It's pretty rare for a short story to go viral these days. It's not catchy enough. It's not a meme. Where are the pictures? Well, there is one horrifying picture illustrating Kristen Roupenian's New Yorker story "Cat Person" of two mouths kissing, but that's probably not why it's so popular.
The story itself is pretty simple. It's about a girl named Margot, who is 20, meeting a guy named Robert, who ends up being 34. The two meet at her job, flirt, have one terrible date and bad sex, and then part. The tale is told from Margot's perspective, and shows the confusion of being a young women trying to figure out men. At a certain point, it's very clear that Margot doesn't want to go through with having sex, but she does anyway, not knowing how to extricate herself from the situation.
What seems to be striking most people, is how familiar it all feels:
that cat person New Yorker essay is chilling. I can't stop thinking about it— ˗ˏˋ Dara ˎˊ˗ (@dara_burg) December 11, 2017
I want an investigation on how she wiretapped my inner monologue— sebastian gawker (@libbycwatson) December 9, 2017
But there are lots of people who don't get the story, especially men, who feel if the genders were reversed, everyone would hate the story. There's even an entire Twitter account just dedicated to guy's reactions to the story. Many seem to think it's actually a news article, which is very weird:
There are also people who object to the portrayal of Robert's body in the story as fatphobic:
Here’s a disheartening thing: that Cat Person story was all over both my Facebook and Twitter, so I read it and not a single person who shared it thought to mention how fucking fatphobic it was.— Julie Murphy (@andimJULIE) December 11, 2017
So..............................could you all not put some sort of fatphobic content note on that Cat Person story or did y’all just not notice it??????— scary and warm (@jodielayne) December 10, 2017
Y I K E S.
complicated thing idk how 2 talk abt/dont feel allowed 2 talk abt is that the cat person piece is v good, but my body resembles the bad robert & i never wanna take my clothes off ever again is it possible 2 not be fatphobic or anti-hair when talking abt bad people idk idk sry bye— Jess Riz'allah🌻👽 (@JessRiz) December 10, 2017
"Cat Person" is evoking a lot of feelings, so it's clearly touched a nerve in people.
tons of women in my feed are sharing the new yorker “Cat Person” story but not many men; which is unfortunate bc it’s like a secret window into a private experience our majority has suffered thru & if anyone needs to read that shit it’s men.— Anya Jaremko-Greenwold (@AnyaJaremko) December 10, 2017
I’m seeing so many takes about Cat Person that revolve around Margot being “selfish” and “vapid”.— Twas the Nat Before Christmas (@NatPurser) December 11, 2017
1) why are we demanding perfect 20 yr old female protagonists?
2) maybe don’t bemoan the *selfishness* of a young woman who had sex because she felt it would be rude NOT to
it's fitting that the negative reactions to Cat Person are as nonspecific as the general sense of dread that permeates the whole piece— Egg Bruenog (@ebruenig) December 11, 2017
You may not think it's good, but this is a story that has meant a lot to a lot of people. Though it is a little disappointing that it's not about an actual person made of cats, in my opinion.