Cat Person - New Yorker's viral hit

This short story has been blowing up on social media.

It’s interesting to me to see the reactions to this story. Some people really dig in for one person or the other, but I see them both as operating in bad ways.

Thanks for linking it. It was okay, I am really not sure why this gets to be one of the 0.0000000001% of short stories that gets widely read. The amount of ambiguity in the story is good, and I suppose it is very timely given its themes.

Perhaps my problem is that I couldn’t relate to either character at all, and that many other people are finding strong parallels with themselves or past people they have known. To be honest, I think the story would have been more powerful if it left the last word out, as that tips the scales clearly against one of the characters (at least in my view).

After thinking about it for awhile, perhaps the popularity can be explained by the fact that it is short and very simply written (so everyone can enjoy it without challenging themselves), and at the end you can enter a large social media discussion about which of the two are worse. Kindof like a semi-literary version of the blue/black vs. white/gold dress that caused a social media explosion.

Team blue & black

Team white & gold represent!

Unlike “The Dress”, which neatly categorises all of humanity into two labels that are utterly unable to understand each other, the mature response to this short story is that they are both idiots.

So true. I was informed on twitter that I am Robert, that we (dudes, I am pretty sure the person meant “all men”) are all Robert.

But what I was really wondering was “why is the New Yorker publishing a story that, themes aside, appears to have come straight from my second grade reading book”?

Yeah, this. So, the big reveal is that I wouldn’t be interested in hanging around either person, and I just wasted 15 minutes of my time reading a story about them hooking up.

Not sure it’s worth reading or the discussion - but here I am typing. As a guy, maybe biased, but I feel that especially with the last word the story becomes just another Nancy Reagan morality piece; it’s designed for parents to share with their teenage daughters to convince them not to have sex, and that strange guys are creepy even if they look normal at first. No, you need years of friendship and then preferably marriage before you have sex.

No wonder it’s popular.

Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to Levar Burton Reads. This short story, the paper menagerie by Ken Liu, had me in tears in my car. Please read it instead.

Yeah, this whole thing is weird. I don’t do social media but somebody actually told me IRL (LOL!) that it was worth checking out and I’m wondering … why? I mean it makes me half feel bad for these unpleasant people who clearly don’t belong together, but it also kind of reminds me (sorry, sharing time I guess) of the four years I spent in an east coast city where I didn’t know anyone and how desperately lonely I was. So while this guy acted out much more jerkily than I would have (I mean, I hope) I kind of felt for him. And while I didn’t really like the girl who just apparently couldn’t say no and figure out how to gracefully extricate herself, she is 20 and probably doing about as well as one might expect from a woman that age.

So yeah, TL;DR version - holy shit am I glad I’m off the dating scene.

Yeah I think I am married for life, pretty sure, but I do imagine how nuts it would be to date at age 46. There are whole swaths of it I would not miss one bit, but then again… being older and having a much higher DILLIGAF quotient would make it lower stress, too.

Of course it doesn’t help that a friend of mine, who is a fairly good looking dude, got divorced (long story, not really his fault) and then started dating and telling me how crazy the modern scene was, as in, how many older women are open to fast sexual relationships.

OK, I read the story. It’s … sad.

Dudes, learn how to kiss right. Maybe these two people were a bad match, fine, but that part should have been fixable!

Holy cow that was bad. Really, really bad. I thought the New Yorker had some kind of reputation for good writing. Whew. Got bored about 200 words in, had to skim the rest. Nice lazy ending right off Reddit.


I look at them more as a couple of fuckups rather than idiots, since idiot seems to imply an incurable condition. And who among us hasn’t known, or likely even been, a fuckup at one time or another?

For relationship stories, I kind of like Gift of The Magi. That’s a classic. You should be able to retell good stories yourself, not rely on first year creative writing dialog.

“A date,” she said to her imaginary boyfriend. “He called that a date.” And they both laughed and laughed.

WhyTF would you link that here!? You knew it would induce people to actually read it. Someone is getting coal in their stocking, and if you live nearby, maybe one through the front window too.

It liked it. I thought it rang pretty true to a lot of unfortunate hook-ups/relationships I’ve witnessed (maybe even been part of?). Of course, most of these hook-ups take place between people in their late-teens and early-twenties, but everyone doesn’t have to move at the same speed.

I’m not terribly surprised it’s bringing out reaction from insecure men who’ve been on the receiving end of that text. That can be a harsh look in the mirror, for sure.

Someone IRL told me to read it too – in fact, she said I should read it because a chapter of the novel I’m writing reminded her of it. Holy hell! That’s bad news.



I had no idea the emojis got italicized in quotes. Heh.