Ever wondered what your dog says about you? I haven’t, although I can’t always resist the lure of those click-bait headlines…
1) That you own a dog. Maybe even more than one!
2) That at one point, you could afford a dog. You might be rich!
3) You can continually afford to look after a dog. You are rich!
4) That you like dogs. In particular, your dog. You’re not a complete arsehole!
5) You like dogs more than cats. Most likely.
6) That you enjoy carrying faeces around in a plastic bag. Weirdo.
7) You own one or several leashes, chains and restraints. Kinky.
8) That you’re not allergic to your dog. If you are, bummer. Potentially sneezy.
9) That you enjoy unconditional love. Needy.
10) You are able to walk outside, in most weather. You have a big wardrobe.
There have been lots of surveys done of people with dogs.
They make vague statistically correlations between types of dogs and the people that own them.
Articles that purport to say something about us, such as this one, get a lot of hits.
News websites, which are businesses that now require internet traffic in order to survive, regularly run variations on this article. Despite their complete lack of relevance to anything, ever.
Check out this article from the Daily Mail back in 2012…
And…surprise surprise…here is almost the same article from The Telegraph in 2014.
Both of these articles claim that your choice of dog may say essential things about your personality.
Potentially, your choice of dog defines exactly who you are down to your coffee preference, shoe size, and alcoholic drink of choice.
All these things and just about any other single thing that can be used to distinguish people, can also be picked apart to potentially tell you everything about that person.
There might be even some stats or photos or a quote or some crap.
You know what all of it really says about a single person though?
Nothing at all.
So why do we keep reading these articles?
The ones about dogs suggest you choose a prospective partner based on the type of dog that they own.
It tells us that people who own Labradors have a big shit fetish, those with Chihuahuas have a small shit fetish, and those with Bulldogs just like rolling around in all the shit.
Also that people with German Shepherds are commitment-phobics, people with Terriers are too possessive and people with large Poodles must have very big bags to carry them around in.
That anyone with a Pug is a fucking idiot.
Okay so that’s all made up, but it’s as accurate as any of the “findings” of those other articles.
So, why do so many of us read these articles at all?
For the same reasons that we read star signs, which by the way have been repeatedly proven to have absolutely no foundation in anything at all ever.
We read it all because we like hearing about ourselves.
We’re obsessed with us.
Fair enough, I am too. I read the dog article, I’ll admit it. I even tried to attribute the supposed traits to my friends with those dogs and I had a laugh.
We all have fundamental questions about the nature of existence that are beyond our comprehension and understanding to adequately answer.
So as an incredibly poor substitute, we reach for meaning in the most unlikely of places.
This doesn’t upset me.
What upsets me is that someone paid for this research to be done.
That a supposed source of “news” passed it off as “news” and pretended that it had any meaning or relevance to anything at all.
These articles are a joke. Along with the journalists who write them and the sources that publish them.
It’s good to laugh, it makes you a better person.
However, please never look to any of this personality-defining pseudo-science super-crap as anything other than what it is.
Sugary, instant-fix fodder meant to be read, and instantly forgotten.
Ignore if you can, read if you want.
So what then, should we say about a website that publishes an opinion piece that exposes these articles for what they are?
I don’t know. Someone else can write a piece about that.
However, my girlfriend owns a Chihuahua that I regularly walk for her, I pick up its shit, and I really don’t mind, even though I never thought I’d own an animal and have always detested small dogs.
So I’m obviously a lost cause.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian
For speaking engagements, comedy performances, writing assignments and all other enquires: firstname.lastname@example.org