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April 27, 2007

We like the nightlife, we like to boogie.

When I first contemplated dating (it took me forever, ya'll know, almost seventeen months to even be able to hold such a thought) my girlfriends and I would try to come up with some pre-rehearsed thing to say to any potential date who might ask if I had a cat.

Any single woman in the United States with more than one (singular) cat knows what I am talking about here. If you are married and think this should be no big deal, I understand. I was married once. I thought it was so cute having four cats. I did not have to think then of going on dates and disclosing this information to male-type people in the Los Angeles metro region. Then I got single again and trust me... it was a challenge.

Shannon suggested, "Maybe you could say, 'Oh, I have cats where you sort of take a sip of water at the plural part?"

And Jennifer suggested, "Well, you could always say you have two cats, and then when they see four explain that those were your ex-husband's cats? Maybe?"

We all laughed and also it was awkward so we stopped talking and sipped wine.

The Number Of Cats issue was surprising (see: "previously married and hadn't considered this," above) and kind of scary in the beginning. Single men (at least in L.A.) have some kind of weird thing about women with cat(s). There are even personal ads that specifically state "I am looking for a woman with no damn cats." This is another reason why I despise personal ads and yet somehow cannot stop reading them. It is much like Pringles. You hate the way you feel after eating the whole can but still, you eat the whole can.

I don't know why guys are this way about felines but since I didn't previously know this weird angle on dating, it scared me a little. Would this be just one more way I was undesireable? Would dating forever be a please-cats-stay-hidden foray into awkwardness?

But when I actually began to meet guys and go on dates, I discovered something interesting. As soon as you tell a potential date you are divorced, they do not ask if you have feline residents. They ask if you have children. It's very Pavlovian.
1) "Are you married, have a boyfriend or anything?"
2) "No, I'm divorced."
3) "Oh, do you have kids?"

So later I discovered this was an excellent time to finesse the cats into conversation.

"Do you have kids?"
"I have four mouths to feed."
"REALLY?"
"Well, no kids. I do have a few cats. They're cute."

That worked about 30% of the time. About 70% of the time I got some weird response, "How many cats?" and "Why do girls like cats?" and my favorite, a simple and defiant "I hate cats."

To that I replied, "So does Sobakowa. She hates cats." And of course I did not date that guy.

Now that I have dated all sorts of guys and have many good, bad and funny stories to tell because of it, something even more surprising has happened.

I don't care at all what some guy thinks about ALL MY cats.

In fact, my furballs are so darn cute and personable they have become a delightful, if somewhat hairy, litmus test for all future dates. "Are you married, have a boyfriend or anything?" "No, I'm divorced." "Oh, do you have kids?" "Nope. But I have four, count them! FOUR!! Cats. I totally rock. Cat ladies are sexy."

Some guys say: "Um, ok well, I gotta bounce, check you later."
Some guys say, "I love cats!"

And really now, isn't it better to just find out right at the get-go? It really is better for everyone -- for me, for the guy, and of course, it is better for my four furry litmus markers of love.


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Posted by laurie at April 27, 2007 9:20 AM