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Stuff like that is how you get cooties. :-/ Gotham OH MY GOD AdamBombTV YOU DID THIS!! Gotham CURSE MY CEASELESS RIGHTNESS David B Huber “Be careful what you wish for.” – Alison is dropping all her defenses. Now Patrick can replace her mind with his… Tim F That might be what this is. The Claudia sequence didn’t show what Patrick’s mind control zap feels like from the victim’s perspective. Presumably it feels great. I really want to know what happened to Gurwara before we get too happy about this development. Ran Alison getting mind-wiped would mean the end of the comic. I don’t think her story ends that way. alexikakon What a fucking ending that would BE though, huh? But even if that is what happens, I wouldn’t worry too much. Superhero Comics: Anything’s Reversible! AshlaBoga Hmmm, have we met anyone with the power to reverse a complete personality rewrite OTHER than Patrick? Stephanie He didn’t do the glowy eye thing, so I don’t think it’s that. Shjade Even if that didn’t go against everything Patrick’s shown in terms of his reaction toward his own ability to do this (which it very much would): as this outcome would result in the antithesis of the titular Strong Female Protagonist, I highly doubt it. Mechwarrior You will follow where I lead you and eat the garbage that I feed you until the day that we don’t need you! Don’t go for help, no one will heed you! Your mind is totally controlled it has been stuffed into my mold and you will do as you are told until the rights to you are sold! AshlaBoga Did you come up with that, or is it a quote? Shjade Google’s pretty handy for finding quotes. https://genius.com/Frank-zappa-im-the-slime-live-version-lyrics Mechwarrior It’s from Frank Zappa’s I’m the Slime Dave M Given he recorded it way back in ’73, the lyrics seem almost prophetic (both for down here in Aus, and elsewhere). “I am gross and perverted. I’m obsessed ‘n deranged. I have existed for years, but very little has changed. I’m the tool of the government and industry too, for I am destined to rule and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, but you can’t look away. I make you think I’m delicious, with the stuff that I say. I’m the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet?” Mechwarrior I’M THE SLIME OOZING OUT OF YOUR TV SET! Philip Bourque How do you define cheating? Some would say it isn’t cheating if there’s no sex, others would say it’s cheating if you so much as look at another person. Gotham Cheating is breaking established promises. Empahsis on the /established/. I despise nothing more that society’s supposed promises. If Clevin and Alison had had no pre-existing conversation about exclusivity, and he ends up pissy about her kiss, he can fuck right off. friendlymosquito Her IMAGINARY kiss 😛 Rolf Soldaat All romantic relationships (at least in most cultures) are assumed to be monogamous unless specified otherwise. I personally don’t see a problem with having a “default” relationship type. Gotham Well, I’ll give you a hint: it’s the same defining “default” relationship participants. Like, say, a heterosexual relationship between two cissexuals partners. But really when has that ever caused a slight bother historically Rolf Soldaat There’s no problem with having a default so long as that doesn’t exclude other options. Say are ordering a dish that comes with fries by default. No sane person is going to legitimately call you a freak for choosing the mashed potatoes or potato wedges instead. Gotham No, no, having a default always carries meaning, and when it’s about people, political meaning, and we all know how well that ultimately ends if we don’t recognize and question our assumptions of what is considered “normal”. Fuck normal. Also I don’t know if I should tell you this but humans are not fries And I dearly hope you don’t seriously me to add to that statement that it obviously doesn’t mean I condone wankers abusing a position of power to be jerks toward more vulnerable partners saying “hey, we never said our relationship was this way” AND this is entirely without even broaching the fact that by all biological accounts, monogamy is wildly unnatural to our species Denimcurtain I think that she was concerned about exclusivity shows that the kiss is a betrayal. Gotham It shows they haven’t talked about it, most likely. Extremely scarce chances are that when Clevin knows, he’s going to be like “oh, exclusivity? No, I totally don’t care for it in the slightest!” Although yes, given what we know about him, it’s definitely not going to be the case, and Alison can also have her say in how she feels about how /he/ feels about it. Tylikcat There’s a difference between being aware that this is something that might likely hurt him, and it being something that would violate agreements that they have. Now, maybe Clevin and Al are exclusive – there’s a lot we don’t know about their relationship. And doing something that might hurt your partner is a big deal – but it’s not *cheating*… and the calculus that goes into whether you should or not is complicated. (It’s also not an instant no. It reached the point where my ex was hurt every time I succeeded in my career or in martial arts. You have to think beyond that metric.) I don’t like the “It’s a dream,” logic – though I also wouldn’t immediately jump to Patrick being outright manipulative – he may well be in a pretty weird mind state. (That being said, his intentions towards Al and Clevin’s relationship need careful inspection.) Ark We call it cheating specifically when it involves romantic or sexual actions. So no, you doing martial arts is not cheating. Gotham You’ve not read my comment above have you Ark Gonna have to be more specific – you’ve written, like, 500 comments. Gotham The one that started it all where I defined cheating, as per my own view. It’s funny how, with the conversation we’ve been having, yours is less strict than mine. To me, cheating is breaking someone’s trust, no matter the context. I would definitely consider cheating someone who broke their established promise to not eat ice cream ever, if they decided to make it for whatever reason. Tylikcat Of course that wasn’t cheating. That wasn’t even the question. The question was whether you should always avoid doing things that might hurt your partner. The answer is: No. Also, you’re phrasing this assuming monogamy – I care about breaking agreements far more than I care about sexually exclusivity as sure. Why shouldn’t I care about lying about spending more than kissing someone? The Improbable Man I don’t think it’s a jump. As tygertyger reminded me way down below in the comments, Patrick drove Clevin out of the apartment earlier with his comments about the pictures. You know Alison would be pissed at Patrick for this, and would not be kissing him right now. Also, once she learns after the fact, she’ll be extra pissed. AshlaBoga I feel like the fact that it’s Menace instead of someone who isn’t a mass murderer would violate some sort of default. If you’re not going steady that usually implies some sort of safe standard, like no unprotected sex with someone you know is HIV positive (unless you and your partner already have HIV in which case a talk would be required). Basically, her relationship with Menace might be criminal since she has a legal duty to report information on a known criminal and is failing to do so. Rolf Soldaat Obviously humans are not fries, I was just trying to illustrate that a default doesn’t have to mean alternatives are unacceptable. Regardless, I think we’ve reached the end of this conversation’s usefulness, so I will respectfully withdraw. Gotham Of course I agree with you that having a default /shouldn’t/ mean alternatives are unacceptable, my point is that you just can’t help that from being the case, times and times again. shink The default is absolutely in effect here, if only because Clevin and Alison don’t have enough experience to understand why couples choose not to do the default thing. The default is how they were both trained from a young age to approach relationships, and no matter how destructive you personally might consider it, it doesn’t change the fact that both of them very likely had that expectation going into the relationship and have maintained it since. Gotham Again, hopefully if you replace “default” here by “heterosexuality”, you can realize on your own why the hurt feelings it might cause to challenge that default are not worth respecting. Ark Because biology ceased happening as soon as things started being written down… 1000 years of monogamy is nothing to sneeze at. There are plenty of biological hypotheses for why monogamy became prevalent – STDs, infanticide, resource preservation, etc. PS, this is not a claim of mono or poly being the right way to be. I’ve personally tried both. “Natural” is just a terrible argument for what humans “should” be. Gotham I shall scoff at your “1000 years of monogamy”, scratch it and write instead “I give it ten minutes. Since the advent of human civilization, humanity has maybe managed to accumulate ten minutes of monogamous behavior” And it became prevalent to control women’s bodies. Ark I’m sorry you have such a cynical view of people. I know lots of people who are monogamous and unable to be anything but monogamous. I’ve even offered a one-way open relationship a few times and never had a monogamous partner who was interested. Gotham The opinion that it’s a cynical view of people is so biased, though! It’s entirely based on the assumption that non monogamous relationship are somehow less than. If I do have a cynical view of something, it’s society’s patriarchal rules and expectations such as this very one. Ark It’s cynical and you have such a chip on your shoulder about poly vs. mono you can’t see it. I lean heavily poly. I am just not built to be jealous that way. I don’t think monogamy is better or more virtuous in any way. In fact, I think it limits the amount of love in the world by saying you can only love one person at a time. However, monogamy is essentially a contract. “I’ll only have a relationship with you if you’ll only have a relationship with me.” If you don’t believe any single human is capable of keeping their word, much less wants to keep their word, then yes, that’s a cynical position to take. Gotham Okay sorry my bad, I guess I didn’t express myself explicitly, when I said “ten minutes”, I meant “ten minutes of all humans of earth collectively being monogamous, no breach of it anywhere for 600 consecutive seconds”. That I don’t believe in for one second, and given the number of humans I suspect you don’t either. Ten minutes is a huge number for that standard, even. Ark You understand cheating happens in poly relationships too, right? They’re not immune to hurt romantic feelings just because you’re allowed to see more people. You can have a poly relationship that forbids seeing individuals, or seeing people more than once, etc. Whether or not people cheat in relationships is not an argument about how human relationships should be. Gotham I’m not sure why that comments here and now, and also ever, considering by now I personally told you twice about my definition of cheating and how it’s all encompassing and none of what you said wasn’t obvious to me Ark “AND this is entirely without even broaching the fact that by all biological accounts, monogamy is wildly unnatural to our species” That’s the point I started responding in this conversation. My main point was that just because humans were non-monogamous at some arbitrary point in history doesn’t mean that’s how humans should be now. Tylikcat …I think that’s kind of the inverse of the argument. Gotham I would actively dislike that, actually. Nothing more sexy that convincing someone taught to be monogamous by an oppressive culture to come and enjoy the dark side with us libertines. Eli Pomerantz I think I’m still having difficulty parsing your phrase – you’re making an all statement, like “I don’t believe at any time all hydrants were red”, because if even one hydrant was yellow, the statement is false? If so, it seems an odd bar to set, and perhaps I don’t understand the purpose of the argument Gotham Why would that be an odd bar to set? Eli Pomerantz because “all” statements tend to be the most disprovable sort of statement, making it a bit of a straw man fallacy; by saying “I don’t believe this “all” state of being existed”, you are bringing up a point, assigning the argument to the opposite side, and then disproving it, when it’s not a logical argument for the opposite side has made or would have made. It’s pretty much setting up the statement for failure unless the statement is a tautology Gotham Let me introduce you to the logical fallacy known as “moving the goal post”. You won’t need a huge wall of text next time. Could my statement that monogamy is nowhere near as common biologically speaking improve upon its rhetoric? Yes, but my point being right, I can allow myself some amount of fun Eli Pomerantz I don’t think this is moving the goalposts, unless you’re suggesting you were the one moving the goalposts as part of your argument, perhaps because you felt it was subject to the fallacy fallacy, or maybe using hyperbole to make your point I wasn’t really arguing a point so much as trying to follow the argument, got confused by your point, and wanted clarification – because it seemed like a weak argument, I thought I might be missing the point, or it was a subset of a stronger argument If I were moving the goalposts, it would suggest perhaps, that you effectively made your point, and then I put it to a higher standard, possibly an impossibly higher standard that could not be reasonably met, but questioning the clarity and logic of the statement probably doesn’t fall under that It might be said you were moving the goalposts of the argument of “whether monogamy is/should be the default” by suggesting that as long as monogamy was never at any point omnipresent, it cannot/should not be the default, since the same could be said for polyamory [that at no point as everyone been polyamorous], and either point is basically impossible to prove [even if there was a point where everyone was polyamrous or monogamous, it’s not like anyone was taking a census or Patrick was around to confirm such a thing], but as I said, it might be that the fallacy fallacy applies, the point that just because something appears to be a fallacy doesn’t mean the point is wrong – it needs to be evaluated on its own. I mean, you’re right that it’s not like this is a super serious debate, so I suppose if you were just having fun, I’m sorry I was trying to follow it and took it too seriously, but considering everything is in text, I don’t see how a wall of text should be problem [and does breaking it up with spacing help?] I’m also not sure whether the question of “should monogamy be the assumed default” can be answered logically – perhaps it’s more of a question of ethos or pathos, like; “We have a moral imperative to not assume monogamy by default because such assumptions lead to harm – hurt feelings, break ups, etc – in our modern society: the moral choice is to not assume, but to instead discuss the general boundaries of the relationship such that all members accept it” or “nobody likes feeling excluded; it’s hurtful. When we assume a default relationship mode, it implies an exclusion to what is normal, hurting people. Also, if you assume and you’re wrong, it leads to more hurt feelings” of course, I could see a logical argument about it requiring an inductive element, along the same lines as those, such as “Since variance in relationship modes exists, it makes more sense to clarify the boundaries of the relationship than to assume you know what another person’s thoughts and expectations are” Tylikcat This is utter bullshit. At any point during the last thousand years there have been many competing relationship models… and many people not adhering to them. Take a class in comparative family structure, please. Ark I’m not sure what you’re calling bullshit. Monogamy has been the prevailing (aka default) form of a relationship in western culture for about a thousand years. That fact doesn’t preclude anything you said. Tylikcat Ah, you meant western culture. (Even there, that’s not really true – monogamy was expected for women, not for men. Which always made for an interesting conundrum…) Ark Clevin and Al are, in fact, in western culture. Much like Clevin and Al, I should have stated my assumptions to ensure we are communicating effectively 🙂 Tylikcat One of the reasons I’m looking at this warily is that the expectations for fidelity have tended to be differently applied by gender. (I think this has come up a lot in my relationships – no matter how much I discuss things with people ahead of time, or how clearly I advertise who I am and what I’m about, men in particular often revert to cultural expectations and want to have a degree of control over me that I never consented to. …and often find that everything they thought they were attracted to in a strong, smart independent woman is pretty different when I continue to be strong smart and independent even when involved with them. So many discussions that go “So do you remember the discussion where I said such and such…” and yet still they’re shocked that I’m such and such.) Ark I know that all too well. So many times I will hook up with someone explicitly saying that I am not interested in a relationship and they still try to get in one. That’s totally unrelated to what Clevin and Al have going on though, which by all outside evidence is a typical monogamous relationship. Tylikcat So, among the college kids I know (many – I work with undergraduates) exclusivity isn’t assumed? Though at a certain point of exclusive hanging out it’s sort of assumed. But the monogamous default isn’t, and *I’m* living in Cleveland FFS. They’re at The New School. Tylikcat (Like I wasn’t already everyone’s big sister – I’m out about being queer generally, but most of the research students know I’m poly, and this apparently translates to many as “I won’t judge about anything,” which means I get some pretty amazing relationship and sex related questions. Though more folks just kind of checking in and being someone will understand their enby demisexualness. The kids are okay.) Ark Are you saying Al and Clevin should be in a homosexual relationship instead? :p Tylikcat Ah, no. If they haven’t discussed being exclusive, they aren’t. I mean, yeesh, this goes back to the “going steady” and other conversations – it’s not exactly news, even amongst generally monogamous folks. Incendax Here’s the rub. Alison clearly understands that this could hurt Clevin’s feelings, so the right thing to do is have a talk with Clevin about it BEFORE dream kissing Patrick. Then she can decide if Clevin’s reaction is a deal breaker or not. Poly is good as long as everyone has talked about it ahead of time. Surprising your partner with it, not so much. Tylikcat I totally agree! …but it’s not super practical, is it? Incendax No, it’s not super practical. But “That totally would have spoiled the romantic moment!” Is not really a good excuse unless you are willing to accept the consequences. Tylikcat I think a lot of this is about what are appropriate consequences. I’m not team “She did a bad thing and deserves to be punished.” Clevin is likely to be hurt, and it’s likely to play into his existing insecurity. But there’s also a lot of past history here. And it’s a kiss – which, honestly, if they were grown ups, they might recognize isn’t even really the issue, the way the relationship and feelings between Patrick and Alison are. (I mean, they aren’t, I don’t expect them to be, and that’s part of what makes the comic interesting. Still.) Incendax I’m Poly, so the idea of multiple partners is a non issue. But our established agreement (because we DID talk about it) requires vetting the other person. If the established agreement was “Completely Open” that would also be totally cool because it would have been talked about. But here we have Alison clearly feeling guilty about her actions. So she knows, or at least suspects, that it would bother Clevin. So she is knowingly sharing an emotionally romantic moment (assuming she thinks kissing is romantic) without discussing it with her existing partner first. That would be a red flag for me, though not a deal breaker, that my partner realized it would bother me and did it anyway. So, not something that would end the relationship (for me) but I would feel that I had the emotional right to be upset about it. If that makes any sense. Tylikcat I agree that Clevin has, um, standing, to be upset. But upset, not kind of, Al is in violation, AFAWK. Though if he tries to weaponize his upset (which doesn’t seem very Clevinish, but does seem in line with what several people on this board are suggesting) I’d find that deeply problematic. They have stuff to talk about… …though the kiss is the least of that, really. Incendax Yeah, I agree. If Clevin weaponizes being upset that is extremely uncool. But this is definitely a “we need to have a talk” situation, ASAP. And things are going to get a lot worse/weird if she finds out what Patrick said to Clevin before his mental reinvention. Tylikcat …I am really not in the mood for an angsty love triangle. Gotham Here’s the rubbest: I hurt my grandparents’ feelings when I had relationships with women. And that’s their problem. I’m being absolute here, I trust you to not think I shoved my bisexuality in their face with cruelty, but that’s the point: Alison isn’t being willingly cruel or dismissive of Clevin here. Incendax You can’t avoid hurting feelings, but talking to your partner about things before you do them is generally a good policy. From there, you can decide if their reaction is worth sticking around or not. Gotham That is not and ought not to be your moral imperative, period. The dignity of uncompromising selflessness is lost on me the instant it becomes a tool of social control, which it the sole entire purpose of that stupid “monogamy is the default” rule. Incendax I genuinely don’t understand what you wrote. Are you against good communication between romantic partners (however many you agree to have), or are you advocating for a “better to ask for forgiveness” approach? Gotham Neither? Of course I am all for excellent communication between partners, which necessarily implies that if you get annoyed by a behavior of your partner that you didn’t discuss preemptively, you’ve got no grounds to stand on. Incendax Even if you do an assessment, and come to the conclusion that your actions might hurt their feelings (as Alison clearly does)? Your response is “I’m going to do it, and since we haven’t actually talked about it, they have no grounds to feel upset” and not “I should talk to my partner about this”? Gotham Have you asked yourself why you instinctively reject the fault for not having this conversation beforehand on Alison’s shoulders and not Clevin? Ark Because Alison is the one becoming romantically involved with someone other than her current partner? Even poly people have conversations about adding another person in before just willy nilly doing so. If anything poly people are MORE concerned with having good communication because there isn’t a predefined default. Gotham If my partners started calling me every time they were about to kiss someone new in a dream to ask if I was okay with it I would throw my Poly discount card in the fire Incendax This is more like VR or the Internet. Both parties are (seemingly) aware of their situation, know what the other is saying, and will (probably) remember it vividly when they “Log Off.” Gotham The time I don’t spend with my partner is my own and they have no business deciding remotely anything in it. The opinion you have is fundamentally based on a worldview where this is simply not the case, that a relationship meant heart and soul are shaped forevermore, and there is no reason not to question it. To challenge why for so long humans have lived relationships as if one party belongs to the other (and often, it’s the women party that belong to the man, hm, isn’t that curious) In the world we live in, this are very hard terms, I am conscious of that. Many people disagree with them. And it’s fine! These people are not for me to spend my time with. But I champion communication, and if anything I hope I come off as someone who’s not afraid to state things clearly upfront. Ark Much like porn, most people draw a line of cheating when it starts to involve another person. So watching porn = not cheating, but interacting with a sex worker in a romantic or sexual way = cheating. If you are able to meet another person and consciously do things in your dreams, yes, it’s cheating. (Assuming you and your partner(s) haven’t explicitly allowed this in your relationship.) Gotham I’m going to answer you both the same thing: The time I don’t spend with my partner is my own and they have no business deciding remotely anything in it. The opinion you have is fundamentally based on a worldview where this is simply not the case, that a relationship means heart and soul are shared forevermore, and there is no reason not to question it. To challenge why for so long humans have lived relationships as if one party belongs to the other (and often, it’s the women party that belong to the man, hm, isn’t that curious) In the world we live in, these are very hard terms, I am conscious of that. Many people disagree with them. And it’s fine! These people are not for me to spend my time with. But I champion communication, and if anything I hope I come off as someone who’s not afraid to state things clearly upfront. Ark “The time I don’t spend with my partner is my own and they have no business deciding remotely anything in it.” It sounds like you have no interest in being in any kind of relationship at all. Being considerate of another person’s feelings and your shared goals is kind of the basis of a relationship. If you decide to spend your time doing meth, or robbing a bank, or free-solo climbing, or spending all of your money gambling, or adopting 5 kittens…OF COURSE it’s their business because your decisions affect both of you. This has moved well past whether or not it’s cheating to just common decency. Gotham My current relationship is doing wonderful, thank you very much But I actually agree on cases where my decisions affects both of us. I guess I’m just alone in thinking who do I choose to kiss should only and preferably only affect me. Stephanie I think that’s a totally legitimate relationship model when everyone involved is on board. Solid odds that Clevin isn’t someone who feels that way, of course. Gotham And I’ve been in magnificent monogamous relationships with people who swung that way and were just too great not to compromise on my own preferences. But Clevin might surprise us, I’m afraid. With such a low self-esteem, although I don’t think that’s what the comic is going to explore, I wouldn’t find it far-fetched that, once he knew, he would pretend that he totally didn’t mind out of fear of what Alison might do otherwise. Ark Reminds me of the Master of None episode where Brian finds out his dad knows both of the women he is seeing would prefer he be monogamous but they are so desperate for intimacy that they shove their feelings deep, deep inside. Incendax I’m not sure what you are talking about. My only worldview is that I respect the feelings of my partners. If I know my actions will upset them, I sit down and have a talk with them about it. If we cannot come to an agreement of some kind of compromise then we go our separate ways. I DO disagree with your position that your partner has no right to feel emotions about things you do outside of time spent with them. But as long as all of your partners agreed to those terms in the beginning, you have every right to take that position. Gotham They do have the right to feel emotions about things I do outside of our time, but to treat all of these emotions about all the things I do with the same respect is dumb. I profoundly do not care for feelings hurt out of entitlement. You seem to think unwarranted entitlement deserves kindness, and, well, I don’t Incendax What do you mean by ‘same respect?’ Gotham Treating “I don’t like how you spend your time with your best friend, it hurts my feelings” with the same degree of respect than “I don’t like how you are self-destructive to the point that your dependence on me is pulling me down, it hurts my feelings”. Incendax I think you are having so many simultaneous conversations you are blurring them together. But congratulations on the popular thread. =P Stephanie You probably have an existing agreement with them that they don’t need to ask your permission for that, though, right? I’m generally in agreement with you that monogamy shouldn’t be the assumed default and that exclusivity requires an explicit conversation, but I also think the person you’re debating has a valid point. If Al believes that kissing Patrick in this brainspace could hurt Clevin, then that means it’s time to have the exclusivity chat (if they haven’t yet), not that she should just go ahead and start mackin’. It may not be Technically Cheating, but that doesn’t make it the action of a considerate partner. Gotham I do agree with that, and like I said, what to me matters most in this instance is that it’s an heat of the moment thing, when Clevin’s feelings are clearly considered and not disregarded. What I’m saying is we shouldn’t be hard on her for kissing him, and neither should Clevin. If Clevin throws a fit about this /and/ they have had no talk beforehand, I’m only saying it’s going to be difficult to consider his side. But I suppose he’s only going to be utterly shattered by it, not angry. That I can definitely understand and empathize with, but I always knew their relationship was teeeeeeeeeerrible Stephanie I can see where you’re coming from. I agree it’s a heat of the moment thing, but I also think she does disregard Clevin’s feelings. She considers them, but then disregards them because she wants to kiss Patrick. I’m not judging her super hard because romantic jealousy doesn’t resonate with me on an emotional level, but I am judging her more than I would if she genuinely believed (accurately or not) that she and Clevin both understand their relationship to be nonexclusive. Gotta say, I’m not a big fan of Al/Clevin either. Although I don’t have a strong opinion on whether their relationship is healthy or not, I just find 99% of fictional romance extremely boring. I’m wincing and bracing myself for the romantic drama this page is probably gonna lead into. Not that I think it’s bad writing or anything, I know many people do enjoy that sort of thing and my personal distaste for it isn’t an objective measure of anything. Gotham I mean yes she does decide to consider they are not worth stopping this, by disregard I meant that at least she does care about what it will do to him. And really when you’re so intimate with someone your hopes dreams and worst internal fears are laid bare before your very eyes and you’re scoured the farthest reaches of their minds, becoming flippant about not-even-real physical contact is too little too late already. Isn’t telling that this whole debate is happening today and not last time, when she told Patrick she loved him? Stephanie I guess I feel like this is different because it’s explicitly romantic. Their mindscape interactions have been deeply intimate up to this point, but intimacy isn’t intrinsically romantic. Well, I guess kissing isn’t automatically romantic either, but the last couple of pages have been very romance-coded, so I’m taking that as the intent. The Improbable Man There were comments wondering if the “I love you” would be revealed to be platonic. I think this kiss answered the question, and NOW some people are having the reaction they were holding back at the time. Gotham Maybe we should treat the kiss (and the following fifteen pages of uncensored wildly inappropriate graphic dream-sex) as platonic The Improbable Man I want you to know that, while I disagree with the idea of the kiss being platonic, I enjoyed this comment. Gotham I don’t think the kiss was platonic, but why though? Why must we consider a declaration of love, the greatest human sentiment, as such, but not the flapping of wet meat against one another The Improbable Man Because I love my family members and multiple male and female friends, but I would not wrap my arms around them and kiss them the way Alison is kissing Patrick here, even if I wasn’t in a committed, monogamous relationship. Love is a flexible word that can apply in different ways, and we weren’t sure what intent was behind her statement when she made it. I expected some kind of reveal in the next comic as to that intent, and here it is. Gotham Oh, you’re being disingenuous now. If last page was ambiguous about anything, it was about how platonically Alison would enact upon her the-infinitely-absolute-opposite-of-platonic declaration of love. The Improbable Man I’m not being disingenuous. I guess I’m just not very observant. AmberWriter Watch as Gotham uses her predictive powers to conjure fifteen pages of uncensored wildly inappropriate graphic dream-sex! AshlaBoga I think that almost everyone is ignoring a key issue. If my spouse told me she kissed a guy in a telepathic dream I’d want to have a long talk, if she told me she kissed the most notorious supervillain of all time and a mass murderer, THEN I’d be really concerned. To me it’s not so much what she did as who she did it with. Clevin might be okay with her kissing someone in a shared dream, but he 100% won’t be okay with it being bloody MENACE. Tylikcat Y’know, I think Feral would be there for this story, and open to it, even were she involved with Alison. I mostly throw this out there because it kind of points to all the background Clevin doesn’t have. (Well, and that Feral is awesome.) Incendax I want the next scene to be Feral watching with ridiculously big eyes, her expression a wild mix of confusion, anger, curiosity, and cat-fixation. Gotham That, sure, is a cogent variable. Something we often forget to consider is the fact that Alison might have kissed a dude sure but she also and more importantly decided one day to be the sole judge and jury of the world’s most dangerous criminal and rob countless mourning families of closure. By that considering, she cheated on the entire world, much more potently that she ever did Clevin. AshlaBoga I wish I could double upvote this. Who cares about a kiss, when the salient issue is that she was willing to tell Feral, someone who for years was like the Punisher with Wolverines healing factor, which for bad guy he was. Remember, Menace isn’t just a villain, he’s this world’s Doctor Doom. Tylikcat See, now I totally want to dump whatever storyline is going on with Clevin, and skip forward to one where Feral corrals Al into awkwardly getting Patrick to sit down and the three of them go over the whole conspiracy thing. Because it’s important enough that Feral will understand if she has the information… right? And heavens knows Patrick needs to start to make other friends. (Of course, there’s a bunch of stuff there we still don’t know.) AshlaBoga I’m sure Mega Girl would be so popular if thousands of bereaved fans realized that she denied them justice. Why do people keep forgetting that Menace killed soldiers and cops? Zorae42 What? Those are the acceptable deaths that he caused! They were fighting to uphold a corrupt system. It’s the deaths of the innocent people caught in the crossfire that I could understand you being upset over. Not the people who knew what they signed up for. Gotham Well, those, or other people actually worthy of compassion. (Aren’t I being inflammatory today ♫) Zorae42 But he wasn’t a mass murderer. He’s a failed revolutionary. And are you kidding me? Villains are super hot. Especially reformed ones. Especially ones that never intended to be evil. Honestly, if this was just about who he is and not the feelings they’ve got for each other then it’d be 100% okay. Like the pass you give your significant others if they had the opportunity to kiss their celebrity crush. Gotham I mean, if the line you draw is that mass murderers are only the /successful/ revolutionaries… Zorae42 No, quite the opposite. Mass murderers are the /failed/ revolutionaries. Otherwise they’d be freedom fighters that did what was needed to overthrow their oppressive regime rather than mass murdering terrorists (although I suppose successful rebellion leaders can also be hot). The fact that their label is dependent on whether they succeeded or not kind of makes me personally rather dismissive about the whole thing. Also, to cover any possible pedantry: this of course is only about “mass murderers” as it pertains to “revolutionaries”. Obviously one can be a mass murderer for the sake of murdering people. Or can be one of said governments (or post success ‘freedom fighter’) using their power to mass murder people. Gotham Then why did you distinguish the two in the comment I was responding to? Zorae42 Sorry, my cynical view of history rose up at your comment. I initially meant that he was fighting for a reasonably just cause and innocent people were killed as collateral damage. And as such was only labeled a mass murderer because he failed. In which case he’s not really a mass murderer unless you consider every revolutionary a mass murderer – which I don’t (unless I suppose they’re clearly guilty of some horrific crap, which we never saw Patrick do). Tylikcat Mao is absolutely a mass murderer. Zorae42 “Or can be one of said governments (or post success ‘freedom fighter’) using their power to mass murder people.” I’m merely saying that killing people as a consequence of a revolution isn’t “murder” (although it will be labeled as such if you lose). Doesn’t mean that if you win your revolution and then use your new power to continue to kill people you’re still not a murderer – you definitely are. Tylikcat His case is special, because he continued to cause deaths inside of China even when (somewhat) removed from power. Though I’m far more bitter about the Great Leap Forward than the Cultural Revolution. AshlaBoga He’s both. He’s killed enough people to be a mass murdering terrorist on par with Osama Bin Laden, and the Jacobists were failed revolutionaries. Tylikcat I’m just going to jump in here and mention the semi-obvious, which is that she had this prior relationship with Patrick and has been protecting him… since a) she still was Mega-Girl which is b) before she even met Clevin. I’m not arguing that makes it better, but that makes it worse, even just in terms of Clevin and Alison’s relationship. There is, in fact, a reasonable chance there will be squabbling about a kiss, but if so, it is totally missing the point, I’m just saying. AshlaBoga Yes! That’s what I was trying to articulate, but couldn’t phrase correctly. Thanks for your post. Incendax There is no fault for not having had the conversation yet. There is only fault for knowing that it would upset your partner and doing it anyway, instead of going to have a talk with your partner about it now that the issue has shown up. And if she has the talk with Clevin, and does not like his answer, she can make a decision from there if his reaction is a deal breaker or not. Gotham Oh well if you’re just deciding to establish axioms such as “there is no fault for not having had the conversation yet” this is going to be easy here’s mine “I’m right” Incendax Sometimes I really don’t understand you. =P Gotham Also, and like, Gurwara and Alison already a talk about what constitutes “action” and what exactly is the sanctity of inaction, but why wouldn’t “assuming your partner and you are exclusing” not be one of those “things you should about with your partner before doing”? dragonus45 No, no, no, no, no. No. You don’t just go around kissing other people when you are in a relationship and then claim it’s totally ok because you never explicitly discussed your monogamy