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Very lonely place to be. thebombzen Choosing not to drink or get stoned doesn’t make you lonely. OoO! But every little bit helps 🙂 Raven Black That depends where you live (and also whether “having no friends you can spend time with” = “lonely”). I’ve lived in a couple of towns where I was unable to find anyone whose idea of a social activity did not involve such things (to the point of there not even being any eg. board game playing groups to be found, internet or comic-and-game-shop-advertisements, nor even respondents if I advertised. I assume the existence of one such shop implies that the people *existed*, but I guess they had closed systems.) Kate Blackwell When most people your age group see “getting wasted” as the highlight of their week and you aren’t into that then yes it totally does. Rumble in the Tumble It can make socializing much harder if all your friends are “DUDE WEED LMAO” and “WHADDYA MEAN YOU WON’T DRINK WITH -ME-?” Not really applicable in Alison’s case, but very common in most real life cases I’ve seen. RaeRae Is there any point to her drinking though? I was under the impression that her super-strong cells made her like Thor, so drinking alcohol/smoking would just be very expensive flavored water/air. Weatherheight It’s reasonable to assume that, given what we know. But we haven’t actually had confirmation “on screen” so far. And I can’t see Ali risking it. I am, however, eagerly waiting to see if your supposition if true or not. Cause I’m nosy. Weatherheight I agree – isolating yourself from others makes you lonely. I’m not opposed to drinking or drugs in principle, but I’ve been the Double-D most of my life (Designated Driver). Being the responsible one in the group does have its costs. On the other hand, however, not one friend of mine has ever died during or after a party I was at. But in my case, I made an effort to hang out with my friends. Others can choose to feel isolated by this different choice and not do what I did. My friends made it clear that they valued knowing I was clear-headed and thanked me when I headed them off at the pass (usually the following day, but hey…). Which says a lot about peer pressure and who one’s true friends are, I suppose. Of course, what I find interesting is that there is weak positive correlation with drug or alcohol dependency and feelings of loneliness. Often times, the drug is being used to self-treat those feelings. I haven’t seen a study that compares non-medicated feelings of loneliness (using brain monitoring to define that state) with feelings of loneliness in those that use drugs or alcohol to self-treat. Or, for that matter, a study that compares the effects of drugs or alcohol during use from baseline feelings of loneliness (do they get better, get worse, or remain relatively the same?). Several pretty valid points are made by other here as well. Self-esteem and feelings of self-empowerment also play into decisions to use intoxicants as well. It’s a pretty complex issue. masterofbones In her situation drinking would be horribly unwise. A stumble could cause a crater. An over-enthusiastic pat on the back could mean manslaughter. I drunken idea could mean massive damage. Drinking is something that is a risk(though a manageable one) for normal people. For people with her stats, drinking is a BAD idea. chaosvii Seconding what thebombzen is getting at here. Loneliness is a matter of social connection being insufficient for a person, not what activities one engages in. If Alison is lonely, it has more to do with not resonating with enough people to feel like she has her head on straight than any lack of self-medication or perception of responsibility affecting her has. Weatherheight Much better post than my reply. 😀 Izo Axiology. The study of axioms. Kid Chaos Axiology. The study of repairing and replacing axles on cars & trucks. 😎 https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PL12C0C916CECEA3BC&v=EFg3abe8NF4 Christophe2314 Axiology: The study of the Axis powers. Heil Hitler! Jerden And for the dumb-dumbies that don’t know what an Axiom is… 😉 Izo The study of axioms 🙂 Kid Chaos Axioms? You mean like this? 😜 dbmag9 Westchester is where Al is from! Ben Posin Re: Westchester–it’s a county, so it’s a mixed bag. Alison’s family also lives in Westchester. I see it as more of a hey now that we’ve had our fun in the city, we could go fly to a more luxurious house than my small apartment. Though if this guy has an apartment in SoHo, it’s a decent bet that his family has a pretty nice house. Yes, Max is being funny and saying that he does not know what axiology is–it’s charmingly done. Avram Grumer Westchester’s pretty big, with dozens of smaller municipalities in it, and a pretty wide variety of wealth levels. Bronxville (where Alison’s from) has a higher median income than Harrison (where Max is from). Random832 My understanding is that Soho is too, and if he was serious about her flying them back to his place he’d have to at least give *a* location. Random832 It’s basically just a somewhat affluent suburb of New York, exactly the kind of place you’d put a big mansion (with expansive grounds, so it can’t be a city block mansion like the Avengers) in a comic where you want most of the action to take place in New York City. The only connotation is that his parents are probably rich or at least upper middle class. Oh, and, it’s technically a county rather than a single place – Harrison and Bronxville are both communities within it (and Bronxville has a higher median income than Harrison) Tylikcat Phrasing around the family place implied it, but it was really when he said he was from Harrison that you knew he was from a wealthy background. (Not