IT JUST GETS WORSE.
I am dying for her!
That girl seriously needs someone to give her a hug.
Worst freshman year ever.
And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know
I don’t think Joyce would go down on Ethan in a theater.
I liked the lyrics better when I thought the words were ‘cross-eyed bear’.
I wish someone would give me a cross-eyed bear.
OMFG!!! I thought I was the ONLY one who thought those were the lyrics! Wife is a HUGE Alanis fan and told me I was crazy for even thinking that.
You are not the only one.
Thanks. I could never understand half of what she was mumbling.
It is impossible for me to not think of the Weird Al version when I read those lyrics.
Yes, but making it worse sets things on a course to make it better.
This maybe a brilliant Batman Gambit by Mike.
A conversation with Ethan made Ethan decide to closet himself. Had Ethan seen the sarcasm, he tries to accept himself and explores his new life.
If not, something bad is going to happen. Amber will find out because she lives in the same dorm. Ethan would have emotional tension building up when sex doesn’t work out again or if the odd dissatisfaction of his life gets to him.
Then he sees Amber very tense. He already knows she’s dealing with her issues as Amazi-Girl. He knows what she’s been through this year. He adds to her emotional stress with a telling comment.
An explosion is inevitable. Whether they happen together or apart is the only question. But if they happen together, all these issues come out. And Amber seeing Ethan with a girlfriend will force an explosion.
Once voiced, people think about stuff more, in this case their issues.
Walky and PJ-jeans was just warming up.
And then after the double murder/suicide, Mike shrugs his shoulders and says, “Eh, close enough.”
That mouse-over text was not kidding. Issues of issues with issues. And those issues have daddy issues.
Amber’s issues need tissues.
That is not funny.
Yes. Yes it was.
Er, no, you don’t understand. It was an “Austin Powers” reference.
Fakey faken fake faker
dammit Ethan =C
*stomps in dramatically* STOP! That’s not the real Ethan, it’s his evil clone! THIS is the real Ethan!
Ethan looks far too “I don’t actually feel bad about this” in the last panel. It makes me hate him.
Well, hate him for more than cowardice. Now he’s adding callousness to the mix.
He looks more “eeeeeeh now I have to deal with this crap again” to me.
That’s exactly the same as not feeling bad about it. He doesn’t look like he has any empathy for one of his oldest friends, and so he’s dropped below Danny in my estimation.
He’s been worse than Danny for a while in my opinion.
Really? ‘Cause he looks pretty shellshocked to me.
She just flipped out at him. flipped the table he was sitting at while screaming, refused to listen to his wishes and then went after Joyce while outing him to anyone who was paying attention. Sympathy will have to wait until the anger fades.
His sympathy should’ve preceded all of this, i.e. he should’ve thought about how this would make his oldest friend feel.
This is called empathy. He ain’t got it, apparently.
Maybe she shouldn’t have cut all ties when she decided she needed some space and left the guy she knew was insecure and feeling alone without any support. They’ve both screwed up. Amber doesn’t get to be the sole victim just because she fucked herself harder. She also should have talked to him the last time he tried to show concern for her instead of giving him attitude.
Amber’s getting mad for doing the same thing she’s doing: compartmentalising the parts of themselves they don’t want to deal with and heaping on the denial instead of dealing with it. Amber’s attempts have blown up in her face, Ethan’s have not yet.
Everyone’s a victim of circumstances in Dumbing of Age.
…And THERE’S the tagline.
And by “circumstances” we all mean “Willis” :0
It isn’t waiting for the anger to fade.
It’s a rapidly changing situation that he wasn’t expecting with a course he can’t anticipate.
He hasn’t had time to adjust and react.
Ethan has made it clear that he still wants to be friends and hang out. We now see that he also has no idea of the emotional toll of his actions on Amber.
(Plus he’s happy because he’s decided “yeah, it is wrong, I’ll pretend I’m not gay with the help of this girl who wants to avoid any physical contact”, so despite the ulterior motive Amber’s not actually wrong when she says this is a bad thing. It’s as healthy as plague rats)
While I despise how willing Ethan is to compromise himself, I also feel sorry for how awful his situation had been before and even to an extent at college. He probably felt deserted by his best friend (and his next best friend was Mike, who can hardly even count as a friend) and without at least a little support from her, he probably didn’t feel comfortable coming out to the people that he met.
Amber on the other hand was emotionally exhausted from supporting Ethan through that summer while also compartmentalizing her huge daddy/anger issues into her alter-ego and also dealing with her heart-ache from prom. Add onto that running into her father again and being essentially dumped by Danny (god I hate that guy) in favor of her alter-ego. Now she sees her former best friend and former boyfriend doing the same stuff he used to do with her with another girl.
