Tag Archives: cats

The Young, Hip, Cat Lady

My friend wants to get a cat.

Of course, being a compassionate and caring friend, I immediately offered my thoughts on cutesy cat names like “Mitten” or “Cookiemonster.”  I helped her do research on cat breeds.  I even reassured her that cats sounded like great pets (less needy than dogs, more furry than fish).  And at no point did I wonder aloud, “Single and in your twenties… do you really want to get a cat?”

Yes, I think it’s bold and honorable that my friend is trying to shatter the glass litter box.  Cat ownership should not be limited to lonely, hunchbacked, elderly women who wear triangle-frame spectacles and veer wildly off-topic in everyday conversation.  The new Cat Lady demographic will skew younger, less nearsighted, and more lucid.  The cat companionship creed shall read: “Cats: A Young, Single Woman’s Best Friend.”

Haters will say that this is the beginning of the end for my friend.  They’ll say that cats are haughty and antisocial.  They’ll say that she won’t ever meet anyone walking her cat at the park (not anyone worth meeting, anyways).  They’ll say that she will end up an old, lonely, hunchbacked woman with a slew of cats gnawing at her toes, hoping that she’s dead.

But, who needs earthly human companions anyway?  No, a cat’s meow can’t alert us of burglars or help us set up a retirement plan.  Still, a sweet, declawed tabby cat can be a wonderful, low-cost, husband-alternative: one who will stay loyal, listen to your grievances, and obediently appear in your Christmas card photos dressed like a midget Santa Claus.  Plus, once your cat has babies, you’ll be able to fill the other half of your queen-sized bed with those warm bodies.  You may always have to settle for being big spoon (unless you decides to get a tiger), but at least you’ll have someone.

For my friend, it’s a big decision, of course… big enough to warrant a one-hour special on Animal Planet.  I just hope that she considers all the implications of her groundbreaking role as Young Cat Lady.  I don’t want her to have any regrets…

Speaking of regrets (and veering wildly off-topic), this weekend I saw a shirtless hiker with the following tattooed around his left nipple: L  (nipple) L.  And I did.

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There is a Difference Between Saying “I Love Lions” and “I Love Cougars”

Just a decade ago, the word “cougar” meant nothing more than a giant, unpopular mountain cat. Cougars were barely on our human radar, as they were always overshadowed by their cooler feline cousins: flashy tigers, menacing lions, shoe-brand pumas, four-door jaguars, and even the Carolina Panthers. Indeed, while tigers, lions, jaguars, and panthers enjoyed being professional team mascots, cougars wallowed in their relative anonymity.

Then, all of a sudden, the word “cougar” took on an additional meaning. A “cougar” soon became known as an older woman who preyed on younger men. The origins of the transformation are unknown: some believe it started with Demi Moore, while others just blame Canada.

All I know is that cougars are finally getting the love they deserve (referring to both cats and the predatory ladies). There is the TV series “Cougartown,” the reality show “The Cougar,” and countless cougar dating websites, including dateacougar.com and gocougar.com.

The emergence of cougars into our social consciousness has created an interesting double standard. Women who chase after young boys? Simply cougars. Men who chase after young girls? Sleazy, dirty, scumbag predators. Just think: no one would approve of a “Predatortown,” featuring a forty-something male protagonist trolling on high school coeds. Even reality TV wouldn’t go ahead with “The Predator” (instead, they would re-title this “The Bachelor.”)

But now that we have established a new definition for the cougar, other members of the feline family want to get in on the action.  Whereas “cougars” are strictly limited to women over 40, women in their 30s who prey on younger men are being called “pumas.”  Of course, the irony of naming cats after desperate women is not lost on a future cat lady like myself.  So, what other cat metaphors can we come up with?

Puma: Woman in her 30s who preys on younger men

Cougar: Woman in her 40s who preys on younger men

Cheetah: Married woman of any age who preys on younger men

Snow Leopard: Woman with greying/white hair who preys on younger men

The “snow leopoard” is my favorite, and I admit that all credit is due to my friend Anthony who came up with the term.  And given the ambiguity of meaning now afforded to these animals, I’ll just say that Anthony is a huge snow leopard enthusiast… and if you’re wondering if I’m referring to a cat or a grey-haired lady, I will leave that one a mystery.

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Old and Alone With Cats

There have been several incidents in my life that have led me to believe I will end up old and alone with cats.

Why I Will End Up Old and Alone: Three Explanations 

  1. CATSI am highly cynical. I view the world through the eyes of a grumpy old man. I even judge babies: “That one’s going to end up in prison. He looks like a drug dealer.” 
  2. My parents ruined me by telling me that I’m so smart and beautiful, I’m obviously going to find someone else who is also a 10.  Sigh… if only God made other human beings as amazing as myself… And how am I going to find him in this bargain basement of sevens? 
  3. A fortune teller told me so. I was sitting with a friend while she received her fortune (setting: strip mall in Orange County, so it’s obviously legit). In the middle of her little ritual, the fortune teller paused, looked at me, and told me that I was too stuck up and would end up old and alone. For serious. Apparently I look like a lost cause.