status. For starters the great majority of relationships are monagamous by default and even if that weren’t true it doesn’t stop it from being a total dick move. That kind of rules lawyering and gaslighting is straight up abusive and had no place in a relationship built on mutual trust. Gotham You’re going to have fun reading the rest of that thread aren’t you dragonus45 I’ve been reading it, you are so wrong it’s hard to find words. You can’t compare the fact the average relationship is monotonous to homosexuality. It’s an assanine comparison that does nothing to excuse the abusive act that is cheating on a partner and then trying to flip the table onto them for daring to be upset about it. Gotham “assanine” made me laugh dragonus45 It’s an underused word. Stephanie “the average relationship is monotonous” Probably not what you meant to convey, but you’ve summed up my feelings on most fictional romances. Tylikcat …and yet I would like to kiss you, in a purely textual fashion. dragonus45 God bless typos. Tylikcat …though the flip side is just as bad. Having someone say “We never discussed this, so obviously we’re operating under *my* rules,” is seriously fucked. We haven’t seen any evidence that Clevin is saying that… but that’s what you’re saying. And I’ve had too many people try to pull that on me not to speak up. (I am very up front about being poly, but a lot of people are controlling dicks.) dragonus45 That is bullshit, if youcheat on your partner and then turn around and claim they are being controlling because no one ever explicitly said you weren’t in an open relationship and should check themselves your in the wrong. The average relationship isn’t polyamorous. The average relationship is going to be assumed to be monogamous until said otherwise. If you are making out with other people and you never discussed it with your partner you are problem not them. Tylikcat a) This is so full of assumptions, it’s pretty hilarious. b) I’m open to everyone about being poly. That doesn’t prevent the bullshit. I mean, yeah, kiss someone as part of a cloven orange game at a party, and suddenly they think they’re going out with you. A ridiculous number (possibly the majority – this was my younger days, mostly) of men I’ve had no strings sex with decided the next morning that we were in a relationship. And honey, no one is that good in bed – this is about them assuming that was there decision to make. (And I sit down and say “Hey, remember when we agreed that this was no strings, that meant no strings.” And in my late teens about half the time it then devolved into them calling me a bitch. TBF, one of the guys showed up the next summer and shamefacedly apologized, and introduced me to his fiance – we’re still friends.) Guys who tried to impose the one penis policy. Nope, one can negotiate, one can’t impose, and that’s a game I don’t play. Guys who tried to do the thing where they said they were threatened by my close platonic friends and wanted me to spend less time with them. Ahaha, no. (Actually, I explained that they should be glad I had such a goo social support structure, as it was part of what I was so emotionally stable.) Guys who wanted access to my email. (I would rather share underwear. No. Absolutely not.) I could go on, but this is getting boring. I’m pretty open to negotiation, but controlling assholes dictating rules? Nope. Stephanie > Guys who tried to do the thing where they said they were threatened by my close platonic friends and wanted me to spend less time with them. This kind of behavior annoys me every time I hear about it. It’s so obnoxious that someone would try to undermine their partner’s long-standing friendships out of misplaced jealousy. Tylikcat It’s… weird to look through those inventories of “how to know you’re in an abusive relationship” and realize that my ex-husband tried, well, pretty much all of them (up to and including sexual and other physical assault) and, I was pretty much like “nope, that’s a horrible way to manage a relationship, you need to learn better”. Until the last ones, by which time it was pretty obvious he wasn’t going to learn better. I mean, it wasn’t a great relationship, but I was pretty impervious to most of the maneuvers? (Though explaining in depth that marital is in fact a crime – after repelling him multiple times with increasing degrees of force, during one of which he did the whole “but we’re married, you can’t do this!” bullshit – and then having him descend into whining because I permanently damaged his boner by mentioning rape in our bed was… special. I offered to pull up the section of the WA state code that described specifically how it applied.) Note, again, ex. dragonus45 That bundle of anecdotes had no bearing on the situation actually being discussed. Where two people are in a relationship, that is known and established. Ark Did you introduce any of those guys as your boyfriend to your close friends and family? Because Alison has… Tylikcat The ones that were based on ongoing relationships – yeah, pretty much all of them. Well, I didn’t usually say “boyfriend” because that’s not my term of choice, but partner, lover, something like that. Part of what was shocking was when this kind of thing was pulled out some time into an established relationship and it was pretty contrary to our existing agreements. I mean, it might be useful to keep in mind that during the times I was dating many people we’d often all hang out together, everyone would show up and my mom’s for my birthday (well, during that brief period that my mom hosted my birthday), that kind of thing. Olivier Faure Obviously, communicating is always better, and you shouldn’t just assume that your partner will have the same conception of relationships as you… But I still think what Allison is doing is wrong. Even Clevin and her haven’t discussed exclusivity, she clearly has ample reason to know her behavior here may be hurtful to him. It’s not like “don’t kiss the bad boy you had a sort-of-breakup with on impulse while you’re in a relationship going strong” is a ridiculous (or bigoted) principle. And we know that their relationship was going strong, since they both agreed it was a misstep of Allison not to mention Clevin in her speech at the inauguration. Tylikcat I think it’s more complicated than “wrong”. This isn’t a great step vis a vis her relationship with Clevin. But that’s not the only issue here. Syncline I’m always stunned how the majority opinion on sexuality (monogamous straight) blithely assumes that everyone plays the relationship game their way or the highway. Allison may be Bisexual. She may be Polyamorous. Let’s pretend we know for a fact that she’s straight for a second. IF that’s true, Allison is engaging in a VERY close emotional bond with someone other than her supposedly primary love interest. Research has shown that most people find that a purely physical relationship isn’t NEARLY as threatening as a close emotional bond with a third person. So if Alli and Patrick take this little shared dream experience farther than a kiss, I’d go so far as to say that this is clearly a strong second relationship, and perhaps the primary one. What we have here is basically only perfect contraception and disease prevention. In every other way they are experiencing a full relationship- and let’s be honest here, Patrick knows Alli far better than Clev ever will. Short of disease transmission or pregnancy there’s no other difference between this shared experience and an outright ‘normal’ physical relationship. Ydenne *activating pedantic mode* I just want to point out that, according to Allison herself in Issue 3’s page 11, she isn’t interested in women. Gotham Beach, please It’s ALISON, one L, not ALLISON Ydenne That can be blamed on auto-correct and me not proof-reading my comment. Fixed. 🙂 Devlerbat The thing here is that Allison herself most likely views this relationship as a monogamous one and is breaking that despite seeing her relationship that way. Clevin has just as much right to be angry with her as she would most likely be angry with if he kissed or slept with another women. Moreso if she actively tries to hide this from him. If she flat out tells him it may be another story. Gotham I know, I know. I was illustrating my definition for clarification’s sake. It definitely seems like Clevin and Al have spent more than enough time together to broach the subject of what they mean to one another, even implicitly. While I do defend my statement that if no discussion was made, no harm can be blamed, it’s disingenuous and abusive to reach a far point in the relationship while having willingly avoided that conversation to use it as an excuse. The rules society imposes on us are the worst, but they affect us nonetheless. In actuality I totally think Alison is cheating right now, but also that’s it’s fiiiiine Ira There is also emotional cheating, which is more on a personal level. I think this is more going to be the debate for Allison later. Dream, daytime fantasy or not, if you suddenly realize you’re in a situation that could hurt someone you care for if they knew about it you can feel as though you’ve betrayed them and it can eat away at you rather slowly. I imagine today’s society, people would not even consider emotional cheating as a thing, but it does still exist in people who abide by a strong set of personal rules and morals. Gotham No such thing as a distinction between emotional cheating and physical, to me. She was already kind of lost when she said I love you last page. And like I said elsewhere, if my actions hurt the feelings of people I care about, it is not /automatically/ warranted. Let’s stop encouraging couples to think they’re entitled to a full 24/7 devotion to the other Shjade Considering her initial reaction is “this would hurt him,” I think it’s reasonable to assume they at the very least have the expectation of exclusivity. Gotham Is there something more heinous than the concept of “expectation of exclusivity” Shjade I can think of a lot of things more heinous, but that’d turn this thread to ugly politics so I’ll pass on that and instead simply point out that her thinking it would be hurtful denotes her point of view on their relationship involves some amount of exclusivity, even if only specific to Patrick – old flame and all that. No reason to make more of it than that. Gotham Is there anything more common than me saying remotely anything is consistently the best or worst of its kind Shjade Grass comes to mind. It’s about as interesting to read as consistent exaggeration, too. Philip Bourque Well, nothing has truly been established beyond Clevin being presented to her family as her boyfriend. Therefore, in your view, does this constitute the breaking of an established promise? Is Alison engaging in a morally reprehensible act in your view? Gotham If we’re not given more context and meant to interpret what stage of commitment they share an agreement on, definitely Sasha Wian Think of it like this. If the shoe was on the other foot, would it be okay? Would you think that Clevin was a jerk if he did the same thing with another woman (kissing, declarations of love, etc) while Alison was remaining faithful to him? If so, then Alison is being a jerk if she does the same, regardless of a pre-existing conversation about exclusivity, if it was assumed by both of them that they were in a committed relationship. Either way, it’s sort of thoughtless of the other person’s feelings, whether or not it’s actually cheating if they didnt actually say it was an open relationship or that she was poly or something like that. Gotham If he was the one to do it, it would change nothing. Sasha Wian If she didn’t think it was exclusive, then she wouldn’t have had reservations about it, leading to Patrick saying ‘it’s only a dream.’ She knows it’s wrong, and did it anyway. So it’s thoughtless. She’s presented him as ‘her boyfriend’ – not ‘one of my boyfriends.’ All of her actions seems to point to them being in a monogamous relationship, and if Clevin did the same thing, I’m not sure that you’d be on Team Clevin. Gotham She’s hesitant because an oppressive culture taught her to feel ashamed for having desires of any kind, to the point that it doesn’t even strike her mind that what she’s doing is hardly worthy of blame. That she has the option and the right to rethink how she defines herself, at any time. For reference, Clevin and Alison haven’t had sex yet. Your blind devotion to the idea that no matter how early in a relationship, the start of one must coincide with full unquestionable commitment, is the problem here. Not Alison being hesitant. Yes, communication beforehand is always better. I’m not saying Alison is having the utmost perfect behavior here. People who think monogamy is the default are idiots but we are all idiots at some point before we’re not, when we realize it’s just a tool of sexual control by our culture. Clevin can’t be blamed if he thought it was the case too. He can be miffed it happened. And he most likely will be. But “miffed” is as far as is acceptable, and he better get over it quick, because I have no tolerance for people who feel entitled to what others experience. Also, you might want to never again be a shitty person enough for one of your arguments to be “I don’t believe how you say you feel”, you magnificent twat Sasha Wian I don’t think Alison has much problem dealing with an oppressive culture, really, and it seems like a crutch to say that the reason for a thoughtless action on her part is because of an oppressive culture. She was brought up by an open-minded family, she has surrounded herself with very open minded friends, and she is literally the most powerful being on the planet, who NO one can actually oppress. She’s literally the definition of someone that is beyond oppression (and in fact can be the one who does the oppressing sometimes, regardless of arguments of whether her oppressive behavior is justified ‘for the greater good’ or tyrannical). Also, betrayal of a relationship does not require there to be sex before that trust in the relationship is broken. Especially for someone like Alison, who seems to worry about hurting her partner during sex in the conversation with the doctor. The betrayal is of the exclusivity of the relationship itself, which both of them seem to think they are in (evidenced by Alison’s concern about kissing Patrick being unfair to Clevin, and her introducing Clevin as her boyfriend, rather than ‘one of her boyfriends’). You might also want to note that not once in my post did I say anything about polygamous or monogamous relationships being the ‘default setting.’ I said that it’s thoughtless to not communicate beforehand. Even if it was a polygamous relationship with 4 or 5 people, it would be thoughtless for any of them to include a 6th person without at least discussing it beforehand – although at least there, it’s just an larger polygamous relationship, which is not as severe as changing an apparenty monogamous relationship INTO a polygamous one without prior communication about it. Third, I’m allowed to believe what I want about you. I find it unlikely that certain people who emphasize with the protagonist of a story with whom they are a fan will feel the same way if their protagonist hero is placed in the victimized state instead, and will instead become protective of that person. Might I be wrong? Maybe. I don’t think I am though. But at least I didnt curse you out or call you names while doing so, which you did. Twice. Gotham Okay so 1. that’s not how culture works, the way it shapes us into being is absolutely impossible to evade no matter how strong you can punch things and the quality of your upbringing, the best thing we can do is recognize it in an attempt to question and challenge its most problematic aspects, and also I didn’t say she was oppressed, which is a worthless question to ponder on an individual level by the way, I said that society was oppressive, which I dearly hope I’ll see you argue. You simply don’t understand what I’m saying. Alison being worried about Clevin’s feelings doesn’t make their relationship non-exclusive, it only means this is what Alison believes, most likely due to the fact that they haven’t talked about it—You seemingly haven’t noted that I prefaced my version first comment with “if they haven’t talked about it”, because basing how a relationship should work on how each party thinks it does is terrible and dumb—and this is what we’re overwhelmingly taught about how relationships work. I shall again emphasize how dumb that model is by pointing out that she was concerned about a kiss, but not the profession of her love on the preceding page. If one wants to consider the kiss a betrayal (and sure, fine, why not, it’s not a crime to be a boring dullard) then the “I love you” was one even greater, but it’s not what we saw people complain about because of a long and and complicated and saddening history of patriarchy limiting sexual agency all the while disregarding sentimentality. 2. You didn’t understand, again, that I was only using sex as an illustration of the stage of the relationship. Sex not having happened means they haven’t talked about sex, which could mean they haven’t talked about what they represent for each other. I make no idiotic rules about “it’s okay to cheat as long as you haven’t had sex with your official partner yet” 3. Yep, you are allowed to believe what you want about me, in the sense that’s it’s not illegal, but the question of whether you ought to and what despicable thing that makes of you is I think more salient. Let’s brush aside how infuriating I find people who don’t believe testimonies of how others feel (good ol’ memories of “she’s just doing it for attention” comes to mind, aaaah) and let’s just say that sure, you’re allowed to believe what you want about me, and in return I get the right to believe that you’re an asshole. Are you going to throw another hissy fit about namecalling after that? But I’m allowed to! Sasha Wian 1. First, while culture shapes us, we also shape culture. It’s not only in one direction. And certain people hold particular sway over the direction of culture. We are a species that has historically followed people of power in what the culture should be – whether those people are politicians, warriors, celebrities, activists, etc. Alison, being the most powerful person on the planet, would arguably be one such type of person who could hold tremendous sway over cultural norms. And I have not argued the society itself is not oppressive. So congratulations. I’m not going to argue that. Oppression is part and parcel of society being a thing. There will always be those who oppress, and those who are oppressed to one degree or another, because people are flawed and a perfect society of utopian equality does not exist. Definitely not in the real world or in the fictional world of the webcomic. What I’m saying is I find it hard to believe that Alison would be a person who is oppressed, given that she has so much power so that no one can actually make her do anything she does not wish to do. Her only real restraint is her own morals or lack thereof. This is even in the blurb about the webcomic – her main limiation used to be listed by the authors as ‘a crippling sense of social justice’ and most of the narrative and debates in the comic seem to be about her deciding how to use her power to shape culture instead of being shaped by it. I do understand what you’re saying. I just disagree with what you’re saying. If Alison believes that her relationship is exclusive, and Clevin believes that their relationship is exclusive, then the fact that they have not spelled it out in some sort of contractual fashion does not mean that it’s NOT monogamous. If anything, it would tilt the burden of presumption, in the case of Alison and Clevin only (I am not making any mass generalizations for society btw) are in a monogamous relationship. 2. Second, you did not say it’s okay to cheat as long as you haven’t had sex with your official partner yet, but you (or someone taking your side on this little discussion) did say that if you are not married, you can’t be ‘cheating’ on the other person. I disagree there as well. 3. There’s nothing despicable about saying I don’t believe, from what I’ve read of your past posts, that you would suddenly be on Clevin’s side should he have done the same thing. I just find it very unlikely And yet I have not called you names, because I’m being civil. If you don’t want to be civil, then that’s fine. I’ll call you out on that though. I didn’t throw a hissy fit. I just said my piece. Sure. You can namecall, but it’s thoughtless to do so. Feel free to respond to this as well. I probably won’t respond because this has gotten old. Jenna If she kisses Patrick with the intention of breaking things off with Clevin, then it is not so much “cheating” as “ending the relationship” Otherwise, provided they have agreed on romantic or sexual exclusivity, and she intends to continue the relationship with Clevin, then this would be cheating. (((A. Nuran))) Is it cheating if you’re dreaming? Is it cheating if you kiss someone in VR? How about if you astrally project? Gotham What is it in my comment you people can’t seem to get where you genuinely write “understood to be exclusive” without thinking it would annoy the hell out of me considering what I stated? (((A. Nuran))) I read the whole thing. Gotham And yet you still wrote “understood to be exclusive” as if I would not glare at you intensely Herwood It’s not cheating. But it’s definitely not right/nice if you purposely imagine it. Passing thoughts don’t count but decision based one’s do. My Little Pony I agree with you completely. alexikakon For me, there’s a distinction in this particular situation between Real Life Rules, in which you don’t have much control of your subconscious or the direction your thoughts wander and shouldn’t be held accountable for them (if you don’t physically act on them), and Comic Book World Rules, where they may be in a dream but one of them’s a telepath, and it’s not one person’s dream no one else will know, it’s both Alison and Patrick’s mind and they ARE in control of what is happening and WILL both remember this conversation and their dream kiss. Sure, there’s a chance they’ll wake up and won’t remember anything, but that … feels like it would diminish everything that happened in this chapter? But it’s two active participants, here, and not just one person’s day dream. I am way more disappointed in Patrick here than I am with Alison. Setting aside the conversation about whether or not Alison is in an exclusive relationship with someone else, what bothers me is that Patrick doesn’t CHECK. Also, while we don’t know for sure if their relationship is exclusive as readers, I’d bet money that PATRICK knows – he says there’s nowhere in the world he can’t hear Alison’s thoughts. If she and Clevin have had a conversation about exclusivity, Patrick’s certainly heard her inner feelings about it. And even if he’s been busy distracting himself their entire relationship to not hear her feelings about another guy, in this particular conversation she has said “I’m very happy with someone else” and “I can’t do something that would hurt him.” That’s an excellent time to ask, “Are you two exclusive?” if you’re not sure! Instead, as a person who intimately knows how Alison has felt about him their entire relationship, who knows she is a person whose driving instinct is to help and protect people and has just watched a Best Of compilation of all the horrible things that have ever happened to him, Patrick completely bypasses her comment about potentially hurting Clevin and makes a self-deprecating quip/dig about how her existing at all hurts him. She’s clearly expressing doubt, and rather than taking a step back and respecting that, acknowledging she’s the one who could be potentially hurting other people she cares about here, HE’S the one who’s all “It’s fine, it’s a dream, dreams don’t count, just go for it!” because that’s what’s best for him, here. Best case scenario it’s a bit selfish and thoughtless, worst case scenario it’s incredibly manipulative and calculated. Knowing Patrick, it’s probably a little of both. I know he also just went through a lot of shit, but this kind of behavior just grinds my gears! And I am sorry if I’m just repeating something someone covered in the huge thread below! I got about halfway through reading it and got the impression it was going in a different direction than this so I just WENT FOR IT. sagelynaive Springboarding off of this, I think part of it is, it’s canon that Patrick always knows the right thing to say to get his desired response from those around him. And he always has. That essentially means his default is manipulation, and it’s probably going to take a long time to turn that off, (if he even ever gets there). That’s not me excusing him for his fault in this instance, it’s mostly just me saying that it’s possible his entire interaction with the world up to this point has been manipulation on one level or another, so much so that it might be near impossible for him to distinguish manipulative behavior from normative behavior. Which puts the earlier line “I love people, and I’ve always sort of wanted to be one” in context. And also makes him a kind of toxic person to date at this point in his life. Sasha Wian A dream is only in your own mind. It doesnt involve another conscious mind. This seems more like cybersex, without the tech. Snow Cat Yes, exactly what I was trying to say! (but you were more concise XD) Darkoneko Hellsing Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no oh noooooooo Kid Chaos Oh, YES! 