While I feel sorry for her, a lot of what she’s dealing with could have been dealt with a lot earlier if she had been honest upfront with Danny, or if she had sought help for her anger issues or if she hadn’t essentially abandoned Ethan.
I don’t see that. I see the opposite. That frown and lidding of the lower eye looks like a very sad expression to him. He looks like he feels terrible about it.
Really, he’s frowning. He didn’t expect this. He just hasn’t reacted yet.
I have a hard time believing he didn’t expect this. Amber crying over the fact that he won’t/can’t be with her anymore can’t be a new thing.
We say that looking in, but we all compartmentalize things in our head, keeping them separate. Most likely he just hoped it would never happen and didn’t think about it. Denial can be nigh impenetrable when real feelings and close friends are involved.
Jen Aside confirmed as Gilgamesh?
Sooo …. there’s a lot going on here, it seems.
My 2 cents:
Yes, Ethan looks as if he didn’t expect this. And from my own experience I can tell: People usually don’t expect others to complain about their behaviour. Anyone out there with different experience? No? Didn’t think so…
And additionally, also from own experience, I can tell that people are surprised even in a situation like that. When you notice that something you used to do with a friend is now done by your friend and someone else, leaving you out of the loop. Then try to complain to your friend and he/she will at least act as if he/she had no idea what you’re talking about.
So cut that hypocritical sh^h^h – this is the effing way of the world, and I doubt that nobody of you all hasn’t been in Ethans situation in any way at some point of time.
“I found you, faker!”
“Faker? I think you’re the fake one around here. You’re comparing yourself to me? Ha! You’re not even good enough to be my fake.”
“I’ll make you eat those words!”
Every comic on this site should be posted with the drama tag.
Where’s that pesky Drama Llama when you need him?
It’s busy being replaced by sad llama
I think all llamas are sad on the inside.
That’s because they wish they could be alpacas.
And alpacas want to be sheep. Forever longing. Definitely the work of the Drama Tag.
He HAS a name, you know.
Ricky the Drama Llama.
I have a Drama Lama, if that counts. But he’s too busy seeking enlightenment.
More like Drama ICBM. Better bunker up.
I feel so bad for Amber. The guy she loved, that turned out gay, that could be straight for another girl…
He’s equally gay. He just found a nicer beard.
What is wrong with growing a beard naturally?
I tried No-Shave November this year, on my brother’s insistence. Wasn’t impressed with the results.
I can grow a mustache okay, but no beard.
I don’t think she’s…nicer. Amber found out that he was gay and fought very hard to convince him that he should be out and proud, while Joyce found out and is fighting very hard to “make him normal.”
I think it’s more a question here of which option Ethan finds more emotional security in, and it seems that, for him, it’s the latter.
It’s more that Joyce doesn’t want their relationship to be physical(yet) whereas Amber did. So if and when Joyce, decides to try for sexy times, this whole house of cards is going to fall down. Ethan is kidding himself if he thinks this is going end in anything but tears, and Amber is really doing him a favour by kicking them both into realising this won’t work.
Worse, happens when Ethan wants sexytimes? He can’t get hot with Joyce and just ‘think of England’ while doing it, she’s involved because of the complete lack of sex!
When he wants sexy times, his main problem with Joyce’s incompatible parts list.
Dating a sex-phobic only bought him time, just as dating a gay man buys Joyce time.
Because apparently celibacy (and this is only week 4, who would notice) while dealing with issues would be too sensible.
But Joyce doesn’t want their relationship to be physical until marriage. Joyce isn’t evil; she’s done a good job of incorporating new information about people she was taught to hate into her worldview. There’s still a chance that Ethan will eventually say, “I’m sorry, this just isn’t working,” and Joyce will kind of get it.
Never said Joyce was evil or even at fault really, she may be facilitating Ethan’s bad behaviour, but this mess is his fault.
The thing is Amber’s not completely selfless in all of this either. She falls in love with Ethan who is gay and can’t be with her, so she tries to be an upstanding friend and help him accept who he is. But she still feels the sting of rejection. Turn around he’s dating another girl and is pretending to be straight and doing all the stuff she wanted him to do.
She’s lashing out because she’s hurt because from her perspective, him being gay was a roadblock then, but now it’s not? It’s not fair.
Which is a valid complaint, and really a huge insult to her. She has every right to be hurt by what is really, a hugely callous rejection of her as a person.
