Kitties made me a fascist. They did not come to me with swastika armbands on their cute little legs, or meow out the “Horst Wessel Lied” while cuddling on my lap. Nor did they seduce me with their deep green eyes, making me drowsy until I could only mindlessly repeat sections of Mein Kampf and “The 25 Points.” No, they forced me into the role so that I could be the best kitty parent possible.
I should mention first that at the time this happened, I was a confirmed bachelor, which means a man who has gotten so disgusted with the drama of everyone else that he intends to be alone until he drops dead, other than trysts and other social engagements. Such a man will be widely proclaimed a cynic and a cad, when in fact he has simply realized that for most people, love is sex and sex is like any other social engagement, namely people using you for their own ends. Even if you’re on top.
The fact was that every time I got close to a woman, she started trying to seal the deal and then “change” me, and I have no use for that. I like myself as I am, thank you very much, and while there are some details I need to iron out eventually, they do not need to be forced upon me all at once as a woman will. If you bring a woman into your life, she will start the infiltration at the periphery because, like kitties, women are craft.
First, she will replace whatever rot-gut you drink with something refined that has half the amount of alcohol. She will also, under the guise of “taking care of you,” subtly insinuate other changes, like No More Staying Out Late, and No Fistfights, and she will probably start confiscating your cigarettes. There will also be some kind of horrible low-fat diet with all kinds of vegetables, and fruits, because women love fruits, replacing your customary steak and mash. She does this to weaken you, you see, because a man fed on fruits, yogurt and sliced bagel-toast is not only weak but deranged, at which point a woman can bash him aside and re-arrange his life for her convenience.
Next, she will present you with clothing, all of which is altogether too tidy and sensible. Then, there will be decorations that just appear around your apartment, alongside the bobby pins and tea cozies and other crap that women haul around with them as if to justify the existence of their sex. And when you are just about to accept these little changes as “no big deal,” which is the first sign that she’s cut your balls off, she will take you out to her favorite stylist and get you a neutered haircut, then tell you it makes you look wise and mature. Men, be wary: a dog will piss on your shoes to mark its territory, and a woman will do the exact same thing.
Then, when she has made you into her perfect little castrated plastic robot, she will decide that you are boring and leave you. There is no way to win except to catch the early part of the cycle, then wave adieu with fond thoughts which are quickly replaced by other ones the minute you walk into your favorite club or the local, siphon off a pint of your regular, and drift off into thoughts of the future and not the past. She will go home, weep a little and complain about you to her friends, who will all think you have a five inch penis no matter what you do, and then scratch off 476 on her bedpost and move it up to 477, and go on “looking for love” elsewhere, even though she will never find it that way.
Gents, the good women knew what they were about early on, and while other women were dating, they found the men who wanted to be married, and walked off with them. The women who are left are the girls, and I say that unironically to signify the lack of maturity to their thinking, who think that you fall in love after having sex, just like they show in the movies. Any woman with more brains than clitoris knows it’s the other way around. So I say: arrive in time for the attraction, stay for the tryst, but be a gentleman and leave before things get complicated.
Now, what this means is that there will be quite a few lonely nights, although those are among my favorite type of nights. Teenagers “party”; men have pursuits, hobbies, passions and social engagements. Social engagements consist of meeting up with other people like yourself who realize you are from the tiny fraction of humanity that is possessed of wit and determination, and so people like you do all of the important things while everyone else just pretends to be relevant, which is why they are all passionate about demonstrating how they are on top of the latest trends. Someone who is actually important, as opposed to these little debutante play-actors, does not follow trends, because trends follow him.
And yes, I say “him,” because this is a world of men, ruled by men, because we are the animal that hunts in the dark and can tell the difference between a good bet and a sad call long before it plays out. Women take care of the details, and if you let one of those take over your leadership, be prepared for perfectly formatted documents with every t carefully crossed and each i diligently dotted, but signifying nothing. Get ready for new plans that are the old plans, just with more moxie. Please do not take my words the wrong way; while I admit to crass stereotyping, mainly because it’s usually accurate, I am not a bigot, or someone who refuses to admit that a woman can have a mind of her own. I am sure she does, have a mind that is, but I am not interested in it, although invariably this does nothing to stop her from sharing it with me.
But in the world of men, social events are not details planned on a regular schedule as women would have it. A woman’s first goal in social engagements is regularity; men want more spontaneity. For us, a Saturday night involves a phone call, a meet up at the club, some drinks or sport, then retiring off to a dark cavernous place to smoke cigars, drink Scotch and talk politics. Along the way, we may meet up with someone with whom we have had a disagreement, and choose to pummel him senseless for our own pleasure. We are apex predators and alpha animals, so do not expect us to behave in a civilized way. This means sometimes, the hunt goes ill and a Saturday night ends up being a stay-in night. And then, most week nights you stay in also. A man needs a comfortable lair, and beyond the obvious accoutrements, this demands something to banish the occasional loneliness, which is why most alpha men own kitties.
