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  • Thewizardguy

    Allison – proving you don’t have to be a guy to be completely oblivious.

    • Weatherheight

      Beating up other people with biodynamic anomalies during the time of your life when you’re supposed to be learning this relationship stuff is tough on everyone. 😀

  • Bob Stewart

    I’m not sure, but this guy strikes me as suspiciously smooth.

  • There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to Clevin.

    It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between dates and friends hanging out, between friend and boyfriend, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Friend Zone.

    Son, if he’d asked her out, she’d have either said yes or no. This is his own fault. Or possibly he’s a creepy stalker. Which explains why he just *happened* to bump into her with movie tickets in his pocket.

    Also, totally pwned by suave Max’s description of what a movie date is like. Now the question is, how many dudes here are going to stan for poor Clevin?

  • MisterTeatime

    He sounded reasonable until “total amateur move.” As if there are professionals…

    • Weatherheight

      Amateur is a loaded word, implying a lack of skill.
      I feel that was very intentional on Max’s part.
      Others disagree.

      We shall see! 😀

    • phantomreader42

      There are people who THINK they’re professionals, but they tend to be horrible people and less competent than they think they are, so that only supports your impression.

  • Jeremy Christian

    Alison’s eye makeup is on point.

  • cyrano111

    I cannot think of Max as anything but a villain, even though there is no real evidence of that.

  • Tylikcat

    It’s like you could compile an annotated list of dick moves.

  • JohnTomato

    Two out of three people in today’s strip are experiencing high levels of awkwardness.

  • Matt Baines


  • Rich The Bluegeek

    Wow. Offhand comment to making out and the date hasn’t even started yet. Bad sign.

    Think I’ll root for the kind-hearted geek on the left. Not that I see a long term future for either relationship at this point.

    • Ian Osmond

      It’s not up to us to root for either of them. It’s up to Alison to decide what she wants. And if she wants Max, then that’s what it is. She has no romantic attraction to Clevin. She has no responsibility to. Now that Cleven knows that, he can be upset about that fact, in private, then get over it, and keep his friendship with Alison without ever letting her know about it or making it awkward, be happy for her if and when she does find someone, and find someone with whom he has mutual attraction to date.

      That’s how it works. Cleven may be kind-hearted, or he may have ulterior motives, or he may be a basically decent but boring person. So might Max. Alison is interested in finding that out about Max, and not about Cleven. And that’s not a problem, unless someone MAKES it a problem — and, if so, it’s the fault of whomever makes it a problem.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    I can’t speak for the rest of the readers, but I am feeling major sympathy pains for Clevin here. D’awwww…sorry pal. Mr. Cheekbones of Darkness seems to be coming with a plan and everything. Though to be fair, movies actually are a pretty bad first date activity for reasons that were listed.

    And wow, as the scene goes on, I am thinking more and more that Al really is that oblivious regarding Clevin’s attempt to get a date with her.

  • Sick unintentional burn, Max.

  • ForeverAflame

    It seems that Clevin might have realized that he and Alison may have a Desired Relationship Mismatch, in which two participants in a relationship have different goals for its nature and extent, and where insufficient or poor communication has not yet made the mismatched goals clear.

    It’s probably one of the most common relationship problems. I trust they’ll resolve it without F.R.I.E.N.D.S.-style drama.

  • MrSing

    If this is him burning someone without even meaning to, it’s no wonder his house caught on fire.

  • gray-haired grad

    Now if they could just get Max to blush, we’d have maximum awkwardness.

  • chaosvii

    That’s right, Clevin! Go on, get!
    This ain’t no amateur hour, Alison here is dating a *professional* (underwear) gentleman. We are a higher pedigree of dater and the *whole world* is our dating locale 😉

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    You know the worst part? The most gut-wrenching part?
    Klevin did everything right. He did everything way too right.

    He was considerate, thoughtful, his intentions clear and honest, and extremely mindful of Alison’s boundaries. He was so perfect, I’m suspecting he’s the kind of guy who used to be a bitter, depressed Nice Guy until some event or person shook him up to straighten his act and become the paramount of excellent behavior of courtship. He’s the kind of guy to have had his heart shattered by the girl he felt entitled to, realized he was an asshole and spent months on the likes of Dr. Nerdlove’s blog to come out a better man.
    But a loser just as well.

    And he “lost” Alison’s affection to someone half of us are willing to consider has a tad too dominant behavior, certainly a questionable one. The blow is even more piercing considering the person judging is very specifically Alison.
    What do you think he’ll learn from that experience? That in the end, being a decent person doesn’t matter. That it’s all about assertiveness, charisma and competition. That it’s unfair, and why bother being good in a world which doesn’t reward you for being good?

    (And I really, really recommend Dr. Nerdlove for everybody who might not know about him. http://www.doctornerdlove.com/)

    • David

      Everything right?

      He keeps asking her on the spot for a date “right now, right this minute”. She keeps telling him, “ask me again sometime”.

      Maybe he should take a hint and actually ask her in advance for a date “tomorrow night, or two nights from now”.

      • ∫Clémens×ds

        That’s what he did both times. He didn’t ask for dates, he put forward his own availability for her to decide when she was ready. That’s not asking “right now, right this minute”. It’s leaving her to make the choice she wanted.

    • Ian Osmond

      So what? Being a decent human being doesn’t mean that there’s romantic attraction.

      Being a decent human being is the baseline. You don’t get credit for not being a jerk. That’s what you’re EXPECTED to do.

  • Jeremy

    I am totally rooting for Clevin in all this…

  • TES

    it’s gonna be a planetarium or he secretly has teleportation superpowers but can’t use them to get out of a fire

    • Walter

      If we want to go with Max as evil…he set the fire to get Alison to show up. He’s a mega-girl groupie. I don’t think that this is the case, but that’s where my mind goes if I try and figure out a way that Max could be a villain.

  • Sage Tuttle

    Well that was just painful to read. Poor Clevin!

  • Spongegirl Circleskirt

    Such fun. Very promise. Much happy. Wow.

  • Eavan


  • Sage Catharsis

    Subtle preference, Paul Thomas Anderson.

  • Relationships are hard, especially if you have never been on a date in your life.

  • martynW

    Speaking as the father of a daughter, Max kind of lost me in the third panel. Talking about making out on a first date, even as a joke, is a red light on the board. I’ll graciously assume Max didn’t hear Clevin talking about a movie before he walked up, but if he did, that’s another red light.

    • Tylikcat

      I’m totally with you. Not because talking about making out is a bad thing, but because he’s clearly staking a claim to her person in a romantic and sexual way, before Alison has granted him that privilege (not to mention the privilege of making it public.)

      • chaosvii

        How is this staking a claim? I really want to know how acknowledging the fact that the date is starting, or anything else Max is doing constitutes “back off bitch, she’s mine” or similar.

        • Monica Gorman

          He’s implying that making out IS going to happen, without first checking to see if Alison wants to make out with him (on a first date, or at all). He’s making a claim on her (if not marking territory with respect to other men). And that’s a sketch thing to do at this point.

        • Weatherheight

          If Clevin wasn’t standing *right there* and if panel 5 from last page didn’t have Max’s head in it (see my other comment about Sequential Art tropes), I’de be with you.

          But if interpreted in the usual way for sequential art, then Max at the very least heard *everything* Clevin said in panel 5 on the last page. Which gives me a great deal of pause.

      • martynW

        Some interesting responses, particularly regarding a comic that is highly sensitive about issues like verbal abuse and respect for women.

        Max isn’t an old friend, he’s someone Alison just met. He has no idea what Alison’s views are, and in my opinion a little restraint wouldn’t be inappropriate until he did. It’s not that these kind of cracks make him a criminal, or even a major jerk. It’s just something I’d mark as a downcheck, and I’d like to think most women would too, even today.

        Yeah, I’m old fashioned. Heck, I’m old. But “making out as a normal first date activity,” never mind having sex, has not, as far as I’m concerned, been a very positive development in human relations. Look at the statistics.

        The “red light” was a matter of my own opinion, not an indication that I would try to prevent my daughter from dating such a person (we fathers all know how well that usually works, don’t we?). Anyway, my daughter is well past her teen years (thank goodness), and is quite capable of handling these things on her own now. So is Alison, who probably doesn’t worry much about someone forcing himself on her.

