Somewhere in Beverly Hills
“I know you like cats, “said my client P___, “but you’re actually more dog-like.” She made this observation from the kitchen of a gaudy Beverly Hills mansion. We were on a commercial shoot.
“You’re so energetic and social,” she went on. I heard myself add “eager to please and A.D.H. D.” to the list.
I couldn’t argue with her, but secretly I was hurt. A dog? Something about being likened to a dog was insulting. Even coming from my dog-obsessed client.
Now you dog lovers out there hold your horses before you start sending me nasty-grams. It’s because of my cats that I’ve developed an appreciation of the animal kingdom – dogs included.
Cats and dogs are different. One is not better than the other. But let’s face it, dogs are indiscriminate and needy. Dogs are goofy, drool, and – on occasion – eat their own shit.
Cats, on the other hand. Cats are independent, sophisticated, mysterious and discerning. Cats are complicated and strategic (some might call this manipulative and conniving).
Cats do what they want. They are who they are, take it or leave it. Yet we still love them. Well, some of us do.
Cats are confident. Dogs are, well, insecure.
Plus being cat-like is sexy right? Think about all the girls and woman who insist on dressing up as slutty cats on Halloween. Who doesn’t think cat woman is hot?
My most senior client confirmed my theory when he pulled me aside one day and told me if I wanted to get a guy, I had to stop blogging about cats. But I could blog about BEING a cat. That was acceptable.
A mid-town Manhattan conference room
Reviewing creative concepts with the clients I somewhat jokingly suggested we add some cats to our television spot (I suggest this at every possible opportunity).
“Cats are polarizing,” said my client J____.
“Well, so am I,” I replied.
“Hey,” I said, “isn’t this where you’re supposed to assure me it’s not the case?”
And with that everyone let out the laughter they’d been struggling to hold inside.
Seems my desire to be cat-like was biting me in the ass. It is true cats are polarizing. The people who love them are fanatical and those who dislike them HATE them. No one is ambivalent.
I could be considered polarizing. I’m loud (so I’ve been told) and opinionated. I call it like I see it. People either find my directness refreshing and appreciate it, or run for the hills. Let’s just say, I usually make a statement.
I’d like to think I’m in good company. Angelina Jolie is a cat. She doesn’t care what people think of her. She’s mysterious, complicated and a home wrecker. According to one Sundance movie-maker this year, cats can be home-wreckers too.
Jennifer Anniston on the other hand is a dog. A lab even. She’s the all-American girl next door. Blond, cute and never ever controversial. She’s Wonder Bread to Angelina’s Pumpernickel.
You might not love Wonder Bread but hating it seems extreme. It’s just there, formulated for the masses. Pumpernickel has character. It’s an acquired taste that some never acquire.
Madison Square Park on a winter morning
Walking to work I noticed a group gathered around particularly excited mutt making what can only be described as doggie snow angels. Everyone was amused and the dog couldn’t have been happier for the attention.
That’s when it hit me. While I had balked at the canine comparison, I couldn’t deny the similarities.
- Dogs are fun-loving free spirits that run into things head first without a thought. I’ll try (almost) anything once. I’m a bit of a young soul and yes, can be overly trusting (perhaps even naive)
- Dogs thrive off being the center of attention. I grew-up performing, and even now love speaking in front of large groups. I’m a ham (wait till you see my 40th birthday video!).
- Dogs are transparent. No deciphering required. When I’m happy I cannot contain my excitement. When I’m sad or mad, it’s written on my face for the world to see. It’s easy to know where I stand. I speak my mind.
- Dogs are affectionate. I’m pretty tactile myself.
- Dogs are loyal. As a Capricorn I’m nothing if not loyal (one of the few redeeming qualities for which my sign is known).
It’s easy to undervalue and dismiss what we have and put value on what we don’t. P___’s statement hit a nerve because it was based in truth. A truth I didn’t want to acknowledge. I wanted to be viewed as intelligent, mysterious and serious. Not a peppy entertainer.
Years ago my therapist told me that at the end of the day everyone wants the same thing in life. To feel lovable. I told her I thought that was a crock-of shit.
In retrospect, she might be on to something.
Perhaps there’s a little bit of doggie in all of us after all. And that’s okay with me.