(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Sam the Cat,” a story about a man’s inability to understand why he is attracted to a man he sees at a party, begins with the narrator’s extended meditation on his past girlfriends and his attitudes about love and sex. Sam Beardson has had girlfriends ever since he was in the second grade and will probably have one until he dies. He particularly recalls one girlfriend, Annie, a model wearing a leather motorcycle coat, whose picture he still has above his desk. He says that he would do anything to get her back and that he needs her to want him again. However, he knows that if she were to come back, he would not want to see her or listen to her voice on the telephone.

Sam has always wanted real love, loves being in love, and is in love with the love drug. His present girlfriend, Louise, is the only person he has ever truly loved. The real problem, he says, is that he loves women in general. He knows that if you give women a normal degree of fidelity, they will let you do whatever you want to them. He says if he were a girl he would have sex with ten guys a day, but then he says he would never want to be a girl, for they have the worst deal in history.

After this rambling five-page monologue about love and girlfriends, Sam describes going to a party with Louise and seeing a tall, skinny girl at the bar with sharp hipbones and an athlete’s bottom. However, when he goes over to have a chat with her, he discovers that what he thought was a...

(The entire section is 539 words.)