  • Bo Lindbergh

    … and that was what turned Clevin into the supervillain Infringer (who steals technology developed by supers).

  • Fortooate

    Surprising showing of social grace from Clevin. I’m so proud

    • masterofbones

      Awkwardly leaving without making his intentions clear? Is that was passes for social grace nowadays?

  • Mackenzie Sowers

    Max did all of that on purpose. He basically pissed all over Alison in response to seeing her talking to another guy. No doubt in my mind. Maybe if this were IRL I’d give him benefit of the doubt a littoe, but he was written this way. Each panel takes a lot of work, so each action is shown intentionally. Max was designed by someone who understands body language and dominance behavior.

    If I wanted to make a Clevin feel like shit and stay away from my quarry, I would behave exactly like Max.

    • Tylikcat

      See, and if anyone pulled that shit on me, they’d get a public set-down, because I am no one’s quarry, and no one gets to be possessive or act like they have a title to my body until they’ve gotten permission from me. First one would be laughing. Second one wouldn’t be.

  • LordG

    Clevin, you are mayor of the zone.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    That sounds exactly like the friendzone. When two people are of two different and incompatible affections for one another? Unrequited love is in our world, sadly far too common.
    I believe you are speaking of the entitledzone (trademark), which is when friendzoned people take offense for being in it.

    And that’s terrible.

    • chaosvii

      I have never heard of this “entitledzone” differentiation you’re speaking of. In the circles I run in, what you call “entitledzone” is basically the only unironic use of “friendzoned” there is.
      And by the way, “unrequited love” generally isn’t easily conflated with “entitledzone” but “friendzoned” can and is. This is what the dispute is over, that people frequently interpret friendzoned as entitledzone rather than unrequited love.
      Hell you’re one to talk anyway, nearly every friendzone joke you made in this comment section is basically only funny if you interpret it in the “entitledzone” context, but is hella weaksause if your punchline is “oh his affections weren’t returned and that’s enough of a tragic backstory to make it into the rogues gallery alongside calendar man & baby face.”

      • ∫Clémens×ds

        Okay, pal, here’s the secret:
        I’m not really super serious about “entitledzone”.
        (And “nearly all of my jokes”? I only made one.)

        Although it would be kind of neat to have a neutral world to speak of unrequited love. Also because “the friendzone doesn’t exist” doesn’t really makes sense. What exactly doesn’t exist? How is that mutually exclusive with “she’s just not into you”?

        • chaosvii

          Righto, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal, ol’ friend of mine. You did make exactly one joke with that term. I will have to amend my previous statement
          “Hell you’re one to talk anyway, the friendzone joke you made in this comment section is basically only funny if you interpret it in the ‘entitledzone’ context (all the other friendzone jokes made here by others also benefit from that particular paradigm), but is hella weaksause if your punchline is ‘oh his affections weren’t returned and that’s enough of a tragic backstory to make it into the rogues gallery alongside calendar man & baby face.'”

          As for your other thing: The thing which doesn’t exist is the presumed agency that people have over affection for other people. The idea that somebody imposes a friendzone onto somebody else is false in the general case, if not necessarily the universal case. People don’t choose to love or not love other people, not in any meaningful sense of the word choice.
          Unrequited love (of which we both agree exists) is a matter of hormones and subconscious feelings for which people have no meaningful control over.
          And that’s the heart of this rejection of the term, the unsound argumentation of people who consider themselves entitled to other’s feelings based on things they do to “earn affection.” People that claim that they have been wronged when somebody cannot return their feelings. The things which form the basis of the cultural notion of the friendzone as a thing that people do rather than a situation that people find themselves in, simply are not grounded in true premises. People reject the conclusions drawn from faulty friendzone rhetoric, and for convenience’s sake, reject the term itself as a way of rejecting the nonsense that is too often attached to the term.

          Other people don’t use the term with any of that baggage, and might as well use the term unrequited love for all that they are communicating. I have no meaningful dispute with people who exclusively use friendzone to mean unrequited love and nothing more.
          Why do I have no real problem with that?!
          Unrequited love doesn’t suffer from this baggage of poor use (currently). Unrequited love exists and is not associated with “Oh lamentations! Guinevere dost place me in her friendzone, from which even the bowels of hell are less perilous to escape from!”
          People who reject the notion of the friendzone in common sexist parlance are not necessarily delusional people who disbelieve in the extant nature of unrequited love. If the friendzone didn’t have that baggage, likely nobody would even claim that the friendzone is a urban myth, because there would be nothing worth rejecting about that term. This squabble is about the nonsense associated with friendzone, not the concept of one-sided attraction itself.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    Look people it’s all well and good to attack each and every mention of the friendzone as the pretext Nice Guys use to spew hatred on girls they feel entitled to, but it’s another thing to pretend that the situation where two people consider each other differently (what “friendzone” ostensibly stands for) doesn’t exist altogether. Unrequited love? It’s very much a thing, and it’s painful no matter how selfish a pain it is.

    (Plus let’s hang out as friends and see if there’s potential for anything else isn’t even what friendzone is to people abusing it.)

    • chaosvii

      Oh would you look at that! There is a term that conveys exactly what people mean to say without resorting to phraseology which has a legacy of use that is loaded with sexist assumptions about attraction, social dynamics, “deserving” or “earning” affection, sexual competition, and victim complexes!
      Unrequited love.

      Now I’m not policing expression or anything, but I am going to make a point to have people know that using inferior terms to express oneself tends to result in confusion as to who is using presumptive language and who just lacks the lexicon.

  • Nat

    I think Max has a wicked sense of humour (slightly ironic, maybe stress-related ?) Some won’t like it or will find it inappropriate, especially on a first date … but I want him to be a good person, Alison deserves a nice date, I want her to be happy. 🙂
    And Clevin may be a good guy but it’ s quite obvious that Alison is not attracted to him..One smile, one word, one look may start a relationship. Your heart skips a few beats, something happens, a connection …. Being a good guy is not always enough even if some may find it unfortunate ! It’s much more complex than that… She’s strong, and maybe she wants an equal,not a follower, a mixture of thoughness and sweetness. I bet it’s tough to constantly intimidate people, so don’t underestimate how enjoyable (erotic ?) it can be to her to meet someone who’s not afraid to take a chance, who seems confident and takes charge … It’s my opinion, anyway 🙂

    • chaosvii

      I’m all about that wicked humor, and I can never understand why people take stuff like that as if he’s willing to be an asshole rather than just play with expectations and generally be irreverent.

  • Tylikcat

    I am totally with you in being annoyed with all this friend zone nonsense.

    But I don’t think we know what’s going on with Alison. She didn’t have the immediate physical attraction she had with Max. I wouldn’t jump from that to no not ever. (I mean, maybe. I’m certainly not saying she should be or anything.) Attraction is complicated, and runs in different ways.

  • Peter

    Yes, Feral is gay. She had a crush on Alison.

    • phantomreader42

      Is it established that she’s exclusively gay, or could she be bi? I’m suspecting the former, but I don’t remember.

  • Tylikcat

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by humility.

    I certainly am not opposed to him bringing up making out for modesty reasons, or, oh, no, talking about sex is forbidden sorts of crap. I’ve had far raunchier public flirtation. What tweaks me is that he is saying, in front of a friend of Al’s that he is staking a claim on her romantically (hence his pushing the romantic and date language when Al is clearly avoiding it) and staking a claim on her body (hence his pretty clear implication that he intends to be making out with her this evening.) This is a pretty public statement, and one that she hasn’t cleared. It’s also one that he’s using to establish dominance over Clevin (I’m particularly struck by the body language in panel two.)

    At the very least, that’s awfully pushy. (Personally, men who try to own women? Huge, huge button for me. And hugely common, probably because it’s so embedded in the culture. I would laughingly slap him down in front of Clevin, and see if he has the ovaries to recover.) Alison looks pretty overwhelmed and like she has no clue how to handle this – and for all that I kind of want to give her shit about that, this is one of the areas where the cultural scripts women get are actively awful. Men showing up and being possessive? Is supposed to be romantic. And she’s pretty stressed that everyone is going to be intimidated by her powers forever.

