Editor’s Note: Brian’s article originally ran on Thought Catalog. We’re rerunning it here with his permission.
It’s a difficult predicament, walking into a party where you know no one. We all handle it differently. Some of us pretend to read the longest and most fascinating text message in the history of phones. Others power-drink Jack-and-Cokes until the bartender starts hiding all the bourbon.
But not me. What I do, very simply, is scan the room for the people who look most willing to talk about their cats.
They’re not hard to find. Usually they’re also standing by themselves, with a little bit of fur on their pants, and a shy little smile that says "Sometimes my best friend scratches me." I did this at a party this weekend, and before long I had found another cat weirdo who was more than willing to spend an hour of a Hollywood networking party discussing the pros and cons of robotic litter box cleaners. (Pros: You’re able to maintain maximum distance from poops. Cons: The machine usually breaks in under 24 hours. But oh, how glorious those 24 hours are.)
Is this the most productive way to live my life? No, probably not. But I’m comfortable with it. Cat people understand things in cat terms. And at the end of the evening, I did get this fine cat lady’s phone number. So there’s something to be said for the romantic benefit of being, well, a lunatic. As I’ve written before, being a cat owner is not exactly the most masculine image you can present to a female caller. But it has taught me a lot about having a relationship. With a human being. I date human beings. That’s clear, right?
Here are some dating tips I’ve learned from my pet.
The game of love is about playing hard to get, and who understands hard to get better than cats, who may or may not even be aware that we’re alive? Sure, you could dog it up and lick whatever random stranger passes you on the street, but then what are your affections worth?
You wanna get someone’s attention, you do exactly what my cat does:enter a room, look at me like I don’t exist, then go back into the other room. It gets me every time!
People in relationships hurt each other all the time, often without realizing it, so it’s important to stand up for yourself. I’ve learned from my cat, Cheese, that nothing puts an exclamation point on one’s dissatisfaction better than a well-placed puddle of urine. If I get her the wrong food, she pees somewhere. If I’m away from home too long, she pees again. It’s like living with a passive-aggressive water fountain.
Unpleasant? Sure. But also instructive. Your boyfriend didn’t text you back last night? Sure, you could swallow your feelings, or you could sneak into his bedroom and pee in his slippers. Every relationship comes down to communication. And also maybe a little bit of urine. Thank Cheese for the lesson.
Actually, wait, no. That one doesn’t apply to humans. Don’t date someone who drinks out of the toilet. Moving on ÔÇª
Too many relationships end from people being polite. If you want something from your partner — ask for it! Even if it’s 4 a.m., and your partner is asleep because he has a big pitch meeting in the morning. And all you really want is for your partner to go to the kitchen and put more mush in your bowl. Or stand next to you at the window while you look at what might be a bird, but really is just a leaf. Wanna know what I opened my eyes to before sunrise this morning? This.
That is someone who is not afraid to assert his agenda. Admittedly, it would be nice if that agenda was a bit more of an emergency than wanting to be scratched, but we all have needs. Tell your partner what you need. But maybe wait until he’s awake.
In my cat’s case, these realities are any loud noise, but feel free to transpose to your own situation.
When you think you’ve truly found the one, it can be hard to let him know how special he is, and not just another fling. Saying "I Love You" is risky ÔÇö so let me recommend a safer method. Push your hands/paws into your beloved’s stomach, as if you’re rolling out some biscuits!
Cat people know that a happy feline will knead you with her paws, so why not try it out with that lucky lady? Sure she’ll think you’re a psychopath, but once you explain, there’s a reasonable chance she’ll be touched. (While, deep-down, still continuing to think you’re a psychopath. But hey, that’s the risk you take when you take tips from an animal.)
Brian Donovan has written for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, NPR, Chappelle’s Show, CNN, Fox News, and Comedy Central, and can be seen regularly making fun of famous people for no reason on Vh1. He lives in Los Angeles and takes orders from his cat, Cheese. You can email him at ThoughtCatalogBrian@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.