Today, a new piece slithered out from the murky Annals of Nice Guy-dom — with a twist. The twist is of the furry, sweet, largely sedentary, defecating least 12 times a day variety: a pet bunny! Cute! But also, as the author alleges, completely disastrous to his sex life.
In an essay titled "My Bunny Ruined My Sex Life," Dave Good bemoans the various ways in which rescuing a lost rabbit from beside a lake has wreaked havoc on his sex-having. Writes Good, "The rabbit, essentially the most fertile living thing in nature, is a joke to most baby boomers thanks to Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, the Playboy Bunny and Bun E. Carlos, the drummer in Cheap Trick." BUN E. CARLOS: RUINING SEX FOR RABBIT OWNERS SINCE 1973.
As is the eternal penchant of the self-proclaimed "nice guy," Good inevitably blames his inability to get laid on some slight against his gender. He writes, "The truth I learned is this: Men cannot like rabbits." The reason, explains Good, is because bunnies are infantile and cowardly and weirdly moral — unlike dogs, which are good Man-Pets. He goes on to list some famous historical rabbits who've had a hand in causing his past dry spell (some pre-Bun E. Carlos culprits: Peter Rabbit, the hare from "The Tortoise and the Hare," and the Easter bunny). "These days," Good concludes at the end of the nefarious rabbit litany, "a rabbit is best known as a woman's vibrator." Really? I think a rabbit is still best known as... a rabbit? Most animals that share names with other goods, public figures, and products are still "best known as" their own name. That's like saying, "These days, a peacock is best known as a reliable and suave pick-up artist technique." Or, "These days, a dog is best known as Dog the Bounty Hunter."
Furthermore, consciousness doesn't constantly work as free-association — especially, I would argue, not in the throes of sex/dating. If someone is attempting to wine and dine you, you probably don't think, "Wine was used in ancient Dionysian rituals. Sometimes, women driven mad by wine would rip men to shreds. Homer had that famous epithet "the wine dark sea," ugh the Odyssey, damn. Wine is the blood of Jesus, according to the doctrine of transubstantiation. Wow, remember that viral video of a woman who fell over while she was stomping grapes? That was horrible, and everyone on the Internet laughed at her. I am sorry, this is all too much; I won't be returning this dude's phone calls." Likewise, if you see a domestic rabbit in a cage, you're not going to think, "Oh, my god, Roger Rabbit. This man is a joke. I revile his penis."
So, what else could be the problem? Let us examine some of Mr. Good's sexual mishaps for which he blames the rabbit:
Every woman I knew or met had something to say about the rabbit roommate, even a woman I’ll call Samantha. Samantha is perpetually single and every man’s back-up plan: You can ring her out of the blue after months of no contact whatsoever, and still get action. But even Sam finally had enough. At the conclusion of what was to be our last outing together she said, “The rabbit is …” and then she let that one unfinished sentence swing in the air like a carcass on meat hooks. She stopped returning my calls and emails.
There’s more. Another woman messaged me that, while we could be great friends, it would never work out if I had something else in mind. Of course I had something else in mind. Shit. Had I told her about the rabbit over dinner? Same with the next woman. After she met the rabbit at a pool party at my house the return calls dropped to zero. Last week, a blind date I’d never even met canceled a barbecue get-together. Had she seen the bunny video on YouTube?
On the one night that I finally did manage to load a willing prospect into my bed, things were going great. She was a swinger who’d retired from active swinging, she said, which made her experienced and mildly kinky. Bonus! But somewhere in mid-stream, the bunny snuck under the bed and began madly pounding the floor with its feet — rabbitspeak for danger — which scared my date. She left, and I never saw her again.
I think it has less to do with your rabbit, good sir, and perhaps more to do with the way you speak about and interact with women? I'm just throwing it out there. Can you really be so confused and appalled when a woman you describe as "every man's back-up plan" stops calling you? Reacting with barely-concealed irritation when a woman lets you know that she likes you as a person but has no interest in fornicating with you is a wonderful way to repel ladies. And, finally, if an accurate characterization of sex for you is "load[ing] a willing prospect into my bed," then, yeah, the woman in question is probably not going to keep in touch afterwards. That's a creepy and dehumanizing way to view your sex partners. I simply find it hard to believe that a fully-grown human woman would be so scared by the thumping of a very small plains mammal that she'd leave and never come back — especially if you were to explain, "Oh, don't worry; that's just my pet rabbit who sometimes sits under my bed."
I have a pet bunny, and it hasn't affected my sex life at all. Rabbits do disgusting and creepy things constantly: they poop a literally unfathomable amount, they sit in whatever shadowy realms they can find and emerge only to pee on top of your couch, and sometimes they grunt like little furry pigs. But they're also very cute and lovely and so fun to spend time with. If you take care of them well enough, none of your prospective lovahs will suspect a thing about the gross underbelly of the sweet creature. Furthermore, if you treat your sex partners with respect and dignity, they won't even mind: for instance, I once spent 15 minutes describing in excruciating detail the symptoms of "poopy butt syndrome" to my boyfriend (weird that I spent so long, because it's pretty self-explanatory now that I muse upon it) and he didn't run screaming from the House of Rabbit. I know several bun-owners, all of whom have had several successful and fulfilling relationships of varying degrees of seriousness.
To bring gender into it is a bit preposterous: while it's true that rabbits are widely conceived of as dainty and feminine and cutesy, no woman is actually going to hold that against someone she's interested in sleeping with, especially (I would hope!) not once that person explains that rabbits are the third most populous animals at rescue shelters (something that Good does point out in his essay) — which means that they're also the third most euthanized. There's no real monolithic gender structure that dictates that any man who owns a "wimpy" pet will be sexually ignored and overlooked for the rest of his life. And, even if some woman were to blindly adhere to constructed gender roles (which, please don't), isn't there something traditionally masculine about a man caring and providing for a helpless lil' ball of love?
What a woman will hold against someone she's interested in sleeping with, however, is the expectation that he deserves sex from her, the tendency to describe her in objectifying and flat-out offensive terms, and a total lack of self-awareness. Don't blame the bunny.
"My Bunny Ruined My Sex Life" [Salon]
Image via djem/Shutterstock.