    One thing I will say for Clevin (as a person, not necessarily as a romantic partner) – he and Al clearly speak the same language with about the same level of dorkiness. Those are conversations Al can navigate. Every time Al talks to Max she ends up all deer in the headlights.

    • chaosvii

      Perhaps the better phrase would be “cater to everybody’s expectations of humility” or “cater to everybody’s modesty-based sexual mores”

      As for your interpretation of Alison’s liguistic avoidance, there’s no reason to assume that Max even percieves what Alison says as “I don’t want to talk about this date like it is a date because I’m intimidated by dates because of all these assumptions I have that you don’t.”
      Where is Max staking a claim on anyone or anything? He’s just making a few opinionated statements about how he personally dates because that is a relevant bit of context to have on the first date. It establishes an otherwise hidden assumption about why he chooses “everywhere” as opposed to “traditional locales.” The most ambiguous part is his sexual expression. He could be declaring that making out is on his to do list, or he’s mocking the concept of making out in a movie theater like on principle, or he could be saying “hey so if you’d like muchas smoochas on the first date, I can deliver. just not in a movie theater, that’s not my style, and I don’t understand why it’s anyone’s style.”

      I also see what he’s doing as setting the tone of interaction because nobody else is doing it and he has been raised to feel comfortable in steering the tone himself. Maybe if he was in an environment where other people feel anywhere near as confident as he comes off, then we might see if this is thing he pushes for all the time as opposed to being a result of a lack of social resistance to his socially dominant habits.

    • Thunder

      If this IS Max trying to “stake a claim” on Allison in front of Clevin, then I will say that he’s at least not lacking at all in the self-confidence department. It takes huge guts to act possessive over somebody who could easily drop you from a thousand feet in the air.

      But, personally, I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. I think this is an awkward situation for everyone, and Max decided to try a joke to ease the tension. Was it the best joke? Maybe, maybe not. I’m far from an expert on the matter.

      I say it’s a joke because making out at a movie is a staple dating cliche in fiction. Over-done to the point that it is a joke. Which is why I don’t think he means any of it. Of course, I could be wrong. This is only the second time we’ve seen Max.

      There’s other things I’d like to say, but I don’t have the time to say them.

      • chaosvii

        Largely agreed, but I’ve only ever understood possessiveness over someone as a result of poor confidence & poorer trust. Someone that is possessive of Alosin would probably have to be extremely fearful of losing her, to the point that the prospect of being killed by her feels like a reasonable calculated risk somehow.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      By humility I mean exactly that, but you lousy Americans don’t have the word for my French –masters of abstract concepts– “pudeur”, which I try to get at with humility. Modesty is not very good either?

      Regardless, yes, full agreement on all account. Even as I joke, as I read it (like *wink wink nudge nudge let’s pretend it’s commonplace to get a tensed half laugh out of Alison*), it doesn’t gel at all with Alison’s reactions. I guess pointing toward the sex comment is very easy to do to criticize his whole issue, but it’s reductive and placing us way too close to sex shaming.

      Also another thing: I don’t think his whole behavior is necessarily problematic. He needs to find a better bantering partner, is all. Someone he’d be on equal grounds confidence-wise with (so certainly not Alison Am I Currently Fucking Up Something Greene) Don’t you think?

      (And one last thing: ovaries are meek. The badassest organ of the human vocabulary? Uteruses, please.)

      • chaosvii

        Yo, protip: When someone asks you what you mean by X, it is incredibly poor taste to say that you mean X.
        Like even when you snark about how language has been corrupted (which is true), you are still refusing to answer the request for clarification.

        • ∫Clémens×ds

          No by “exactly that” I meant what Tylikcat has put forth much more elegantly and eloquently than I did

  • Potatamoto

    I freely admit that I just managed to catch Zootopia for the first time at a matinee showing yesterday, so I could be totally just basing this on a superficial resemblance (hair). But something about Clevin is really reminding me of Bellwether here.

  • Tylikcat

    a) Analyzing a narrative is a totally different skill than analyzing real life.
    b) I don’t know how much you’ve picked up about my life here, but do you really think that’s a good idea?*
    c) Maybe in a year? The next year is really busy. Hopefully after that I transition over to robotics, and that’s got to leave me more time… (please don’t point out my obvious delusions. I need them.)

    * It’s not like I haven’t played matchmaker. But my primary goal has always been my own amusement. Well, okay, and sometimes easing breakups.

  • Okay, maybe I missed it, but is everyone seriously going after *Max* for being insensitive to a potential romantic rival, here? I get it that the majority of the audience either relates to Clevin or feels sympathy for him, but if you take a step back, whose responsibility is it to apprise the poor kid of the situation?

    Here’s a hint: it *isn’t* Max’s, and it isn’t Max’s responsibility to be nice to the kid, either. Frankly, the one who ought to be looking out for Clevin (as a friend) and who basically threw him under the bus is Alison!

    • chaosvii

      I think Alison believes that Max didn’t listen to her conversation with Clevin, as well as generally doesn’t perceive Clevin’s movie offers as dates.
      So defending his honor would amount to saying “Hey we both happen to like movies a lot, Mister Professional Datesman Esq. and even if it isn’t great date material it’s still great fun to see a good story unfold.” rather than any sort of “No man we both would totally go on movie dates, like together even, and if that makes us amateurs then maybe we don’t wanna be professionals!”

      • My point is that attacking Max for forthrightly and unmistakably stating that he and Alison are going on a date- and for detailing what he believes will make a date good versus what will make it bad- isn’t really fair. What he’s done doesn’t make him a douche, in fact, or even wrong. It makes him confident and opinionated, two things which are not exactly bad things. If Ali disagrees with him, that’s fine, but *she* called Max for a date, so it’s hardly like he’s the one being unfair to Clevin.

    • Weatherheight

      I’m going after him for being manipulative to get what he wants.
      If he had said something like, “Hey, Clevin, nice to meet you, but Alison and I are having a date tonight.” I’d be less annoyed – might be a tad socially graceless, but at least it’s honest.
      But he got in what MAY be a cheap shot at Clevin with the movie comment – and if Max heard the last ballon on panel four of the last page and all of panel 5 (as I believe he did), that’s a bit uncool.
      PERFECTLY understandable, but still kind of uncool. 😀

      Alison does much better with social interactions once she’s been given time to think on them a bit. I doubt very much that she’s even really noticed anything beyond her own discomfort at being “on a date” with one guy and having another guy essentially asking her out immediately beforehand.

      That said, once again, the forums are buzzing – Brennan, Molly, you know what we like! Give it to us good!

  • Tylikcat

    I will give you narratively, because “Even Mega-Girl can end up with a horrible boyfriend,” could make a really good storyline. (And he doesn’t have to be horrible in an absolute sense to be horrible for her.) Generally?

    Fuck that. Seriously, I mean, and I say that as someone who thinks that my spine injury was one of the most useful experiences of my life… I can’t wish that on anyone. And only on a fictional character because of its narrative value. Wash your mouth out with soap. (Or maybe your keyboard.)

    Oh, and regarding the subverting her power dominance bit… argh. There are several ways you can mean that, and a bunch of them are so, so fucked up. I think I’m going to put my vote behind the majority of those being just too twisted for Alison. She does want someone who can *deal* with her powers. And that’s likely going to be complicated – because our culture does tend to inculcate men with an idea that they are entitled to be the stronger and more skilled members of a relationship. (This also doesn’t always set in at the beginning. This isn’t *just* a personal experience thing – a number of my particularly badass close female friends have had the experience of having men be super attracted to their strength and skills, and then months or years into the relationship getting really threatened and resentful of them. Al’s case, of course, is special. 🙂 )

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      Yeah I didn’t realize what I implied by “generally”, of course I don’t really think young people should live through an abusive relationship to grow. Don’t know where that “generally” came from.

      And I’m not sure she wants someone who can deal with her powers, nothing proved this despite how easy it would have been to show her disgruntled by the shallow admiration of an adoring fan. I mean, Clevin treats her pretty much like a normal person, and all the other supers especially don’t think she’s “more” than herself.
      A pattern is admittedly difficult to establish at two, but so far, I’d say she’s kind of hooked to guys who present a certain advantage over her. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, and if it’s not, it’s very fine, but I imagine we’ll see her coming to grips with it.