😍 BGB You’re only saying that because you are biased in favor of Chaos! Kid Chaos True, true… 😈 Hybrid2 Oh no…This is Cyclop and Emma,all over again. It’s NOT a dream! It’s telepathy.You are BOTH in there. rpenner It’s only a dream but Feral will know that there scents and stress levels changed. “Not judging but … hoo-whee, city life sure is complicated.” Blub Blub yes but jean could look into there heads and find out. Weatherheight And yet, she never did until it was too late. And Scott and Jean had a mind link… What a horrible writer. spriteless I read that as she wanted him to come clean, of his own free will. I mean, she’s used to violating people’s privacy by accident, so the telling would be permission to act on that knowledge. Or, Grant Morrison just likes to keep it weird. Mechwarrior Given Marvel’s abysmal track record when it comes to characters in committed relationships, I think it’s definitely bad writing. Weatherheight Grant Morrison hasn’t got the faintest clue about the superhero genre. Never has. His non-supers work is brilliant – his supers work is full of nonsense and some of the worst writing ever. He hates the genre and doesn’t get it and has declared so back in the 80’s – his writing proves it. Cassandra Nova. Utter British sensibility complete departure from anything like reality of the highest kind. spriteless Well, this is the same run where he created the Sublime, a fractal of stupid. I mean it, the more of the words inside explanation you understand, the more reasons it is impossible, in a way that combine to make them factorally more stupid. I kind of expected he was trying to get fired. When it didn’t work, and he ran out of ideas, he brought Magneto back. Weatherheight Glad I got out out before then, then (okay, that sounds weird…) Glad I got out out before that point, then (better…) The Avengers (or maybe the Ultimates) had a storyline about “fractal beings” that took over people’s bodies and gave them powers (you could tell because they had no heads, headless people being the epitome of horrifyingly scary things). Any relation? The Improbable Man Yep. “In a dream” implies that it is entirely imaginary and doesn’t involve another actual person. Patrick in this “dream” is Patrick’s consciousness and she’s totally cheating on Clevin because both she and Patrick are lucid and in control of their own actions. I’m disappointed because I do not find “romance” that involves cheating to be romantic, and it immediately turns me off. I don’t really care that much about Clevin, but it makes me not care at all about Alison’s romantic situation from here on out. Thomas S I look at the capes, I see crocus flower petals and hear Edna. There is a smell of doom somewhere. Capes are clearly sentient … David Nuttall Are you trying to Spawn, er, start something there? Yes, these two should stay away from jet engines in those outfits. AdamBombTV I don’t see this going wrong at all… I mean besides all the evidence against it. You do you, ya crazy kids. Ellie Anyone else think Patrick is being a little manipulative here? They both know it’s not “just a dream”. Give the girl some space to sort out her feelings first my dude! Laurelinde *raises hand* Up til now I’ve been leaning heavily towards him just being honest with her at last, but yeah, this is manipulative. I’m not totally against Al/Patrick as endgame (with the proviso that he be genuine with her, and at least try to be non-evil) but I’m disappointed in Alison here. Didn’t take much coaxing to go from “I’m happily with Clevin” to tele-cheating smoochies. Zizhou So, on hand, the part of me that enjoys stable, run of the mill, “boring” relationships is going, “Oh my god, no!” But on the other hand, there’s a part of me that loves watching other peoples’ relationship drama unfold that is making me rub my hands in glee and go, “yes, YES!” like a Republic serial villain. Tom O. Wait till we find out Clevin went and hurt himself. Allison will end up alone. Mechwarrior I’ve been saying for years that every single action Patrick takes needs to be viewed through the lens of him being a self-admitted manipulator. Andrew Jensen Yeah, This moment is making me rethink exactly how much of the entire previous chapter is just Patrick giving her exactly what she needs to get where he wants her to be. Are there really multiple sub-patricks? Was the city an elaborate metaphor, or an elaborate set? Has Patrick ever been honest, and how could we possibly tell? Weatherheight Welcome to my little conspiracy choked mindset. Don’t take it to heart, it messes up your life. 😀 Gotham Now where was all that sensible reaction when Max was way worse during Alison’s first date Olivier Faure Max was nowhere near as manipulative as Patrick. If nothing else, he could take no for an answer. Stephanie Max was less manipulative, but more terrible in some ways. Less terrible in that he hasn’t personally murdered a shitload of people, more terrible in his monstrous self-centeredness. Olivier Faure I feel like we’re equating “shallow libertarian” with terrible, but sure. Stephanie I’m equating “I’m gonna let countless people die to spite my ex” with terrible. Max sucks. Sasha Wian According to Patrick himself, mind controlling others is the height of self-centeredness, because it requires you to think that other people arent even people, just extensions of your will. Stephanie Since Patrick was only ever able to do that once in his life, I stand by what I said about Max being the self-centered one. Sasha Wian I wasn’t making a statement about Max being self-centered. He’s obviously self-centered. I’m just saying that, according to Patrick, mind control pretty much requires the highest level of self-centeredness by making the other person entirely an extension of your own will, eliminating that person as a person. Gotham Mitigated by the fact that Alison could shatter each of his molecules individually, I always hated this exchange where he’s incessantly teasing her about not accepting his proposal and insisting one two three times too many. I hate it because I have done this in the past, it /is/ manipulative, and it works. Tylikcat Well, it’s going to be hard to be as good at being manipulative as Patrick. But I think for the moment I’m going to say we have more evidence of Patrick trying to do good than Max. Keeping in mind that it’s a low bar. Tylikcat …are you forgetting the extremely substantial Max is Teh Worst club? (Of which I am a charter member, thank you.) He is a manipulative entitled douchebag. Which is independent of Alison coercing him into amping Feral. Lostman … … What happens in the dream world, stay in the dream world. Olivier Faure “By the way, I’m emotionally unstable and I depend on your approval as a mental crutch to justify my past actions and keep myself from going insane.” Killer pitch. Kid Chaos “Dream a little dream with me…” 😍 Weatherheight Is it just me, or is this spinning out of control a little bit? Remember the whole “Patrick would do the whole mind-twist against Claudia, but he’d never do it to Alison” pitch? Is it possible that he just can’t help himself…? Philip Bourque At no time was this ever in anyone’s control. This was an eternal doom spiral from the very start. And I still think he’s been doing the whole mind-mojo thing subconsciously to innumerable people since before he started being “Menace”. So many people leaping to meet his expectations. Tylikcat Why would this require the kind of thing he pulled on Claudia? She wants to do this, and she has qualms. She just needs an excuse. (And he knows all of that. And he wants it too.) Weatherheight What he did with Claudia was clearly intentional. I’m not saying he’s doing that same thing with Alison. She pretty much has lingering feelings for him, and everyone wants the “happily ever after” in love (God knows I do, and I haven’t had that happen yet). What I’m getting at is that Patrick never wants to do what he did to Claudia ever again consciously, but his powers may be acting in concert with his subconscious desires for control and stability. His whole Menace campaign is about forcing others to conform to his agenda. His desire for a better world can be reframed as “I want a world where no one ever has to go through what I went through.” I see a LOT of despair in Patrick’s world view leaking out – I share a lot of his viewpoint and I’m well aware it’s founded on a lack of faith in my fellow human beings. I’m wondering if his mind is trying to arrange things as he wishes where and when it can while not triggering his recognition of how that can be a less powerful form of what he did to Claudia. People develop a lot of coping mechanisms to justify their despicable behaviors. itroun Made an account to post my first comment … 1) I don’t read this as signaling that they (or at least Allison) want to begin a relationship. I read this more as Al and Clevin’s first kiss—meaningful in the moment, but not necessarily signaling (or, indeed, precluding) something more long term happening later. They definitely have some romantic feelings, but there’s a much, much stronger level of friendship and mutual understanding here, as has been shown over the last few panels and indeed over the course of the comic. 2) The dreamscape, Patrick’s mind, is closing in around them. Patrick will likely go into a coma and/or need to spend some time on the Moon to piece himself back together based on a kernel of self-love and (non-axiomatic) idealism/optimism rather than the cynicism that has kept him alive in the past. Yet another reason why this ship is not sailing anytime soon. 3) Patrick established in this panel that it’s too late to avoid hurting him, but he said nothing about Clevin. I expect Al and Clevin will continue to let their happy relationship run its course while Patrick focuses on rebuilding himself. 4) I just re-read all of Chapter 6, and damn, that was a great one. Zooming out, I see 6 as Allison’s version of what is happening to Patrick here—a systematic deconstruction of a whole worldview, with the end goal of putting her back together better and more mature than before. The presence of Gurwarwa in both chapters can’t be a coincidence. 5) On that note, I’m wondering if Al’s dream at the beginning of this chapter, where she imagined herself as Gurwarwa complete with gold tooth, is meaningful in some as-yet unexplained way. Addendum: I’ve been lurking here since I caught up to the present comic 3-4 months ago and just wanted to say that y’all are great. <3 AmberWriter I like you! You made a brilliant comment and a good point, I hope I can read more of your thoughts later! Justin Peniston Nope. Doesn’t feel right to me, dream or no dream. But then, I don’t ship these two. Fluffy Dragon damnit! Patrick has already shown he’s willing to use his powers to manipulate Clev. I don’t think it’ll be beneath him to use this moment to make Clev break up with Ali. tygertyger I would be more willing to give Patrick a pass on this if he hadn’t chased Clevin out of Al’s apartment earlier. Without that this move is only kinda manipulative. But add what looks like an attempt to ruin her current relationship and it’s waaaay manipulative. The Improbable Man Yeah I forgot about that part until now. If Alison knew about that, I think she’d be pissed and wouldn’t be kissing him right now. AmberWriter Patrick’s the one who gave her info on Max’s anomaly, right? Could that be considered trying to subtly chase Max away too? tygertyger Ooo, good point. FlashNeko If this is intentional, than this is a masterclass in showing how emotional manipulators manipulate. If not and we’re supposed to be taking this on surface level as legit? Hooooo-BOY. Andrew Jensen Yeah, this is going to be the turning point for me. If this plays out without confronting how fucking manipulative this is, If this is portrayed as honest and good, I’m out. AHumanPerson I’m holding out hope that, with all the ways this comic is super woke, there’s the possibility we won’t go the mononormative route and Alison will at least be able ENTERTAIN the notion of having a healthy romantic relationship with both of them…. STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED Steele What’re the odds that they wake up only to find themselves actually kissing just as Clevin walks in? Bonus: One of them is actually kissing Feral. Teka the Budgie Or both of them! Peter G Polyamorous Powers Activate! Pol Subanajouy It’s never “just” a dream. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8cc2f786c59a3566540b9d2aeab14a78cf674a656a6dc34deb80731a69d76fa8.jpg friendlymosquito THANK YOU yes. Just because you can’t touch it with your nerve endings doesn’t mean it’s not real JohnTomato Mr. Sandman, bring me a Dream Make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen Give him the word that I’m not a rover Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over Sandman, I’m so alone Don’t have nobody to call my own Please turn on your magic beam Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream Weatherheight Gaiman is amazing and what many comic writers aspire to – poorly. SaiyanHeretic The phrase “emotional infidelity” comes to mind. Once of the heat of the moment passes, Al is definitely going to be troubled by this. Gotham Well she managed to not be that bothered for years when people around her expressed their hatred toward Menace’s crimes and anxiety toward his return, and saying out loud “ahah, it’s a good thing I had nothing to do with his escape”. Emotional infidelity? She’s /good/ about it. SaiyanHeretic Those seem like two entirely different things to me. Al has really devoted herself to forging her own path, even when that means crossing traditional legal and ethical boundaries (which likely contributes to her bitter self-image). But Al is also “woke” enough to get that, via psychic connection or no, she is dangerously close to outright unfaithfulness to a person she literally just professed her emotional commitment to. Whether Clevin finds out about this is almost irrelevant; Al will always know what she did. Gotham She was woke enough to know cheating is bad and feel bad about it but not enough to realize letting go the world’s most dangerous criminal is bad too? SaiyanHeretic By Allison’s own words, she has brought up her romantic commitment to Clevin on multiple occasions, so she has clearly drawn the line somewhere. It’s clearly a contradiction of morality, which is the kind of thing that makes her an interesting character. Gotham That’s quite charitable. Most people would say of that situation that it makes for an inconsistent, poorly-written one. But it’s not the point, I brought that up only to point toward the discrepancy of reaction. And that the fact that we overall tend to get much more riled up by sexual infidelity than ethical infidelity is most likely due to overall sexism A Tiny Little Baby BOOOOO Ladon ok, so, not platonic. I guess I saw this coming, deep down. Elaine Lee To my fellow commenters: First of all, how many relationships did you have in your teens and twenties? How many times did you have your heart broken and how many hearts did you break? That is the time for experimentation. Alison isn’t married to Clevin. She’s made no vows, so cheating doesn’t exactly apply here. Not unless she strings him out for a long time and makes promises, while seeing Patrick on the sly. (She’s allowed a couple of weeks back and forth to torture herself until she decides.) Secondly, Clevin was never going to be the guy of Alison’s dreams. He’s the simple guy you date after you’ve broken up with the complicated guy. She can share her darkest thoughts with Patrick. Alison’s darkest thoughts would terrify Clevin. Patrick already knows them and is still game. Plus, very important in a relationship… having similar goals. Alison and Patrick can team up to bring down the conspiracy. Alison and Clevin can cuddle while watching a rom com. That will get old. Fast. Beyond that, it was always going to be Patrick. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Margot I don’t think Alison’s behaviour is particularly bad here, but I take massive issue with the idea that it’s not cheating if you’re not married. Elaine Lee Young and not married. ampg That’s even less defensible. Where’s the age cutoff where you’re required to be ethical about your relationships? Lheticus Videre Um, but are Alison and Clevin, in point of fact, even DATING really? Gotham I mean, he didn’t even mention for his spaghetti during her introduction speech! Clearly this is merely a fling for her Olivier Faure … you get really passive aggressive about this sometimes. Gotham About what? Spaghetti? Dear gods I hope I come off as active aggressive about spaghetti Sasha Wian I’m fine with aggression about spaghetti, but if you have a problem with fettuccine, then we might have a problem. AshlaBoga Yeah, uh I find his spaghetti thing impossible to defend. I knew there was a specific reason I wanted them to breakup, thanks for reminding me I guess? Ark Alison introduces Clevin to her family as her boyfriend, so yes, they are dating. Tylikcat Married is a silly standard, but commitments aren’t. (I am big into keeping commitments. I am really not into heteronormative monogamous relationships. …just no one gets a title to me, my work, or my body – even though I’m up for moderately exclusive arrangements. You’d think this would be simple, but noooooo.) Nebty Yeah, Clevin always felt temporary. Not because of anything he did, he seems like a sweet guy. But Al started dating him because she was lonely and needed someone simple and drama-free after Patrick and Max. I’m not sure she started dating him because she was particularly drawn to him as a person (as shown by just how long it took her to accept his offers to go out). Which isn’t a bad thing. Dating is all about trying out different kinds of relationships to see what fits. If you’re kissing someone else, though, something ain’t fitting. Now, if she draws this out and leads them both on then I’ll be grumpy. That’s a much more serious kind of cheating. But I don’t think she will. Alison’s got a lot of integrity. ampg I agree – I’ve always sort of felt like Clevin was her “training wheels” relationship, the one who would help her learn how to be in a “real” relationship. And I do think she’ll be as honest with him as she can, because that’s the kind of person she is. David B Huber Nice guys finish last. Gotham You spelt “spineless the unabashed unattractivity of which is beyond words” wrong The Improbable Man Clevin is not spineless. Spineless people don’t front bands and hold charity drives to help people. Spineless people don’t actively pursue the most powerful woman on Earth. I’m not all that invested in their relationship, but Clevin is really cool and I’m surprised at how many people still treat him like he’s some nerdy wimp loser. Olivier Faure But he’s a member of his country’s ethnically dominant group! And he hasn’t ever killed anyone or shown strong progressive political inclination! Gotham He’s awesome! By which I mean, in no way what we mean when we say “Nice Guy”, which ought to be the worst of derogatory insults by this point. I really genuinely like Clevin’s authenticity. I just feel it was the worst choice of all times to go for Alison, and also not his fault. The Improbable Man Ah, ok, I misunderstood. You were referring to the Nice Guy trope and not Clevin specifically. AshlaBoga Eh, in my case it’s because I want someone more like Paladin to be her partner, a lover who she can work with. I find shared ambition is a life glue Tylikcat There is nothing more likely to prolong things with Clevin than Patrick being openly hostile towards him. Nebty Agreed. And I think the big test of Patrick’s newfound emotional health is going to be if he can bring himself to be good to Clevin, regardless of what Alison chooses to do. It’d also be a good bookend given how confrontational he was at the beginning of this arc. Mechwarrior I’ve been in numerous relationships, but somehow I managed to avoid flirty with, much less tonsil-diving with, other people. Cheating is a choice, it doesn’t happen by random accident. Olivier Faure THAT’S BECAUSE YOU PERPETUATE SOCIETY’S VIEW OF RELATIONSHIPS! [/sarcasm] But seriously, that. People who focus on whether Allison made an oral commitment or whether wanting monogamy counts as entitlement are missing the forest for the tree. If you’re spending large amounts of time dating someone, and snuggling in front of the TV, and they’re cooking for you, then you don’t go kiss someone else unless you’ve had a talk about open relationships. If you do, you’re not being free spirited, you’re breaking consent. Gotham I will fucking end you Gotham Oh I’m not saying she’s not cheating, depending on where Al and Clev are at, relationship-wise. I’m just saying it’s /fine/, geez Sasha Wian It’s not the end of the world – young romance is fleeting, but it does seem thoughtless of her. Lex of Excel “The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in the darkness and blind to the light, always pursuing vermin and never hunting noble game.” — Henry Ward Beecher ampg Just wanted to say that I’m loving Patrick’s new sexy bad-boy hairstyle. manwhat Patrick uses mind powers to fix his mother’s sociopathy after a childhood of abuse: evil. (OK, yes, the parental murder is evil, but the mind powers are the focus here) Alison uses powers to destroy Patrick’s coping mechanisms and reshape him into her idea of what a healthy mind is like: good. OK. Very consistent. Zorae42 He didn’t “fix” his mother’s sociopathy, he made her love him. She was no longer her own person after that. Whereas Alison removed what seemed to be a harmful coping mechanism that ultimately allowed Patrick to move in to a healthier state of mind. Not to mention her reasons for her actions were out of a desire to help and not out of a selfish desire for love (not that intentions make an action good or evil, but it is a point in her favor). And while Alison’s actions have appeared to have a positive effect, it’s clear from the fact that her self image of her monstrous self is holding a wrecking ball and standing in a pile of rubble that she recognizes that it wasn’t inherently a “good” action. Seastone And I still maintain that the vision from Patrick that she had at the start of all of this with the words “break me as fast as you can” was not a memory, but his specific orders. He’s not showing upset at this state of affairs right now, which implies she did what at least some part of him asked her to do. AmberWriter NICE CATCH! Dang! I completely forgot that! Gotham Alison already struggled with the concept. Weatherheight This is very, very relevant to the current situation, isn’t it? Naisu Cachu! Hiram My problem with the argument in that panel is that it defines all persuasion as a kind of crowbar of coercive browbeating. Sort of the same problem I have with Patrick’s “I can make anyone do anything I want if I know their mind” spiel. It’s extremely dismissive others as free willing entities. Which is I guess rather the point. AshlaBoga Let’s say that 50% of people would commit murder if they would not get caught and were offered enough money. If the world’s richest person magically knew everyone’s price, I doubt we’d say that he browbeat them. He bought them. I would say that persuasion being coercive usually implies you use their fear and/or decieve them. Knowing the price of their soul only works if they have one. Now, I’m sure Patrick could lie to almost anyone, but there skilled con artists who can do almost the same) it’s all relative. Sasha Wian I think the difference is when you physically force someone or use mind control, you’ve removed the other person’s agency and free will, while if you are just charismatic and persuasive, the other person still retains their agency, even if they change their mind to your way of thinking. In both cases, the other person does what you want them to do, but only in the latter case do they keep their sense of agency, which seems to make the latter a more moral option to take. ampg “I’ve relied on cynicism my entire life in order to survive, so truth be told you’ve been killing me since the moment we first met.” AH-HA. This goes a long way towards explaining why Patrick was so desperate to create distance between them, even if it meant turning her love to hatred. He loved her but couldn’t stand being in the presence of her eternal optimism and faith in humanity. This reminds me a lot of her last conversation with Daniel – he can’t bear to accept that she might be right about how many “good” people are out there because it makes him even more of a monster. rthomas2 I know this is probably meant to be a mistake, or a problem. But I really, *really* hope that this emds up with Alison being decidedly in love with both of them, and balancing a poly relationship. This would be an amazing story to be represented in. plainclothes supervillain Man, as much as I would love that outcome, I reaaaaaaally doubt that Alison is mature enough to handle that, and Patrick is definitely not healthy enough to handle that. Clevin is, ironically, the only one who I think could maybe ever pull that kind of relationship dynamic off. ampg Maturity aside, I’ve always seen Alison as having a fairly monogamous orientation, so I suspect she wouldn’t really want to pursue that setup, regardless of what she’s capable of. Tylikcat And I don’t think he’s secure enough to handle it. Certainly not with those two – maybe with non BDs. Seastone I don’t see it as at all likely or capable of working with these characters at this time, but gosh. I really wish that was the outcome. Except in specifically polyamorous romance, I never get to see “love triangles” resolved that way and it bums me out. plainclothes supervillain The more I think about this, the more the lines blur between Alison’s free will over her feelings and Patrick’s abilities and skills as a con artist. He says to her face that he can control people just by saying what they want to hear. Perhaps when he confronted her with the conspiracy (after the “oh no he’s hot” moment) he was telling an unvarnished truth without embellishment or consideration for what she was thinking or feeling, but after? On their little road trip to visit Feral? In the other interactions they’ve presumably had, all the other times they’ve hung out, the books he bought her, the things he’s said to her–have all of them been perfectly sincere and perfectly Patrick, or have they perhaps been tailored in some subtle way to appeal to her, and, more specifically, to make him appeal to her? On the one hand: I don’t think Patrick would want her to fall in love with him if she were falling for a mask or a gambit, falling for someone who isn’t fundamentally Patrick on the inside. I also think that there’s a certain level of knowing a person even without telepathy where you know how to talk to them, how to be with them, and how to make them happy, how to make them like you more. I can’t think of that as manipulative without wondering if all of human social interaction is manipulative. On the other hand: what IS Patrick? He’s just said he doesn’t think of himself as a person, and he has all these other sets of minds and memories and lives inside of him. Is there a fundamental Patrick he has stayed true to, the fundamental guy underneath all the other guys, who Alison knows and cares for? This really strikes at the fundamental question of whether or not Patrick is a “good guy,” which Alison herself struggles with. If he’s not a guy, is he at least good? And if there isn’t a fundamental Patrick who he has been true to, if there is no identity beneath all that, then what exactly is it that Alison loves? What is it exactly that loves her back? How far has that thing been willing to go to