Amber wanted sexytimes with Ethan, and was disappointed when that didn’t work out. Joyce wants no part of sex with Ethan, but she is enjoying his company as a person.
Amber would not be happy if she was in Joyce’s position.
I didn’t mean “nicer” literally. I was trying to say it was a more convenient one.
I think it’s more about social security than emotional security. Ethan seems to have invested fewer emotions in Joyce than he has with that table that just got flipped over.
Oh shit. Even I’m not that evil.
Don’t be so modest, Mega! You’re plenty evil!
Nova Prime disagrees
Megatron is honest about what he is unlike Ethan.
Yeah, he is totally out and proud about his carnal desires regarding Optimus Prime.
Actually, it’s Starscream.
Prime died the first time from injuries he got from Megatron thanks to that idiot Hot Rod.
No wonder you’re fine with Starscream stabbing you in the back all the time.
At least this didn’t end in violence.
Yeah, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
It’s going to end in Cry-olence.
It began with violence.
*grabs some popped corn*
*hands you the salt and butter*
*Brings the cooler full of everyone’s favorite soft drinks*
Let’s make this two Joes and Jacob alone with Joyce.
Dark chocolate dried cherries anybody?
Here I am, potentially ruining things with my previously unseen avatar
I wonder who ruins the mood more, Mary or anthro Octavia. XD
“Who ruins the mood more?”
The answer is always ponies.
aww amber :c
Ethan stop Dannying things up.
I think everyone is going to Dan it up this chapter.
We’ve established that Ethaning is worse than Danny.
Well, we’ve established he has worse judgement.
WHOA, tall statement coming from you
I want it to go on record that Ethaning is WAY worse than Danning.
Ethaning is when you are handed a bunch of crap, and in your attempt to make it less crappy, you wind up with two handfuls of crap.
Danning is when you are riches and opportunities that you have never striven towards nor deserved and you do the exact worst thing possible to make those gifts turn into crap–not just for the future, but also retrospectively. And then you complain about how nobody gives you anything but crap.
Danning destroys hopes and dreams and beautiful things. But with Ethaning nothing of value is lost.
But Ethaning has a secondary effect of spitting in the face of your best friend after she went through lots of emotional and physical effort to try to help others AND yourself come to terms with your sexuality and still suffers strained relationships because of it. Your friend who has a BAZILLION other problems anyway.
Dannying is turning good things into crap and complaining about how all you have is crap.
Ethaning is taking all your crap and giving more of it to other people.
Amber is something of value that is lost.
I’m pretty sure that Joycing is the worst thing around now.
my sentiments exactly.
What a tailspin of emotions.
That just makes me hear the Tailspin theme song in my head.
It could be worse…
You could have the “Ducktales” theme stuck in you head!
As I’ve said before, the experience would have been the feminine version of emasculating.
She was probably undressed when he had his revelation.
Nope, we saw it in a flashback.
I forgot that, will archive dive later.
Clicked on the Ethan and Amber tags, not finding the flashback.
Did find Joyce’s sex dream and of course she was dressed.
Found Mike’s reference to hotel incident too.
The flashback; 3rd panel. Note she still has her top on.
Nobody ever fakes it with me….
Yes they do, they just do such a good job of faking you never knew it.
Maybe even THEY don’t know it.
Yotomoe, wanna go biking, bestest best buddy. *Eye twitches wildly*
Actually, Opus, they fake faking it, while they fake faking the faking.
this word no longer has any meaning. fake fakeity fakelton of faketown, Fakeania.
Kudos to anyone who gets the reference to 1 or both of the references.that last part does.
Everybody is a phony. Holden Caulfield told me so.
This song DID match this overall arc, until this strip brought it to a screenching and satisfactory halt. Way to stick the landing.
This makes Amber’s rage much more understandable. Also depressing.
Amber needs so many hugs.
I would hug Amber so much.
I mean in line she’s like…3rd.
Behind Billie and Sarah.
SIERRA WONDERS WHY YOU ARE SO UNFAITHFUL
At least she will, when ever she makes an appearance again.
Because I’m too shy around Sierra, obviousely. I’d have to start with some hand holding before we work up to hugs.
Why is Sierra more intimidating than the other girls? Is it the bare feet?
It’s because I love Sierra more than any other Willis character.She’s …that word I hate using cuz I’m not anime anymore.
She’s a Gundam?
Omg that’s adorable xD
Oh dear. Amber raises quite a good point. And maybe when Joyce hears her side of the story, she’ll definitely rethink this whole thing.
Nope, if anything it’ll reinforce her views unfortunately
Aw man, what will it take for Joyce and Ethan to call it quits?
