Ferdinand L’Apogee’s latest novel, Night Spots, dropped this week, and the Internet has already chosen a clear favorite among the diverse and enigmatic cast inhabiting this surreal mystery thriller: Pritchard, the irascible, silver-tongued proprietor of the Viper’s Tongue Roadside Inn. But as we’ve come to expect from L’Apogee, surface appearance can be deceiving. It didn’t take long for certain perceptive readers to float a curious but compelling theory: that the character we know as “Pritchard” is actually a woman. Here is a breakdown of five of the biggest clues.
5 Clues Pritchard Is Actually a Woman in Ferdinand L’Apogee’s Night Spots
1. The note under the bed
The theory that Pritchard might be a woman was first suggested on the r/nightspots subreddit of popular discussion website reddit.com by user u/fartquaffer. Focusing on an enigmatic detail from Chapter 12, fartquaffer wrote, in a post titled “What if the note under the bed was addressed to Pritchard?”:
Okay, so there’s been a lot of theories about the note McMurtry finds in Chapter 12, and I’ve loved seeing your theories on this, but I had an idea that I haven’t seen covered yet. Everyone is assuming that the note was supposed to be for the previous tenant of the room and/or Clarice and/or Lewensby, but what if it was actually written for *Pritchard*? This is just a theory at this point, but do we actually have any evidence against that? “But u/fartquaffer” I hear you ask… “Doesn’t the note say ‘To my mommy’? Which means it has to be addressed to a woman right?” Yes, the term “mommy” does imply a (cis or trans) woman. To which I reply…..how do we know Pritchard *isn’t* a woman? If that note was really for Pritchard that changes *everything*. What do you think?
This initial post set off a firestorm of replies, crossposts, and memes mocking the theory (for example, the thread was crossposted to the r/iamverysmart, r/TopMindsOfReddit, and r/Cringetopia subreddits). However, it gained traction among some readers. The second most upvoted comment at the time of this writing, from user u/notime4unicorns (a frequent poster in the r/lapogee subreddit), contains nearly 1,000 words of additional evidence supporting fartquaffer’s theory.
2. Pritchard’s wardrobe
Which leads us to Clue #2. Once notime4unicorns’ Reddit following got wind of the theory, it snowballed quickly, with a dozen threads popping up over the next two days. The most popular of these was a thread titled “More evidence Pritchard is a woman,” also by u/notime4unicorns. The full post verges on 3,000 words and covers six meticulously analyzed details (a few of which were debunked or challenged in the comments or later posts by notime4unicorns themself). One clue, however, has gone on to become a cornerstone of the theory:
Third, let’s examine the contents of Pritchard’s wardrobe, described on page 211 (the “snooping” scene). We learn that “…Pritchard was a great lover of silks and sensual things. The wardrobe was a veritable souk of ribands, shawls, sashes, veils, camisoles, kimono, slips, girdles, garters, hosiery, bloomers, sarongs, saris, petticoats, gowns (particularly those of the Delphic variety), robes, stoles, swimming things, and a variety of other articles whose purpose McMurtry could only guess at, all in silk and cashmere and crushed velvet and dyed in every color imaginable. […] A cloying, spiced perfume hung over everything, infiltrating McMurtry’s nostrils and stinging his eyes, tongue, and throat.” Now, it’s 2021; men, women, and pets are allowed to wear whatever the f___ they want to. The presence of bloomers, garters, and petticoats is not enough on its own to pin this down 100% as a description of a woman’s wardrobe. But it’s certainly suggestive, is it not?
After notime4unicorns’ posts were cross-posted to Twitter, the theory went viral, being shared and debated across social media platforms with a Yanny/Laurel-like fervor. The three clues below are just a taste of this neverending dispute.
3. The sex scene
Self-proclaimed “Twitter scholar” Marcus di Blasio (@WordSoupOrSalad) brings us this next theory, which focuses on one of the novel’s more provocative passages:
.@jstubbes what about the McMurtry/Pritchard sex scene on p234? L’Apogee writes its “like tunneling through greased velvet” + that “the pussy had a pleasant scent, like a freshly minted penny” 😂😂😂 #FemmePritchard #NightSpotsNovel
4. The photo on the mantel
Amongst L’Apogee’s typical whirlwind of clues and red herrings, this seemingly mundane detail can be easy to miss, but tumblr blogger eatmyovaries didn’t overlook it. Read their interpretation below:
OKAY bitches buckle in because shits about to get WILD. Anybody read the description of the photo on the mantle in the Vipers Tounge lobby on page 63? “There was a photograph on the mantel in a cherry-wood frame, angled slightly so as to reflect the glare from the transom windows.” Seems like an awful lot of detail to describe one photograph right? Almost like Lapoge wants us to focus on this??? But it gets crazier. What does Lapoge write next? “While he waited for the turn-down service to be completed on the room, the proprietor absorbed in the tedious business of filling out books, McMurty amused himself by tilting his head this way and that by imperceptible degrees, seeing if he could dispel the glamor cast on the photograph by the setting sun.” So, basically he’s trying to get a look at what this picture’s of. IDK….. could it be a CLUE?? “At last he succeeded, revealing at once the image beneath the glass…” Now LISTEN UP becaus this part is KEY: “…the inn’s proprietor, reclined on a settee, nursing a cherub-faced infant on one engorged teat.” “Teat” sounds a lot like “tit” right? I looked it up and, IT BASICALLY MEANS THE SAME THING. Now ask urself what type of person has tits? Pritchard = woman CONFIRMED????
5. She is exclusively addressed as “Mrs. Pritchard” or “Ma’am”
The final clue comes to us from YouTube influencer PoppinFuzzles. In a reaction video that has been viewed more than 25,000 times, “PoppinFuzzles REACTS to Night Spots Secrets Revealed,” the popular vlogger weighed in with trademark sarcasm. We’ve included a transcript of the relevant segment, but the whole video is worth watching for Night Spots fans:
And what is with these bullshit conspiracy theories about the Pritchard character being a woman? You’re following all of these little breadcrumb trails like L’Apogee is motherfucking QAnon [X-Files theme plays briefly], and I’m just like, PoppinFuzzles, has it finally happened? Have I lost my goddamned mind? [insane laughter] Have I gone round the twist like that Australian children’s TV show that aired on Fox Kids for like a month in the mid-’90s and was immediately forgotten about? [Round the Twist theme plays briefly] Do I have bats in my belfry? [bats chittering] Am I fucking cuckoo for Kroger brand Cocoa Puffed sweetened corn cereal? [air horn] Guys, you have to stop with the excavating every little detail like you’re an adventure archaeologist. [Indiana Jones theme plays briefly] I know you want there to be some conspiracy, but there just isn’t. [long pause] Because Pritchard is obviously a woman! Every goddamned character in the bognam– [beep] Every goddamned character in the goddamned book calls her “Mrs. Pritchard,” except for Lewensby, who calls her “Ma’am.” I went through my copy of Night Spots and highlighted– [pages shuffling] One hundred and sixty-three. That’s how many times the words “Mrs.” and “Pritchard” appear next to each other. Why is this even a debate? [gavel taps]
So, what do you think? Are you convinced that Pritchard from Night Spots is actually a woman, or do you take the narrator at his word that she’s a talking housecat? Let us know in the comments below!