Ghlaghghee (and Me) in the New York Times
Posted on October 4, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 88 Comments
Because it was apparently a slow news week, with nothing else of note to write about, the New York Times asked itself the following question: “are we at a place in history where a straight single man is allowed to own a cat and not have his sexuality questioned?” Because if decades of Hollywood films have taught us anything, it’s that the only men allowed to have cats are the token gay male friends of spunky female protagonists. And Hollywood never lies or stereotypes — it’s a hotbed of liberal thought, after all — so for a straight single male to own a cat, well, see. That’s just weird.
So naturally I had to be contacted for the story, because I am famous on Teh Intarnets for owning a cat (and for taping bacon to it). And, while not actually famous for the following, I’m also known to have at least the outward trappings of heterosexuality, which is good enough for the Times (I was not asked to actively verify my straightness, which probably would have been difficult during a phone interview in any event). Since it was ostensibly a story on single men, I did feel obliged to note that I was in fact married, but since I confirmed to the reporter that I did own a cat before I got married (the late, lamented Rex), she let that one slide.
So here’s a rather silly article on straight, single men and cats, in which I am quoted and Ghlaghghee is mentioned. I’ll note to you that the New York Times actually sent a photographer out to the house, who took pictures of me and Ghlaghghee (and also of me and Zeus), but apparently we did not make the photographic cut, at least for the online version of the article. Maybe we’re in the print version. I can’t say.
Now, to be fair to Abby Ellin, the New York Times reporter who contacted me about the story, she was aware this story was, well, fluffy, which prompted the following exchange:
Abby Ellin: You know, this isn’t Watergate or anything.
Me: Nonsense. You’re about to blow this whole “straight single men with cats” thing wide open. I smell Pulitzer.
Abby Ellin: That’s not a Pulitzer you smell, it’s a cat box.
Ms. Ellin was a lot of fun to talk to. We talked for about twenty minutes about cats and men, which got boiled down to a couple of quotes because that’s the nature of a feature article with several sources. So the readers of the article miss me talking at length about the phenomenon of symbolism as it applies to repressed groups, and how these symbols lose their power the more members of a group are allowed to participate in the mainstream public social discourse, and so on and blah blah blah; I suppose the fact I just went “blah blah blah” may be why it’s not in the actual article.
But, look: these days, the way you know a man is gay is not that he owns a cat, it’s that he introduces the man standing next to him as his husband. When you have that option available, prognosticating sexuality via choice of pet seems a bit silly. Straight men have always owned cats because cat owning is not indicative of sexuality; it’s indicative of liking cats. Straight men have always owned small dogs, too, while we’re at it. My grandfather owned a pug. If you were to have questioned his sexuality, he probably would have popped you in the nose. Hey, he was an Italian man of a certain age at a certain time. What are you going to do.
As I went in knowing the subject of the article was silly, I can’t complain about the inherent fluffiness of the piece, and I think it’s a fun piece as these things go. The only thing I would note is I think the way my section of the article is put together could suggest that I inherently equate heterosexuality with “strong men” and homosexuality with shrieking ninnies. Since I know at least one gay man who is an ex-Navy SEAL, and several others who could kick my flabby ass up and down the street all the merry day long, allow me to suggest this is not a stereotype I go in for personally, merely one I know is out there and am commenting on therein. Thank you in advance for accepting this clarification, gay men of my acquaintance. Please don’t kick my ass.
I’m sure there is a correlation between Mac users and cat owners to be made. I think the term ‘beta male’ was included.
Aha! I thought there was more to being gay than having the cat. The cat doesn’t agree and thinks I’d be even more fabulously gay if I gave her more treats.
Patrick @ 1
And here I thought that ‘beta’ had something to do with videotape.
Let the record show that those are two different Patricks.
Congratulations John on the newspaperlyness of it all, fluffy, Ghlaghghee, or Zeusly notwhithstanding. ;)
Nargel – Yes, well, until I looked it up, I thought it was a siamese fighting fish, but those would be betta males…
This is too funny. Author authors have reporters come to them to ask them about current events, politics, future trends, symbolism in their work. You get a call from the New York Fracking Times about your cat!
*rolling on the floor*
That’s so Scalzi!
Anyway, when I interview people for articles, I think they often feel cheated if they only get a tiny quote, feeling that they’ve wasted my time and theirs and they didn’t contribute anything. In reality, usually they have practically written the piece for me, and were either pithy enough or inarticulate enough to need only a small direct quote.
Wow. I had no idea that cats carried Teh Gay. I’m going to have a talk with mine. I definitely want the strand of Gay that gives a guy fashion sense.
In fact, Mr. Scalzi thinks that dogs are for the weaker of spirit, since the dog is, in effect, “your wingman.”
“If you’re feeling insecure about your space in the world, you get a dog because he will always back you up,” he said. “He’s the insecure man’s best friend.”
What does Kodi think about this?
What, you think she can read?
I was going to post something witty, but horked cola all over the place and must needs clean the computing area.
What, you think she can read?
I assumed that you explained her the whole story when the NYT photographer came visiting. To save the photographer from being eaten, I mean.
O Great Scalzi, it is about time Magnificent She got the global recognition She so richly deserves, even if it is in such a disreputable and obsolete rag as The New York Times and played in a retarded and disrespectful manner.
And of course the entire article should have been on the front page and completely about Her. Certainly no mention of you is necessary. Your only role is to obtain correctly done photographs, something that is quite hit or miss with you.
And it goes without saying – but we feel compelled to say it anyways, since you are not exactly the quickest, despite Her Infinite Efforts – this is hardly worthy of a Seal of Approval Award.
Indeed, your latest deficient behavior has led the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club to entertain the notion of creating a Seal of Disapproval Award.
We are sure you do not want to receive that.
The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club
Bacon cat really changed things, didn’t it?
Oh, you missed the opportunity of a lifetime John! After the interview, you could have had the reporter call Chang!
Just image how the article would have changed:
Mr. Chang, 39, a yoga teacher in Portland Maine, and dedicated fan of Mr. Scalzi’s website said “The Beauteous and Shimmering Ghlaghghee is barely worthy of your newspaper, and should be moved the front page immediately”. I soon realized that Mr. Chang is most likely insane, and possibly all the people who read Mr. Scalzi’s website.
LOL – I was typing that at the same time Chang was typing his! Oh god, I can’t stop laughing!
Well, the yoga teacher is Chang. The guy who is OCD about my cat is Chang not Chang. There’s a difference.
You’re Wrong- Evil Geniuses are always allowed to own cats, regardless of sexuality.
Oops! Too many damn Changs :-)
Apologies to “Yoga” Chang then.
Well, I know John is the epitome of manly heterosexuality. And Ghlaghghee, I’m sure, is straight as well.
But I have my doubts about the bacon….
O Explanatory Scalzi, please leave the psychoanalyzing to an entity more qualified – such as Her Most Glorious Shimmering Radiance.
OCD? Let us examine your deficient explanation.
Obsessive – well, duh. Only the mindless, uncultured, insensitive, and unsophisticated can fail to be obsessed by Her Perfection.
Compulsive – not so much, although it is clear that you need immediate and proper feedback to reinforce your correct behavior, and you need disciplining when your behavior is lacking.
Disorder – epic fail. It is those who do not worship Magnificent She who are disordered. As an example, look at the lunatics of the Anteater-Thing Appreciation Society. Kooks one and all. Luckily, most of them are held incommunicado at local asylums. Occasionally one will escape and pandemonium results.
The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club
PS – This “yoga” Chang individual is best distinguished by being referred to as Previous Chang.
Christian – Who are you calling possibly insane?
OCD = Obsessive Cat Disorder?