  • Tylikcat

    Still, this *dating* thing. I mean, I’m with you (okay, I was more often than not the instigator), but it often went from generally hanging out socially to… well, me saying “Hey, I’m heading to bed now, would you like to join me?” Sometimes we’d progress to something like dating after that.

    Well, with men. Relationships with women usually were a little bit more carefully negotiated, but… not so much so?

    • chaosvii

      The most I have ever done by way of romantic domming is overtly tell my crush that I’m very much attracted. And while we literally did go to a bed shortly thereafter, neither of us were interested in removing our underwear when we hadn’t even inquired about our sexual hygiene.
      It was a wonderful bit of nearly nude casual interaction & sensuality.
      I think we went on 6 dates out of the 6 years of romance. Usually we just continued to hang out in private because that was more fun.

  • Tylikcat

    The intensity of his jerkitude might be up in the air, but it’s hard to miss his dominance play.

    • chaosvii

      As a sub, I don’t find doms to be all that synonymous with jerks.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    That’s an interesting dilemma. But even then, between being one of Alison’s first wild, poorly thought out and passionate experiments in self-discovery, and waiting months or years to become a solid and long lasting relationship…
    Clevin’s young. He’d go for the former. We all went through the age where that’s the beginning and the end of everything we craved.

    • Tylikcat

      “We all went through the age…”

      *thinks about my early wild crushes*

      …maybe? I mean, admittedly, I was environmentally biased towards certain kinds of pragmatism from early on. But, um, like, maybe I was going off and playing the field at the same time?* But, um, I was totally capable of playing the long game when I was fourteen. (It was a totally stupid long game. So not worth it. I blush to remember. One of my dearest friends and I share this mutual ex, actually, so that came out of it, anyway! Aiee.)

      * Established. I was a menace. And now I’m a mentor.

      • chaosvii

        I default to the long game as well. It’s only recently that I’ve been pursuing short-term stuff.

  • Walter

    Woah, lots of hate for Alison’s dudes in the comments. There is nothing wrong with a hookup. If Alison is into it, Max seems like a fine prospect. Clevin didn’t know she’d set up this date with Max ahead of time, nothing wrong with asking Alison out.

  • Carla

    You guys. Max has zero reason to know that Clevin has asked Allison to the movies. That is not him being a dick. Also, since when is referencing makeouts a salacious or seedy thing to do? Are we in middle school?

    • chaosvii

      Apparently ever since using the term “Friendzone” unironically constitutes a perfectly fine conveyance of the concept known as “unrequited love.”

    • Tylikcat

      Hm. Actually, that’s not clear at all. Bottom of last page, left hand panel, Max is coming up on Clevin and Al talking about Clevin asking Al out to a movie, and they apparently don’t see Max until he says hi to Al – what he hears is not clear, but considering we’re looking over his shoulder and “seeing” (hearing?) Al and Clevin speak, it certainly seems not unlikely that he overheard a significant part of it. I think there’s some implied dominance crap towards Clevin that doesn’t rely on that knowledge, but the comic itself supports it being on purpose.

      I don’t care about things being salacious – he can turn the air blue for all I care (as long as he has the wit to pull it off, and honestly, that does seem to be in his skillset). But he’s making a lot of statements about what this is – it’s a date, it’s romantic – and what it’s going to involve – making out – in a public place without checking in with Alison first. In my book, that’s not cool.

      Mind you, it’s not “OMG, he’s a villain” – but it is someone who is at least not bothering to check boundaries, and more likely enjoys pushing them. And Alison really doesn’t seem equipped to navigate this, though I suppose this is more or less how we all learn. Though, some of the methods of learning that seem unnecessarily harsh.

      • I’m pretty sure, though, that Alison asked *him* out- his assumption that it’s a date doesn’t seem that unreasonable, to my mind. It might not be, but if it’s not, Alison needs to make that clear.

  • Ian Osmond

    Am I the only one who doesn’t see ANYBODY as having done anything wrong? And that this is basically the best-case result for Cleven?

    He gets to walk away without the embarrassment and awkwardness of being shot down. Alison wouldn’t have said “yes”, because she’s not interested in him.

    I understand that a lot of us see ourselves in Cleven, and would like to date Alison if she were a real person, so we feel disappointed that Alison isn’t interested in him, because it means that Alison wouldn’t be interested in us.

    So what? Not everybody you’re interested in is interested in you. That’s just a thing you suck up and deal with. You don’t get bitter about it, you don’t get upset at someone for not being attracted to you, you don’t blame yourself for it, you don’t see it as a thing that is wrong. It’s just a thing. Some people are attracted to me, some people aren’t. I’m attracted to some people, I’m not attracted to other people. Sometimes, someone is attracted to me and I’m not attracted to them; sometimes I’m attracted to someone and they’re not attracted to me.

    That’s how it works. If Cleven can’t accept that with grace, and be happy about his non-romantic friendship with Alison, then that’s on him. If THAT happened — then CLEVEN would be the jerk.

    It might not happen. Cleven might be a perfectly reasonable, decent guy, and think, “Okay! That’s what the situation is, and that’s fine, and I still have Alison as a good friend, and I hope she and Max hit it off and have a good time.”

    That’s what I’d do. I mean, I’d be disappointed and sad that she wasn’t interested in me, but I wouldn’t put that on her, and I would wish her well, because she’d be my friend, and I like it when my friends are happy.

    Don’t go rooting for the guy who is rejected, because, if you do that, you’re saying that the guy rejected is more important that the person who isn’t interested. You’re saying that Cleven is a person, and Alison is an object.

    Don’t do that. That’s how an asshole thinks.

    • Daniel

      Nicely put. 🙂

  • Christophe2314

    The Friend Zone is a real thing, and Clevin is clearly in it. The thing is, the Friend Zone is also not something people get to complain about, because people can date or not date whoever they want and anybody who feels entitled to a relationship is a douche.

    • Weatherheight

      Having spent more time in the Friend Zone than pretty much anyone else I know, I’ve never felt a sense of entitlement, just a very great sadness of being dismissed out of hand. Particularly when THEY complain to ME about not being able to find someone “nice, like you.”

      Nearly very single woman turned me down for a date after I asked AND let them know where I was at with them before I asked. Even though I fully expected it, it still hurts being rejected. These were well established friendships that continued afterwards, but they were never ever again as close.

      I feel empathy for Clevin because I get the very strong feeling he *is* going to be rejected for the part he wants to play in Alison’s life. Not because he’s somehow entitled to that role, but because I understand the kind of pain he’s going to suffer when it hits.

      The best part of this is that once Alison realizes what’s going on, she’s going to try and soften the blow as much as possible. But all the shots she’s going to completely unintentionally throw his way in the meantime are still going to hurt.

      And that suffering is sad, just as Alison’s struggle with her impulse to utilize violence as a first resort is sad, just as Daniel’s fate to likely die without ever really knowing peace is sad, and so on, and so on…

    • masterofbones

      It is 100% something people should be allowed to complain about. We complain about things that suck. Getting friendzoned sucks. QED.

      It may be unreasonable to get *angry* at the person who friendzoned you, but even that isn’t set in stone. Many people lead along those that they have friendzoned because of the perks that go along with it. For example, Alison has told Clevin to invite her to a movie and presumably pay for her ticket – something he would likely only do if he were in/wanted to be in a romantic relationship with her, yet she has no intention of being in such a relationship with him. So upon realization of this manipulation, it would make sense for someone in Clevin’s shoes to be pissed off.

      • chaosvii

        “Getting friendzoned sucks” “the person who friendzoned you”
        Statements & phrases like that imply that somebody imposes a friendzone onto somebody else. That pretty much never happens, unrequited love is a matter of hormones and subconscious feelings for which people have no meaningful control over.
        This is language which caters to the unsound argumentation of people who consider themselves entitled to other’s feelings based on things they do to “earn affection.” That if only the person chose to love them instead of choosing to not love them >:(

        • masterofbones

          You seem to be ignoring the whole reason that the term exists as a word other than unrequited love. The friendzone has a specific meaning that is more specific than that.