from NY, but I suspected, so I looked it up.) bta If he’s hoping to impress her with his money, he’s got quite the competition. Shjade I dunno, assumptions can be hard to change. I’m willing to bet his strongest critics will just take this as a sign that he’s SO practiced he even has smooth recoveries ready for when it looks like he’s crashing and burning. Frankly I’m just looking forward to seeing where this ends up at this point. Trying not to think about it too hard yet. M. Alan Thomas II I mean, yes? I take nothing as absolute, just as worrying. But reversing course, acknowledging, and apologizing when caught is absolutely a method of manipulative abuser behavior. If they don’t keep that hope that they’re actually just good people alive, then the relationship will fail, especially in the early stages like this. More generally, boundary-testing is a well-worn tactic for seeing what you can get away with and how far you can push people, and apologizing and backing off is how you recover when caught. Which you inevitably will be, so of course you’re prepared for it. I’m not saying that he’s necessarily a bad guy, just that this doesn’t change the possibility that he is because it’s precisely the reaction you’d expect if he was. If you think it isn’t, well, that’s how they get you. ∫Clémens×ds That’s to be expected sure, but so far his biggest criticism was that he was totally oblivious to her. At least being a successful conman means it would have been wrong. weedgoku It’s totally a valid point. But I don’t think it’s entirely Alison’s fault that she has that kind of behavior ingrained into her considering she’s had an altruistic lifestyle sort of imposed on her by her father’s work through her childhood and before she could really develop as a person she became a super hero and was taken by the government and effectively forced to become the symbol of goodness. I can see that messing with how you think. Sergio Le Roux I agree that’s something deeply ingrained and hard to shake, but it’s not about accusing her of anything but about something that’s probably not healthy and should be pointed out. “I was raised this way” is a bad excuse when other less savory people use it, so it would be a bad excuse for Alison. Lheticus Videre Well, at least Gurwara is OPEN about his villainy! 😛 😛 😛 (the :Ps mean I’m kidding) Tylikcat A counter point to my own comment: A number of times in their previous interactions, Max has done things that have seemed to make Alison uncomfortable. Here, he’s all socially sensitive and totally dealing with it. In previous occasions, not. What makes these situations different? Things that come to mind: Are we talking about Alison being flustered but in a way that’s okay with her? Which isn’t exactly how I interpreted the art, but hey, it might be different in kind. (Maybe I’m falling into my own biases. People who try to fluster me piss me off.) Is it that this time she started talking about leaving, implying that it was really far less her discomfort but the actions she was thinking of taking to reduce it that had Max being awesome? Because he’s being awesome, and showing social sensitivity. But I was kind of wondering if he lacked social sensitivity before, or was otherwise not addressing Alison’s pretty obvious discomfiture at his actions. It’s really cool that he knows how to do this. But it also makes it pretty clear that it wasn’t a lack of skill that kept him from being socially sensitive before. Weatherheight I’m getting a “playa” vibe here as well, but I’m also getting the “hmm, this is a real person i’ve been playing with” vibe as well. Your point above makes Max even more complex than I originally thought, even taking into account this page. Best. Chapter. Ever. So much to discuss. M. Alan Thomas II “I tried to be sneaky, but you caught on, so now I’ll be totally apologetic about it.” I will admit that he could go either way. It’s unclear how manipulative he intends to be, although clearly he recognizes the “sneaky” aspect of what he was trying. But the fact that he might potentially be a good person doesn’t mean that his actions don’t also have sufficient evil potential to set off alarm bells for me. M. Alan Thomas II Owning shit doesn’t make it less shit. I still worry that it is shit, because it has definite shit potential. But there’s also a chance that he’s a good guy. Tylikcat I’m a little… disconcerted, I guess, by how much there’s seems to be a reaction where Max acts in a sympathetic manner once, and a lot of people say “Oh, yay, I am no longer worried, he must be a great guy.” I suppose this might reflect an expectation of narrative simplicity? I really hope this doesn’t reflect an expectation that this is how relationships work, because fuck. (That all being said, I strongly support Max being a complicated fellow, and not just a good guy or a bad guy, I suppose. Though… well, hm. I mean, I do on general grounds, but I’m not particularly invested in Max, and given a choice I suppose I’d rather see “Life teaches Patrick some very useful lessons.” As that would perfectly express my mixed feelings about Patrick.) M. Alan Thomas II I think you’re possibly right on the narrative simplicity front. In some sense I’m worried about him because in real life I’d be worried about him, but this isn’t real life. But I also trust this comic to be complicated. Weatherheight Thanks for the replies, everyone. Yeah, Max is looking better and better as time goes on. And clearly I was totally wrong. Yay for being wrong! ::wiggles his ears and trots in happy little circles around Spectacles:: Weatherheight Hehehe – thirty years after I read that book and I got that joke! +1 for you! Christophe2314 Everyone also seems convinced that Gurwara