Oh, for goodness sakes….
As a member of the so-called media, I’m so glad to see that the “paper of record” is making good use of its resources.
Although I won’t agree with you on the “wingman” nonsense, I do agree that “silly” covers it pretty well.
That is not the only story involving Ghlaghghee this morning on the interwebz. He gets a nod on http://www.hereticalideas.com on their fiction side. Pretty funny story too! It’s nice to see a cat get their due!
Wait… having a cat makes me gay?
I’ve been looking at the wrong kind of porn for waaaaaay too long. Damn.
What about Burt Reynolds in “Shamus”?
He was quite macho in that movie and owned a cat.
Actually, I believe it was Morris the Cat that played “the cat” in that film and come to think of it Morris was pretty macho too.
Anyhow, I’m just saying.
I’m a dog person, myself…
…but congrats to Ghlaghghee on her NYT debut!!!
RE 17: There is a major difference. Yoga Chang is sane.
Plus, now that you’ve appeared in the NYT, they will someday print your obituary. (Unless this isn’t your first appearance, in which case I apologize for not paying proper attention!)
Not so sure about Ghlaghghee, though of course they _should_.
“Unless this isn’t your first appearance, in which case I apologize for not paying proper attention!”
In fact, I’ve been in the New York Times three times, first in 1990 (when I was Ombudsman for the University of Chicago), and then in December of 2006, when the NYT Book Review had a whole page on me, and then this time. This doesn’t count my appearance on the NYT Best Seller list, which I don’t think was in the actual paper (due to being on the extended list).
The guys at the Times got it all wrong, John. It’s not men (or women or other) who own cats, it’s the cats who own men (or women or others). Therefore, the question that should be asked is: are male cats who own men gay? And female cats who own men are heterosexual? This is the big dilemma!
Look, cats vs dogs is an easy formula. Cats are miniature tigers in nature. If you were the size of a mouse, you’d learn right quick that cats are not nice creatures to those smaller than they are (and quite often not to those larger than they are). Cats are intelligent, and don’t generally like to be ‘trained’ (unlike humans). Cats are much more independent than dogs (and humans).
Dogs. Well, what else can you say about an animal that gets so happy when you come home after a day at work that it pees on the floor?
Cats I can respect.
And what’s with that dog SMELL?
Cats are meant to …? oh, I missed a memo someplace. Cats mean you can put up with blood-loss and septicemia from dealing with something with five pointy ends and one stinky end, all of which are deployed with the vigorous enthusiasm of a buzz-saw whenever flea treatments, worming pills or collar-changes are involved.
Cats also mean you can go without sleep when the mighty warrior brings you a live mouse at 0430 hours, yowls you awake then chases the adrenaline-sodden little rodent around the bedroom the moment you’re conscious. And if you’re as slow waking up as I am, disembowels the thing on the duvet.
I defy anyone to say that cleaning up mouse guts at oh-dark-hundred whilst fending off said many-pointed buzz-saw lacks masculinity.
Personally I prefer the company of independant, self-sufficient animals one opposable thumb away from world domination to drooling, clingy yes-men. That is to say, dogs. It’s a personal thing, I’m not decrying dog lovers, of course. I’m even jealous, every time I’m flushing a sodden wad of loo roll wrapped around dissociated mouse components away before the first bird even thinks of tweeting in the morning.
Wow, it’s only been three days since the Whatever entry “Bowing to Popular Demand”, and I thought Ghlaghghee would get a break from the limelight. But a NYT writeup? That’s dangerous! Never satisfied, fans of the Bebaconed One will clamor for some Ghlaghghee/Lopsided Cat/Zeus slash-fic. There’s a four percent chance you’ll provide it for them…and the chances are getting better all the time.
With regards to cats and heterosexual men in popular culture, Hugh Grant was forced to choose between his cat and his pregnant Julianne Moore in the forgettable comedy Nine Months. And the Holden Caufield-like protagonist in the Newberry Award-winner It’s Like This, Cat was all about the ladies when he wasn’t hanging with his little furry friend.
