Wednesday, February 17, 2010
First of all, if you are a "dude" and you own a cat, use the word "dude" a lot. Dudes use the word "dude."
The discovery that a male friend owns a cat is not unlike pulling along side a a shit-talking co-worker from your Fantasy Football Team at a stoplight only to see that he drives a yellow VW Bug convertible or going through your golf buddy's ipod and notice that the majority of his music has been nominated for a Tony Award. You could have watched that friend blow through five hundred dollars the previous night at the strip club, but no amount of shed singles can change how you feel about that chipper dashboard daisy.
Eight years ago, for reasons to this day, I do not fully grasp, I got a cat. I don't use the term "adopted" because to say "I adopted a cat," is akin to saying "My favorite musician is Lady Gaga" so I use the term "got" and from now on, instead of referring to him as his species of animal, I'll call him by his name, "Howard," a name given in the spirit of such classic lady's men as director Howard Hawks, the insane, but equally wealthy and promiscuous Howard Hughes, and the pervy seafaring fowl, Howard the Duck.
Howard is a brown tabby cat with a white chest and grey and brown stripes. When describing him in public, however, there are only two words. Fat Ass. Why do I describe him this way? Because to describe him as "overweight" implies maternal concern. To describe his as "chubby" would be no different than driving that VW slug bug. If I said he was handsome or god-forbid, beautiful I'd never be invited anywhere again.
There was a period of time that I found myself creating a personality for Howard. I envisioned a scotch drinking, cigarette smoking, elitist who frowned upon technology, thought the world was going to end and believed that American Youth didn't "get it." I thought of him as an obese, lazy movie buff who sits around his midwest apartment all day eating popcorn, masturbating, and talking about how Hollywood has gone to shit and how one day, his autobiographical, Fellini-inspired masterpiece will get made and all will be right in the world. I even thought about making him an aspiring serial killer who sends daunting, typewriter written letters to the editor of the New York Times but whose agoraphobia prevents him from doing any harm to anyone. Even with these personas, I realized that I was still playing some type of sick "dress up" with an animal that would typically find refuge with old ladies who have, by no choice of their own, reclaimed their virginity.
Now, when referring to Howard in casual conversation, I refer to him only by name and when discussing his relationship to me, I use only the term "roommate." When describing him, I pepper my description with complaints including poor restroom habits, sloppy table manners and a lack of respect for personal space. I mention that he constantly talks about wanting to go "hunting" but never gets off the couch. I also mention that he has no sense of humor. When the reveal that this individual is a feline, it is met with far less albeit still some judgment.
Howard is cool because he doesn't care about going on a walk. When I eat pizza or a steak or a burger, he thinks I should simplify my life and limit my diet to one dish. He's totally cool with drinking water out of the fountain and even though he shits in the house, he's nice enough to do it in a box designed for that purpose. He doesn't hump my leg, though I'm fairly certain he watches porn, and if I leave my tennis shoes out for a day, I don't have to worry about them being destroyed when I come home.
When guests come over to my house, they are usually shocked when they see Howard's fat ass making a break to the bedroom (he's hardly a guard cat). It is in this moment of truth, that I feel my face becoming flush and I stammer to answer the question "Was that a cat?" At this point, all I can do is go to the fridge, get my guest a beer, go to the medicine cabinet and grab them an allergy pill and hope for the best...
...and the truth is, if that person has issue with the fact that I live with an obese, aspiring serial killer, fuck em. When they leave, Howard and I will flip on a old Howard Hawks film, talk about how hot bitches used to be back in the 40's days and make it a dude's night...