This is confirmed fact. If you encounter a gentleman living the single life without regrets, it is axiomatic that you will find kitties in his home, well-loved ones in fact. They will probably have a special blankie or other warm nest that they stay in, not some awful cage so they can be restrained for the convenience of their owners. The single man is more likely to simply lock away everything he cares about and stop giving a damn about the rest, so if someone knocks over a beer onto his sofa, he will shrug it off and reflect on the improved smell of the cushions. There are likely to be special shirts, towels, pillows and mattresses strewn about, probably in places with a strategic view, for these kittens to perch on and enjoy. Many a man specially turns on a television or radio for his kitties while he’s off wasting a day at work.
There is also a flip side to love, which is that one must be a fascist. Kitties need fascism because they are little people in a giant dangerous world and they require restraint to have a decent shot of avoiding injury. In fact, the most fascist kitty parents are the most loving, because they are the ones who care enough to set strong, clear rules so that actual risks are addressed, and that leaves everything else in the open. Your kitty is not going to be at risk if it accidentally eats your quarter pounder with fries, but it could die if it eats certain houseplants, so those plants need to go into a room where kitties never go (or take them to Mom’s, which worked for me). Your kitties need to know that they cannot dart out the door, be underfoot in confined spaces, be near open wiring or dangerous machinery. The first rule is also that anything which endangers me, like kitties underfoot in confined spaces, is also bad, because if I fall and whack my head on a steel countertop, who will feed the kitties? Other than my rapidly-decomposing corpse, which could give them indigestion.
Kitties also benefit from another side of fascism, which is rituals. They need to know that every day, there is a process by which food comes their way. I make a big show of washing the kitty dishes, changing their water, chopping up the raw food I feed them twice a day, and then pouring a small amount of warm water over it so it is at prey temperature. Then the food is presented to them, in the same place, at the same times daily, and I say the same thing, which is (of course) bon appÃ©tit, chats and then I bow with a little flourish, letting them know it is their time to eat. In the same way, I have a ritual whereby I brush teeth, change into pyjamas (only boymen go to bed in boxers) and then sweep my arm at the bed, so they know that they can take their places on the pillows I have set out for them next to mine. It is like a parade or a cultural holiday, a strong signal so they know exactly what is expected of them. This way they are never accidentally doing the wrong thing. There are always signals, and the rest of the time they can do as they please.
As a bachelor, I am no disciplinarian. In fact, my place is usually an untidy tangle of clothing, fishing gear, guns, electronic equipment, books, furniture that I am restoring, and blankets from impromptu naps when the sun moves across the floor and all of us follow it, settling in for a good doze in the warmth. But with kitties, I spend my energy on risks, and telling them what they cannot do, so that they have the most independence the rest of the time. They know that some spaces are off-limits as are some behaviors, but otherwise, they can be as manic as they want. They mostly know that they shouldn’t wreck the place, only the worst dunces of pet owners expect that they can invite wild creatures into their homes and not have a few things get wrecked. Besides, they shredded that pea-green coat that Aunt Edna gave me, so I have to say they have good taste.
It took some investment in their safety and comfort. I have one closet full of things which are kitty unsafe and I have little covers on all the outlets. I put away sharp knives and heavy objects immediately after use. Fascism also means defense against threats, and to me, everyone who is an outsider is a threat, because I have to assume that they want what we have unless they have something better. That well-fed dog two doors down wants to have a sofa like mine, and he might eat up these little cats in order to have it. People might steal them. Squirrels would raid their food, if I left a window open. Protecting my kitties demands that I consider everyone and everything as a threat, mainly because they are. There are a dozen single women within two blocks who would seize these kitties for themselves and they would not do as good of a job of mothering them as I have.
Fascism also means that you are invested in your people. I know, the old joke that goes, “You may not be interested in government, citizen, but government is interested in you!” Except that it’s not. Other than spying on us, collecting taxes or fines for double parking, and stopping us if we commit too public of a crime, government has no interest in any of us. We are the raw material it uses to make its power, and as long as we pay our taxes, or at least enough of our taxes, it does not care about our existence. In other words, it cares about us when it needs something from us or we screw up. But with my kitties, I care about them all the time, because I seek them out and want to play with them and talk to them. You do not invite a creature into your house and treat it like a decoration. They are little beings too and I treat them much like anyone else I know, except that they do not communicate with words, just body language. But for our interaction, that is enough.
I suppose that to most people fascism seems like a bad thing, but to my mind, the big problem is that most people are crazy and might hurt my cats. I actively endorse fascism in order to protect my little furry friends, but also so that I have a system where they will have good meaningful lives and never feel the mix of anomie, doubt, ennui, schadenfreude, ressentiment, uncertainty and egotism that seems to be the norm out there in the human world. Instead, they live blessed little lives which I am glad to share with them. They do not complain when I drink or smoke too much, they never try to get me to clean up or get a haircut, and they enjoy guy things like hunting, fishing and tossing around a football (or small catnip mousie, whichever is at hand). Thanks to fascism, my kitty people have a great life. Maybe it will work for you.