The Sign of the Dog

“Running into a man you like is a sign. Running into a man you like at a place you know he frequents every Friday, on a Friday, is also a sign — in addition to a probability.” On divine signs and tests, female intuition, rascally boys, and dating to please the universe. Or: the time my love life went to the dogs.

Alessandra Cruz

I was scrolling through Instagram recently when I came across the music video for Bad Bunny's NO ME QUIERO CASAR. I don’t want to get married. The setting was familiar: Medium Cool, a local hotspot in my hometown of Miami Beach. And so was the sentiment. I was reminded of the many boys who run around our city's dating scene expressly like they don't want to get married either.

Benito calls himself a bunny but really he’s just a dog. A dog is a boy who runs around sniffing the behind of every woman he encounters — any woman, all of them, constantly. The solution, of course, would be to push the dog away, not to fall for him, or to believe that your behind is in any way particularly special to him, because it’s not. Except: don’t we all love dogs? Charming as they are, prancing around with all that rascally charisma? 

I forwarded the video to my favorite Miami Casanova and added a cheeky message.


The dogs in Miami like to call themselves alpha males, alpha wolves. Except they are mistaken about this metaphor, completely. A wolf has polar opposite tendencies to the Miami womanizer. The wolf spots his female and there is a drawn out period of courtship and bonding. Once a wolf has decided that she is the one, they mate for life. A wolf does not date and dump, send incoherent signals, invest in a woman totally and rearrange her mental symbols before pushing her away.

Upon moving back to Miami from Europe, I found myself wrapped up with boys. Always on the lookout for the sign of the dog. I’ve been told the only way to spot a dog from a wolf, a boy from a man, is to harness my intuition.

Women have an incredible sixth sense. Our intuition, what some may call our “gut instinct,” is alive and always sending us signals. The problem is that it gets weakened by flattery and false promises. To speak about dating as a woman, amongst other women, is to become an interpreter of signs, a divinator. Running into a man you like is a sign. Running into a man at a place you know he frequents every Friday, on a Friday, is also a sign — in addition to a probability. Not running into him: also a sign. Signs are hints of fate but also, strangely, reasonable. Having the same taste in coffee or clothing or music or nightclubs is not a bad start for romance, after all. But then there are the tests. Receiving an unsolicited text from an ex-lover to whom you have often gone back, exactly when you are moving on to a new relationship, is a common test. Ignoring that text is the best way to pass it. Encountering a man who is “your type” and thus essentially both perfect and wrong for you is another trial. Presumably, if you pass enough of these tests, sharpen your self-insight and demonstrate your readiness, the universe will reward you with the right romantic partner. And if favors from fate depend on constant female self-improvement, perhaps that’s why good love matches are so tough to find: if women are always getting better, how are they supposed to pair up with men who are stagnating?


The thing about women from Miami is that many of them are the complete package. They nurture their mental and physical well-being and care for their family and friends. They're witty, beautiful, and hard-working. On top of that, their social calendars are probably jam-packed from now until Christmas. Take my Miami-born and Miami-raised friend group, for example: one friend is a celebrated photographer, another an interior designer/model/pilates instructor. Still another is tackling climate change at the UN. Why is it then that we must sit over candles and do Brujería (witchcraft) to cut through the dogs, and sniff out the single wolf ready for commitment?

I am what they call a spiritual woman. I am always climbing out of, or returning to, a seated lotus position. I take the form and I meditate. In between these bouts of Jedi training, I am usually on dates. For a while, I lived in Europe, where my romantic life took on a stability unfamiliar to me. When I returned to Miami, I was welcomed by heat, I was in heat, and then came a string of short-lived relationships, lessons, and tests. Needless to say, mixing spirituality with dating in America’s playground makes for quite amusing stories.

When you date to please the universe, it stops being a by-product of your usual life, or even a source of enjoyment. It becomes an obstacle course, an activity you can learn to excel at, and a therapy session all in one. The men can be sorted into archetypes. There is the passionate Latino artist, who falls in love just as quickly as he falls out of it; the Key Biscayne or South Miami boy, who takes his boat out every weekend; the Brickell finance bro, likely to be a New York City transplant for whom holding a door for a woman is an alien concept; and the nightlife lover, who has a 100% chance of sliding in your DMs and invi-ting you to Space at five in the morning. What do all of these men have in common? Apart from the fact that no se quieren casar? They will have Miami women losing their minds — and probably also believing that running into them on the full moon was a secret, loaded message. 

A quick venture around the magic city's beaches and dimly-lit speakeasies will reveal no shortage of good-looking boys. Emotionally available men, however? Few and far between. It starts wonderfully: a waterfall of compliments, chairs pulled out, and extravagant dates at members-only restaurants. Yet, right when things get serious, poof, they vanish. Until, of course, you spot them in South Beach under a pastel-colored lifeguard tower, scanning the beach more thoroughly than any lifeguard.