          The friendzone is when someone doesn’t recognize you as a suitor. It isn’t just that they don’t love you, they don’t even consider the possibility of love. You are their friend, *therefore* you cannot be their lover.

          >This is language which caters to the unsound argumentation of people who
          consider themselves entitled to other’s feelings based on things they
          do to “earn affection.”

          And again you miss the point. Though individual situations may be misinterpreted, the frustration is not that “I was nice, therefore she should fall in love with me”. The frustration is “I attempted to court her, she accepted my courting, but failed to recognize it as actually being courtship”.

          Imagine someone that gives a female friend(that he is in love with) chocolates on valentines day. He hands them to her and says “Happy Valentines day! I just wanted to tell you… I love you”, and she takes them and responds with “Aw, you are such a great friend! Love ya too!”.

          She has completely missed his intentions, despite him being pretty damn blatant about them. She sees him as a friend, therefore he cannot be interested in her romantically, therefore his admission of love was just showing how close friends they are. If she actually considered loving him for a moment, it might happen. But the thought doesn’t even come up.

          THAT is what the friendzone is.

      • K Shorten

        The friendzone is not a place other people put you in. It’s a place you put yourself in.

        In this scenario, Clevin has offered his movie tickets with the implication of friendliness – He never says “date” or anything implying a date. He’s doing this doing this because he knows that Allison thinks of him at least as a friend, so his offer won’t be rejected in terms of one friend inviting another friend to do something, the way that a date might be. Allison has taken his offer of movie tickets in the spirit in which it was offered -as the type of tentative, easily dis-railed plans that two friends might have with one another. He’s offered it as the kind of thing he would do for any of his friends. Clevin has to decide if he is going to a) risk rejection or b) be Allison’s friend without the possibility of romance. Because he’s currently unwilling to do either, he’s put himself in the “friendzone”. He can get out of it any time he wants, he just might not like the result.

        It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for Clevin – I do. I’ve been on both sides of this scenario. But, at the end of the day, if you are only hanging around someone because of the possibility you might get to make-out some time, you aren’t really their friend.

        • masterofbones

          >The friendzone is not a place other people put you in. It’s a place you put yourself in.

          Uh… False. You can do actions that make someone more likely to put you in the friendzone, but the entire concept revolves around how the person categorizes you – a “friend” or a “suitor”. You don’t get to choose how somebody else categorizes you. That would be mind control.

          Clevin has invited one other person to a movie, which he has offered to pay for. This is almost universally understood to be a romantic gesture.

          >if you are only hanging around someone because of the possibility you
          might get to make-out some time, you aren’t really their friend.

          It is very disingenuous to pretend that people can only have one motive. What if he wants to both be her friend… AND bang her(or make out/cuddle/whatever)? Even if the banging part is his priority, he is still her friend.

          It seems pretty clear to me that you don’t understand the concept of the “friendzone” which makes this conversation thoroughly pointless.

  • Ian Osmond

    I have been, at various points in my life, EXACTLY as clueless as Cleven in exactly that way, and also EXACTLY as clueless as Alison in exactly THAT way, too.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    I’m not sure “be[ing] a decent fellow” and “mak[ing] the first move” are mutually exclusive. I don’t like this concept that I’m automatically a bad person if I (*gasp*) ask someone out. I also worry that you end up essentially promoting bad behavior if you tell someone that they’re being bad already just by asking; if I’m being bad, I might as well learn how to do it from the bad boys (read: PUAs).

    Possibly you didn’t mean to make those exclusive, but that’s my read on it.

    • chaosvii

      Not at all! I’m specifically leaving the language open because people make those weird assumptions that somehow asking for a date infringes on someone’s honor or is too pushy or whatever.
      As you have stated, they aren’t exclusive, but the fact that anyone holds it against anybody (including themselves) for asking for a date is a stupid excuse for preferring behavior that leads to less dates & undue pressure on parties that don’t want to ask.

  • Tylikcat

    So, looking at the bottom of the last page, left panel, I think the implication may well be that Max did overhear a reasonable chunk of the conversation, and that Clevin and Al didn’t notice him until he said hi. I’m not sure if I’m reading the art conventions right, but considering we’re looking over Max’s shoulder, and can see Al and Clevin’s speech bubbles, is that not implied? If so, I’m going to have to say totally on purpose.

    • Weatherheight

      The usual convention in sequential art is that all talking heads in a single panel are in the same conversational space.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    I’m waffling back and forth on this one. I mean, obviously you can’t have everyone always waiting for someone else to make the first move; that sort of thing tends to lead to your friends getting fed up and just duct-taping the two of you together until you admit your feelings for each other.*

    That said, there’s lower-pressure and more open-ended ways of approaching it than “Will you go on a date with me? Yes/No”. A lot of times, an invitation to one of the “classic” dates** suffices without being explicit about it—and thus allows someone to accept “as friends” without directly turning the other person down—so I’m not sure that you can even say that Clevin didn’t ask her out; she just missed his meaning (or couldn’t figure out a graceful exit given the awkwardness of the timing).

    *True story, but also a joke. The point is, someone at some point has to give some indication to the other person that they’d be interested in or at least open to a romantic relationship.

    **”go for coffee” / “go to the movies” / &c.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    See: Professor Gurwara 😀

  • Johan

    Thanks you, that’s precisely and well said 🙂

  • 3-I

    Seconded. What the hell.

  • chaosvii

    No, you’re not weird at all, it’s all these peeps that seem really invested in cliches playing out the way they expect them to so that they can express their feelings about how those cliches are so resonant with them personally or whatever that are the weirdos.

    Yeah I said it! I’m calling you all out! People I don’t know anything about nor will likely ever meet, consider yourselves all on my list >>>:(

  • chaosvii

    Wait, why are you so confident that Clevin is unaware of this particular bit of knowledge?
    Maybe he seriously doesn’t ask for dates and only ever feels comfortable establishing a rapport before pursuing any overt signs of romantic attachment.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      I meant, “Clevin doesn’t know that in my interpretation of things developed here (which I realize may be proven wrong at a future point)”

  • chaosvii

    This right here is quite possibly the most vivid imagination for plot developments that would put me to sleep.
    Is it like an grimdark Invader Zim fanfic in this fantasy world where only the most dreadful contrivances survive to advance the plot, or is it more of a Rick & Morty episode where nothing is funny and there’s no deconstruction of sci-fi & sitcom conventions?

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      Plot twist: the look Max and Clevin shared was a message from the Gods. Max realizes he has to use all of his talent to hide it in front of Alison to keep up face for the duration of the date, but Clevin doesn’t have this talent.
      His embarrassment? It’s because he knows they are the love of each other’s lives.

  • Loranna

    I find it interesting that Max is turning out to be almost as divisive a character as Professor Gurwara.

    Poor Alison can’t catch a break this week, can she?


  • Monica Gorman

    He’s being pushy, which might be a red flag. The scary part is that this kind of pushy might be brash confidence OR social awkwardness OR (if she weren’t Mega-Girl) a test to see if he could get away with assaulting her. I wouldn’t call anything Max has done of this page “borderline abusive,” but as far as we know right now it’s possible that he will turn out that way.

  • chaosvii

    Or perhaps this and other problems of human communication has its basis in dependence on false assumptions made to draw overall conclusions of the other person’s meaning behind the words they choose in the context they choose to express them in.
    Where precisely do you detect that Eavan asserts that Clevin would have prevented “this particular mess” by pushing for an immediate answer to a romantic question. Why do you favor this interpretation of Eavan’s words over alternatives like “oh and just a heads up, you’re really pretty and I’d be honored to date you someday, let me know if that day ever comes” or similar ways to convey romantic interest without being urgent about it.

    Unless it’s a nested assumption that all overt expressions of such interests are inherently putting the other on the spot. That would be a different dispute I suppose.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      I feel like it’s going back to the same issue. If someone tells you you’d like to date them someday, anything you do after has to be colored by that. If he had said that and then Alison agreed to the movie he’s been speaking of since forever, and she still doesn’t get this is a romantic date, …well that’s kind of on her.
      I mean she can state before “by the way, this is not a romantic date”, but I’d say in this case she’s the one who has to.

