December 13, 2017

When has this happened in the last 50 years? Everyone's talking about the same short story!

This is the second post on the topic of "Cat Person" by Kristen Roupenian, so start here if you don't know what I'm talking about already. This post just collects some of the fascinating tweeting under #CatPerson:

"When I was reading the #CatPerson short story, my first reaction was to be annoyed with the protagonist, but then I realized that I was annoyed because I myself have felt powerless to stop situations that felt bad to me in the past because I didn't want to hurt the other person." — Mina Salome.

"#CatPerson was such an odd thing to be published. Girl meets socially inept loser, aggressively pursues him despite lack of attraction so she can use his reaction to feel like a goddess, then dumps him and no one is surprised when he sends a mean text." — keanu steves.

"Margot can be shallow, rude, naive and still be the victim of patriarchy. Robert can be a bad kisser and a creep and still be sweet, considerate and deserving of sympathy. Good literature will resist simplistic moral interpretations. Call me ‘bout it." — Claire Ní Carol-aigh.

"One great thing about #CatPerson is I’ve never seen so many men suddenly collectively decide fatphobia is a real thing." — BridgetCallahan. (In the story, the young woman is grossed out by the man's slight tubbiness.)

"#CatPerson male opinion: He knew she was uncomfortable and ignored it. He knowingly took advantage of her unwillingness to say no. He was aware of her characterisation of him and intentionally groomed her by playing into it. We aren't stupid, we're predators. Story is spot on." — difgefs uktyuk.

"A girl meets an older guy with old fashioned tastes & he gives her a Pepe lighter & some food when she's hungry. Later, after she coerced him into fucking her, she finds him repulsive. And fat. #CatPerson." — Problematic Lola.

"What I like about #CatPerson: it destroys the 'loveable awkward oaf' excuse that assholes lean on when they behave manipulatively/poorly. Being a socially awkward nerd doesn't excuse you from treating people like shit." — Grace Lau.

"Can we please talk about how sis was in the car going to God knows where thinking 'I hope he doesn’t murder me' and then homeboy said 'don’t worry I’m not going to murder you' and then sis says 'It’s OK, you can murder me' GIRL WHAT?! #CatPerson." — The Honorable Chemist.



25 comments:

Paco Wové said...

The only the second place I have heard about this story. The first was your other post. Makes me feel like a hermit, in a way. A good way.

whitney said...

That story it was beautifully written and had great great depth I think. Deserves more than just a tweet. There is so much going on. A 20 year old and a 34 year old. she lives in the realm of possibility and Future and he lives in a present that is built on the decisions of the past. And the entire exchanges from her point of view even though she appears to an empathize with him she still all her thoughts. She has a brief moment when he talks about his feelings where she learns about him but most of the relationship was built on text messages where she interprets who he is. And he does the same but we don't really see his point of view. And I think there's a huge class-divide. It's very subtly shown but her talking about how she lost her virginity vs him asking her if she's a virgin just shows the deep gulf.

I love that story. Partly because I have experiences with it. The majority of my business is conducted through text message. And I have an idea of who these people are but then sometimes when I talk to them I'm so surprised about how different they are then what I interpret through the text message. And I think that's another reason that story resonates. Because I read it through my experiences

Paco Wové said...

It sounds very much like "Cat Person" could be in the running for chick-lit-iest story ever written.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Finding someone unattractive because they are overweight is not a "phobia," it just is. I'm reminded of the text exchange that was being shared on the Internet a few weeks ago. Man and woman haven't met, are texting each other about meeting for a date. Woman asks man how tall he is, he replies 6'2" to which she replies, "great!" The man then asks the woman how much she weighs, to which she replies, "why are you asking that! How is that relevant?" To which the man replies, "why did you ask how tall I am?" The text exchange may have been faked (how would you know) but it reflects a growing sentiment in society.

Known Unknown said...

Read The Analversary instead

Laslo-approved. Probably.

Glen Filthie said...

My thoughts exactly Paco. It reeked of toxic estrogen levels right over the Internet.

I will say this about that though - they are “cat LADIES”, not cat persons. Cat ladies are bitter, lonely old harridans that treated men like dirt when they were younger, or were driven bat chit crazy under modern feminist/liberal fantasies of free love and full time careers without any commitment required. Their ex’s and kids usually hate them and it leaves them as lonely old derelicts that literally throw themselves at men in desperation to stave off that loneliness in their later years...

Younger men hold them in contempt but older men can see them for the tragedies they are. It’s what comes of putting women in positions of power and authority that they are not equipped to handle.

Kyzernick said...

The story is sad. Classic case of a man not being able to act like a man when the situation calls for it. Slumped shoulders, paunchy (with no compensatory muscle on top, or strong arms), and too lost in his head and his self-consciousness to exude the easy confidence and calm of a centered and well-rounded man.

Confidence. It all comes down to confidence.

John Lynch said...

The man in the story was a virgin. Get it, now?

Kyzernick said...

Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. The story doesn't say for sure either way. Regardless, he'd clearly been celibate for a long, long time. The longer a man goes without taking care of himself, and the longer he goes without sex, the more he becomes a sad husk of what could have been.

One of my coworkers was in a similar situation when he finally scored a date with a pretty girl who worked in the cafe on the ground floor of our building. Myself and some others offered him advice, among which was "stand up straight, walk with a bit of a swagger, and develop a list of 4 topics - any 4 topics that might possibly catch her interest - that you can remember and bring up if the conversation lulls". We had him practice his walk and posture in the mirrored glass of our director's office for half an hour, and told him to practice later that night at home. He ended up making a cheat sheet on a post-it note for what to talk about and, someone suggested including a few helpful hints on the reverse.

Their first date went well. He self-reported a goodnight kiss, and said that she leaned into him for it, which is a good sign. For the second date, I took him aside and advised him that he needed to be bold but not pervy about touching her. Don't grab inappropriate areas, but if you want to touch her arm or touch her shoulder or her mid-back, do it and don't let your hand hover indecisevely. Nothing shows a guy's lack of self confidence like hovering hands, afraid of actual contact.

They ended up dating for about a year, I think. I left that job before they broke up (though I eventually found out about it). And let me tell you, this guy was a new man after the first month. He got laid on the second date, though he said it took some trying and he apparently had a slight bout of performance anxiety, but the job got done. We were worried that would be the end, but either he really overcame the anxiety and did a good job or the girl really liked his personality and was willing to overlook it. In any case, he bought Cubs tickets for me and another colleague as a reward for helping him. Maybe he still struggles a bit with his confidence, but the last I saw of him, he was a changed man.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think it's amusing that so many people are projecting the political issues of the day on to that story. It is not a political story, and the patriarchy angle is not there.

tim in vermont said...

I tried to read it, but just came away with "never date anybody under 50."

Ann Althouse said...

Kyzernick, you can write a New Yorker story if you flesh that out in the style of Roupenian. Got to figure out why it ended.

Martha said...

Kyle Smith has a helpful analysis of why Margot had such a horrendous sexual encounter and what the young women responding so viscerally to the short story should do in the future to prevent such a thing from happening. Article is titled DEAR CAT-PERSON GIRL—short version: Culture of Sexual Regret: Chastity & Sobriety Helps.


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454624/pervasive-culture-sex-drunkeness-regret

Zach said...

If she looks like Natassja Kinski, all is forgiven

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S6RdNgB-Lg

Saint Croix said...

Interesting take in National Review

Saint Croix said...

I am in the middle of reading it but it's obviously about staying away from men with cats.

Saint Croix said...

Men with cats who use a smily-face emoji.

Saint Croix said...

“Oh, my God, that’s him,” she whispered. “The guy from the movie theatre!” By then, Albert had heard a version of the story, though not quite the true one; nearly all her friends had. Albert stepped in front of her, shielding her from Robert’s view, as they rushed back to the table where their friends were. When Margot announced that Robert was there, everyone erupted in astonishment, and then they surrounded her and hustled her out of the bar as if she were the President and they were the Secret Service. It was all so over-the-top that she wondered if she was acting like a mean girl, but, at the same time, she truly did feel sick and scared.

This reminded me of the woman who alleged a whole fraternity raped her. She's acting like a drama queen, inventing a predator, manufacturing a threat. Why? To be the center of attention. You want to be the president and you want all your friends to be the secret service. Look how important you are now!

It's an interesting story because there's no drama in the story. But the narrator continually injects drama into it. She fantasizes that the man is going to kill her. She jokes (to herself) that the two of them should kill themselves. "We're in love, and we're probably going to get married."

If you want to turn this into a novel, just add a pregnancy!

oldwahoo said...

Hmm...he's 34, she's 20...anybody else thinking Roy Moore?

jeff said...

WHy would they? 34 and 20 isn’t remotely like 30 and 14. Weird you thought about that.

Mike said...

My first impression after reading that story -- "This is EXACTLY the sort of story college short story professors love."

Second impression -- "Man, I hate text messaging."

Bob Loblaw said...

I think it's amusing that so many people are projecting the political issues of the day on to that story. It is not a political story, and the patriarchy angle is not there.

Every story about sex and/or relationships is a story about political power if you're a feminist.

I R A Darth Aggie said...

I didn't read the article, but I have read other critics of it. My takeaway:

If you're a woman, don't jump into the sack with someone you barely know. No wonder the sex was awful: you failed to get your most erogenous zone engaged. That is the one between your ears. Seduction isn't a one-way street...

Also, if you are about get into someone's car and you wonder if they might rape and murder you, how about not getting into the car?

Also, lay off the booze until you feel like you can trust your partner. Oh, and if you're 20, a womanand have acquired 7 sexual partners you might be doing it wrong.

Micha Elyi said...

'Celibate' doesn't mean what Kyzernick appears to think it means. The word she is searching for is 'abstinent'.

J2 said...

Kyzernick is a girl?