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The internet latches on to new obsessions all the time. When Margot rebuffs him in the aftermath, Robert reveals a mean streak. Online, much of the response has been from women who saw themselves in Margot:. Yet given that this was a short story, and that social media is generally not known as a space for subtle and nuanced literary criticism, others felt the piece was ripe for misreadings. Meanwhile an account called Men React to Cat Person has been compiling male responses, which are well, see for yourself.
Then, one night during reading period, she was complaining about how all the dining halls were closed and there was no food in her room because her roommate had raided her care package, and he offered to buy her some Red Vines to sustain her. He greeted her without ceremony, as though he saw her every day, and took her inside to choose some snacks.
Robert was wearing a rabbit-fur hat that came down over his ears and a thick, old-fashioned down jacket. She thought it was a good look for him, if a little dorky; the hat heightened his lumberjack aura, and the heavy coat hid his belly and the slightly sad slump of his shoulders. She thought he was going to go in for a kiss and prepared to duck and offer him her cheek, but instead of kissing her on the mouth he took her by the arm and kissed her gently on the forehead, as though she were something precious.
On the walk back to her dorm, she was filled with a sparkly lightness that she recognized as the sign of an incipient crush.
While she was home over break, they texted nearly non-stop, not only jokes but little ates about their days. When Margot returned to campus, she was eager to see Robert again, but he turned out to be surprisingly hard to pin down.
Robert came to pick her up in a muddy white Civic with candy wrappers spilling out of the cup holders. Before five minutes had gone by, she became wildly uncomfortable, and, as they got on the highway, it occurred to her that he could take her someplace and rape and murder her; she hardly knew anything about him, after all. But he was still disconcertingly quiet, and all her bubbling attempts at making conversation bounced right off him.
At the theatre, he made a joke to the cashier at the concession stand about Red Vines, which fell flat in a way that embarrassed everyone involved, but Margot most of all. She was wearing leggings and a sweatshirt, and that might have been the problem. He was wearing khakis and a button-down shirt. The thought of this possible vulnerability touched her, and she felt kinder toward him than she had all night.
Robert had gone ahead of her, not noticing what was playing out behind him. But, when Robert saw her face crumpling, a kind of magic happened. All the tension drained out of his posture; he stood up straight and wrapped his bearlike arms around her.
He kissed the top of her head, and she laughed and wiped her tears away.
He kissed her then, on the lips, for real; he came for her in a kind of lunging motion and practically poured his tongue down her throat. It was a terrible kiss, shockingly bad; Margot had trouble believing that a grown man could possibly be so bad at kissing. When he was done kissing her, he took her hand firmly and led her to a different bar, where there were pool tables and pinball machines and sawdust on the floor and no one checking I.
She actually was a little anxious about what to order; at the places she went to, they only carded people at the bar, so the kids who were twenty-one or had good fake I. With the drinks in front of him and the kiss behind him, and also maybe because she had cried, Robert became much more relaxed, more like the witty person she knew through his texts.
He kept coming back to her initial dismissal of the movie, making jokes that glanced off it and watching her closely to see how she responded.
She was starting to think that she understood him-how sensitive he was, how easily he could be wounded-and that made her feel closer to him, and also powerful, because once she knew how to hurt him she also knew how he could be soothed. The effect of this on him was palpable and immediate, and she felt as if she were petting a large, skittish animal, like a horse or a bear, skillfully coaxing it to eat from her hand.
By her third beer, she was thinking about what it would be like to have sex with Robert.
Probably it would be like that bad kiss, clumsy and excessive, but imagining how excited he would be, how hungry and eager to impress her, she felt a twinge of desire pluck at her belly, as distinct and painful as the snap of an elastic band against her skin. Outside, she presented herself to him again for kissing, but, to her surprise, he only pecked her on the mouth.
She pushed her body against his, feeling tiny beside him, and he let out a great shuddering sigh, as if she were something too bright and painful to look at, and that was sexy, too, being made to feel like a kind of irresistible temptation. Once they were inside it, though, she leaned into him again, and after a little while, by lightly pulling back when he pushed his tongue too far down her throat, she was able to get him to kiss her in the softer way that she liked, and soon after that she was straddling him, and she could feel the small log of his erection straining against his pants.
The internet latches on to new obsessions all the time. Yet this weekend, the item being shared, debated, and dissected was not a Bad Take or a groundbreaking feature or a shocking sexual-harassment expose - it was a New Yorker short story called "Cat Person. Written by Kristen Roupenian (her first piece for the magazine), "Cat Person" tells the story of a young woman named Margot Author: Anna Silman. Cat dating new yorker pentecostal dating rules answer some may think it's the new fall of events. Woman in the podcast features the. Check out what went viral online virtual. Enter your love story before your love story, wild mushrooms, captain kidd. Marta at david geffen hall, with pieces dating. Tom kitt challenges emerging composers and live. Dec 11, The line between a high-brow (New Yorker) and low-brow (social media) converged this week when Kristen Roupenian's short story "Cat Person" caused ripples .