Yep. Like Sarah said, if Dorothy calls Joyce on this, Joyce will end it.
And ironically, it’s the fact that Dorothy has a boyfriend that makes Joyce want one so much — I think. Double-dating is more fun than being the third wheel — and Ethan gives her something to do when she’s sharing Dorothy with Walky *and* with Dorothy’s homework!
The tough thing is that Joyce rebelled against her parents for Dorothy. But Joyce feels like she’s doing “God’s work” with Ethan, I don’t know if she will roll on her faith as easily as on her parents.
I believe in you, Joyce!
(not literally, she is clearly a work of fiction.)
I dunno. Sometimes I’m inclined to think they’re all real kids at Indiana State Willis watches from the behind bushes and newspapers and then draws. There’s no way one man could really be weaving this whole intricate web of drama.
Indiana State is a different university.
Now I have that image in my mind…and can’t stop giggling
Aaaand, there’s the Fatigued condition.
Guess she wasn’t 17th level after all.
Or the Superhero Archetype replaces Tireless Rage with the ability to squeeze comfortably into spandex.
You should fake them to show that you care.
Just don’t get caught finishing later on by yourself… things get awkward…. real fast
That’s why bathrooms have lock, or they should.
(I have never ‘finished’ myself in the bathroom, it’s just not right somehow)
Dry those eyes, there’s always Dann-oh, nevermind.
Now she goes full Heisenbe – er – Amazigirl.
Jesus christ it’s like emotional baggage Inception. We just keep reaching ever-deeper levels.
I love how the word “inception” has taken on a completely new meaning after that movie. I wonder if it’ll stick. Like, in a hundred years, will people be calling russian nesting dolls “inception dolls” or something?
Are people not doing that now? Because they totally should. That needs to be a thing.
The inception of the second decade of the second millenium AD saw the inception of the Inception.
If the titles of these books don’t have to be quotes, the book this is in should totally be called “emotional baggage claim”.
I’m not sure they’re claiming the emotional baggage as much as using it as bludgeons with which to beat each other in what has become a no holds barred deathmatch of emotional blackmail.
On a related note, I hereby propose the title be “A No Holds Barred Deathmatch of Emotional Blackmail.”
Wait until Dorothy’s article exposing Amber as Amazi-Girl comes out (she has more than enough evidence for it, and given how hardworking she is it’s basically inevitable). That’ll be a whole new Matryoshka doll set of emotions and feels.
The only conclusion Amber could’ve reached.
Man, she is just getting bombed by every one of these storylines.
Willis, what did Amber DO to you? Why must she suffer so much?
Because she can take it. Because she’s not our hero. She’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. Amazi-Girl.
This isn’t the life that she deserves, but it’s the life she needs…. I guess.
I knew this moment (last panel) was coming. I wish I could give Amber a Hug
everyone in this strip needs hugs EVERYONE ;~;
Except Amber’s dad, he needs a swift kick in the marbles hard enough so that Faz was never born.
Even Sarah? She’s got that bat, dude…
We’ll just get Jacob to give it to her.
Oh, she’ll drop her guard eventually.
That, or a good, old-fashioned Wookiee *special* hug.
Ah, alright. That explains Amber’s justified-but-totally-out-of-roportion rage about this whole debacle. I still can’t tell whether or not I’m on her side in this one…
Hard to be on the side of the table flipper… (coming from someone who just endangered a year-long relationship by ‘flipping’). We have empathy for these characters, and want to be on Amber’s side, but her rage pushes us away… or at least makes us cautious about getting too close to Amber for fear that we’ll be the next table. Thanks for the emotional pushing Willis.
Even though she is not handling it well, you should be on Amber’s side.
Crawling back in the closet after your best friend suffered so much defending your side? Congratulations, you’ve wasted all of their effort. Great freakin’ job.
And not only that, you’ve ensured that your family will ALWAYS hate that best friend and blame them for you coming out, as if you just questioned yourself because they were so bad for you. Hooray.
And it is really bloody hurtful for someone to fake a relationship after all you’ve done so they wouldn’t have to, especially when they could have faked one with you, the person who supports them and cares for them, instead of someone that wants to ‘heal’ you. It is like saying ‘you just aren’t good enough’, which is what is breaking Amber apart in that last panel.
She isn’t good enough for Danny when compared to her own hero character, she isn’t good enough for her gay best friend to even FAKE a relationship for, her own father hates her, her anger reminds her of her father that she hates…Everything is just stacking up on her and regardless of what she does, it all seems to be out of her control – Danny ended their friendship, Ethan is faking a relationship with another girl, her father hates her, anger is a natural emotion she happens to feel in high quantities.
