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I can imagine Margot not asking Robert what he does, because she intuits that he might be sensitive about answering the question. Maybe he’s playing to her ego by pretending that she intimidates him; maybe he’s trying to undermine her by implying that she’s a snob; maybe he talks a lot about the fact that she’s in college because he’s fetishized the idea of dating a college girl. Margot, and the reader, can project practically anything onto Robert, because there’s so little there.

of the story, Robert calls Margot a “whore,” so I hope that most people lose sympathy for him then.

It’s reflexive and self-protective, and it’s also exhausting, and if you do it long enough you stop consciously noticing all the individual moments when you’re making that choice.

It’s in this context that Margot decides to have sex with Robert.

We decide that it means something that a person likes cats instead of dogs, or has a certain kind of artsy tattoo, or can land a good joke in a text, but, really, these are reassuring self-deceptions.

Margot’s sense of Robert and his motivations keeps shifting throughout the story. Do you think that she ever actually interprets his thoughts or behavior correctly? G is very happily in her own relationship, a relationship that’s lasted much longer than any of Chris’s post-conscious uncoupling relationships.story in this week’s issue, “Cat Person,” is both an excruciating bad-date story and, I think, a kind of commentary on how people get to know each other, or don’t, through electronic communication. The story was inspired by a small but nasty encounter I had with a person I met online.I liked writing Robert’s side of the conversation, on the other hand, in part because I felt like I was his analogue as a writer: both of us were trying to imitate how someone younger would talk, always on the verge of a slip that would give the game away.The subject of nonconsensual sex—between older men and younger women, in particular—has been very much in the news lately.

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