Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Response to eHarmony's 15 Reasons To Date A Zookeeper

How many of you have seen this blog post?

15 Reasons To Date A Zookeeper.  It's an eHarmony Dating Advice blog, so you really can't go wrong, right?  All of them are truly fine reasons to date one of us.  But this post combined with a series of stories I heard recently over dinner inspired today's Middle Flipper.

Hey, we are pretty datable.

I'm kind of happy about this 15 Reasons To Date A Zookeeper.  I mean, it's well written.  It's true (teehee).  Okay, at least it's flattering.  I think it's a great piece of content to have floating out in cyberspace because lord knows I know a lot of really wonderful, eligible bachelors and bachelorettes who would love to find the love of their life.  

But here's the problem.  The concept of dating a zookeeper is so AWESOME, people are PRETENDING they are zookeepers or animal trainers in order to score a date.  Like, this is actually happening.  In fact, this is happening in my town at several bars in the area.  How do I know this?  Oh, lots of guys pick me up all the time..........

...............Ha ha, just kidding.  Yeah, I'm married, but even if I was single I'd do exactly what I've done the past ten years of my life.  I wile away the hours sitting on the couch eating bowls of cereal while I watch Arrested Development for the 78th time.  

Watching cereal to the acting skills of this man are better than any date I've ever had!

But my more outgoing coworkers with actual lives spend their evenings line dancing, wine-tasting and going out to fun night clubs.  They have encountered a group of men and women who use pickup lines that I think are only going to get worse because of the blog I posted above, thank you very much eHarmony.

eHarmony's blog was a good rough draft.  But I'm going to do them a solid and qualify it, as a real live animal trainer, so that everyone who wants to lie to future dates about their profession can really have a shot at sealing the deal.    

Here are the Ten Essential Tips for Liar Zookeepers Who Want To Date:

1.  Ensure the person you are hitting on is not, in fact, a zookeeper.

Warning: If you live in a town with a zoo or aquarium, you may hit on ACTUAL zookeepers

Can we call this the Golden Rule?  Doesn't it go without saying that you look like a complete Tool Bag in the following scenario:

You: Hey, I'm a dolphin trainer at Sea Zoo
Me: Um, me too.
You: K bye

Here's a generally good dating tip that has the added benefit of making sure your lie lands on the right person: ask your prospective date FIRST what he or she does for a living.  It's a nice way to show (feign?) interest in order to make sure that the dolphin trainer you're hitting on does not suddenly realize what a jerk you are.  Look, I'm only here to help you.

2.  Don't dress in fancy clothes

Go ahead, pop some tags.  Macklemore knows zookeepers.

This goes without saying.  My fellow marine mammal trainers know how to look hot, but none of us own expensive clothing.  Why? Because we can barely afford Kraft macaroni and cheese if it's not BOGO at a garage sale.  Why would we spend a bunch of money on brand name clothes?

True or False: I would actually buy mac and cheese at a garage sale.  TAH-RUE

Okay, the only exception to this rule is when we get something REAL nice for a holiday or birthday.  In that case, you can bet it will look well-loved and worn, because we probably can't properly launder our one (1) fancy outfit.  That cashmere sweater I got for Christmas?  I haven't washed it beyond the Febreze stage because I can't afford fancy dry-cleaning!

So go ahead, pick your evening ware at Goodwill.  

3.  Make Sure You Smell of Fish Oil and Dog Poop

He's smiling because he has a daaaaaate

Landing a date is no easy task when your personal hygiene sucks.  Luckily for the Liar Zookeeper, us real deals are very, very meticulous about our washing habits.  We shower and wash our hands compulsively, so we're always sanitary.

However, due to reasons unknown to Science, we still smell like poop and/or the food we feed our animals (in my case, fish).  These odors transcend the physical realm and often adhere to more ethereal things, such as your soul.  If you want to convince a person you work with animals for a living in hopes they'll uh, give you some attention, it's a good idea to start investing in some smell-layering.  

That's right, smell-layering.  We're not talking about picking up a tuna steak at the local grocery store.  I'm talking about years of daily, direct exposure to god-awful smells and lots of bleach.  This step is going to require serious investment on your part.  

I detect subtle notes of Mallotus villosus

I'm sure you could probably find a plethora of smell-layering schedules on Pintrest or something, but here are some examples of how to achieve that animal trainer aroma:

Days 1-10: Step in dog poop with your normal shoes.  Clean as best as possible after each exposure with bleach

Days 11-20: Continue plan for days 1-10.  Option: Buy a bottle of fish oil pills, stab each one with a knife, and squirt the contents all over your hands and a little bit on your hair.

By the end of this experience, you should be ready for your hot night on the town on day 21.  Yes, your hands will smell like bleach and your shoes will be destroyed.  But just remember, your shoes and your odor are key pieces of the puzzle if you're trying to dupe people into thinking you're One Of Us!

4.  Load your phone up with photos of animals

Photo of mediocre-quality (of which I have about 398539853) of this little guy 

I mean, lots.  Not your dog.  Not your cat.  You're going to have to find your favorite Exotic Animal.  Commit fully to this deception you weave.  If you say you're a dolphin trainer at the local facility, you better have at least 300 photos of one specific dolphin in your phone.  Some of the photos can be artsy, but most of them should be blurry or crappy.   You can't just steal pictures off of the zoo or aquarium's facebook page.  You should consider frequenting the zoo you're lying about working at in order to obtain the quality and quantity of photos required for this part.  And....