I have three thoughts on this:
1. Owning ONE cat, maybe, but no single straight guy owns more than two.
2. John, you must introduce me to your ex-SEAL friend.
3. If the gay men of your acquaintance were pissed off enough at you to do violence on your person, and we had your ass in our power, why on Earth would we resort to kicking it?
I was wondering how I had missed this important piece in our paper when I read the fine print at the bottom:
“A version of this article appeared in print on October 5, 2008, on page ST2 of the New York edition.”
I guess the online NYT works in a different time continuum.
gdi Zopher, I was trying to drink my coffee and now it’s EVERYWHERE…
I’m a little puzzled by the Times reporter referring to Ghlaghghee’s name as an “ode” to George Bernard Shaw.
Very fun article, John. I just wish they had the bacon cat picture on their site. Perhaps they think everyone has seen it.
DH owned a cat before we were married. I had a cat, too. Right after we were married we got a third. Since then, we have always had at least two cats.
We didn’t get dogs until after we had kids. We needed someone in the house who listened and did what we told them to do.
Wait, Wait. Just pictures of the Magnificent She and TempCat Zeus?
I’d think if they wanted to press the straight male issue, they’d have a picture of you and Lopsided Cat with a freshly killed caribou at his feet.
The “trend” piece, with its obligatory sentence “Mr./Ms. X is one of a growing number of…,” is endemic to modern-day journalism. The topic is almost secondary. Although the people quoted (including our host) were certainly entertaining, genuine reporting involves interviewing sources who have divergent points of view.
Thought experiment: Imagine Harlan Ellison’s 1969 novella “A Boy and His Dog” if Blood had been a cat – an equally carnivorous one.
[Personal history: inherited 3-year-old male cat, or he inherited me, in 1976; we were teamed up, as it were, until 1992. Upon his demise a successor soon turned up, from the household of a co-worker who I later learned was/is comedian Nick Swardson’s mom (I lived in Mpls. at the time). Met my wife-to-be later that year, and we each brought 1 cat into the marriage. Outdoor cats all.]
As a member of the Kodi Appreciation Society, I am pleased to see Ghlaghghee make her NYT debut.
She still doesn’t shoot frickin’ laser beams at enemies of the Scalzi household. Kodi is still the coolest animal in Ohio.
Kodi Appreciation Society
P.S. I have never been held incommunicado in an insane asylum. Not once. Not even when I was attending college in Fresno and was called a kook.
For about a year, I was a straight male cat-owner, having retained custody of our cat Star after my ex-wife departed for Finland (taking the other cat, Maui, with her).
Sadly, shortly after I brought my new girlfriend home to live with me, Star departed this vale of tears for the Eternal Catnip Fields. (She was 16 or so, a good old age for a cat.) Our belief is that she stayed with me long enough to ensure I wasn’t alone anymore…and then, her work here was done. She also spared me the decision to put her down (a wrenching one, as my girlfriend could tell you) by slipping away on the way to the vet’s office. She is, however, greatly missed.
That should read,
“For about a year, I was a straight SINGLE male cat-owner…”
Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense with the article subject.
Checking in as another single straight man (up until recently) with cat. Cats are lower maintenance and are excellent girlfriend screeners.
How would you like to try asking Mr. Blofeld about his sexual orientation? You know, the guy who tangled with James Bond multiple times?
Yep, I’ll be waiting over here behind this bulkhead…don’t mind me.
Lauretta, who has been snickering at all the wonderful wisecracks.
I am reveling in the delightful ambiguity of Anonymous’ first sentence. One does wonder what “up until recently” refers to, there.
“But, look: these days, the way you know a man is gay is not that he owns a cat, it’s that he introduces the man standing next to him as his husband.”
Hear hear (or here here, or whichever). But what a dangerous road to begin down.
