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In the bar, Margot thinks of Robert as “a large, skittish animal, like a horse or a bear,” that she is taming, coaxing to eat from her hand.
But what would happen if she stopped trying to coax and pet and charm him—if she said, bluntly, that she doesn’t want him, that she’s not attracted to him, that she’s changed her mind?
Our initial impression of a person is pretty much entirely a mirage of guesswork and projection.
When I started writing the story, I had the idea of a person who had adopted all these familiar signifiers as a kind of camouflage, but was something else—or nothing at all—underneath.
I wanted that version of Robert to exist alongside the possibility of a much more sinister one.
I have more genuine sympathy for Margot, but I’m also frustrated by her: she’s so quick to over-read Robert, to assume that she understands him, and to interpret his behavior in a way that’s flattering to herself.
Those eyes where he thought he’d seen love, but not the kind of love he’d hoped to see. She was coming his way and he had to do something – so he turned to his side and asked the first person he saw: “Would you mind being my boyfriend for five minutes?
” Stroking his own cock, and wondering if Ryan was using a similar rhythm on himself, Seth wished Ryan was thinking about him.
At the same time, she’s already speculated about the possibility that he could kill her and has become anxiously aware that she’s entirely in his territory, that he could have rooms full of “corpses or kidnap victims or chains.”Louis C.
K., who has obviously been in the news a lot lately, echoed Margaret Atwood’s line “Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them” in a standup routine, by talking about how the equivalent of a woman going on a date with a man would be a man going on a date with a half-bear, half-lion.
Especially in the early stages of dating, there’s so much interpretation and inference happening that each interaction serves as a kind of Rorschach test for us.
We decide that it means something that a person likes cats instead of dogs, or has a certain kind of artsy tattoo, or can land a good joke in a text, but, really, these are reassuring self-deceptions.
That Robert is smart and witty is true, but does the fact that someone’s smart and witty mean that he won’t murder you (as Margot wonders more than once), or assault you, or say something nasty to you if you reject him?