When I close my eyes to blink, I see pugs. Big pugs. Little pugs. Obese pugs. Rib-thin pugs. Black pugs. Blond pugs. Happy pugs. Hot pugs. Pugs dressed costumes. More pugs dressed in costumes. Unique people who belong to the pugs.
We have just returned from the 12th Annual Pug Parade in Bradenton, Florida. And for all the incredible pugs we saw, it’s the people who amazed me most. Who are these people and what made them decide one morning to dress their pug in cereal boxes with plastic, red knives stabbed into them (the boxes, not the dog,) and christen it “Cereal Killer”?
But indeed about a hundred people woke up one morning with that inspiration and others like it, for people and pugs smiled and snorted respectively in a large, sunny field in the park today. We circled the expanse, admiring the myriad of patient pugs and their goofy companions. We spotted several pairs wearing matching costumes: boy scouts, cheerleaders, and ladies who lunch in matching pink dresses and bright corsages. Each pair one human, one canine. There was a garden of pugly delights – a trio dressed as flowers and a ladybug. A Harley biker pug (seemed an obvious choice that lacked creativity under the circumstances.) A cool doggy dude in shades and bandana. (Again, lacking in relative wackiness but cute nonetheless.) A tyrannosaurus rex pug.
The Best Costume Award (yes, awards were given by a panel of hard-working judges) went to a pug wearing a long, blond wig and padded Hooters t-shirt, who was joined by her fellow pug carting on his wrinkled back a red-checkered tablecloth-covered table festooned with plastic hamburgers and soda cups. The crowd erupted in cheers when they took the stage. Go figure.
However well before the judging began, the crowd knew immediately when the Best in Show arrived. A buzz broke out across the sunny field. If the “Bradgenlina” tribe had descended, they wouldn’t have stimulated more cameras and faux-paparazzi. Three women dressed in full Egyptian goddess garb with shimmering black, braid-enhanced wigs and golden eyelids held aloft a stretcher-like table upon which a Tut-attired dog regally sat. “King Pug” was emblazoned upon the chaise. His attractive attendants fanned King Pug with palm fronds. What a brouhaha!
Watching the pug people, I found myself most amused by the husbands who accompanied the wives who accompanied the princely pugs. Some of the men were truly participating the warped fun, and some of the men were clearly humoring their wives. Men are so funny how they will glom on to whatever interest their wives have, half- or even full-heartedly claiming it as their own. If their wives are into fine wine and classical music, they’ll learn to love wine and appreciate classical music. If their wives like chick flicks, they’ll sit through tear-jerkers, pretending not to longingly hear the thunderous booms and bass tremors coming from the shoot-em-up action film in the next theater over.
My own husband has enjoyed (endured?) more hours of improv comedy than any non-performer should be expected to attend. Once I asked my husband, “What if instead of improv, I was into scrapbooking? Would you be into scrapbooking too?” (Nothing against scrapbookers, it’s just far away from my husband’s range of interests or talents.) He just looked at me with a strange, noncommittal look on his face. It looked like a deer-in-a-headlights male expression as he wondered if I was asking a trick question. Was I seriously considering a hobby in scrapbooking? Was “scrapbook” code for “does my butt look big in these pants?”
That was the face these pug-husbands wore. They were either pretending to be having fun or else pretending not to be having that much fun. God, men will do ANYTHING to get laid! Perhaps that was it. Maybe the pug parade was just a whole lot of foreplay spread thick upon a sunny field in western Florida.
When my daughter gets older, and inevitably comes to me with a hangdog look, decrying the fact that she can’t find a boyfriend (or girlfriend, whichever is fine) and worried that she live forever alone (or at least until she’s 18,) I’ll remember the 12th Annual Pug Parade. I’ll think of all those people coming together to enjoy their common interest in this hideously cute breed of dog. And with clarity and certainty I’ll be able to assure my daughter without a shred of doubt in my mind that there is indeed a lid for every pot. She will certainly find her perfect mate out there. And in the meantime, perhaps she would consider taking up scrapbooking?