"Happy New Year!" the crowd screamed in unison as the ball reached the end of its descent.
"Happy New Year, indeed." I said aloud as I tapped the off button on the remote control.
Despite the usual requests and carnal invitations, I had decided to bring in the new year alone.
"I need a Nespresso." I thought to myself as I sat on the couch wiggling my toes.
It was at that moment the red light on my answering machine started to blink...
"It can wait, Andre." whispered the little voice inside my head.
The purpose of staying in tonight was to self reflect.
Every red flash piqued my interest all the more.
Since the call bypassed my mobile and went straight to my machine, it had to be urgent.
"Coach, this is Eva. Call me. It's important!"
Normally I wait a few hours before returning a call, but her voice suggested that I abandon protocol.
She picked up on the first ring.
"It's a brand new year and I have been through so much with this damn man...
"There is no way in hell I am going to let him treat me like a fool! If he thinks...
" Look at me. I have options! Any man would feel lucky to have me on his arm and...
"EVA, SHUT UP!"
Perhaps she was not accustomed to being told to shut up or maybe she had never before heard me raise my voice.
Either way she calmed down and collected herself.
"That's better. Now, what's going on?"
"I apologize for losing my cool like that." she said. "Its just that I don't get this man! He does everything wrong!"
Whenever I hear the words "never", "always", "everything"...it's usually a sure sign of relational dysfunction. (As a matter of fact, those are the words I often zero in on when attracting business.)
We can discuss that later. Let's get back to Eva...
"How does he irk you?" I asked.
She exploded like a time bomb...
"He never makes me feel like the center of his attention. He never compliments me or tells me how attractive I am. Everything he does revolves around other women. He's such a flirt!"
The litany continued for several minutes concluding with,
"He is such a dog!"
"Yes! A dog."
"Good for you." I simply replied.
She did not anticipate that response...
"What the hell is wrong with you, Andre! How is any of that good for me?"
"Well, you called him a dog. That's a VERY good thing."
While her mental gears were still processing that statement, I continued.
"It's not at all a bad thing to compare your man to a dog. In every instance you complained about earlier, what was the one thing that remained consistent?"
"That he was a butt-hole?" she offered.
"Or, I retorted, that he kept coming home...
"I'm not following you."
I decided to go a little deeper.
"Is it safe to assume that you reminded him of "everything" he was doing wrong?"
"Yes, I did! If I didn't tell him, how would he know how to change?
"Eva, you are a nag. And being nagged is like being slowly pecked to death by a duck."
I was already in a hole. I might as well keep digging...
"Loyal, protective, loving, faithful, and attentive are just a few adjectives used to describe the common traits of a dog. They are known as "man's best friend" are rarely obstinate and consistently dependable. Depending on the particular breed of dog they will even fight, risking losing their life to save yours."
"Interesting, she said. Keep going."
"Okay. Now let's look at the antics of a puppy. Puppies play. They hardly follow instructions and pretty much do whatever they want to do. Puppies are impatient and can become destructive when they do not receive adequate attention. When dealing with a puppy, you quickly learn that it's not about you, it's all about him. I would venture to say that you have rarely dealt with a devoted dog, you've entertained playful puppies."
Several seconds passed in silence. She was thinking.
"Wow, puppies..." she said. Not dogs, but puppies!"
She erupted in laughter.
"I never thought of it that way!"
"Most women don't."
"Well, do you have any puppy training tips to offer?"
"Yes. Be patient. It takes time, but eventually all puppies grow into adult dogs."
"I think I can do that. Thanks, Coach!"
"Sure. And since we are on the subject of tips..."
"I know, I know. Geez! One day I'm not not going to need your advice."
"I'm sure, but in the meantime, cash or credit card will suffice."
"You are a dweeb."
I contemplated giving her the definition of that word, but decided against it.
"Coming from you, I'll take that as a compliment." I said.
"Happy New Year."