American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Date Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On his way home, Bateman stops to purchase some porn videos and magazines. The man working at the store (a “fucking Iranian”) mentions to Bateman that his nose is bleeding. When Bateman arrives home, there is a new doorman, a Hispanic man whose English is not very good. Bateman tries to tell him to alert the superintendent that there is a leak in his ceiling, but has trouble communicating, gets frustrated, and storms off. In the elevator, he sees the famous actor Tom Cruise. He’s always known they lived in the same building, but never seen him. Bateman pushes the “Penthouse” button and smiles, telling Cruise he is a big fan and enjoyed him in the film Bartender. Cruise corrects him; the film was called Cocktail. Their interaction is very awkward, and Cruise notes that Bateman’s nose is bleeding, before quickly letting him off on his floor.
Bateman has two harsh interactions with people he perceives as less valuable than him: the man working at the store and the new doorman. He makes racist remarks about both of them. These two interactions are in stark contrast to his interaction with Tom Cruise, someone who he clearly views as more valuable than himself. With Cruise, Bateman is a completely different person, meek and seeking approval. Though Cruise does not treat Bateman as cruelly as Bateman treats the others, he is not warm to him. Nosebleeds are not uncommon for heavy cocaine users, though Bateman does not explicitly make this connection for himself.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
In his apartment, Bateman gets a call from the woman with whom he has a date tonight: a model named Patricia. He tells her he has another call on the line (he doesn’t) and asks her to call back. When she does, he puts her on hold for a few minutes before finally answering. She tells him she’s gotten tickets to see a friend play at Radio City, and asks him to join her, instead of dinner. Bateman is displeased. He tells her how much he hates concerts and live music, and though Patricia begs him to come to the concert, he refuses. Bateman tells her how excited he was for dinner just the two of them, and that he had made a reservation at Dorsia, the newest and most exclusive restaurant. This catches Patricia’s attention. After all, the concert is playing for a few nights, and she could just go see it then. It’s a date: she’ll come to Bateman’s at 8 and they’ll go to Dorsia.
Bateman’s “call waiting” game for women is not completely unlike the game of dangling dollars in front of the homeless. In this situation, he dangles his attention (something he assumes is very valuable) in front of a woman (someone who he assumes is desperate for that attention). Bateman’s hatred for live music is a strange quirk, however the one time he is in the presence of live music (later in the novel) he has quite an alarming experience, and it’s unclear if that is a one-time instance. The restaurant Dorsia is held in incredibly high regard by Bateman and his friends, and it will recur as a motif throughout the novel.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Bateman has not made a reservation at Dorsia, and it’s notoriously difficult to get one. He calls the restaurant, feverishly asking for a reservation, and is laughed at and hung up on. He scours his Zagat guide for another restaurant, choosing a place called Barcadia, where he is narrowly able to get a table, and insists that Patricia will just have to like it. Though he’s already been to the gym, he exercises, showers, and gets dressed. He wonders what Patricia will wear tonight. He prepares a bottle of champagne (not his best, but Patricia would never know the difference), and decides – though he isn’t quite sure just why – that Patricia will be safe tonight. He will not use his knife to cut, torture, and murder her.
Having a reservation at Dorsia is a matter of status, and Bateman is desperate to maintain his. He is clearly thrown off by his inability to get in the door, even though he knew this would be the case when he lied to Patricia in the first place. Bateman’s flaunting of his mercy for Patricia is an instance of him, in a way, threatening the reader with a dangerous act; he tells us that he won’t, but that he is capable of and used to doing such things.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Patricia arrives late and Bateman meets her in the hallway. It’s not until they’re in the cab on the way to the restaurant that he tells here they aren’t going to Dorsia after all. Patricia is incredibly upset and refuses to talk to him even while he tells her what a luxurious and well-reviewed place Barcadia is. All through dinner – ordering drinks, appetizers, and meals – Patricia ignores Bateman completely. Dinner drags on mercilessly, and when they finish, Bateman takes Patricia in a cab headed for Tunnel. On the way there, he thinks to himself how, even though he “wouldn’t mind having sex with her body,” he could never bring himself to treat Patricia tenderly after such an evening.
Patricia’s interest in a date with Bateman is clearly superficial: she wanted to go to her friend’s concert (and who knows what material reason was pulling her there) but simply received a more “high-profile” offer from Bateman. She then feels she has been cheated in this transaction and is upset. Bateman doesn’t seem hurt by it, but annoyed. His comment about having sex with her body is another example of his objectification of women.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
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At the club, Bateman gets drinks, though Patricia continues to ignore him. He looks around and notices that there is almost nobody else in the usually-packed nightclub; it’s almost as if he and Patricia are the only ones sitting near the bar. Eventually, he gets up to explore the club, expecting her to follow him, but she doesn’t. Bateman finds a man, asking if his name is Ricardo (“Sure,” he says), and asks to buy some cocaine from him. He purchases it and heads back to Patricia. On the way, a young girl tells him she likes his wallet. He tells her he’d “like to tit-fuck her and then maybe cut her arms off” but she doesn’t hear.
It’s definitely strange that Tunnel, one of the most popular and exclusive nightclubs in the city, is empty on such a night. It is left unclear if this is a reflection of the way the evening with Patricia has been going (poorly) or an incorrect perception of Bateman’s: perhaps he is so used to the life of only going to the most exclusive and exciting clubs that this one seems empty and boring to him, regardless. The drug dealer answering with “Sure,” while maybe not behavior out of the ordinary for a man of his profession, is yet another example of mistaken and confused identity. Bateman’s suddenly brutal remark to the young girl is another example of the way violence and sex are connected in Bateman’s world, and the girl’s lack of reaction also shows the rather surreal way the novel treats Bateman’s dark side—it’s often unclear whether he is actually saying or doing the twisted things he describes, as other people sometimes ignore or don’t seem to notice them.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Bateman finds Patricia and asks her if she wants to do some coke. They go to the bathroom, and when they arrive, Patricia explodes, apologizing over and over again for her behavior tonight, and telling Bateman how much she really enjoyed Barcadia and that they could go to Dorsia some other time. Bateman is unamused, and in a daze can think of nothing other than the drink he wants and the pill he’s craving, a Valium.
Patricia’s admission of guilt over her behavior is interesting; it can be read as either a break in the novel’s shallowness, or just Patricia realizing her strategic mistake and attempting to backpedal so she can be taken to Dorsia another night. We’ll never know, as Patricia never again appears in the novel.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon