head.

Me: Oh wow. You’re like fantasy Scorcese. Or an episode of The L-Word.

Bean: “I want to do things to you that would make you forget your first name” is another.

Me: Damn, girl.

Bean: “You have a sexy laugh” always gets her to make a first move in my head.

Me: Huh. That’s not a bad one. How will he make out with me? I mean, he has two feet to stoop. It’s gonna get awkward.

Bean: Well, he could say something like that. I think that line might actually work in real life. Telling girls they have a sexy anything empowers them, I think

Me: That’s true! Girls get sexy for the word sexy! He’ll be like, “You have a sexy top of your head” and I’ll climb up him. Like a monkey or a koala. Maybe with a running start.

Bean: Your situation is very Dirty Dancing. That was a movie I’ve referenced as I constructed my fantasies. “I wanna kiss you.”  “Who’s stopping you?” It’s another back and forth I rely on.

Me: Hmm…wow. I’m imagining how poorly that would go for me if I said that. “I wanna kiss you.” “Sorry. I’m up here.”

So, statistically 4 out of 10 women prefer rubbin’ their nub to sex, but what about dirty talk beyond this Internet-originated lagnolalia? Sex toy company Adam & Eve performed a survey and found that 80% of participants engage in smutty speaking while getting it on. 12% of those surveyed said that it’s “always” a part of the act, while 33% said it only was a feature of foreplay “sometimes.” Only 20% of the 1,000 people surveyed said that dirty talk was off the table and that they didn’t say anything naughty no matter what. But Bean’s fantastic one-line lubricants aren’t exactly porno dialog, and they aren’t a great indicator of what she’s like in bed at all. But I can’t think too much about that, lest we both receive bizarre electric shocks to the skull. Thinking about Bean in bed is more taboo than thinking about naked family members who have AARP cards. Mentally, it’s a cold shower. I mean, she listens to Tegan and Sarah. She listens to them. Like, for fun.

As a final turn-on tidbit: right now, at this very minute, 797,151 people are masturbating. That’s more people touching themselves than the population of Alaska. Which means that I’m now going to refer to masturbation as “seeing Russia from my house.” Unrelated to manual stimulation, can you believe that idiocy was four years ago? I still have fantasies about skull-fucking the former governor of the 49th state. Put that in your mental porn stash and loop it.

Your Guide to the Friend Zone

Most zones aren’t good. No parking zones. The Demilitarized Zone. The ever-confusing, Cosmo-peddled erogenous zone.

But you may also find yourself in the Friend Zone, which is a dreaded place indeed, a no-man’s…or no-woman’s land of platonic friendship and compliments with the sexiness of a soft-boiled egg. How did you get here? Could you have prevented this hormone-hindering categorization? Why does it itch? What’s more, is there anything you can do?

Unfortunately, over the years, yours truly has become an expert* acquainted with of all of the nooks and crannies of the Friend Zone, so allow for me to give you a little tour.

* The Lonely Planet Guide to the Friend Zone [Paperback] by Ainsley Drew (Author); 456 Page/5 Map edition (August 7, 2011) available now!

There's lots of poking in the back when you dance around the Friend Zone.

Well before Josephine de Beauharnais opted to take an army’s-worth of lovers instead of writing back to her lovesick, battle-stationed husband Napoleon, the Friend Zone has been recorded in history. Numerous books, classical plays, helas madams, and just about all romantic poetry touched on the shitty, sucking feeling of being able to interact with someone who strikes your fancy, while knowing full-well that you’ll never see them naked. There are also worst-case scenarios that have been recorded in the annals of time, like that of Catherine of Aragon, who was put in a pretty awful Friend Zone by her husband King Henry VIII once he found the eye-pleasing trollop Anne Boleyn. (It should be noted, Anne was able to net Henry – and the Queen’s crown – by putting him in the No Sex Zone, which, while a cousin of the Friend Zone, sure as hell ain’t the same thing. Withholding the pussy is a means to an end. There is no end to the Friend Zone. Once you’re there, chances are that no amount of alcohol will move you. You’ll never get to see the family jewels. You might even end up banished and poisoned.)

Now, the Friend Zone isn’t entirely an inhospitable place. At times it’s a very appropriate destination. Let’s say you’ve reached the end of your romantic venture with someone, and the both of you agree that it’s time to move on to greener panties. You still respect one another, and can even stomach seeing them in their skivvies, but a love match it’s not. The Friend Zone is a perfect retirement spot for the two of you, one that shouldn’t be approached with any sort of seething or spite.

But there are those curious circumstances that can lead you into the Bermuda Triangle of ambiguity: crushes. This is the sort of anxiety-inducing murkiness of human interaction that used to lead us to pass notes in second grade emblazoned with a question and two empty boxes – Do you like me? Check YES or NO. Not knowing another person’s feelings when you’re wanting to see their ‘o’ face and taste their pectoral muscles is part of that so-called spice of life, the dopamine-receptor-ringing fiesta of fun known as the initial state of courting, the intoxicating precursor to dating itself.

But if the feelings aren’t reciprocal – and, let’s be honest, if you aren’t a Victoria’s Secret model or rumored to be hung like a San Fernando Valley star, they’re often not mutual – the Friend Zone is the airport where you might be stuck on a permanent layover, ever hoping that the weather lifts and you can catch the next flight to the bedroom.

In case there’s any question (and, really, unless you’re tasting their 32 flavors, there shouldn’t be) below are some signs that you’ve found yourself in the Friend Zone. Just remember, if you’re the one doing the zoning, do not fuck someone you put in the Friend Zone. That’s the cardinal rule. Don’t drink, drug, or dance around them, if any of those vices lead to deviating from this mandate. Once you violate this rule, there is no Friend Zone, and self-induced slut shaming, incessant dramatic texting, inevitable heart break where you are the villain, or an unhappy marriage may occur. Proceed wisely.

No one wanted to be in the Friend Zone with Marilyn Monroe.

Famed American psychologist Dorothy Tennov – known for coining the original synonym for bunny boiler with the academic-sounding limerence – famously stated that the only way to successfully douse desire in cold water is to obtain “indisputable evidence” that your crush is really not wanting to do you.

Seems simple enough to discern, but yet, it’s not: he may cringe when you bat your eyes in his direction, change the subject when you talk about sex, he may have even made a joke where he compared you to his sister, but yet he’s fine with splitting an order of buffalo wings and watching Top Gear with you once a week. Little do you know that, if the future of humankind depended on it, he would rather cut off his dick than so much as expose it to your longing gaze.

Other signs are more subtle. She could talk about her ex in a way that can only be described as “Ahab-like.” She says she doesn’t do relationships, or she starts bustin’ out the L-bomb after the second time you’ve hung out, only for her to laugh it off, saying that she says that to all of her “girls.” (But wait, you’re a guy…) You may have met on an online dating site or a social network, and after months of R-rated G-chats or steamy sext message exchanges, she still won’t meet you in real life. If you do kick it in the flesh, she might prevent you from so much as seeing her smart phone, keeping it closer to her than if it were a third boob.

Does he tell you about his romantic pursuits in a way that indicates that he doesn’t give a shit that you’ve told him that you think about him when you masturbate? It could be worse, think about what it would mean if you weren’t privy to his lusty details. Oh, you’re not? Yeah, he’s not that into you, ‘cause he doesn’t even choose to tell you about how it’s going in the case of his courting. If guys avoid talking about sex, even innuendo, it’s usually a sign.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon knows that taking advantage a situation isn't fair in the Friend Zone. He calls for a cab instead.

More tips, this time for the gents. Does she call you to do things because nobody else said yes, or because her “real” date fell through? That just signals you’re not at the top of her list, bro, which means that, most likely, you’ll never be on top of her. Or, worse, do you offer her baseline tickets to the Knicks game – or the Michael Buble Arbor Day Special or whatever typical girls like – and she turns up her nose at the opportunity to do something so fucking awesome, even if you’re part of the package? Face it, she’s just not that into you.

The map of the Friend Zone can also be decoded with this helpful quick key: you’re not in his phone, he doesn’t call or text back, you’re not friends on Facebook, he only deals with you because he’s paid to. That first one, that’s a killer. I’d given a guy more than one private tour of my clitoris before I scoped that my digits were just that in his phone, math without a name attached. Sex aside, I knew where I stood. Friend. (…but not on Facebook.)