The history of Miami is one of infamous decadence and rebellion. Watch any Netflix show or docuseries on Vice City, and you will see a plethora of topless women dancing in neon g-strings, white powder piled on glass tables, and bright red Ferrari Daytonas drag-racing through the streets. Visit Miami now, and you're met with wannabe models galore, storm clouds that rain Clase Azul tequila, and palm-lined streets that resemble a Rolls Royce catalog. It's no wonder these boys have the attention span of a fruit fly.

The candles and spells do work in the context of the Miami vortex, to an extent. An abundance and prosperity love spell landed me fifteen miles off the coast of Miami on a deserted island with a lawyer from Venezuela. He had just turned 30, but had a boyish look to him, like a Latino Frank Sinatra. We waded in the water until the bottom gave way, entangled in a salty make-out. As things grew more serious, he gave me a toothbrush. Once, we brushed our teeth together, peering into his mirror. We realized we stood the same, peculiar way, like flamingos, with one foot propped up on the opposite knee. A sign, or a red herring? He confessed that he believed I was his twin flame and I had visited him in his dreams before we met. A month later, he sent me a voice note telling me he didn't have time to date me anymore because his hobbies, mainly fishing, had grown too time consuming.

Then there was the summer of the Sagittarius full moon. After a sundown yoga class atop a roof in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth district, my teacher led us in a spell: “Draw twelve arrows in a circle pointing outward. Write 12 desires at the end of each arrow.” Sagittarius is the archer and I had a good feeling those arrows were going to penetrate my reality. They did, sort of. A few weeks later, I found myself dating a Cuban painter. Tall, with long eyelashes, and a piercing gaze that bore a hole through my heart. On date two he belted out Andrea Bocelli until I was bent over laughing. We danced in the sun to Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti, read poetry together late into the night, and visited his gallery as he divulged the inspiration behind his vibrant, Modern Impressionist paintings. You put two Cuban fire signs together and it makes for a passion that heats up an entire room. Until the fire goes out. 

More recently, I created my 2024 vision board and included a picture of a man — tall, dark, and handsome with tousled hair, playing the guitar, only to have his doppelgänger appear before me that very weekend. He strummed his guitar with one hand, smoked his cigarette with the other. We listened to Led Zeppelin and dove into conversations so deep I had to step out for air. On his balcony, we watched the Miami skyline. I sipped my red wine in a daze and said, "I manifested you." I said it light-heartedly, but I was actually impressed with myself, with how quickly my Pinterest board had been made flesh. Some cue I had done something right. It was my turn. A sexy smirk crept across his face. He gazed at me with half-shut eyes and said, "Oh really? For me, it's very simple, baby. I just want to have fun.” Oh.

So, what's a girl to do when her spells attract dogs, not wolves? Naturally, I booked a call with my hypnotherapist, Lucy. She dialed in on Zoom from her grotto in Mallorca. In her soothing English accent she asked, “How are you, darling?” I spilled: all the false promises, expectations, games. 

Until she showed me my part in it: “How many times did your body give you an indication that these men weren’t right for you?”

I began to count. The time I went to see my boyfriend and I broke out into cold sweats en route. The pit in my stomach when another spoke poorly of his best friend. The men I had treated like energy balancing sessions and chakras to be aligned. I had been so worried about the universe, appeasing it, showing it I was worthy, but I should have been worried about me. I studied their signs but I had neglected to reflect on my own: my Venus (the planet of love and romance) is in Sagittarius, suggesting I am the one who suddenly gets bored and self-sabotages relationships, leading to a string of broken hearts on both sides. It takes two to tango, or salsa, preferably.

What sort of test had I posed for all these men? What sort of signs had I dropped along the way? I don’t think they cared, or noticed, like I had, or my friends did constantly. Men were having fun while we negotiated with the heavens, had our fortunes read, scoured our dates for subconscious giveaways of the truth. They were careless with their words, unsure of their motivations, and meanwhile we worked at ourselves until we were out of their league, supposedly, and yet we still wanted them. Each time I was so caught up in the fantasy, I missed the writing on the wall. Why was I treating dating like a spiritual quest? Were they really dogs, or just people? At what point is this interpretation of signs just objectification, of the same kind which I accused them of subjecting me?


I don’t think it’s true anymore, that nadie se quiere casar. I get it, you ask anyone what dating is like in Miami and they respond, almost automatically: "It's hard.” And yet I refuse to keep feeding a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you open your eyes, you’ll realize that even the briefest stroll down the Venetian Causeway or Miami Beach's pink boardwalk reveals an abundance of (very sexy) couples, walking hand in hand. All of whom appear totally enamored with each other.

I recently met a friend for drinks at Terras in Little Havana. He told me the story of how he met the love of his life. It was five in the morning. He couldn’t get to sleep and so he went, in true Miami fashion, to Space. Exactly as he entered, and spotted her, the thought struck him: she was out of this world. Space, aliens: sign or coincidence? What mattered, actually, was not that symbolism at the start but what came next. Two years of dedicated courtship. Mutual effort, not interpretation. Action, not messages from the divine. She’s his wife now; they married under the solar eclipse. Destiny can become real life, sure, but perhaps only if we stop obsessing over it.

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