Old Dog, New Tricks

I’m a dog. In fact, I think most guys are just dogs. I don’t mean a dog in the sense that women would like to describe us – akin to a dirty dog, but a simple, instinctual, pack-following, even obedient dog – more of the canine variety. I came to view myself as a dog after a series of failed relationships with various women, combined with the obedience training of my dog – my pet dog, that is, an actual canine.

Let me start at the beginning (well, almost the beginning). There I was, 18 years old, just finished six years at an all-boys high school. Surrounded by girls for the first time at Uni, and introduced to Sydney’s nightclubs. That is, surrounded by girls in tight and short clothing, and very, very drunk.

I was young, outgoing and cocky.

It didn’t take long, I met a girl. She wanted to be my girlfriend. I fell in love with her. She came first – I put her ahead of everything and everyone. I didn’t look at other girls, I was content. We were together for two years.

Then, she dumps me. Why? I bored her.

In my eyes, I’d been punished. Punished for being faithful. Punished for being a good boyfriend. I’d become boring.

“You were more fun in the beginning. I liked you when you were cocky,” she said.

So, I learned. Just like a dog.

I was so in love with this girl. I adored her. I worshipped her and treated her accordingly. For that, it seemed, I was punished. She was bored with me. She wanted the cocky me. She loved the attention she got in nightclubs, on her girls nights. I was old news.

There I was, heartbroken, devastated. I was convinced, there went my one chance at true love. My confidence was shattered.

I moped around, depressed for six, maybe seven months. I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever meet anyone.

I didn’t know where or how to begin.

But I’d learned. I felt I was punished for my good behaviour, so I swore I’d never be good to a girl again. I’d learned that. It was a form of cruel conditioning.

I must admit, it wasn’t as easy as that. I didn’t swear to myself that I wouldn’t be nice to a girl again and everything was okay.  I was afraid to go to nightclubs, because in my mind, I didn’t know how, or have the confidence to talk to girls. Secretly, I longed to get my girlfriend back. That’s all I wanted.

Some friends convinced me to join them for a night out in the city. Reluctantly, I agreed to go but on one proviso – we got very drunk. Now, that didn’t take too much convincing. By the time we’d arrived at the club, we were well on our way to a lovely inebriated state. By chance, my ex was at the same nightclub. My heart sank. There was the girl that I was still desperately in love with, out with her friends, laughing and having fun while I was heartbroken. I quickly hid from her view.

All I could think to myself was, how do I get this girl back? Be cocky! That was the answer.

She liked me when I was cocky, she wanted me to be cocky and confident again. Hell, she told me so herself. So, I decided I’d be cocky.

I was going to win this girl back and if cockiness and arrogance was what it would take, then I’d be as cocky and as arrogant as I possibly could.

After numerous shots and chasers, my Dutch Courage was flying high. I was now very drunk and very determined to be the cockiest I could be. My plan was to make sure she knew I was there, to get her attention by being around as many girls as possible. She definitely saw me.

She came up to me.

“Hi, how are you?” she said.

Determined to appear that I was fine and completely over her I answered, “Yeah I’m really good thanks,” and walked away.

I didn’t want to know how she was, I wanted it to appear like I didn’t care about her. Because after all, that’s what she wanted. Right?

I grabbed the first girl I saw and said, “You’re the prettiest girl in here. Come and have a drink with me.”

It fucking worked.

Little did she know, all I wanted was my ex back. It was a shit line but for whatever reason, on my first night out in ages, it got her laughing, doing shots and having fun.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how easy it was. Tell a girl she is the prettiest girl in the place and she wants to drink and dance with you.

I went to the bathroom.

On my way back, my eyes caught a smoking hot girl in an outrageously short dress. I thought, fuck it. I’ll go again.

I walked right up to this girl, looked straight into her eyes and said, “Fuck, you’re the prettiest girl in here. Come and have a drink with me.”

She gave me an enormous smile and said, “What are we having?”

Standing at the bar with this second, and very fine girl, I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around to see my ex standing there.

“So, this is what it’s come to, has it? You can’t even say, hello or ask how I am,” she said.

I took it as a sign that she wanted me back.

Alcohol-filled and with my cockiness at its peak, I responded with, “What the fuck do you want from me? You dumped me, remember? Fuck off.”

Stunned, she turned and sped off. I was proud as punch. I remember thinking, you want cockiness, how’s that for cockiness, bitch?

The next thing I know, the second girl I’d picked up had witnessed the entire exchange and says, “What a bitch,” and sticks her tongue down my throat.

I’m getting tongue-bashed by a stunner in front of everyone at the bar.

