‘Cat Person’ by Kristen Roupenian

Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian, 2017

The magic trick:

Recreating every painful detail of a first date

Pretty remarkable story today. “Cat Person” details a brief relationship from its first to last moment. And let me emphasize the verb “details.” We’re talking every single brutally honest detail. It’s painful. You’re bound to recognize more than a few details as being true to your life. Hopefully not too many. From the terrible attempts at flirtatious humor to the awkward bedroom conversation, it’s all here. There’s a dark side too. It’s not just embarrassment. It’s power, pride, fear, identity, expectation, anger, supreme selfishness.

Most importantly, the story also gets at the way these relationships take us from insecurity to enlightened in the most difficult – and often weirdest – of ways. And that’s quite a trick on Roupenian’s part.

The selection:

“Why are you texting all the time?” Margot’s stepdad asked her at dinner. “Are you having an affair with someone?”

“Yes,” Margot said. “His name is Robert, and I met him at the movie theatre. We’re in love, and we’re probably going to get married.”

“Hmm,” her stepdad said. “Tell him we have some questions for him.”

“My parents are asking about u,” Margot texted, and Robert sent her back a smiley-face emoji whose eyes were hearts.

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