An Open Letter to the Female Hat-Wearing Dog From “Go Dog, Go”

Dear female hat-wearing dog,

I bought your book to help my son learn prepositions and adjectives and was, from the first read, inexorably drawn in by your heart-wrenching struggle for approval.  Momentarily distracted by the humdrum parade of big dogs, little dogs, black and white dogs, I watched as you walked in, brimming with joy and confidence, and looked on as some total nobody, indistinguishable from most of the other dogs in this book, crushed you with his subtle rejection.

do you like my hat 1 full theuglyvolvo
“Do you like my hat?” “I do not.”

And you don’t even know me, but I wanted to take a minute to tell you that what matters is that you like your own hat, hat-wearing female dog.  Who is this guy anyway, some sort of dog hat expert??  Who cares what he thinks???  Wear a hat you love and if he doesn’t like it?  F*#% him.

I want you to take this in, hat-wearing female dog, lest you spend the next 15 years of your life trying to impress someone who is not worth your time.  Ignore the hat-based norms of the dog universe and wear what makes YOU happy.  Celebrate yourself!  You are awesome and unique, like that dancing eleven-year-old in the blonde wig from Sia’s Chandelier video, only a dog version!

So you try again.

feather steal theuglyvolvo
Just because someone owns a bowler hat doesn’t make them the Tim Gunn/Bill Cunningham of the dog fashion universe.

And not only does he shut you down once again (“Do you like my hat?” “I do not like it.”) he literally steals the feather out of your hat as he rides off on his scooter.  OMG, WHAT IS HIS ISSUE, RIGHT?  SCREW HIM AND HIS DUMB SCOOTER AND HIS HALFHEARTED FOUR-DAY-LATER FOLLOW UP TEXT MESSAGES.  (Not into UR hat, babe.  U look cute tho.)

If you’re seeking approval because you’re itching to be in a relationship right now, know that there are other fish in the sea and, more importantly, bazillions of other dogs in this book.  Without even looking I found some big dogs and some little dogs going around in cars.  I found a red dog on a blue tree.  I found a green dog on a yellow tree.  I found two dogs in a house on a boat in the water and three dogs at a party on a boat at night.  All of whom seem single, ready to mingle, and possibly capable of empathy.  The female-to-male dog ratio in this book is totally in your favor so why are you selling yourself short???

dog party theuglyvolvo
Admittedly this is like the world’s most pathetic party, but in fairness they seem like nice guys.

Forget this dude who isn’t into your hats!  It shouldn’t be hard—he is so completely and totally forgettable because P.D. Eastman draws all dogs more or less identically.  And yet like so many cartoon female dogs, you only have eyes for some generic nobody who can’t see how freaking fantastic you are.  You confront this guy a third time, desperately searching for the hat validation that since childhood you’ve been told you need.

ski hat confrontation
“I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl, telling her I don’t like her hat.”

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE HAT—ARE YOU LISTENING???  It doesn’t matter if he likes your hat or not.  I want you to feel the burning radiation of your self-worth as you say, “THIS IS ME.  THIS IS WHO I AM.  IF YOU’RE NOT INTO ME BECAUSE I’M WEARING AN UNCOMFORTABLY LONG SKI HAT, MAYBE THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR EITHER OF US.”

But you’re not ready to do that.  And like so many relationships, it comes to a head at a party.  A dog party.  A big dog party.

dog party tree
Unlike that other ‘party’ that consisted of three dogs, a checkerboard, a banjo and a lollipop, this one is actually like a legit party.

Big dogs, little dogs, red dogs, blue dogs, are all at a dog party.  What a dog party!  And you show up looking totally cute and you approach him again (In fairness, I admire your tenacity) and ask one final time if he likes your latest hat.  A hat topped with a flower pot and a pennant flag–one that has no fewer than two spiders and a goldfish dangling off it.  A hat that features a bouquet of lollipops and three candy canes in close proximity to a mop that clearly you only put on because you lost a bet.

close up on crazy hat
This hat is Vera Wang’s living nightmare.

So you ask if he likes your hat and he’s like “Yes!  I like it!  I like that party hat!” and you guys drive off together into the sunset.  And it seems like an idyllic future, except that there is literally no way you can wear this hat every day without sustaining major neck damage.  So you guys settle down, date for a few months, maybe move in together, but eventually you get to the point where you’re like “I sort of don’t want to wear this hat every day just to keep this relationship going.”  And honestly, at this point he’s not even into the hat anymore because the novelty is wearing off.  The sex isn’t as good.  You lie awake in bed next to each other staring at your phones as you frantically wonder if you should buy a new hat to spice things up. Have you gone right back to being invisible?  Who are you to him now?  Just a series of crazy Mardi Gras-style hats?

goodbye

Assess your value, female hat-wearing dog.  Take a minute to really look at yourself in the mirror and say:

 “I am a moderately well-drawn ketchup-colored poodle and my storyline is the closest thing this book has to a plot.  I am the only thing pulling the narrative along.  I’m well-groomed, enjoy skiing, and have enough disposable income to amass a comfortable hat wardrobe.”

