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Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian (and what it says about relationships)

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Double Down, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I thought the story was good. I haven't read any of the #HotTakes, though I'm not sure why it is inspiring so many. Not because it's not good - it is. But because nothing about it strikes me as terribly controversial.

    I didn't date in the Tinder-Bumble-texting age. (I realize that they met at a movie theater, not online, but a lot of their communications were via texting.) So I can't totally relate, but in my day we basically exchanged the same kind of messages over email. It just wasn't quite as instantaneous. And I'm not so sheltered that the way their relationship developed doesn't feel real to me. I imagine it's pretty much exactly like that.

    It was a tough read, and I mean that in a good way. Reading DD's initial post, it sounds like the male character in the story is taking a beating in #HotTake world. I wonder how much the final exchange is what sticks with people. Other than that, he's just someone who was more interested in her than she was in him. It happens all the time, and it's excruciating. I'm surprised consent is a theme people are zeroing in on. There is no indication in the story to me that she didn't consent, even if she was faking it. Also no indication that he coerced or pressured her. She just lost interest in him along the way, mostly because of how he looked. It's every human's insecurities come to life.

    It's intentional here, I suppose, but sex always seems so pitiful and awkward on paper, when reduced to words.
  2. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    It's "bated breath."
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    She would not have ended it if he knew how to fuck her into that special place.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Maybe, but I doubt it. She was losing interesting in him before that. Her thoughts are certainly mean and shallow - there's a reason the author made her 20 and him 34. The story seems to be as much about how unbridgeable an age divide can be as anything else.

    I don't think that people have more sex than they used to - statistics don't seem to bear that out. I think that they probably have more interactions exploring the idea of sex with someone, due to Tinder and other dating apps, and the ease of electronic communication. Most of those explorations end up failing once the two principles get past the flirty, jokey shallow part and they have to try to interact as 3D human beings. Most probably fizz out within an hour or two, in fact. The story did a good job depicting that.
  5. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    So, you give the whiskey to the kids, knock em out, then... have some for yourself?
  6. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    The relationship would have lasted much longer had 34-year-old Robert been great in bed.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's definitely uncomfortable. He's trying so hard, and she's basically rolling her eyes inside about it the whole time.

    I read the interview with the author, and I guess the last line - "Whore" - is supposed to strip the reader of all the prior sympathy we may have built up for him. But that's not how I took it when I read it. He didn't cover himself in glory, of course, and he reacted poorly. But he was rightfully frustrated, having felt led on. Maybe part of that is that, at 34, he didn't grow up in a world where people flitted in and out of romantic relationships with this much ease.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  8. Big Circus

    Big Circus Well-Known Member

  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    The story reminded me a little bit of Raymond Carver's short stories, which were frequently about marriages. It's so simple on the surface - the story of a first (and only) date. But because it rings so true, it's compulsively readable and sticks with you.
    Double Down likes this.
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It also reminded me a little bit of "Joe College" by Tom Perrotta.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    One more random thought: Has there ever been a more millennial moment committed to art than the protagonist receiving a card from her mother congratulating her on the loss of her virginity?
  12. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Margot definitely didn't send Robert this book.

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