was a supervillain. Because Alison can’t encounter non-superpowered adversity, naturally. Weatherheight Hey! I’m part of everyone, and I’m pretty sure he’s not anomalous / biodynamic, or for that matter not even villainous (although I do think he’s one of the challenges which the archetypical Hero must overcome (referring to Joseph Campbell’s works here] ). I *do* hope, however, that he’s had some physically damaging interaction with biodynamics (someone else’s theory and I like it a lot). He could then be a kind of counterpoint / contrasting opposite of Professor Cohen. My four copper pieces worth at least. I was thinking a bit of Max being someone else “Instrument of Whatever” against Alison at the start of the date, but by this point I’m thinking Max is either *very* good at that job or he’s just a normal guy with a boner for Alison doing his best to seal the deal. And frankly, that’s a better ad more interesting story in my mind in the long run. Guilherme Carvalho I actually have a whole *new* set of assumptions, and they’re not really better than the previous ones. 🙁 But keeping one’s mouth shut is an art I’m trying to perfect. Not quite there yet, though. ∫Clémens×ds I don’t know, when I used to be a jerk I was very keen on doing exactly what he does in panel 3, recovering from embarrassment by framing it exactly in the way that advantaged me. The fact that she’s saying it’s absolutely not what he said and that he insists otherwise brought back painful memories. Hopefully he’s not putting himself to roast so that she takes the blame instead. ∫Clémens×ds “Wait. Your friend’s place? What happened to him?” “Her, actually. And well, girlfriend was maybe more appropriate. She died burned alive.” Jerden “But you know how it is. You can’t live in the past. Always keep moving on. So, see you tomorrow night, Alison?” Weatherheight You made me laugh with this. You monster. 😀 ∫Clémens×ds Now we get to worry he’s a really good pick up artist instead of an uncaring charisma engine! Hawthorne “My friend’s place”. I’m getting a vibe here…that Max was actually with another woman, probably casually, when the building caught on fire. And that is the reason he was only wearing boxers. He seems like the fast-moving type who refers to previous conquests as “my friend” when he’s going after a new woman, so he doesn’t tip them off by being honest and saying “one of my exes” or “the last of many people I slept with”. Steelbright Errybody is overanalyzing Max… like we do with everything else that happens in this comic 🙂 (reading a comic read by tons of overanalyzers is actually the best….) Idk, he might just be a not-bad kinda rich kid who isn’t the best for Allison even though he’s cute. I feel like this whole scene is set up to be beautiful and perfect–the sunset, the high line being empty, the fact that their outfits kinda match in color scheme–but that only emphasizes the fact that he’s just not the guy that Allison might’ve hoped he was. Which is the result of so many dates irl! Or maybe i’m just reading way into it with my experience of dating…. heh. chaosvii Way off topic here: I’m really not a fan of the term “overanalyzing” as a way of conveying the concept of “applying specious assumptions to small details in order to extrapolate out an likely erroneous conclusion.” I really think it should mean “ascribing greater significance to small details than is appropriate when judging a work or circumstance.” ∫Clémens×ds I don’t even see how he may have phrased that wrong. How exactly do you convey the idea that Alison didn’t even realize what was asked of her was her subjective opinion in any better way than “you’re looking for the right answer”? It’s not an unfair or hurtful commentary to make, on a scale from Jesus Christ woman would it kill you to have an opinion for once in your life to that elusive perfect phrasing. Guest I wonder if her reasons for not wanting to go back to his place now have more to do with caution about hurting him than with lack of interest on her part. Weatherheight Possible. Also 1) She’s scared / nervous about several new experiences and needs time to process them, 2) She’s not feeling on solid ground with this whole sex issue that just came to the forefront of the date. 3) She’s realizing she has other things that she needs to pay attention to that she’s been neglecting while indulging herself on a date (i.e. her responsible nature just kicked in). I’m pretty sure everyone could come up with even more with little effort. First dates are usually rough (at least, mine was and so was the first date of pretty much anyone whom I’ve ever met). That said, that discussion of “can Alison accidentally hurt someone while trying not to hurt them?” is a one that’s been ongoing. Her doctor implied that it’s unlikely, but that may not be much comfort to Alison’s worries. Kethran “my friend’s place”. Calling it now, he’s a pyromaniac firestarter. A very smooth criminal. Peter Ebbesen Point of order: You are reversing the yelling polarity. :p Alison yelled at Gurwara as a way of lashing out in anger when her arguments fell short and she was incapable of dealing with the situation she was faced with. To put it bluntly, Alison is poor at dealing with having her preconceptions challenged. To her credit, she is somewhat aware of this and working on it. Gurwara did not once yell at Alison. He had a lesson to teach to all the students, and he did so with Alison’s enthusiastic help. Pol Subanajouy Hey, there is something to be said for irreducible complexity. Hawthorne Ooh, good counterpoint. I honestly didn’t think of that. 😀 Okay…so…she was…out buying post-coital snacks? Or made it out the front door while Brois went back for his ab cream and got trapped by the flames?