After a couple of hours of drinking and dancing – and lots of kissing with this hot girl – she tells me that her and her friends have to leave. I asked her why she couldn’t stay. She gave me her number and asked me to call her. I put her number in my phone and she kissed me goodbye.

I go in search of my friends, who I find quickly enough. We talk about how hot she was and they say, typically, “How the fuck did you pull her?”

Now that I had the approval and envy of my mates, my confidence took another injection.

The first girl that I’d met that night approached me front on. I was standing there expecting her to abuse me for not coming back after going to the toilet.

“Who was that girl you were with?” she asks, “Was it your girlfriend?”

I panicked.

“No, I just met her tonight,” I said.

“She looks like a skank in that short dress. Are you going to buy me another drink, or what?”

I was shocked that I didn’t receive a blasting, so I grabbed her hand and walked her straight to the bar. After having our shot, and a vodka-soda chaser, I stuck my tongue down her throat just as the other girl did to me. She didn’t push me away. In fact, she pulled me in and kissed me back, and this time, better than the second girl. When I stopped to take a breath, I see my ex standing no more than five metres away – I was the recipient of a major death stare.

When we catch eyes, she turns and storms off again.

I think to myself, yes, she’s jealous, she’s seen me with other girls, she’s witnessed my cocky side and she wants me back.

Now, I could be wrong but this girl must have caught me and my ex staring at each other. In fact, I’m sure she did, because she watched my ex walk off. This time, she didn’t ask me about who that girl was, she simply grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s get out of here.”

We left and went to her place.

I didn’t have my beer goggles on. She was the prettiest girl in the club, and I fucked her.

When I woke up, my head was killing me. I didn’t mind the hangover. What I couldn’t deal with was the constant thought that I’d just fucked-up any chance of ever getting my girlfriend back.

I didn’t care that I’d picked up two girls, that I’d fucked one of them. All I could think about was what an idiot I was for ruining my chance of ever getting her back.

By mid-afternoon, I decided I’d call the first girl that kissed me, the one that told me to make sure I called her. Nervously, I rang her and listened to the dial tone until it rang out. She didn’t answer. She never did.

I was cocky, I was arrogant, I was a sleaze, I was just a plain prick – it worked. More often than not, they’d sleep with me. This is who I’d become.

They’d sleep with me, they’d take me home, they’d blow me in nightclub bathrooms, they’d let me fuck them in dark streets. I hated them. I hated the fact they would allow themselves to sleep with someone they just met. I hated the fact they only went home with me because I was rude, because I refused to buy them a drink, because I tried to pick-up their friend (or friends).

So, what had I learned?

Girls love compliments, even when they aren’t true. Girls love arrogance, girls love cockiness. Girls want you to be forward (even rudely so). Girls will fuck you when another girl wants you. Girls don’t want you to call them when you take their number – so don’t call them.  As far as I could see, the more arrogant, the more abhorrent – basically, the more of an arsehole I was, the more they would fuck me. So, I learned, just like a dog learns. I was rewarded for my bad behaviour, so my behaviour was bad.

By no means am I attempting to portray myself as the hapless victim of love, more so, as a regular bloke with enough intelligence to work out what certain types of girls want from me.

So here I am, now a decade on from my greatest heartbreak. I’m in a three-year relationship with my girlfriend. Lately, she’s been on my back about the fact that I’ve become boring. She keeps reminding me of how much I made her want me when we first met, due to my cockiness.  I don’t want to play games with her. I don’t want to be cocky with her. I’m in love with her and I want to treat her as such.

But as I’ve learned, as soon as you stop making them jealous, as soon as you give yourself to them, you become boring. She’s gone out now with her friends on one of her ever more frequent girls nights. And so, the vicious cycle continues.


At least this time round, I have the confidence (and acceptance), that I am just an old dog able to learn new tricks.

3 thoughts on “Old Dog, New Tricks

  1. Dear Nick, don’t be scared to be left by your girlfriend. Moreover, don’t even wait. Dump her. If a relationship is based on something as superficial as, “Don’t bore me, be cocky”, there are two options: 1) You are both 15 years old, or 2) It is simply not worth your effort. I’m guessing your case is number 2. Another humble word of advice, if you don’t mind, forget the whole dog new-tricks-old-tricks thing. Forget it. Instead, learn to be a cat: independent, confident, pleased with who you are. Enjoy being alone for a while. If you manage to do that, true love will come. I promise. Just one tip about women, it is true there are many superficial and idiotic women out there (as there are men). But if a woman sees a cocky guy, she may play your games for an hour, or even for the night, but she will never answer your call the next day because surprisingly, she is treating you… as a cocky guy. Cheers, mate! And remember: meow is the key.

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