I mean, pretty soon, we might stop questioning the sexuality of men just because they wear nice clothing, or can speak well, or can cook, or can dance.
And then where would we be? We might all be infected with Teh Gay, even though we are not sexually attracted to other members of our own gender!
(why, yes, I am a man whose sexuality is often questioned for various reasons none of which have anything actually to do with sexuality. Why do you ask?)
Also: congrats on the NYT mention, John. And didn’t you just recently become a New York Times bestselling novelist?
Pretty soon, you’re going to own the joint. (and when you do, can you institute a comics section? Because that’d be rad)
Since nobody asked yet… tell us, John, what did you really feel, deep inside, when you picked up the phone and somebody on the other side of the line told you “Hello Mr. Scalzi, this is the New York Times. We’re writing an article ABOUT YOUR CAT. Do you mind answering some questions?”
They read too much into everything. I’ve always had cats. We had horses when I was a kid and whenever you have a ton or more of mouse food you will also have mice and other rodents. Pretty much a feline buffet. A barn is a one room food chain. The horses are gone but there has always been a cat around. Both of the cats I have shared space with as an adult with just showed up. I introduced myself and they decided to stay. And during all that time of cat ownership not once did I ask myself what does this say about my sexuality. I will agree that my cats past and present have been and are very important to me. Only a couple of the women that I dated over the years ever got an introduction to my cat.
rickg 40: gdi [X]opher, I was trying to drink my coffee and now it’s EVERYWHERE…
Bwahahah! I scored a YOMANK!! *dances in fiendish glee, plans to make Schadenfreude Pie*
…um, sorry rickg.
John 50: Maybe Anonymous is going into his second year of college. You never know.
Rembrant 54: You do know that we’re making fun of the idea that any man with a cat must be gay, right?
Yes and got more than a few chuckles reading the posts.
@Xopher, 55 (“You do know that we’re making fun of the idea that any man with a cat must be gay, right?”): you may be, but it doesn’t seem like the NYT was. Fluff piece, perhaps, but fluff piece that says “ZOMG, maybe guys who own a cat aren’t Teh Gay, even though Hollywood has taught us otherwise for a go-jillion years!”
As if that’s enlightened, or something.
I’m a firefighter/EMT, is that close enough to a SEAL?
(grin and wink)
Sorry, Scalzi, the comment thread about your marvelous cat and your magnificent straightness has devolved into homosexual flirting.
Teh Gay, it IS catching!
Better tell Palin it’s not a choice, it’s an infection. Then we can be quarantined together… which would be a Fabulous Dating Opportunity.
(Congrats on the NYT mention, even if it was a Silly Season article… all press is good press, ne?)
Xopher, you almost made me spew soup onto my computer screen with that “second year of college” thing. I was going to tell my wife about it, but I figured it would be a tad complicated.
For the record, I’m straight, had a cat when I was single, and we now have (sigh) four. Although we wish it was 3. And it could be interpreted as 6, until recently 7.
Man I didn’t know people had such complex algorhythms for determining homosexuality. My husband and his father are both straight and are cat people.
Hugh57@#41, I think she meant “nod”.
Or do mean why Shaw?
Because he wrote that the rules of spelling in English are so lax that one could spell “fish” as “ghoti” using the “gh” in “tough”, the “o” in “women”, and the “ti” in such words as “motion”.
PS: John, I didn’t think it appropriate to mention it on AMC but Wrath of Khan writer Jack Sowards’ nephew Bryan was one of the creators of my viral video.
JJ Brannon @61: I knew about Shaw, I just couldn’t figure out why she thought thought it was an “ode.”
I agree, “nod” makes more sense.
There’s only one direction this can go from here:
BACON CAT: THE MOVIE!
I could get behind BACON CAT: THE MOVIE But mostly for the promotion merchandise. I want a Ghlaghghee action figure. Or a coloring book!
