In a conversation at Bobvis, I referred to something called “dog-bone” behavior as something that some young ladies engage in:

The male-related self-esteem deprived female equivalent will engage in dog-bone behavior. She will cultivate the devotion of a guy (or guys plural, if she can manage it) that she isn’t really interested in (while making sure that she doesn’t give any more than she has to in return)

I forgot to explain what exactly I meant by dog-bone behavior.

The metaphor was explained to me by a formerly motherly figure (long story), Sherri. Sherri was warning me about Tracey, the girl I was interested in. She was saying that Tracey was acting like a dog with a bone with a lot of guys. A dog will sometimes manage to procure possession of more than one bone that the dog doesn’t want to play with (often because they have or have their eye on a bigger and better bone). Even though they’re not using it, they will be fiercely protective of the bone should any other dog or human want to redeploy the bone to better use elsewhere. The dog does not place any value on the bone except to the extent that the dog might lose it.

I’ve spoke of dog-bone behavior in the past. A few people automatically assumed I meant a different metaphor. Basically that owners make dogs do stupid tricks by enticing them with a bone. What’s interesting, though, is that while the metaphor is different, it also applies to most of the above situation. Women engaging in dog-bone behavior will wave the carrot of a relationship as a means of keeping the bone within its stable. Any time the guy talks about moving on or has moved on and she decides that she doesn’t like it, she waves the carrot/bone to get him back.

Even more interesting is another misinterpretation of what I meant by “dog-bone” behavior by Larry. He thought I was referring to this:

I was thinking of it in the context of the morality play where the dog has a bone in his mouth, sees its reflection in the water, and drops the bone he has to get “the other one”

And here is another dog-bone metaphor that also often dovetails with the original, or at least its more benign variations in my experience. The dog risks the bone he’s got for a better looking (or simply another) one in the water. A variation of the “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” theme. For years Tracey would tell me that taking me for granted and letting me go while in pursuit of bigger and better things was the biggest mistake of her life*. Though none were quite as adamant on that score as she was, she’s not the only one that has expressed that sentiment to me. And more generally it shares the connection of hoarding romantic interests that is exactly what Sherri accused Tracey of doing. The main difference between this one and the other two is that this one is a warning to the hoarder while the other two are warnings to the would-be bones in the hoarder’s pile.

* – She stopped saying that about a year or two before Clancy came along. I hope it’s because she moved on and got over it rather than that (a) she’s since made much bigger mistakes or (b) she’s realized what a prick I am and that she did the right thing. All three are possible.

Category: Coffeehouse

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One Response to Dog and Bone Metaphors

  1. Peter says:

    It took a lot of effort on my part, but I’ve stayed out of that discussion at Bobvis. Arguing with Spungen, which invariably would have happened by now, just doesn’t seem too appealing, plus she seems to enjoy deleting my comments.

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