  • chaosvii

    Personally I think it’s a result of people seeing romantic comedies and getting sick of the “oblivious object of affection” cliche such that they would rather blame the person who has the agency to be clear rather than question the assumptions inherent in these dramatic contrivances.

    I don’t know precisely why anyone would vaguely peg Max as an antagonist & Clevin as a protagonist & Alison as an object for those two to compete over. The only idea I have is drawing connections between the details between plot conventions and then projecting a plot that isn’t there in the first place. The first act of the “underdog getting the girl” soap opera is not what is happening in the scene, but because what is happening in the scene reminds them of other plots, some folks treat it like it is that plot instead.

    Max is a assertive guy that asked for Alison’s number and accepted a date, then talked about his philosophical views on dates once the date appeared to be beginning. His views are contentious, so naturally he’s even more of a villain than Professor Goldencane 😛
    Clevin is a passive guy that has similar interests as Alison does, and would rather express an interest in casual get-togethers than dates. He is not about that third-wheel life, and was probably hurt by the claim that he’s an amateur date man :/
    Alison is the protagonist, and she will follow her heart & mind based on her experiences, not based on something that Clevin accomplishes all on his own nor by Max being undone by his own villainous deeds >:)

  • Weatherheight

    I’m assuming all of panel 5 from last page, and the bottom word balloon of panel 4. It’s a well established trope in pictorial story telling that if only the upper part of the body is visible, all heads in the frame are within casual listening distance, barring other visual clues (objects between them, or the ever popular dotted-line-word-balloon). That’s more than enough to give Max the idea that Clevin asked Alison out to see a movie – which gives him what he needs to cut Clevin down in a deliberate fashion.

    Max has pulled off several “pick-up artist” tricks in his appearances, designed to take advantage of other people’s insecurity. Whether he did it on purpose is a VERY good question; my life experience has taught me that people give you a lot of free information about themselves, if you’re paying attention.

    And For The Record, pretty sure Max is a lot more likely to get whatever it is he wants out of Alison than Clevin is likely to get what he wants – because, as several people have pointed out, she’s not into Clevin as a romantic partner at all.

    Changing someone’s mind about you is a romantic way is exceedingly difficult after the initial meeting, regardless of what movies and TV say. Being yourself as hard as you can and being open to opportunities as they appear is far more likely to get results you want.

    But there’s a high probability you’ll spend more nights alone than you’d maybe like. 😀

    • chaosvii

      “‘pick-up artist’ tricks”
      I don’t see the point where it stops being “stuff that a person who is attracted to a celebrity and is confident enough to ask for further contact in an unconventional location lacking access to paper would do without presumption of conquest” and instead starts being “pick-up artist tricks, which are associated with the presumption of conquest” here.
      Could you make this clear to me?

  • Weatherheight

    Best relationships I’ve had have *always* been instigated by the women asking me out. I apparently have a exceptional talent for picking women who can’t deal with my particular brand of BS. 😀

    Dated hardly at all in high school except for one young lady who somehow found me I have some big regrets about missing some *other* opportunities in the times when I wasn’t dating her. Dated pretty often in college, mostly by me asking them out, and that was kind of a disaster (I have a male donkey as my avatar for a reason).

    Got asked out by several men (my second best friend in college was gay and we hung out a lot – his friends made assumptions), and I have to say that those gay men were pretty gracious dudes when I shot them down (as nicely as I could, since my friend was also their friend, and I’m a jackass, not a douche).

    Kind of got to the point that “pairing up” wasn’t a driving factor in my life anymore, so all of this angst in the comic makes me very nostalgic.

    Which is nice, given the distance. 😀

  • Weatherheight

    Making the target uncomfortable in subtle and nonobvious ways is a very old pickup artist trick. Physiologically, the differences between sexual arousal and anxiety can be difficult to differentiate provided they are both at relatively low levels. It works. I’ve used it. It’s a shitty thing to do, but I have. The tricky part is doing it in such a way that you don’t push it too far.

    Had a buddy in high school who was genius at it – his average was two different partners a week, and these were the women who *admitted* to nailing him, without being prompted by me – he claimed more.

    He had a great time until he got one of them pregnant and found he genuinely liked her. Then they found out they were utterly mismatched, values-wise (money, religion, ethics, you name it), and five years later he was a single dad.

    Granted, he’s loved his life since she’s been gone (his two girls are awesome), but that’s got more to do with his family being awesome and him being smart enough to learn a lesson – eventually. 😀

    • Tylikcat

      His rooftop tactics seemed to have pretty obvious PUA echoes, though I’m open to other interpretations.

  • Weatherheight

    I hadn’t noticed that.
    That IS interesting, isn’t it?

  • Weatherheight

    It’s a scale between two theoretical poles.

    So, these two Polish Nationals drive into a weigh station in their semi…

  • Weatherheight

    Damn right.
    Which, sadly, will never happen to me. 😀

  • Weatherheight

    Sure, I’ll pile on.
    Me three.
    And as chaosvii has said, “and more”.
    Likely to be there again someday, too. 😀

    “You probably don’t want to hear advice from someone else
    But I wouldn’t be telling you if I hadn’t been there myself
    It’s alright, it’s alright
    Sometimes that’s all it takes
    We’re only human
    We’re SUPPOSED to make mistakes”
    Billy Joel – You’re Only Human (Second Wind)

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    He’s in so much control he directs Alison like a puppet. That’s at least concerning, especially if he knows it. “He places a knife on my back when we hug. So far he hasn’t stabbed me, but I feel legitimate in worrying at least somewhat. Is it really offensive to ask him *not* to pick up the knife when we embrace?”

  • weedgoku

    People in this comment section are projecting so hard I can see it from orbit.

  • weedgoku

    It’s proof that someone named Clevin unsurprisingly has the charisma and personality of a damp noodle, meanwhile an attractive person you meet in surprising circumstances who is actually forward with their intentions is a more interesting prospect than someone who just kind of waffles about passively. Dating isn’t a video game where if your score is high enough you get to date anyone you want, people have the right to not be attracted to people that don’t interest them and for all your talk of problematic behavior, it’s actually pretty scummy to imply that only people who act in certain ways you approve of are “good” and anyone else is “problematic” ignoring all other context and circumstances.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      I’m actually the one to defend Max’s behavior in the abstract; it’s specifically the circumstances (one where he leads poor Alison, completely out of her field, by a thread) that makes his brand of charm a tad concerning.

  • Philip Bourque

    Lot of dislike for Max in the comments. I’m withholding judgement until he does something actually bad, like try to claim Al as his property, attack anyone who tries to approach her or be revealed as trying to manipulate her as part of his “make the world ‘better'” scheme.
    As for Klevin, there’s nothing wrong with a more social approach. Get to know the girl, hang out, have fun; no need for romance.

  • LordErnie

    I was somewhat crabby when writing the comment and I do kinda regret that it seems to come off more aggressively than I initially intended. To me though it seems like a relatively safe way of putting feelers out about what she’s comfortable with through a joke. Especially on a first date just talking about that kinda thing can be tough and by framing it as a joke it gives both of you an easy way out if you’re not comfortable with that sort of talk. If you don’t have the date 100% planned out it can help you determine what sort of places you end up going. I wouldn’t take somebody to a club after getting a negative reaction to a joke like that for example.

    I suppose that my general social group of people might be more open about those things than other groups but still, the red flag for me would be if she reacted neutrally/negatively and he continued with that sort of joke or suggestion. Among the people I know a comment like that is pretty lighthearted flirting. Regardless, I definitely understand your interpretation of the situation, and would definitely understand somebody making the choice to not make a joke like that.

    I think hearing it from the protective father sort of perspective made it harder for me to see as a valid point of view. Coming from someone who, although I don’t actually know your gender identity/pronouns, I feel like I can relatively safely assume that from your name is at least treated as a woman by society…. I lost track of that sentence somewhere but regardless it’s easier for me to accept when it’s not coming from a position of patriarchal authority.

    Edit: Sorry about that wall of text and especially that mess of a last paragraph… xP

    • Monica Gorman

      Haha thanks! I am a woman. Part of why this creeps me out is that he is posing it as an expectation, even if a joking one, and some women will go along with that–including reacting in a way that seems positive–even if they’re less than fully comfortable. I vaguely recall Leah Libresco saying that when you ask someone for sex (and I think it applies to making out too), you should make the cost of saying No as low as possible. Here it seems like if she says No, he’ll be disappointed that he didn’t get a full date. It seems entitled.