Xopheron 04 Oct 2008 at 2:09 pm
Owning ONE cat, maybe, but no single straight guy owns more than two.
I’m a straight guy (open to changing the ‘single’ part) with four of them, and if you’re so certain of your
amusingly baseless assumptions, please leave me alone with your sister(s) for an hour or two.
In my experience, a single man who is a US Marine is more likely to be gay than a single man who owns a cat, by a factor of around three to one.
Of course, there juuuuuust might be some sample skew there.
The Phegmatics song “Funny That Way” catalogs all the reasons the protag is assumed to be gay (from his Speedo to his love of interior design). It does not mention cats. QED.
And I missed the “well, fluffy” gag in your post. Shame on me.
Hey, the two evil fuzzy little bastards who live in my house maimed me, a former military guy, and fought off bald eagles – I know they both consider themselves vicious manly predators.
On the other hand, cats have a brain the size of a peanut, they can’t even understand the concept of pointing. A dog understands pointing, you point, the dog looks at what you’re aiming at. You point in front of a cat, they look at the end of your finger. I’m not really sure what that says about the single gay/straight thing, but I suspect a cat’s perversity is just another aspect of their ongoing efforts to confound us.
I call foul! The Scalsicat LJ has not been updated!
Grr.. accidentally hit return… (and spelled Scalzicat wrond).
Will 57: Am I the only one who was kinda making fun of the NYT?
Shirtlifterbear 58: I’m a firefighter/EMT, is that close enough to a SEAL?
Hmm, not really, but in the sense that B vitamins are not close enough to vitamin C! Does sound interesting though. Although if you’re a bear in the usual gay sense my skinny twink once-and-future boyfriend might be more into you than I am.
kcarlile 59: Xopher, you almost made me spew soup onto my computer screen with that “second year of college” thing. I was going to tell my wife about it, but I figured it would be a tad complicated.
Yeah, see, that’s the advantage AND disadvantage of an ongoing community. It develops in-jokes that are hard to explain to outsiders.
…we now have (sigh) four. Although we wish it was 3. And it could be interpreted as 6, until recently 7.
I’m assuming you have four adult cats and two kittens and that you had a third kitten but managed to hide it in the big bag of zucchini your friends graciously consented to take off your hands, and that they’ll never speak to you again after you pulled such a dirty trick. Otherwise some sort of virtual cat, or creature that’s only arguably feline must be involved, and those seemed unlikely.
hugh57 62: I think a lot of people, even journalists, don’t know the difference between an homage and an ode.
CartoonCoyote 64: I’m a straight guy (open to changing the ’single’ part) with four of them, and if you’re so certain of your amusingly baseless assumptions, please leave me alone with your sister(s) for an hour or two.
If you’re so certain, you could leave yourself alone with ME for an hour or two. I’ll bring chocolates and liquor and massage oil, and you’ll leave a changed man. I mean, the cats kinda clinch it, all I have to do is bring you out!
Seriously, post #38 wasn’t. Serious, I mean. I’m not really stalking Scalzi hoping to bend him over, either. I’m a fan, but honestly, married men…been there, done that! :-) And I bet the SEAL has a husband too. I was no more serious about the first part, or about the first part of this post.
Also, my sister would kick (yes, kick) your ass if you tried anything. Your tiny parasol would not save you from the anvil that would drop on your head! (Please note: that was a riff on your posting name, and in no way intended to insult your manhood OR your heterosexuality, which I’ll really, truly take your word for, honest.)
Miko 66: In my experience, a single man who is a US Marine is more likely to be gay than a single man who owns a cat, by a factor of around three to one.
Hi Miko. I’m Xopher. Wanna introduce me to your friends? (Xopher has “gay Marine” fantasies, like most other gay men.)
Jim 69: On the other hand, cats have a brain the size of a peanut, they can’t even understand the concept of pointing. A dog understands pointing, you point, the dog looks at what you’re aiming at. You point in front of a cat, they look at the end of your finger.