If you are in a pay-for-flirt situation, you can exploit it to your advantage, of course. If you’ve got the funds and he’s a masseuse, your superintendent, a personal trainer, or your therapist, you’re in luck. Set up a scenario where he’s yours for an hour or two regularly, all for some USD. Of course, then it isn’t the Friend Zone, so much as it is unrequited love and some form of prostitution.

Keep in mind, a lot of these Friend Zone symptoms seem simple, but things can get tricky if you’re crushing on your coworker. Sometimes there’s little difference between the Friend Zone and complying with your company’s policy against sexual harassment.

Why are you looking at me funny? Is there mayonnaise in my mustache?

In a 2007 copy of the Chicago Tribune, the Friend Zone was described as follows: “When a guy agrees to be friends, he’s forced to stifle his attraction while regularly seeing and talking to the woman he’s attracted to. She discusses her love life and has the audacity to ask his advice on it. He performs occasional “manly” household and automotive favors for the woman. Essentially, he does everything a boyfriend would do — without the benefits.”

I take issue with this. First of all, women can totally exist in the Friend Zone, obviously. Secondly, you can be in the Friend Zone and hump. Granted, this is probably a sign that things in your life are really going poorly and the Friend Zone may very well be the least of your problems. Lastly, what’s described in that article isn’t the Friend Zone. It’s a bad B-story to a failed romantic comedy, otherwise known as “being a chump.” Get wise, dude. If she’s having you change her light-bulbs without letting you screw anything else, go to the hardware store and ask if they have a radial arm life.

This is fingering in the Friend Zone.

Existing in the Friend Zone is enough to drive someone batshit insane, or at least to the point of writing poetry. (Basically the same thing.) Even the Roman poet, Ovid, wrote of remedies for the Friend Zone in his famed tome Remedia Amoris. He suggested traveling, avoiding love poetry, being sober, and hanging out in nature. All are good things, and sound advice, though I’m not sure that – as a sober, poetry-avoiding, frequent flier who avoids any destination too far from modern urban conveniences – partaking in any of Mr. Ovidius Naso’s solutions will fix the problem for yours truly or just create more suffering. I’m sure I’d be put in the Friend Zone by a lovely nurse or orderly in the psychiatric wing of whatever hospital I’d wind up in after an attempt at wilderness camping.

But let’s say you’re not the unlucky victim in this case, instead you’re looking to be the concierge for a suitor’s endless reservation at the suite of your Friend Zone. How do you do it in a way that doesn’t either offend them, mortify you, or continue their Pepe le Pew-like pursuit…all without cutting them out of your life completely. After all, the whole point of the Friend Zone is to stay friends.

Of course the most direct approach, and the one that respected publications like Psychology Today would suggest, is being upfront and honest. To which I say, “Bullshit.” Honesty is the mature person’s way out, and it is hard. Instead, here are some simple ways to get your Friend Zoning across without having to directly address the problem at all.

Start by asking yourself, “Do I have a crush on anyone?”

No? Okay, fine, Ryan Gosling it is. (Gentlemen, if you can’t even go gay for Gosling just this once, there’s something wrong with you.)

Now get lost in the blissful abyss of thinking about all the lovely things you’d want them to do to let you know they were hip to taking you out on a date. What sort of non-verbal and verbal cues would Mr. Gosling, or whoever, toss out?

Next, think of all the ways that Hollywood producers illustrate courtship in romantic movies and sappy sitcoms on TV. Try not to retch.

Got ‘em all?

Okay, now, here’s the kicker…don’t do any of those things with the person you’re looking to Friend Zone. Say something in passing along the lines of, “I’m so glad we’re…friends.” Which really is the way to say, “It’s not you, it’s me” without ever exchanging fluids.

Of course, you could always do some charity work, sleep with ‘em, and then tell them just that over brunch. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and, after all, it’s a Saturday night. So do me this solid, would ya? Isn’t that what friends are for…

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Chihuahuas (And Didn’t Care Enough To Ask)

Recently I’ve found that people are no longer interested in me.

It’s understandable, really. I’m not a shoe-sized, chocolate-colored, shark-jawed whirligig with an expression like a question mark dry humping a squeal. My dog has usurped the amount of attention I used to be allotted. I’m merely her accessory. It makes sense, really.

While my former dog, Snack, was a hefty, fifteen pound Pomeranian mix with a regal face and haughty demeanor, Booger is a four pound mostly Chihuahua, if you round up. She bears a closer resemblance to a bat than a dog. (Case and point.)

