We’ve all been there.
Shifting some guy in a club or meeting up with some stranger from the internet.
They ask you back to their place and you consider it for a bit, eventually deciding that you’ve had enough to drink for this not to be awkward.
He makes you a poorly mixed gin and 7up (flat, it’s all he had in his fridge) and starts trying to kiss you while you absentmindedly watch Blue Planet.
Before you have sex he tells you that he’s never met anybody like you before. He calls you another girl’s name and you’re not attracted to him at all.
It’s consensual, but it’s bad.
So very bad.
Unless you regularly (and honestly) recount your sexual experiences to other women, you might think that you’re the only one who’s been having these kinds of nights.
You assume that you’re the only one who finds it difficult to find really good sex – everybody else seems to be having it, after all.
You think you’re the only one who’s ever had these experiences.
But you’re not. You’re definitely not.
A short story called Cat Person was published in the New Yorker this week.
Written by Kristen Roupenian, it tells the story of a young girl, Margot, who starts dating an older man she meets during a shift in work.
She starts texting this guy, Robert, fairly consistently and they start seeing each other.
One night, after Margot fails to get into a bar (she’s still in college, after all), Robert suggests that they go back to his place.
He’s repeatedly told her that he has cats, but she doesn’t see any when she gets there.
I won’t spoil the entire story for you because it is very much worth a read on your own, but what unfolds is a night of awkward movements, sloppy kisses, and very disappointing sex.
The story then moves on from that night and presents a representation of a rejected man that is both accurate and horrendously recognisable.
A few stand-out lines from the text include:
“It seemed awful, yet somehow it also gave her that tender feeling toward him again, the sense that even though he was older than her, she knew something he didn’t.”
“Insisting that they stop now, after everything she’d done to push this forward, would make her seem spoiled and capricious, as if she’d ordered something at a restaurant and then, once the food arrived, had changed her mind and sent it back.”
Roupenian’s story didn’t so much move me as make me feel like I had been in that exact situation myself, probably more than once.
And even though I had, seemingly, so had many, many others.
You can find the full text of Cat Person here.