Yesterday, I bumped into a friend of mine in the neighborhood named Joey. As part of our infrequent discussions, Joey always reminds me he was born in the Dominican Republic and one day plans to return. As we caught up on who and what we know, Joey mentioned a common friend of ours from long ago who just had a second daughter.
Joey winked at me and said, nudging my arm with his elbow, “Now he has two tails wagging him.”
I laughed, not at the continued fatherhood of my old friend, but rather the phrasing Joey used to describe our friend’s situation.
“Two tails wagging him” was a curious turn of tongue, I thought, especially since Joey has two tweener daughters. Was that phrase Joey’s cultural sense of humor, or was he universally insulting our old friend?
Did Joey mean the tails were wagging our friend to indicate happiness — or a lack of command and control because his daughters were now “running” him?
I didn’t want to ask what he meant because men don’t ask for directions or definitions — but I wondered if Joey’s daughters were wagging him — and if that was a good thing or not.
My sense of the phrase in context now is that having two tails wagging you is not a good thing — because you should be wagging your own tail — and the fact that you are being moved by external forces to serve their happiness and human joy is not only burdensome as a father, but also dangerous, to the construction of your manhood.