5.  Have Six Hundred Stories You Tell For Each Photo

Another awful photo of Tabby looking at me weird, after I spent 10 minutes trying to get a good picture of her doing this (I still haven't succeeded).  

C'mon, you can't just be like, "oh, look at Flipper!"   Here's a helpful example of a realistic photo storytelling of an animal trainer to a person of interest:

Me: Oh, here's one of Ada.  It's really blurry, wait, let me see if I got it.  Oh my god like, it's so funny, she's just realizing she can use her flippers to bat things around.  Wait, let me back up.  Sea lions use their flippers to propel themselves through the water, but Ada just loves to slap things around with hers.  See?  You can kind of see it like, how her flipper is blurry here because she's going to hit the basketball with it? 

Person of Interest: Huh.  That's cute.

Me: Oh let me show you a better photo, hang on.  Oh wait, sorry, that's embarrassing, that's Ada's last bowel movement.

But that's just one example.  Don't let me stifle your creativity!

6.  Judge everything everyone does in the bar using operant conditioning terms

It's true

While you're busy stepping in dog crap, you could pick up a couple of animal training books that will familiarize you with the terminology of our industry.  Soon, you'll be ushered into a world where you see EVERYONE'S behavior through the lens of a behaviorist.  This is critical to your believability as a zookeeper, especially if you're pulling the Dolphin Trainer card.

While you're busy wowing the love of your life with stories of swimming with magical cetaceans, interrupt yourself to point out how crappy a dog trainer a complete stranger is, or how you LRS your server for slow service.  

7.  Compulsively check your email for vet or boss updates and make random comments about it

Someone make a meme of just zookeepers doing this

It's not enough to just whip your phone out to check it.  EVERYONE does that, it's the New Fun Rude thing to do when you're interacting with other humans!  So make sure you do exactly what a zookeeper would do: check your email for vet or boss updates, and make some cryptic comment about it.  This can even be passive aggressive, which is the most fun.

Here are some phrases you are welcome to use for such a time:

"Oh great, Samsom's HCT is a little lower than usual.  Sorry, what were you saying about your work with underprivileged kids?"

"Oh my god, this is ridiculous.  What? Oh, nothing.  No, nothing, well, it's hard to explain.  Let's just say I have a long day of scuba diving tomorrow in this crappy weather."

"YES thank GOD he ATE TODAY!"

8.  Get narcoleptic around 8:15pm


Sorry, if you want to look the part, you're gonna have to act the part.  And that means no late, crazy nights for you.  Yes, zookeepers know how to party, but only about 2 days out of the year and that's usually at some professional conference and/or when they are 22 years old.  The rest of us, we are dead to the world after sundown.

Make sure you get to your bar, wine tasting venue, or club extra early.  Five o'clock is a great time.  That gives you three solid hours to find your victim and lie to them real good.  By 7:45pm, you should be yawning a lot.  By 7:55pm, your eyelids should droop involuntarily over your eyes (or at least make them think it's legit).  Make sure you're out of there by 8:15, again for authenticity's sake.

9.  Eat Like You're Going To Die Tomorrow

Don't hold back, now!

I don't care if you're not at a place with food.  You better eat something.  Animal trainers eat all of the time, and in gigantic quantities.  In between telling stories about your blurry animal photos, making comments about your zoo emails, and judging other people in the bar, you should be stuffing your face.  The pace at which you eat should be consistent enough to potentially hospitalize you with small abdominal tears due to a rapidly expanding gut, which is really going to make you attractive.  Just like the rest of us!

10.   Show Up With Wet Hair 


It seems like a minor tip, but it's the piece de la resistance.  No zookeeper, dolphin trainer, animal trainer, animal caretaker, WHATEVER you call yourself would be caught DEAD in public with dry, perfectly coiffed hair.  This is logical if you think about it.  Because of our early bedtime, we like to get to where we're going out for the night good and early.  But before we get there, we want to shower.  Why? Because we smell horrible and we are covered in god knows what.  We have just enough time to get home, change into our civvies (from Goodwill) and get to the clubbbbbb.  Our hair will dry on its own, we just know it.  

If you can master these ten steps, you are well on your way to wooing the man or woman of your dreams to a bed of deception.  In fact, if you follow these steps closely, you could be qualified for a zoo keeping job, lucky you!  Unfortunately, we will never hire you on account of your tendency to lie to others in order to get yourself ahead in a shameful, horrible manner.  But let it never be said that I didn't do my part to help you be as believable as possible.  

I look forward to meeting you!


  1. Love it. So true.


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  2. I can't breath from laughing! Everything is so true- thanks, Cat!

  3. Awesome and so true!

  4. All true! Bonus points if you have a fish scale stuck to you somewhere!

  5. HAHA yes and the fish scales that suction to you for at least a day, even after showering!

  6. If I'm understanding the question correctly, instead of asking HOW to behave while dating, it seems like the question is asking a more fundamental question about WHO to date..

    Instead of answering this question myself, I would like to just point you to an article: How to Identify Real Dating Site Members btw this article is from Online Dating Security Advisor