Before we get to today’s exciting topic, I’d like to clear up some rumors: It’s true that I solved the health care problem before any other Daily columnists.

But I have more important news. Yesterday, the autumnal equinox occurred for the billionth time in a row, meaning today it’s officially fall, meaning our warm weather will disappear soon. Honestly, you would think just once, we could have a year-long summer. But this is Michigan. Fall isn’t so bad, right? There are pretty colors and nice smells and a profound sense of the cyclical nature of life as our little world starts to die, only to be reborn in the spring, and also the squirrels start to starve, right?

Wrong. As everyone knows, fall is the best weather for walking animals like dogs and children. What does this mean? It means we can expect to see more dogs and children on leashes. Specifically, and in an alarming trend, we can expect to see more men walking little dogs around Ann Arbor. Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone find it odd and possibly threatening in some way, besides the Michigan Review?

Well, I don’t feel threatened, exactly. This is because the men have MOLECULE-SIZED dogs. What’s going on here? Where are the Dobermans, the German Shepherds, the Black Labs? Was a Bichon Frise really intended to be man’s best friend and not, say, something fun to feed to alligators?

I suppose I’m confused. Maybe these guys just like little dogs. Or maybe they’re professional dog walkers. Then again, maybe I’m going to graduate with a job. The only realistic conclusion that comes to mind is that these men have created a new strategy to meet women. Women love a Bichon Frise, right? Women see a Bichon Frise and say, “Wow! THAT could go with my shoes,” right? So I get that. But does having a small dog really make a guy more dateable? Doesn’t guiding a Papillon or a Pekingese around and talking to it affectionately give off some weird vibes? Doesn’t it seem to say, “I also have an unmarked white van, not just my little Lulu here?”

There’s also the sheer amount of effort involved. Like most guys, I didn’t even know what a Bichon Frise was before I started writing this. It sounds like an entreé, doesn’t it? (Actually, it’s a white dog that’s approximately the size of a soccer ball, only you can kick it further.) I had to look it up on the Internet so you think I know what I’m talking about. (English majors: This is called adding “ethos” to your writing.) I tend to do this with most issues when their key concepts elude me, which is why my editors only let me write about certain things and fail to invite me to parties. Anyway, if you’re like me and don’t have a solid grasp of small dogs in general, I’ll save you some time. It’s safe to say that all small dogs either:

1. Look as though they’ve been tossed in a dryer, or

2. Look as though they’ve been tossed in a washing machine, or

3. Have no dog friends.

But let’s get back to the effort of becoming a small-dog dude. After you do some research you actually have to buy one of these things, and that must be embarrassing.

Guy: Hi, I’m here for the — um — what’s it called — Filet Mignon?

Breeder: You mean the Bichon Frise?

Guy: Oh. That’s it.

But who knows? Maybe small dogs will be huge in a few years. Perhaps in a short time, everyone will own a small dog and large dogs will be frowned upon and we’ll be one step closer to stopping global warming. Perhaps the Chihuahua could be the new symbol of masculinity. Maybe in the near future when we turn on the TV and a Wrangler Jeans commercial comes on, it won’t be guys playing football and enjoying one another’s pants just a bit too much. It will be guys walking their Shih Tzu’s and enjoying one another’s pants just a bit too much, and we’ll just have to accept that.

In other, but not wholly unrelated, news: Guys with small bikes who go around doing stunts are still dumb. Sorry.

Will Grundler can be reached at wgru@umich.edu.

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