      Also as a woman/girl (I’m fairly young) I don’t mind the protective-father thing at all, especially since he said it more about his daughters when they were teens. Teens are children, and parents are supposed to protect children. Unfortunately, one of the things girl children need to be protected from is sexual pressure from dudes, inadvertent or not.

  • Jeremy

    I tend to be suspicious of anyone who is both 1) Too attractive AND 2) Too charming.

    That probably says something unhealthy about my relationship expectations…

    • Tylikcat

      *thinks about my phase of dating pretty boy and girl musicians*

      …well, a little suspicion might not be unwarranted.

    • chaosvii

      Ha! I’ll one up you! I’ve never dated a single charming individual in my life!
      Charm is nice and all, but I want somebody with an acerbic wit, an abrasive view of Anime fandoms, and will put up with my dark sense of humor.
      So what I’m saying is that I would probably date Max unless he asks “What’s an anime?”

  • Eavan

    Joke’s on you, buddy. I’m a woman. I know exactly how I like to be asked out.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      You don’t get a get out of jail free card for being a woman. There’s a time and a place to be upfront about romantic interest, and Clevin wasn’t there. He did the best he could while being respectful to further their relationship toward the point where he could one day realize he’s speaking to Alison Oblivious Greene and he has to tell him what his intentions truly entails, and their situation calls for it not putting Alison in a corner.
      If you think the present situation is his fault because he wasn’t clearer, well you hold a malignant belief encompassing quite a number of issues about gender dynamics.

      • chaosvii

        “He did the best he could while being respectful to further their relationship toward the point where he could one day realize he’s speaking to Alison Oblivious Greene and he has to tell him what his intentions truly entails, and their situation calls for it not putting Alison in a corner.”
        Are you seriously implying that most unambiguous forms of asking out Alison on a date are disrespectful acts? And if so, then what constitutes this so called “time & place to be upfront”?

        I understand how just bumping into her at a place she is obligated to be at due to classes or pre-arranged meet-ups and then asking her out there would be putting Alison on the spot during a time constraint. What I don’t get is this indirect claim that Clevin was incapable of making an opportunity to meet up in a casual setting (invite her to a cafe when she’s free over the phone) ask her how things are, and make his feelings clear after the check is paid (so that nobody is obligated to stay at the table if an immediate answer is impossible) in a considerate manner. If you are arguing that the times they saw each other were poor places & times, I agree. If you are arguing that he never had the chance to do the proper thing which results in his feelings being clear, then you’ve got another thing coming.

        • ∫Clémens×ds

          That’s exactly what I’m saying. That’s why I was saying from the beginning that if move there was to make, after the movie would be a better time.

          The way he “repeats” the invitation here is almost rude (considering that it makes Alison painfully realize how terrible of a friend she is (ahah, Alison realizing things, riiiight)) but he manages to do it without sounding insistent or desperate. Were he to add “oh, by the way, it’s because I’m into you” right now and he’d lose all goodwill.

          Even worse if he did it the first time he tried to invite her. It was literally the second time they met, for Heaven’s sake. Their time together hadn’t reached 10 minutes yet. But no, everybody here is saying that he totally should have told her and it would have made the situation way less awkward.

          But I see the appeal of that argument. If Clevin did something wrong, then it maintains the myth that “doing everything right” gets you the girl in the end. And do people love that social norm.

          • chaosvii

            I’m going to note that their time together on panel is most definitely short, but that the conversation those two had before finding Miles dead in his room is of variable length. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-77-2/
            She met him at a park, and then they walked to the dorm. Making the instance of their stairwell exchange (establishing his subscription card for free movies thing) the third time they met.
            I say this not to actually advance the discussion, but to indicate that I am quite capable of sorting out little story details, AND YOU SHALL NEVER DEFEAT ME PUNY MORTAL!

            Clevin has been able (if not willing) to admit that he’s got a crush on her. While that definitely wouldn’t alter the odds that she’s attracted to him, it would do precisely one thing: eliminate any notion she has in her mind that he’s not attracted to her. It wouldn’t be disrespectful, it would be honest & open about his feelings as well as fairly brave & excessively optimistic. Not doing this, nor doing less forward things like saying that he’d love to have someone special to [romantic description of movies] with to [stuff about the virtues of escapism] are perfectly fine.
            He is not obligated to put himself out there. But the notion that putting himself out there is wrong somehow only reveals the mores of the person making the claim, it doesn’t indicate that it is inherently wrong nor why it would be wrong in all plausible contexts in which he could say that he’s a bit fascinated with her and would love to learn about her after the film.

            I’m not saying he’s done anything wrong. And I agree that it’s probably only a result of reinforcing accepted social norms to claim that he has done so. But it is still correct to say that he hasn’t done everything respectful & within his power to make his feelings clear to her. He’s done what is in fitting with his character, which wasn’t enough to dispel that ambiguity. Nothing wrong about that in my book.
            What I do take issue with is your baseless argumentation that what Eavan is proposing is badwrong dating. Unless I misread something, Eavan is saying that Clevin’s problem when it comes to being understood is his ambiguity. And you’re arguing that all plausible forms of dispelling said ambiguity would necessarily put Alison on the spot.
            Further, you’re basically claiming that being upfront with one’s romantic feelings are somehow malicious expressions towards another due to gender dynamics & other unspecified factors.
            In rebuttal I have this to say: Being the cause of an awkward circumstance through honest expression is neither the same as nor meaningfully similar to inflicting harm on someone. It’s just being a bit gauche and learning an unpleasant lesson as a result. Big deal.

          • ∫Clémens×ds

            When I said to Eavan that it was wrong of her to want people to ask her out openly soon into the relationship, what I meant was “in the specific definition of that belief which includes Clevin doing it being considered a good thing, in the context of this interaction and in this context only”.
            I’m trying not to deal in absolutes, everybody is different, everybody wants different things, and I have the worst memory in the universe so you’ll win every match of “let’s recount previous events of this comic”.

            I’m on the contrary against the belief that striving for absolute honesty all the time is the way to go. –It would be in a just world without gender inequalities, but there we are not– Especially that, if you are to not get the girl in the end then not being upfront about your feelings was the problem (as if the girl had no say in this. If you didn’t get her, then you did something wrong. Such a despicable structure)

  • Some guy

    No, he didn’t do everything right.

    Had this been the first time, maybe. But this is at least the third time he’s invited her out, and it should have been clear to him after the second time that she either A doesn’t understand the invitation, or B isn’t interested while incorrectly trying to avoid hurting him. Alison probably isn’t afraid of social confrontation (B), so Clevin is repeating an (ineffective) action hoping for a different outcome. That Alison encourages him is an indication she doesn’t understand his intentions.

    “Do you want to go out with me” isn’t some traumatic decision for Alison to make (and it really shouldn’t be for anyone else, either.) so he should have brought the issue into the open so he would have had a clear picture as to if he was wasting his time or not.

    Honestly his invitations were ambiguous enough that I can’t even say for sure that he’s not actually just trying to be friends with her, so the whole issue might be moot anyway.

    • phantomreader42

      Or C she simply does not have the time at the moment he asked. A movie lasts about two hours, and enjoying it requires uninterrupted time with no distractions. Allison is a college student, a firefighter, and a retired superhero. The former is extremely time-consuming, and the latter two involve long stretches of waiting broken by sudden panic and terror. She’s got a LOT of distractions in her life, superhuman time-management is not one of her anomalies, and she doesn’t allow herself nearly enough downtime.
      Okay, now I want to see “superhuman time-management” as a genuine power.

  • masterofbones

    Which would likely be even more lethal than pissing her off.

  • masterofbones

    Most people would assume that if a hetero guy invites a hetero girl to a movie, he intends for it to be a date. Especially if he offers to cover her ticket.

  • Tylikcat


    I so, so would like to see some portrayals that aren’t falling into either stereotype – assertive without having to be dominant. Respectful without having to go submissive.

    • phantomreader42

      I so, so would like to see some portrayals that aren’t falling into either stereotype – assertive without having to be dominant. Respectful without having to go submissive.