But honestly, it’s not just me. At least I have a handful of friends who will also be headed down the old-and-alone path with me. And you know what? It’s for good reason too.

Why No One Should Even Consider Dating Us: Three Reasons

  1. We are selfish. Our careers come first. Even if we hate our careers. And really, our uber-rationality leads us to a short-only investment strategy. We think: why spend so much time and energy on someone with marginal returns right now? I know someone who described an ex fondly, saying, “Cost-benefit wise, it just wasn’t worth it.” 
  2. 04ivy2_650We’re huge snobs. We sincerely believe that 90% of people in this world have at least one of three damning characteristics: too lazy, too stupid, or too asymmetric. I have one friend who will only date Ivy Leaguers (excluding Brown and Cornell)… because obviously, all graduates from the Ivory Tower are hard-working, smart, and enormously attractive. 
  3. There’s an icebox where our hearts used to be. In response to a friend’s semi-breakup, another highly sympathetic friend (the one who will only date Ivy Leaguers) wrote, “it’s use and abuse. that’s how we roll. on with the next.”

Maybe one day we’ll change (see standards graph below).  But honestly, ending up old and alone is likely just a foregone conclusion. The question now is: with or without cats?

STANDARDS1

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Desperate Times Lead to Desperate Measures (or DateACougar.com)

This is for all of you who are single: not tied down, not attached, and enjoying or hating every minute of it. You may be recently single, perpetually single, single and happy, single and desperate, single with kids, single with cats, or single with alcohol… Whatever brand of “single” you currently are, these are my thoughts on how singlehood progresses, by the years.

Note: For the guys, I’ve included a football translation, since everything else written below will likely never cross your mind… or will be at least 10 years delayed.

PREGAME (under 25)

You’re young, just out of college, and starting your career. You can justify going out every night. You don’t really care to be tied down just yet… Why not have some fun?

KICKOFF (age 25)

You were just out of school, fresh-faced and young…and all of a sudden, you’re 25. You’re now on the tail end of your twenties, 5 years away from 30, and halfway to 50. You’ve hit the last government-enforced age restriction, but being able to rent a car without a fee isn’t all that exciting. (At least you’re one step closer to the next milestone… getting your Social Security check in 40 years). So now you’re staring down your future, an empty martini in your hand, while all your friends are getting married and sending you pictures of their adorable gurgling babies. Maybe it’s time to think about settling down…

ADJUSTMENTS AT HALFTIME (age 26-29)

Remember that cute guy in college? The one who sat behind you in class, was mildly awkward, but probably very nice? He’s the guy you’d never think about going out with before, but now… well, you’re thinking about giving him a chance. You start to look at people in a different way: old friends, work friends, and friends of friends… how would they look in your wedding photo? You begin trolling around Facebook to find out if the cute guy in college is still cute… and finally agree to be set up by your mom on a date.

NEW GAMEPLAN (age 30-34ish)

OK, now that you’ve hit a new decade, throw out your old playbook and begin anew. You’re not quite desperate just yet… But yeah, speed dating is no longer all that strange, eHarmony is perfectly legitimate, and there seem to be some nice guys on Craigslist as well. Romance novels and Lifetime movies become idea generators: you start spending less time at the bar and more time at the grocery store…or the art museum… or the library. Even though you may not meet your soulmate at an AA meeting, at least you know that it’s an option, too.

THE HAIL MARY (age 34ish +)

The cute guy from college doesn’t have to be cute, the blind date doesn’t have to be charming, and potential suitors don’t have to be tall, dark, or handsome, as long as they have a job (…and are actually single). You have surpassed the cusp of desperation, where “settling” is an oft-embraced option… right there along with “cougarism”. And there’s no shame in putting yourself out there either, in the form of soul-bearing, heart-wrenching, often-amusing personal ads.

Actual lines from personals in this month’s issue of Harvard Magazine:

“For a really good time, join Science Connection, the singles group for people who can have fun and analyze it too.” – Way to drag down the cool Harvard name even more, guys.

“I’d like to lose my head and find my heart.” – Perhaps we can find your heart at the cheese factory.

“I may be the software for your hardware, in the most non-technological way…. Favorite activity: Burning bright.” – I don’t even know how to respond to this one, other than, “Call me?”

VICTORY (any age)

Honestly, if the above ads represent the pool of people who are currently single, we’re giving up right now. No more ordering salads, feigning interest, and suffering through awkward small talk. We’ve accepted it, welcomed it, and convinced ourselves that this was the plan all along: SINGLEHOOD 4 LIFE.  See, if he liked it, then he should’ve put a ring on it. Now we’re free to flirt with the gardener, make eyes at firemen, and own a bunch of cats without fear of judgment. But… if anyone has any suggestions for cats that can cook and clean, please let me know. I’m desperate.

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An Argument for High Standards

A few weeks ago, I accompanied a friend to visit her fortune teller. After reading my friend’s fortune with a deck of cards, the old woman turned to me and offered some unsolicited thoughts: “You are going to have trouble,” she said. “With men… you are too stuck-up.”

Nice to meet you, too.

