This is the opening of a short story I'm writing:
1996 was the year I became obsessed with animal suicide. I guess you can say it became my reason to live—the sun in my sky, the very air I breathed. I talked about it the all the time: at home, at college, at parties, even at family reunions. So I wasn't surprised when people decided to keep a distance from me. I didn't blame them, though. No one wants to picture a drowning cat while enjoying a meal.
This new found passion also interfered with my dating life. It turns out animal suicide isn't the best topic for a romantic dinner.
"Animal suicide?" The guy I was dating stared at me across the table as though I had brought him some bad news. "That's what your research is about?"
"Well, it's more like a side project," I explained. "It's so interesting! Now I'm reading about thirty cows that threw themselves mysteriously off of a cliff. No one knows the reason, not even the person who wrote the article. Strange, isn't? What kind of existential crisis could lead cows to do that?"
The guy never called again. Too bad. I was beginning to like him.
I though the gender of the narrator would become apparent after the dinner part. But someone told me he couldn't figure out.
Should I make the gender of the narrator more obvious? If so, how?