By Nury Vittachi
"Are all dogs boys?" a small, sticky child asked.
"Yes," I replied. "All dogs are male. Including girl dogs."
The child looked smug. Clearly he had been arguing this point with someone. I went on to explain that all cats were girls, including male cats.
I could see that the teacher was looking puzzled. So explained what I meant with a story.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve felt lonely.
So God told his angels to make them a creature for them. "Make it medium-sized, with four legs and a tail," God said. "You can call it a Pet."
The angels made the first pair of pets. They were cute but they were also very playful. They ran around heaven, hid under the sofas and scratched the furniture. Then they saw what looked like a pair of paddling pools. One jumped into the blue one and the other jumped into the red one.
But they were not paddling pools. They were vats of Male Essence and Female Essence.
After the angels fished them out, they noticed the Pets had changed.
One had become shaggy-haired, simple-minded and deep-voiced.
And the other had become sleek and complicated and whiney.
"Oops," said the angel. "We'd better classify these as two separate creatures."
They called one Dog and the other Cat.
This made perfect sense to the children. But later on, in the staff room, I had to explain what I meant to the teacher.
Proof that all dogs are male:
1. Dogs, like men, are completely predictable.
2. They are supremely interested in your nether regions and pathetically unable to hide this fact.
3. They don't respond when you shout in their ear, but they can hear the sound of a packet containing something consumable being opened a kilometer away.
4. If you once let them hog your sofa, they will feel like they own it.
5. They eat anything. Their basic philosophy is put stuff in their mouths first, ask questions later.
6. They are intensely loyal but sometimes stray through sheer stupidity.
7. When they are not happy, they don’t say anything, but sulk and growl and knock things over.
8. They emit large amounts of gas from both ends.
9. They often consume ill-advised items until they are sick, give you a sad "never again" look, and then do the same thing again the next day.
Proof that all cats are female:
1. They are completely unpredictable.
2. They expect to be worshipped all the time.
3. They look cute but are surprisingly tough-minded creatures who make all the decisions.
4. You can call them, but you never know if they will actually turn up.
5. They leave bits of their hair all over the place.
6. They completely ignore you when you come home.
7. They take the stance that you exist solely to ensure their happiness.
The teacher listened patiently, and then a rather guilty look appeared on her face. She pulled two sandwiches out of her bag. "I chose your lunch for you in advance," she said. "After all, women make the decisions, and men eat anything, right? Meow."
What could I reply? "Woof."