Of course, I immediately discounted the fortune teller’s reading; after all, if one could truly predict the future, I doubt one would do so in the food court of a strip mall, which is where we were. Then again, it’s true that I am an incredibly picky person: although instead of “stuck up”, I’d prefer to say that I have “high standards”.

Having high standards is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, it means that you’re not a man-chasing, Tara Reid- channeling, (choose your favorite promiscuous-female-profanity here). On the negative side, sticking stubbornly by your high standards may be unrealistic–either because there is nobody in the world who is tall, dark, handsome, and not an asshole… or because even if you do meet the “perfect” person, your standard-loving neurotic self may not meet their standards.

In the end, dating someone is kind of like buying a couch. You want to get the best couch available, in the price range you want, with all the right features. It should have a good background, ideally coming from a legit place (eg. not Craigslist). You wouldn’t just settle for a couch without doing some research first. No defects. No pleather. No La-Z-Boys. And you probably wouldn’t want to buy the display couch, which is too worn, although you may not want a couch covered in plastic either. After the initial look-over, you also want a couch that is warm, funny, and sensitive: a couch that can carry a meaningful conversation, make you laugh, and share your same values. A couch that you can grow old with. The kind that you never want to put out in a yard sale…

So what’s wrong with holding out for a Corinthian leather luxury sofa? I’d rather have folding chairs in my living room than a second-rate, substandard, Sarah Palin flannel couch. (Unfortunately it’s rather difficult to maintain high standards in politics). Maybe in the future I’d consider settling for microfiber. But as for now, I’ll accept the fortune teller’s prognosis–I’m not going to budge on those high standards, and I’m fine with the prospect of living the single life with cats… After all, cats are hell on couches.

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Desperate Times Lead to Desperate Measures (and DateACougar.com)

This is for all of you who are single: not tied down, not attached, and enjoying or hating every minute of it. You may be recently single, perpetually single, single and happy, single and desperate, single with kids, single with cats, or single with alcohol… Whatever brand of “single” you currently are, these are our thoughts on what you may experience in singlehood, by the years.

Note: For the guys, I’ve included a football translation, since everything else written below will likely never cross your mind… or will be at least 10 years delayed.

THE PRESEASON (under 25)

You’re young, just out of college, and starting your career. You can justify going out every night. You don’t really care to be tied down just yet… Why not have some fun?

OPENING DAY (age 25)

You were just out of school, fresh-faced and young…and all of a sudden, you’re 25. You’re now on the tail end of your twenties, 5 years away from 30, and halfway to 50. You’ve hit the last government-enforced age restriction, but being able to rent a car without a fee isn’t all that exciting. (At least you’re one step closer to the next milestone… getting your Social Security check in 40 years). So now you’re staring down your future, an empty martini in your hand, while all your friends are getting married and sending you pictures of their adorable gurgling babies. Maybe it’s time to think about settling down…

ADJUSTMENTS AT HALFTIME (age 26-29)

Remember that cute guy in college? The one who sat behind you in class, was mildly awkward, but probably very nice? He’s the guy you’d never think about going out with before, but now… well, you’re thinking about giving him a chance. You start to look at people in a different way: old friends, work friends, and friends of friends… how would they look in your wedding photo? You begin trolling around Facebook to find out if the cute guy in college is still cute… and finally agree to be set up by your mom on a date.

NEW GAMEPLAN (age 30-34ish)

OK, now that you’ve hit a new decade, throw out your old playbook and begin anew. You’re not quite desperate just yet… But yeah, speed dating is no longer all that strange, eHarmony is perfectly legitimate, and there seem to be some nice guys on Craigslist as well. Romance novels and Lifetime movies become idea generators: you start spending less time at the bar and more time at the grocery store…or the art museum… or the library. Even though you may not meet your soulmate at an AA meeting, at least you know that it’s an option, too.

THE HAIL MARY (age 34ish +)

The cute guy from college doesn’t have to be cute, the blind date doesn’t have to be charming, and potential suitors don’t have to be tall, dark, or handsome, as long as they have a job (…and are actually single). You have surpassed the cusp of desperation, where “settling” is an oft-embraced option… right there along with “cougarism”. And there’s no shame in putting yourself out there either, in the form of soul-bearing, heart-wrenching, often-amusing personal ads.

Actual lines from personals in this month’s issue of Harvard Magazine:

“For a really good time, join Science Connection, the singles group for people who can have fun and analyze it too.” – Way to drag down the cool Harvard name even more, guys.

“I’d like to lose my head and find my heart.” – Perhaps we can find your heart at the cheese factory.

“I may be the software for your hardware, in the most non-technological way…. Favorite activity: Burning bright.” – Thanks for the “non-technological” disclaimer. Could you now explain what “burning bright” means?

VICTORY (any age)

Honestly, if the above ads represent the pool of people who are currently single, we’re giving up right now. No more ordering salads, feigning interest, and suffering through awkward small talk. We’ve accepted it, welcomed it, and convinced ourselves that this was the plan all along: SINGLEHOOD 4 LIFE. Now we’re free to flirt with the gardener, make eyes at firemen, and own a bunch of cats without fear of judgment. But… if anyone has any suggestions for cats that can cook and clean, please let me know. I’m desperate.

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