The house was in a pretty, wooded neighborhood not too far from campus and had a string of cheerful white fairy lights across the doorway.
At the front door, he fumbled with his keys for what seemed a ridiculously long time and swore under his breath. She rubbed his back to try to keep the mood going, but that seemed to fluster him even more, so she stopped. The room they were in was dimly lit and full of objects, all of which, as her eyes adjusted, resolved into familiarity. He had two large, full bookcases, a shelf of vinyl records, a collection of board games, and a lot of art-or, at least, posters that had been hung in frames, instead of being tacked or taped to the wall.
As she thought this, she saw that Robert was watching her closely, observing the impression the room had made. But then he was kissing her, throwing her bag and their coats on the couch and ushering her into the bedroom, groping her ass and pawing at her chest, with the avid clumsiness of that first kiss.
There was a bottle of whiskey on his dresser, and he took a swig from it, then handed it to her and kneeled down and opened his laptop, an action that confused her, until she understood that he was putting on music. Margot sat on the bed while Robert took off his shirt and unbuckled his pants, pulling them down to his ankles before realizing that he was still wearing his shoes and bending over to untie them.
Looking at him like that, so awkwardly bent, his belly thick and soft and covered with hair, Margot recoiled. But the thought of what it would take to stop what she had set in motion was overwhelming; it would require an amount of tact and gentleness that she felt was impossible to summon.
Kristen Roupenian Reads Cat Person
She tried to bludgeon her resistance into submission by taking a sip of the whiskey, but when he fell on top of her with those huge, sloppy kisses, his hand moving mechanically across her breasts and down to her crotch, as if he were making some perverse sign of the cross, she began to have trouble breathing and to feel that she really might not be able to go through with it after all. Wriggling out from under the weight of him and straddling him helped, as did closing her eyes and remembering him kissing her forehead at the 7-Eleven.
Encouraged by her progress, she pulled her shirt up over her head. Robert reached up and scooped her breast out of her bra, so that it jutted half in and half out of the cup, and rolled her nipple between his thumb and forefinger.
Cat Person. By Kristen Roupenia n. Relationships Sex Dating Breakups category_books Do Not Sell My Personal Information The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are. Dec 11, A short story titled "Cat Person", published in The New Yorker's Dec. 11, issue, went viral for revealing some harsh realities about gender dynamics in Author: Lea Rose Emery. Dec 04, Your story in this week's issue, "Cat Person," is both an excruciating bad-date story and, I think, a kind of commentary on how people get to know each other, or don't, through electronic Author: Deborah Treisman.
This was uncomfortable, so she leaned forward, pushing herself into his hand. He looked stunned and stupid with pleasure, like a milk-drunk baby, and she thought that maybe this was what she loved most about sex-a guy revealed like that.
Robert showed her more open need than any of the others, even though he was older, and must have seen more breasts, more bodies, than they had-but maybe that was part of it for him, the fact that he was older, and she was young. As they kissed, she found herself carried away by a fantasy of such pure ego that she could hardly admit even to herself that she was having it. Look at this beautiful girl, she imagined him thinking.
The more she imagined his arousal, the more turned-on she got, and soon they were rocking against each other, getting into a rhythm, and she reached into his underwear and took his penis in her hand and felt the pearled droplet of moisture on its tip.
Then his hand was inside her underwear, and when he felt that she was wet he visibly relaxed.
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He fingered her a little, very softly, and she bit her lip and put on a show for him, but then he poked her too hard and she flinched, and he jerked his hand away. The subject of nonconsensual sex-between older men and younger women, in particular-has been very much in the news lately. Do you think of this encounter, which is, at times, cringe-inducing for the reader, as a consensual one?
Will Margot remember it as such? Louis C.
We know that Margot is a college student, but we never find out what Robert does for a living. Is that intentional?
Why a Short Story About a Terrible Date Went Viral
Do you know? He could be anyone. I can imagine Margot not asking Robert what he does, because she intuits that he might be sensitive about answering the question. But is she right? I wanted that version of Robert to exist alongside the possibility of a much more sinister one.
Have you been writing fiction for long? Are you working on a book? I always wanted to be a writer, but I spent most of my twenties doing anything and everything else. I did the Peace Corps in Kenya, and I was a nanny for a while, and then I spent a long time in graduate school, studying African literature.
George Saunders, the author of "Tenth of December," on reading, and writing, and teaching at Syracuse University. By Kristen Roupenia n.
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