Snack eclipsed all other dogs by quietly and politely demanding that you pay her some respect (or at least give her all of your food) with a stare that seemed to say, “I know what you did last summer.” By contrast, Booger is like a crazy diamond, your attention hits her and it splinters off into a million reflections of affection, making you think that, hey, two of these would be better than one. At least that’s what I wind up thinking. And, apparently, this is a common thought of the new Chihuahua(ish) owner. It’s why the term “Chihuahuaholic” actually exists.

Because I’m frequently asked what she is – not simply as a breed, but as a mammal – I’ve had to search for answers. When trying to figure out if some of Booger’s traits are standard or signs of some serious puppy psychological problems, I searched the annals of small dog science. Here’s the rundown if you’re troubleshooting your own tiny model of nondescript, but kinda-sorta Chihuahua:

(Take note: most Chihuahua-enthusiast sites refer to the breed as “Chi”s. Since I have family in Chicago, and because I think that adoringly abbreviating the name of a dog breed is one of the first steps towards confirming a future as a spinster, I’m going to stick to typing out the whole enchihuahua.)

First, some history. Nobody can say with one-hundred-percent certainty where the bite-sized breed came from, or confirm what their lineage is, but one theory is that they’re descendants of the Techihi, which was a companion dog common to the Toltec civilization in Mexico. The only problem with this rumor is that there are no records available prior to the 9th century, and it’s more likely that earlier Chihuahua predecessors were the dogs of the Mayans. Puppy remains were found among the Pyramids of the Cholula around 1530, which were discovered before the ruins of the Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula. Other historians believe that they came from Malta, ‘cause small dogs that look like Chihuahuas are in old paintings, like one that’s in the fresco of the Sistine Chapel from around 1481. (If you want to check it out, it’s part of the Trials of Moses, there’s a little boy holding a small dog that does look curiously similar to a Chihuahua.)

If you decide to delve even further into earlier, murkier dog history, there are some who claim that the Aztecs used Chihuahuas as props in marriages, births, and funeral rites, with careful breeding and feeding regimens where dogs were “fattened on maize, and then sold in the local dog markets, tied in bundles according to type.” Other than buying Chihuahuas by the bushel, Aztecs were thought to use the little dogs in sacrificial ceremonies, where the dogs would be eaten, their meat placed under turkey in order to make it look like there was more bird than there actually was. (This might be known in history as the original prudent catering trick.) Chihuahua meat supposedly looks and tastes like turkey. No word if it causes a tryptophan-nap.

Aztec and Toltec tribes were also rumored to use Chihuahuas as heating pads. Really.

So separate from being eaten and used in folk medicine, religious ceremonies, and sold in bunches like bananas, what about the modern Chihuahua? Well, there are a few things that you should know, according to the Internet, but I can attest that these pointers don’t pertain to every pooch. Still, they’re worth citing, in case you’re in the market (haha) for a Chihuahua. Established Chihuahuaholics can support or deny these claims.

Chihuahuas burrow, so be careful when you sit down. Because they feel comfortable in a den, they have a tendency to scratch, dig, and finally wedge themselves underneath blankets and pillows, so you might not see them if they have access to the couch. They’re like tiny Bob Villas when it comes to building a bed. You don’t want to crush your dog, so be careful. Seriously, this warning is on nearly every site, even though I couldn’t find any stories of Chihuahuas being broken by Bon-Bon eating owners plopping down in front of Dr. Phil. I can say that, personally, I’ve only stepped on Booger once – when I got out of the shower and she was laying on my bathmat – but other than that we’ve been pretty good about not breaking one another’s necks. She no longer ventures into the bathroom.

Out of all the breeds of dog, Chihuahuas have the biggest brains…when you compare them to the size of their bodies. They have a brachycephalic skull that’s often called either “apple” or “deer” shaped, meaning that they have a broad, short head.

Another interesting trait at the top of the Chihuahua is what I’ve been referring to as “the molera issue.”

Roughly a month into owning Booger, we were hanging out on the couch. She was laying in my lap and I looked down. Usually when someone looks at the top of someone else’s skull, or, let’s say, the skull of a pet, they expect it to be solid. Instead, I distinctly saw a pulse, as in, the top of Booger’s head was throbbing. I touched it gingerly. It was soft. While a squishable skull made for a legitimate explanation for some of her behavior, I was still concerned, so I took her to the Hot Vet.

“Why does my dog’s head feel like a plum that’s been dropped on the edge of a saw-horse?” I asked. He explained that Chihuahuas have a very particular type of skull. Much like how human infants have a “soft spot” after they’re born, Chihuahuas have a soft spot, too. Both the human and the dog dome delicacy are caused by plates of bone in the skull not fusing together fully. In humans this is referred to as a fontanelle, with Chihuahuas it’s called a molera. They’re the only dog breed to be born with an incomplete skull, and therefore they need to be treated, well, like they have a hole in their heads. ‘Cause they do. Which means, in my case, don’t challenge her with complex commands and don’t drop her from a great height.

Another weird thing about the ‘huahua is that they shake. Even though they’re perfectly healthy, they’ll tremble like they’ve swallowed a shipment of bullet vibrators. This could be because the dog is cold or, in its dented head, it’s experiencing the sort of excitement over a Snausage that us humanoids associate with winning an Oscar or getting hitched. It could also be hypoglycemia, which is a fancy word for a dip in blood sugar. This often occurs in smaller breeds, as well as preteen-gymnasts. Some owners will suggest Karo syrup as a quick, sweet fix, but be careful: relying on straight-saccharine shots to up your dogs glucose level could lead to diabetes, and nobody wants a diabetic dog. Your best bet for beating the shakes is to invest in a sweater and have healthy treats on hand. And be patient. I’m lucky that Booger is mainly an indoor dog and only shakes in the waiting room of Hot Vet’s office, where I, too, tremble with anticipation, albeit for different reasons. (He’s 6’3” with glasses. I would easily lie on my back and show him my belly to assert his dominance.)

Booger has a coat. Not just her brown half-fur, half-hair skin suit that I wash once a week with puppy shampoo and “cream rinse,” but an actual coat, with a hood. When I put her in it, she wriggles out. The analysis of these Chihuahua “experts,” who regularly say that these little dogs actually enjoy donning little jackets and sweaters, is categorically wrong in our case. But that’s just one of the ways that Booger can’t be classified as a full-blown Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas are supposedly fiercely loyal and bond intensely with their owners, to the point that they can and will attack if they think their owner is being threatened. I can say with a hefty degree of certainty that even if a pack of assailants broke into my apartment and started beating me with a tube sock filled with ball-bearings, my dog wouldn’t look up from her rawhide chew.

Chihuahuas are also considered “clannish” and don’t like other breeds, to the point that they’re often a little cunty with other dogs. In my experience this hasn’t been the case. Booger’s just…disinterested. I believe that, in the world of dog-psychology, this has to be due to her owner, as Snack was very much the same. Neither dog could give a fuck about other specimen of the same species, and neither can their mom.

Some say that Chihuahuas are “naturally cautious” and not spontaneous at all. Wrong. My dog is so ballsy, I half expect to find a pair of fuzzy testicles the size of clementines hanging between her legs. Loud noises? Not a problem. Falling off of a piece of furniture? No biggie. Blood, screaming, rapid pounding of her owner against another object or person? Allow me to explore and conclude that it’s nothing with a dog-sized shrug. Baths and the resulting attack of the hairdryer were the somewhat petrifying occurrences that her predecessor viewed as life-threatening events that had to literally be clawed away from. Booger seems to view personal hygiene simply as an annoyance, as opposed to the dog-version of Die Hard. Really, she’s just not one of those yippy, tentative toy dogs. She’s just a small bitch with the sort of brash, idiotic fearlessness hopefully displayed by her owner as well.

Others claim that Chihuahuas suck at fetch, that they’re not natural retrievers. This is also untrue in my house. The very first thing that Booger did to prove she wasn’t just a blinking Beanie Baby was to run and get a toy I accidentally kicked across the room. She brought it back like the best Beagle or Boxer ganking some game shot from the sky.

All of this is to say, my Chihuahua ain’t typical. If it were simply up to me, observations about this once-sacred southern breed include the fact that they seem to like Rammstein, they can operate trackpads with their paws and touchscreens with their noses, they have exceptionally (creepy) long tongues, and they prefer the green variety of kombucha. Studies are in the works to determine if these are characteristics associated with nearly-extinct varieties of bat.