One thing I’ve learned from reading advice columns. If you introduce animals to the question, all bets are off. Today at Ask A Manager, there was a question involving two large dogs, a party, and reasonable (or not) requests. And academia. It garnered over a thousand responses (granted, it was one of four questions, but I’d estimate that at least three-quarters of the comments were about this question), and the comments were all over the map.
It fascinated me because it’s a question i didn’t have much personal interest in. I wasn’t invested in it, so it was the perfect question to take the longview on. I could see what got people upset, what pushed other people’s buttons, and what made this such a thorny topic. And, boy, did it get ugly.
First of all, there is a way that the letter writer (LW) wrote the question. They stated that they hosted an open house once a month with their partner in order to help their friends and colleagues (acadameia) to socialize. They’ve been doing it for a year. It’s open in the truest sense in that people were encouraged to bring friends, kids, and dogs.
That was the one stipulation the LW made. They had two large, sweet, well-trained dogs who they were not going to shut up in a room. They were very clear about that to everyone who came to the parties, and it was not a problem.
Cue the actual issue. They have a colleague, Paul, whom they invited to dinner a while ago. They made sure Paul new about the dogs, and he indicated he was fine with that. When he got there, he wasn’t fine with that and ‘was rude about them when they approached to sniff him and greet him’.
LW decided to keep their distance from Paul outside of work. Fastfoward to now. Paul, recently divorced, asked if he could attend one of the parties. LW said it was fine but that the dogs wouldbe allowed to roam, and there would probably be other dogs, too. Paul said that was fine but then later texted to ask if the dogs could be put in a room and other dogs asked not to attend.
The comment section exploded. The first comment about this question (which I saw fairly soon after the new post went up scolded the LW for not being nice. And then it was an all-out bawl. The comments ranged from people saying the LW was completely in the right and that Paul was being a total dick to those who said poor Paul was being attacked (not physically) and LW was a complete monster.
It was wild.