And then feel free to ask your reflection if it likes your hat.  And if your reflection is like, “Girrrrrrl, you look amazing regardless of whether or not you’re even wearing a hat,” maybe ditch this mustard-colored moron who immediately ends a date when he’s not digging the girl’s hat because you’re terrific and life is short and sh*t like that’s not worth your time.   

Good-bye!

Good-bye!

   *         *          *

Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming

 If you are attending a baby shower in the near future, I have a book out designed as a gift for new parents called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming that you can purchase through AmazonBarnes and Noble or Indiebound.  It is a very small, lightweight book that can be read by someone who is averaging 3-4 hours sleep a night that reminds them that eventually, someday, they will maybe get 5 or (perhaps I am being ambitious) 6 full hours of sleep again.  Someday.  Maybe.

If you enjoyed this piece, please share it and/or follow The Ugly Volvo on Facebook or Twitter.

I know at least one person will be upset that I “can’t just enjoy the book Go Dog Go like everybody else” so if anyone needs me I’ll be right here repeatedly banging my head into the wall and writing the word “Satire” on my tile floor with Crayola bath crayons.

Also, if you’d like to buy the book Go, Dog, Go, do that too!  Despite my making fun of it, it’s a lovely book that I have read about 4,000 times.  It’s literally like 5 bucks.  My book is like 12 bucks.  Go nuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

253 CommentsComment

  1. Admittedly haven’t read the book in a while, but you perfectly summed up my inner dialogue back in the days when I read, and reread, and reread, that book!

  2. Absolutely hilarious! Thank you!

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    Hillary Weinstein

    I love this post. Every time I read “Good night Dinosaurs” to my 2 year old and I get to the page where the author writes, ” Good night, great-clawed dinosaurs. You look so strange,” I think, omg! So mean! YOU look strange!” Can you please do a send up of those books? Thanks. 🙂

  4. What I learned from the hat scene after reading it 1000 times 55 years ago was.

    1. Criticism can be made and accepted in a friendly and loving manner.
    2. Every day is a new day
    3. Persistence pays off.
    4. Function is more important than fashion.

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    Ron Knowling

    I dunno – I can’t speak to the first and second hat but the skiing hat looks dangerous. What if it got tangled up in her skis or wrapped around a tree? Did Isadora Duncan teach us nothing? The last hat strikes me as a bit insecure. I think hat one and two are nice hats but hats three and four are bad hats.

  6. First, feeling very silly getting deep on Go Dog, Go. And I’m jumping in on the unpopular side of this. First, the idea of, just-do-you-and-who-cares-about-what-the-other-dogs-think? Awesome. With you. That said, don’t get bagging on the boy dog. The girl dog does keep trying over and over to win his approval… over hats. But the boy dog isn’t being mean. Girl dog keeps showing up unprompted asking him if he likes hat after hat. And he tells her the truth. When they meet he is polite and nice. She asks him if he likes her hat and he says no because he doesn’t like it. Should he lie to her? Is that a better message? She asks, “Do you like my hat?” He lies and says, “Yes!” and then she settles down with the dog who tells her what she wants to hear because who cares? Sorry. I feel insane defending a cartoon dog but… he’s being straight forward with her. And actually while it is better to not let others opinions of you matter, we all do. So… hmmm. You know the right rewrite here? The girl dog crossing paths with a different dog each time but wearing the same hat. It should probably be a crazy hat. Each dog throughout says he doesn’t like the same crazy hat. Then at the end, the last dog says, yes, I do like that crazy hat! And that’s THE dog for her. Because we all need to find that other mutt out there who digs the same craziness we dig. And while no one should hang their self worth or happiness on having someone else… come on, we all want to have someone else to wear crazy hats with and for.

  7. Absolutely! Loved this book as a kid, and as an adult feminist, this is the perfect set of glasses to view it. Your words are like music.

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    Ann Middlebrook

    Thankyou for this enjoyable read. I just love this book and “Are You My Mother?”. I love looking at the expressions on the dogs faces. My 20 year old son could recite “Are you my mother” by heart at the age of 3. Love the tree party. (Lol…. You got me wondering whether the dogs partied a little too hard, maybe had a little too much to drink and by this stage that party hat on pink dog didn’t look too bad to yellow dog. These days we would see the pink dog as a bit of a desperate but she got her dog in the end. Or maybe yellow dog just needed to learn how to chill and have fun). Thanks again.

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    Superflychica

    Why was the poodle always so self-absorbed?
    Why did she never compliment the yellow dog on his hats? He was obviously inspired by the poodle’s hat to start impressing the poodle with his own hats. And possibly jealous on top of the mountain that the poodle outdid him again. I think the poodle was a bit of a show off throughout the book.
    And, if you are really asking the question, “Do I look fat?”- are you asking for honesty or affirmation? Why are we condemning the honest yellow dog again?
    I think the dogs were playful and fun, and happy with each other in the end, accepting of the hats and the open honesty.

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