Dogs were bred as servants. Cats were bred as objects of worship (not a joke; look it up). A dog that understands and obeys human instruction has the desired traits, as does a cat that regally ignores what you want in favor of seeing whether your finger looks edible.
Dogs like to have a job. Their idea of having a good time includes running after a thrown ball and bringing it back. Cats believe that YOUR job is to serve THEM; they cannot be trained, not because they lack intelligence, but because they don’t give two beans for what YOU want; whereas your dog will always want to please you.
And by “the first part of this post,” of course I meant the first part of my reply to CartoonCoyote. I was seriously making fun of the New York Times.
Cats understand pointing just fine. They also grok just about anything gestural.
They’re just ignoring you. That’s all. So you’re pointing at a thing. They see the point. The see the thing. They know you want you to interact. They just don’t care.
I can get behind that. When people point at things and yell, the best they can usually expect is for me to blink a could of times and say “So?” or if I’m feeling expansive “Write that in the comments field of a cheque and I’ll think about it”.
What. Who died and made you God?
Xopher, in the interest of clearing things up (and hopefully not spewing a wonderful Gouden Carolus Trippel onto my computer), we have 3 cats that we actually want to have. 1 cat that hates us and thinks we’re going to eat her who we accidentally obtained when she was a kitten. 2 (formerly 3) semi-feral outdoor cats that we had fixed and feed on a regular basis. One of them seems to have joined the choir eenvisible.
@74 Who died and made you God?
And as far as that comments field on the Check, I usually just write “For Sex,” but, you know, thanks for the advice.
Guy. Very straight. I have two cats, and I’m encouraging my fiancee to get two more. Why? Can’t believe no one has made the pathetically obvious joke….duh. On the more serious and less vulgar side, I appreciate the challenge of companions who I can’t automatically boss around.
kcarlile 75: Ah, much is now made clear. It wasn’t that the 2 (formerly 3) were semi-cats, but that you semi-had them. Hmm, since they’re semi-feral…
…well, I recommend you avoid taking up beekeeping. Ho ho ho, tee hee hee.
Xopher wrote, Dogs like to have a job. Their idea of having a good time includes running after a thrown ball and bringing it back. Cats believe that YOUR job is to serve THEM
Which leads me to a famous saying around our family…
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff. ;)
(from someone who has dogs, since his wife likes them – but grew up with, and prefers, cats)
I’m thinking this whole “cats are for gay men” thing is a left over of pre-feminism society, when men considered their wife as sort of a servant who had to do their bidding. Since that was the accepted role of the woman in that time, a single man owning a dog would be looking for the same kind of companionship he was looking for in a woman: unquestioned fidelity, obediance, and the such. Where as in a more modern view of men-women relationships, where a man is looking for a partner to exchange on an equal level (a woman as smart or smarter as he is, who has her own mind and goals and where both members are individuals in their own right), might be more interested in this same kind of relationship with his pet. The cat knows who he is and what he wants, and he’ll give you affection if he thinks you deserve it. It’s a friendship rather than an ownership…
“In fact, Mr. Scalzi thinks that dogs are for the weaker of spirit, since the dog is, in effect, “your wingman.”
Exactly what I’ve been saying for years. And yes, men who own a cat are extremely attractive to me. They’ve passed the initiation of winning that cat’s affection.
Don’t suppose you can ask nicely for copies of the photos? Poor Zeus doesn’t get nearly as much webtime as the other fluffballs.
Single, hetero, and two cats… although “sharing space with a predator” is stretching it a bit. They both find me far more useful as a bedwarming device than as food.
Wow. Not for nothing, but how did Ze Frank and his cat, Annie miss this article (http://www.zefrank.com/annie/navigation.html)? Sad to think his Famous Guy with Cat cred has dropped so low.
Anyhoo, grats on the article. No such thing as bad press.
