I recently met my young niece’s boyfriend for the first time. I felt protective and wanted to establish that this young man was a suitable escort for my niece, but I didn’t want to come over as heavy handed and intrusive. What conversation could I have with him to set my mind at rest? What question should I ask to gain the measure of his character?
And then it came to me in a moment of inspiration.
“So,” I asked, “are you a dog person or a cat person?”
My niece smiled, as her boyfriend replied, “I’m a dog person.” Even better, like me, he has a Labrador. Dog people are almost without exception wonderful, and Labrador owners are the most wonderfullest of them all. (And I should know.)
Without casting aspersions about cat enthusiasts, I can deduce a lot about a person when they are a fellow dog lover. I know that they are reliable, caring and friendly. More than that, I know they are not afraid to commit to a creature who will demand time, attention, money, entertainment and consideration on a daily basis, and offer in return only love.
So I assumed that if this young man could meet the needs of his Labrador, he had a good chance of meeting the needs of my young niece. Job done, character established, we could relax and enjoy our meal.