The Only Response You Need to Read to that ‘Cat Person’ Story

National Review

Dear Margot:

Hi. You don’t know me. But like many others, I feel as if I know you, after reading the crushing short story about you that went viral after appearing in The New Yorker.

The story described how, during your sophomore year in college, you met a man named Robert when you were working in a movie theater, exchanged some funny and flirtatious texts with him, then took a study break to meet him for a snack at a 7-Eleven, which led to an awkward date and even more awkward sex. It’s evident from the tone of hurt, humiliation, and sorrow in your words that this was one of the most miserable experiences you’ve ever had in your 20 years.

Shortly after your thoughts appeared, the Internet teemed with sympathy for you and disgust with Robert, a bearded, paunchy 34-year-old who, during your nauseating single tryst, threw you around in bed “as if you were in a porno.” Many pointed out that, although the sex was consensual, it was not exactly enthusiastic on your part. The author who created you, Kristen Roupenian, tells us what went through your mind as you watched Robert hurriedly pull down his pants before he realized his shoes were still on:

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. It wasn’t that she was scared he would try to force her to do something against her will but that 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.

I’m sorry about what happened to you, Margot. But I don’t think you have thought through how you got into a terrible situation. In all of the responses that people — mostly young women like you — have written about your experiences, few have mentioned the two words in your story that jumped out at me: “seven” and “three.”

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