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(Carrie Bottomley/Thinkstock)
(Carrie Bottomley/Thinkstock)

My platonic dog-park pal came on to me Add to ...

The question

For months, I was good friends with a guy from my dog park (he has an adorable puggle). I even invited him to play softball on my team. He has a long-distance girlfriend in Chicago, so our friendship was always strictly platonic. Until, in one ugly weekend, he attempted to sleep with me and then successfully hooked up with one of my friends. He texted me to say he “just misbehaved,” and he gave me a Blue Jays bobble head (I've wanted one forever) to apologize. I'd love to go back to being his platonic BFF but he's shown his colours, right? I don't like dramatic situations so I’ve asked the softball league to remove him. I also can't shake the feeling that someone should tell his girlfriend. (She's already crazy jealous: I tagged his dog in a Facebook photo and she went nuts.) Girl code, or overstepping?

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The answer

Overstepping, for sure.

When all you really need to do – just as if you were to come across a stinking, steaming “offering” from your dog-park pal’s “adorable puggle” – is sidestep.

What the heck is a “puggle” anyway? (Never mind, I looked it up. Half pug, half beagle, duh! And it’s true: They are pretty cute.)

Anyway, the problem with “overstepping” is that you can wind up putting your foot in it.

Now, I agree that this puggle may not be the only creature of canine persuasion in the dog park. Your park-pal sounds like a dog of the stand-on-his-hind-legs-variety – perhaps a mixed breed of half human, half beagle: a “huggle.” Or maybe part pug: a “hum-pug.”

In any case, he appears to be baying at the moon in your area, regardless of whether he has a mate back in the Windy City.

Now I’ll leave it to more philosophical minds to discuss whether long-distance romantic relationships can be made to work (me, I don’t think so) or whether men and women can ever truly be “platonic” friends.

There was a whole movie debating this latter topic: When Harry Met Sally. Personally, I find this flick moronic. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (acting as stand-ins for Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron, who wanted to capture their oh-so-clever conversations on the topic) engaged in a feature-length discussion of the “battle of the sexes” seems so eighties to me now.

Throughout the movie Billy Crystal’s Harry, in self-assured tones, makes all kinds of pontifical, quasi-sexist generalizations (“There are two types of women: high maintenance and low maintenance”), including the central thesis of the movie: “Men and women can never be friends.” And according to Harry, all male-female friendships are inherently doomed because the men all secretly want to sleep with their female “friends.”

For the record, I have many female friends with whom I have cozy little tête-à-têtes, and even my wife Pam would agree it’s strictly non-problematic, even though they’re all pretty attractive.

But (much as I hate to admit it) Harry may have a point when it comes to the majority of the male population.

And your friend sounds like just the type of doggy dude Billy Crystal was droning on about.

So when he says something like, “I’m sorry, I misbehaved, your friendship is important to me, please accept this bobble head as a token of my contrition,” what you should be hearing is, “Arf! Woof, woof, woof! Grrrrr … rowf!”

It doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with this hum-pug, though, if you enjoy his company. Just sidestep his attempts to mount you and train him to behave. So if, say, he slips up behind you and tries to put his arms around you at a softball game, say: “Heel! Bad boy! Hanging out! NOT hooking up!”

Well, not in so many words. How about: “I don’t think of you that way and BTW you have a girlfriend, remember?” And don’t pat him, even if he behaves. He’ll just take that as a sign he’s been green-lit to make more attempts to fetch you back to his apartment.

Speaking of softball, you say you don’t like drama or want to cause it, but trying to get him kicked out of the league is like something on Showtime starring Shannen Doherty.

And you should look deep into your soul to discover whether you’re secretly flattered by his panting and tail-wagging in your direction. If so, then maybe you shouldn’t see him so much.

Mainly, though, it is a no-no for you to go telling tales to his girlfriend. I mean, a) you don’t even know her, b) you didn’t even sleep with him.

Far from being covered by the Girl Code I wouldn’t be surprised if such actions were specifically banned in that mysterious document.

If this guy is as big a dog as you say he will get caught in his own web of lies soon enough, to mix canine and arachnid metaphors.

Anyway, sounds like his Chicago girlfriend is starting to smell the kibble on his breath already, and soon the question of how single or not is your friend the dog-park mutt will be moot.

David Eddie is the author of Damage Control, the book.

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