      This would be a good thing

      Or while we’re at it, go in the opposite direction. More dominant folks who are confident enough in their dominance that they don’t have to belittle or degrade others (unless of course they request it). More playful, bratty submissives who pull Literal Genie style shenanigans because it amuses them and those around them.

  • Tylikcat

    Alison being a lousy friend? I’m shocked – shocked!

    That Max seems to have been playing them both leaves me a little more sympathetic than I might otherwise be. But she did not handle the situation well.

  • Tylikcat

    I’m still wondering if he expects her to provide transportation.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    I was taking Clevin points of view: from where he stands, he totally lost her, I’d wager.

    • Stephanie Gertsch

      Okay, fair enough. I thought maybe you were arguing that he somehow objectively “lost” Al or something.

      Actually we don’t know yet what Klevin will think, since his part of the story is still playing out.

  • chaosvii

    I think the framing is due to how other people appear to act like they hate Max for no clear reason other than “Max is pretty, too pretty. Oh and he insulted Clevin too, what a mean romantic rival and he’s totally a romantic rival because narrative conventions!”

  • phantomreader42

    Has it actually been established whether or not she’s capable of getting drunk, or is that just precautionary? Though I guess the fact that her invulnerability is telekinetic in nature suggests it wouldn’t help much against poisons.
    Also, I wonder if they ever tested Hector’s “melatonin wash” trick on her. Or Feral for that matter.

  • chaosvii

    I asked how what he is doing results in him being territorial. I also asked how what he is doing is staking a claim. (Perhaps I conflated the two, I don’t really recall if that’s what I was doing or if my language just turned out that way. All the same, I won’t dispute that they are seprate questions).

    You’ve given me some details here, so I will reply.
    *Behavior- “making a public statement about dating and romance”
    Reply- So what?! He’s talking about his style of dating when Alison said her expectations of dates were not his style of dating. And some guy is there too. This is would be a dick move under the view that he heard Clevin & Alison talk about how great movies are and that Clevin wants to see a movie with her. But I read the panels as Max only hearing Clevin talking about how he should call Alison ahead of time & Alison’s reply.
    *Evaluation of mores- “which are things people often keep under wraps” Reply- No they are things people talk about unless they feel like they shouldn’t. I don’t keep that under wraps, I don’t give a crap about that. If someone has differing expectations than me and I hear it, then I will reply with my expectations.
    *Evaluation of mores- “It amounts to saying ‘I am in a relationship or at least proto-relationship with this person, and am willing to stand up in public and say it.'”
    Reply- Again so what? Alison presumably asked him for a date off-panel, and talked about her expectations of dating. This is a date, he knows its a date, and is calling it a date. How is this inappropriate in context?
    *Evaluation of mores- “Under monogamous social conventions (I’m noting this, I don’t particularly adhere to them) this is usually a fairly explicit warning off – if there isn’t something more formal you can still pursue the other person, but you will do so knowing there is an official rival.”
    Reply- Yeah I don’t adhere to them either. But again this only comes off as a move of the dicks under the paradigm that Max presumes Clevin’s romantic intentions, presumes Alison won’t “wear two hats,” and presumes Clevin has no interest in taking the chance that Alison would date two people around the same time.
    *Interpretation- “you’re essentially registering yourself as a concerned party”
    Reply- I must live on another planet where this shit doesn’t phase me. What is he doing that makes this exchange of “oh I thought dates were X?!” “nah X is lame I live to the dating max, see that’s a joke about my name, and X has no place in my extreeeeeme dating style which I think you will like.” anything more than calling unspecified people squares, and clarifying that he likes dates that aren’t so classical. Could it perhaps be the reading of the panels which I don’t hold too?! I hope it isn’t because then we won’t have much to dispute on a philosophical basis!
    *Interpretation- “And, yo, before the first date? You haven’t got the right to be a concerned party.”
    Reply- Agreed. But I don’t view his behavior as such. He’s just saying that dates that he was invited to and are about to be happening will not take place in movies as he doesn’t like them. This is more of the alternate reading thing. I’d probably agree with you that he’s being unkind if not for the fact that I don’t see him hearing nor paying attention to things said in a location with unknowable levels of background noise, at an ambiguous distance from him so whilst his off-panelness was in full swing.
    He should fuck off if he’s doing that, but I don’t see him doing that. I’m all about that poly, and have no patience for people treating dates as strategic moves against the interests of others or any other form of leverage.
    Did he call Alison his girlfriend?! No? Then I don’t see what the problem actually is. I see what it could hypothetically be, but not what it clearly has to be.

    Evaluation of mores- “[regarding the making out statement in the context of a hypothetical movie theater] But anyone who lets it be known that they expect sex of any kind when there isn’t an explicit agreement?”
    Reply- This is kinda a lot of and a ton of extrapolation. I get that the expectation of sex is kinda terrible, consensual sex is too important to depend on unclear means of communication to evaluate what is desired and everything else.
    But where did Max imply any of what you are talking about with regards to your sexual personal boundaries & ideals (of which I happen to hold similar views on)?
    I don’t see where “making out in a movie theater is lame” becomes “I expect sex distribution services but I’m not going to be clear about the terms I’d like you to agree to nor really give you the opportunity to talk about what inventory you have in the first place, I’m just going to expect overnight shipping.” Even if I was of a similar view of the listening in on the convo Al & Clev had, I still wouldn’t draw any connections between those very far away points.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    I think my favorite story of a first-day trick involves a plain white stick of peppermint candy and a little slight-of-hand with the chalk. Thereafter, whenever their attention is wandering, you just pause and inspect your chalk. . . .

    Of course, who uses actual chalkboards anymore?

    • Not a first day thing, but our chemistry teacher once seriously impressed us by hurling his chalk in a fit of annoyance at the big periodic table poster tacked onto the wall.

      And having it stick.

  • masterofbones

    While I understand that some people really are oblivious(I am a bit myself), asking *one* person out(and paying for them) to the movies is such a traditional courtship move(and one almost never done in situations other than courtship), that it begins to be her responsibility to notice, even if she has no instincts on the matter. Just like saying, “would you like to go out with me?” pretty much means that the person is talking about a date, rather than some other excursion.

    As for Max, I don’t think he could be any clearer at this point.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Recently relevant too. 😛

    Okay, fine, people are that clueless. But if two people of that level of cluelessness got this close together as in this comic, I think the universe would explode.

  • masterofbones

    I think you may have misunderstood me. Alison is constantly holding herself back. Intoxicating her could easily result in a bloodbath – imagine someone who can throw buildings stumbling around drunk. Accidentally tap someone on the shoulder? fatality.

    On the other hand, she is usually able to *mostly* contain herself when sober and angry.

  • Raises hand.

  • Christophe2314

    Well, yeah, that. I meant you don’t get to complain about it in a “I shouldn’t be in here! She should be dating me!” way.

  • Tylikcat

    And this is why I consider socially standard hetero-normative mating activity to be super kinky. *twitch* (It’s less an amplitude thing – that varies a fair bit – but more of a hygiene thing. If you’re going to encode that sort of power dynamic, maybe you should use a safeword?)

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    late reply, but where did he do that? He said to her “Hey wanna hang?” and later “I got a free movie ticket, you care to come?” These are things it’s not unusual to ask a friend. We can tell he wanted a date from context, but Allison does not have the benefit of a third party observe, and is unused to being hit on besides. Recognizing cues this subtly is asking a lot of her. Romatic interest can come from friendship, but this is not always the case or what everybody wants.
    I can’t speak for others, but so far other then having evil eyebrows Max has done nothing wrong, nor been disrespectful. What Max did was clear. Max made it very apparent to Allison that he’d like to go out with her. I would not say he did so disrespectfully.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      I mean, come on. Alison has superpowers. Hence she has to know she’s the protagonist of an online webcomic and as such, every “hey wanna hang” coming from the gender she can have romantic interest in is inherently narratively purposeful (Lisa will never tell Alison “hey wanna hang” on page because that would be wasted space)
      It’s absolutely her fault.

      And for Max, he’s just so smooth socially that it tends to step on shy people’s toes and it’s not very nice of him to do. But he might do it without knowing.