Xopher: Good thing you were joking. If you tried to take advantage of me on my turf, Daisy (my 16 yr. old tabby) would eviscerate you while purring a happy tune.
The best outcome for all would be you dropping off the chocolates, massage oils (don’t need the liquor; I have plenty) and your sister on my front porch. In exchange for my promise to be a complete gentleman, Daisy will let you keep your intestines.
CartoonCoyote: Ah, but you don’t know what a cat-charmer I am. I’d have her eating out of my hand in no time (not chocolates, though). A little tuna laced with catnip and she’d be putty in my hands.
And I don’t have to “take advantage” of anyone. I’d make you WANT it, don’t you understand? After I soften your brain with my ginger fondants in bittersweet chocolate and my cherries in Kirschwasser syrup in dark chocolate and my dulce de leche in milk chocolate and my Chambord ganache in white chocolate, I’d give you a full body massage (without trespassing on any boundaries you may set) that would leave you as relaxed and pliant as the by-now-purring-and-sprawled-out Daisy, who would never dream of interfering, not that you’d want her to. At that point you’d be willing to do anything I wanted.
And then I’d leave. Because I, too, am a perfect gentleman, and besides I learned my lesson in college about seducing straight men (which is that it can generally be done, if one has no scruples whatsoever and cares absolutely nothing about destroying any friendship with the man in question; since figuring this out I have consistently chosen scruples and friendship over nights of passion). I’d rather be frustrated tonight than have you hate me in the morning. That’s why, later, when straight friends have gotten drunk and hit on me (“experimenting”) I’ve turned them down flat, and acted like I didn’t remember anything either (even though I was NOT drunk).
Also, at my age I don’t really have the energy for the whole elaborate scenario, or rather I prefer to focus it on someone who already wants me, where “doing it” is a given, and my creativity can be focused on variations in how long he’s tied up before I finally…well, I’ll leave it there.
This is what I tell young gay men of my acquaintance who are considering trying to seduce a straight man for real: the best possible outcome is that it will be a complete waste of time. Doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just that all other outcomes (including the rare (despite my nefarious scenario above) “success” outcome) are far, far worse.
Tell you what. Let’s share cats (though in fact I’m allergic to them, a terrible sadness in my life) and chocolate, and leave sex and sisters out of the whole thing, shall we? And if you have a deep need for the last word on this, please take it with my blessing.
I thought it a cute, “fluffy” article. And whilst I might be a married man, if, god-forbid, we ever went separate ways you will have never seen a fight like the one we’d have over our cat. Nations would tremble, armies would cower, and religions would look slightly embarrassed and develop inferiority complexes.
Although I’m not sure it is the sort of news article that will shake our country to its core (those articles typically have “DOW Jones” and “fell” somewhere in the title these days), I’m confused by a response over at Slate. I won’t link it, as I’m not trying to start a fight, but apparently they have a “Bogus trend of the week” columnist who’s sole purpose, it seems to me, is to see how big of an arse he can be to other journalists. I’ve nothing against snark, mind you. I read Whatever and a few other blogs just to get my daily recommended allowance. This guy doesn’t seem snarky, he just seems plain mean.
I’ve often seen bloggers I respect take swipes at Slate, and it’s articles like that which show me why.
your post made me laugh out loud–although i must confess, the pulitzer folk did call me. apparently they are adding a category for excellence in journalism on “gender/feline relations.”
for the record–to channel sarah palin:
The chant, joe (may i call you joe?) was:
That’s not a pulitzer you smell, that’s kitty litter!
anyway, thanks again for your help. i didn’t actually see the paper, as i was out of town–so maybe your photo is in it….
Thanks for your intelligent response to this rather flimsy NYT piece. As a gay guy with a cat (and a partner), I felt frankly insulted by the writer’s need to repeatedly emphasize that the new wave of cat owners were not only male but (gasp) straight as well.