get that love he so clearly craves? AmberWriter I like the way you think in questions plainclothes supervillain That’s not me, this choice just raises A WHOLE LOT OF QUESTIONS Chief among them being ALISON WHY Weatherheight This is a very concise and lucid expression of so many of the questions I have. Thank you. Zorae42 Well here’s hoping that her statement of not wanting to hurt either of them and his reply of already being hurt and that it’s “only a dream” means she doesn’t intend to pursue him romantically out in the real world. That this was a selfish, one time kiss. Gotham Also, seriously people, cheating without the intent to harm is really not that bad Zorae42 Well, since she said that this would hurt Clevin, then I would say this was done with the understanding that it would harm him. But I think you’re correct in that the intent wasn’t too harm. I’m hoping this is a sort of “Sorry you love me and I’m happy with someone else kiss” or a “I always wanted to know what a kiss with you would be like, but you are far too unstable to have a romantic relationship with”. A kiss that may hurt Clevin, but isn’t Alison ending their relationship to be with Patrick, nor a deal breaker if Clevin is as cool and emotionally secure as he seems to be (outside of all that insecurity Patrick threw at him). The fact that he was okay with Alison not knowing how she felt about him at the beginning of their relationship makes me hope that he’d be understanding. And who knows, maybe the fact that she’s got this super close relationship with Patrick and thinks he’s hot but still chooses Clevin will help with that insecurity. Lex of Excel …Is this sarcasm? I can’t tell with you, Gotham. xP Gotham It isn’t. …or is it? It isn’t. Lex of Excel Goodgood. ‘Cuz I think so too. Zorae42 I kind of disagree with you. I think if it’s a one time thing done in the heat of the moment then that’s understandable. But if you’re doing it consistently (either with one person or with many), then it’s not cool no matter what your intent is (if you are in fact in an exclusive relationship). Gotham Well yes, you can’t really defend that you keep caring about a promise broken consistently. You do agree with me. What about that! BMPDynamite “Pitiful creature of darkness, What kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you You are not alone…” Lex of Excel Upping this, just ‘cuz I can’t help myself. Teka the Budgie Um, Patrick? Most dreams aren’t lucid and don’t involve two people telepathically communicating. I’m not judgin’ because drama with the ex can sink a lot of good relationships, but there’s no way it doesn’t “count.” Seastone It’s not a dream when it’s telepathy. This is brain sexting. The Improbable Man Yeah, sexting is a pretty good analogy. This is WAY more intimate than sexting, too. AshlaBoga Nah, brain sexting would have this comic fade to black to keep the rating from being R. Mins you, I kind of would enjoy the 900 car pilelup that Trainwreck would involve so if they do psychic-copulate then the drama would be enough for me to go through a bathtub of popcorn (I only enjoy good people making terrible decisions in fiction, I swear) EpsilonRose Alison, it being a dream only normally matters because you don’t have control over it and the other person isn’t really there. Neither of those things actually apply here. TimG But, but… if you cheat in the dream, you cheat in REAL LIFE! No, wait, I think that was dying… Seastone Looking at this from a storytelling perspective, Clevin is out. Maybe not now, maybe not via Al rejecting him, but he is definitely not a romantic end-game for the main character of this comic. He was introduced and we got to see a little bit about him, but not much detail, and then bam. We went from first date to him complaining about not being thanked in her speech. We didn’t SEE all those things he said he did. We were just told. That’s not how you write your end game romance. That’s how you introduce a complication for your plot. Clevin is many things–a supportive friend and boyfriend, a non-biodynamic to keep Al cognizant of the little people, a good person who can spark some emotional growth for Al–but he’s not sticking around as her sole romantic partner. Contrast this with Tara and Lisa. They get a lot of backstory, a lot of insight into what motivates them. When they meet, there’s instant chemistry. The time jump skips over the beginning of their relationship as well, but they’re secondary characters and we’ve already learned far more about them than we ever have about Clevin. We actually see Al falling in (platonic) love with both Tara and Lisa. We don’t see that with Clevin. I went through re-reading the entire comic this weekend, because the pacing is entirely different that way versus getting little pieces twice a week. Clevin feels important because he’s been there in the background for years of time for readers, but in the story itself he’s really a non-entity. Meanwhile, from the very first chapter the arc of the comic has been bending to this very moment. One way or another, Clevin’s days are numbered. I honestly hoping he dumps Allison or this goes in a surprise polyamorous direction. My fear is that he’s going to die. JohnTomato Oh well, Al could be into sharing in a big way if the boys could get along. StClair Damnit, Ali. I know that “he knows just what to say”, but “It’s only a dream” SHOULD NOT BE IT, because YOU KNOW IT’S NOT. Arklyte And now enter the picture of them somehow visibly showing it irl since they’re right next to each other anyway. AshlaBoga Ugh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. Professor Harmless “He said my friend, you’re in a dream, and things aren’t always what they seem…” Eli Pomerantz I think there are 2 aspects to the “it’s just a dream” argument 1) usually in a dream, there is no choice – things follow dream logic 2) usually in a dream, it’s just yourself – if you see someone being mean to you, they weren’t actually the ones being being mean, and if you kiss someone, it was your own imagined image of them you kissed, not the real them. People might say “it’s not physical” because it can be mostly simplified to that, but I think this is what’s really meant in this case, a) unless they’re are more affected by their subconscious then they seem to be, they are cognizant, have agency in their choices, etc, and b) both minds are actually there – it isn’t kissing a phantom image summoned up from the subconscious, it’s another person Zorae42 3) He’s not saying that the fact that they’re in a mindscape means it’s only a dream but rather the idea of them being in a relationship together is the dream. And he’s asking for a taste of what he’s acknowledging will never be real. Eli Pomerantz I didn’t even see it like that, but I like it Professor Harmless In all seriousness and with apologies to everyone who’s comment I haven’t taken time to read, here’s my take: These are two people who have survived extremely traumatic experiences, who have -just- survived a traumatic experience. They are also very young, even if they are legal adults. Alison really needs to talk with Clevin, about a lot of things. That said, in the chaos and crescendo of this moment, I think they’ve both earned a bit of forgiveness for rash actions. Perhaps we with out wiser heads and ages of experience should just step back a bit, and give them some room to breathe? 😉 allneonlike Ugh, this is really… not romantic, not a good situation. Alison is at exactly the right age to be easily manipulated by an unstable ex showing up and stalking her, threatening her with suicidality or with hurting her, or self harm if she doesn’t take them back. The illusion that your love can fix them. I don’t think you ever really get used to this kind of behavior, but once you’ve seen enough of it, it loses its sparkle. This looks like Alison’s first time dealing with an ex manufacturing an existential crisis to win her back, and it’s pretty awful to watch. Cori J. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4d0e1e73dcec428300ea597b2bb0c47c9d7157ea88298e40b79f72944fba4ca8.jpg Jack Warren *reads* aw wow gee what an absolutely sweet conclusion to such an affecting storyline! <3 *scrolls down* aw wow gee people are discussing the moral character of Mao and the Jacobists as they relate to the ethical ramifications of Patrick and Alison's decision to have telepathy kissies! Zorae42 I personally find it a step up from discussions of the moral character of Kylo Ren as it relates to the Patrick’s character development. 😛 I’d be revelling in the sweetness of this ending if Clevin wasn’t such a wonderful cinnamon roll. I just don’t want him to be sad! AshlaBoga Well my comment on the Jacobists is that most revolution turns to violence and so failed and successful revolutionaries alike are usually mass murderers. Honestly, you could make the argument that the most immoral thing Patrick did was stop, since that means the thousands he killed did not serve the greater good in any way shape or form. That’s categorically not my opinion, but if you believed he was going to make a better America then it would be a logical opinion. (Apologies for any typos, I am not sober currently) MedinaSidonia I’m curious. Is there anyone else who lurks here, and who would love to participate because they love the strip, but doesn’t because they find the tone here so obnoxiously peremptory and snarky? ampg Really it’s only a couple of especially prolific commenters sucking up a lot of the metaphorical oxygen in the thread. If you avoid them, it’s not too hard to participate. Philip Bourque Does anyone else feel like Al is becoming increasingly subordinate and pliant to Patrick’s will? Danygalw No. Weatherheight That’s perhaps an overstatement, but she’s pretty clearly having second thoughts about a few things. I’m wondering what all of those things are, apart from the obvious ones. It would be nice to peek into the collective minds of Molly and Brennan to see what I’m missing here that is oh-so-clearly-there once we know a few more things. JaeCuda Have fun trying to put those feelings back in the box. :S Troubled times ahead. Jojo So…I just read this entire comic in one go. Man, what a place to catch up Tylikcat …I think I envy you. JustHere Relationships are complicated. David B Huber I predict the collapse of Patrick’s mindscape (as the “floor” shrinks to nothing) will return Alison and a newly-integrated Patrick to their real-world bodies where an anxious Feral is prevented from removing Patrick’s head to save Alison in the nick of time! Turning towards each other on the bed, Patrick says simply “Thank you.” to which Alison replies “You’re welcome.” (pregnant pause) Before they can pick up where they left off, Feral interjects “So what about this Conspiracy?” to which Alison adds “And what was Gurwara doing in the Hall of Memories?” Patrick and Feral together: “Who’s Gurwara?” Snow Cat Even aside from the monogomy vs polygamy mess and whether this is actually ok or not based on that, Patrick’s statement of “It’s only a dream”…is it really? It seems to me like Alison at least is fully aware and in control of her actions, and Patrick may be at this point as well–and unlike a dream *about* Patrick where there are no real world consequences to speak of, this *does* have consequences in the form of impacting the emotional bond between Alison and Patrick. (Also while it does seem likely that Patrick would be just as aware of any actual dreams Alison had about him, that would still be different since she would most likely not possess the same degree of awareness or control that she does when awake). Kissing someone intentionally in a “dream” where both are fully aware and in control of what is going on seems no different to me than kissing in a closet where no one else can see or hear you. I guess basically what I’m getting at, is if Patrick is going to hand-wave this with “see it’s just a dream, it doesn’t *reeeeally* count” then he’d better act like it didn’t count when they wake up. ruvmu “If you can hear someone’s darkest desire, and see their entire memory laid out in front of you, and you still can’t get them to do what you’d like, it says more about you than the people you’re attempting to control.” This page strikes me as kinda fucked up. She’s probably gonna struggle with this memory for a while… it could fuck up her relationship, and that might just be what he’s going for. Some guy Patrick better check himself before Clevin has to wreck himself! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu1bF2VlZRg Noone Poor old Clevin. Seems like he never really was more than the rebound. Danygalw Oh, no Alison. Nooo. Gotham Okay so calling it now so I can keep my lucky streak of being the best commenter SFP has ever seen: next page (coming up in thirty minutes or so) the view stays still while they fall to the ground in silence out of frame in a clear explicit-yet-family-friendly expression of “sex is now happening” sagelynaive I get where you’re coming from, but also the ground has been gradually disappearing through this entire scene, so based on the amount of ground they have left “fall to the ground” might be a physically impossible thing. Based on those visual cues I’d say they’re about to wake up 😛 Gotham Shoo you how am supposed to delete this comment and pretend it never happened if you respond to it sagelynaive Sorry, I’ll show myself out.