And we know this isn’t even the last thing that is going to upset her. Ruth still has to tell her that Blaine tried to sneak in at night, and that is likely going to be the straw that breaks whatever was left to hold her together, if there even is anything holding her even remotely together after this.
I’m really confused by all the “But she’s having a hard time/has had a hard life! That makes the terrible things she’s doing/outing him loudly in the cafeteria OKAY!”
I imagine her dad may have had a fucked up childhood, too (given how cyclical abuse can be), that doesn’t mean the stuff he does or has done IS OKAY.
It doesn’t make it okay. She crossed some definite lines in this scene and she owes a few apologies. The fact that he’s being kinda horrible to -her- makes it slightly less not okay, but still not “okay”.
But it does all make her actions -understandable-. If, say, I’d gone through a recent tragedy, and I lose my temper and push down my friend or something, it might be understandable, but not okay. And I would still owe that friend an apology, and whether they accepted it or not would be up to them.
Definitely not okay. She’s not handling these things well, and I assume to Sarah and/or Joyce she seems totally out of her mind.
But we KNOW why she’s freaking out. She’s in pain. so much pain, from losing the one good male figure in her life (YES i’m talking about DANNY. If the one good guy in your life is Dan SOMETHING IS WRONG), to having to just recently fight off her own abusive father, she got told she made Ethan gay and now Ethan seems to be confirming that horrid things his mom said to her. She is isolated, scared, and now the one good thing she thinks she has done has become all undone. I can’t even imagine the blatent REJECTION she is feeling, not only as a friend but as a HUMAN BEING. Ethan is (in my opinion) going “you’re so unattractive/unwanted that I wouldn’t even fake being straight for you, despite the fact that we were dating and that you always stood by me”
Her reaction of anger is okay. Her flipping the table and grabbing Joyce is NOT okay, but we know WHY, so we’re sympathizing. Should she apologize? Yes. Should she learn better ways to deal? HELL YES. but no one is going “Yeah Amber, punch Joyce in the throat!” we’re going “Wow, that has to hurt Amber”
Understanding is not the same as condoning, accepting, or encouraging.
Again, I feel sorry for Amber. She has all this stuff piling down on her, just causing a mountain of stress that she’s had to deal with for the past few weeks, and when she finally thinks she’s helping out her friend, it turns out she’s only making him unhappy.
It’s tough when you realize someone you care about has a better time with other people than they would with you, it forces that individual to realize they’re not the most important thing in that persons life, a feeling that’s un-freakin’ believable. Ya’ll know that feeling, when you have another human being relying on you or coming to you for advice. Best friends, soul mates, whatever you call it it’s something that makes you feel good about yourself. And when that thing is taken away, it feels like you got a hole in your heart.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more devastated in this comic ever than I do now for Amber.
Everyone seems to hate Danny for Dan-ing things up, but honestly I’m more angry at Ethan. He’s been selfish as a friend. At least Dan is TRYING to be a good person. Ethan seems to have not given a crap about what Amber went through for him, and he hasn’t at all considered how his decisions affect more than just him.
I get it. He’s scared of being out. He doesn’t want to be gay. I can frickin relate. But he’s being a shitty friend, not only to Amber but also to Joyce. He’s danning things up more than Dan.
I’m with you, his expression in the last panel moves him from “slightly oblivious coward” (i.e. Danny), to “callous asshole” (i.e. Mike, but without any of the badass nature).
I’ve been hating Ethan since he started dating Joyce. He’s the worst reoccuring character!
That’s a good argument, it’s true that our actions affect more than just ourselves, but with Amber she’s made a point to, and sorry for not finding a better word for it, interfere in his business.
But I agree with you, this isn’t healthy or good for anyone involved.
I agree, she needs to step down, but at the same time I can see how hard that has to be with her – Ethan was her best friend, and if I’m reading her right, I think she might have fallen in love with him a bit. instead of taking the space she needed to get over him, she spent her summer fighting for him, probably because she loved him.
She’s feeling more than just the burn of sticking her business where it doesn’t belong, she’s feeling her heart get broken, not once, but twice by the same man. I don’t blame her for the rage at Joyce (nor do i really blame Joyce. I hate this whole storyline but only because it kinda hits close to home).
He wasn’t just her best friend, he was her boyfriend from some time before they were 16 up until the night of their senior prom. And she absolutely had fallen in love with him.
Danny is fun to hate. Ethan just makes people want to flip tables and say ‘fuck it’.
It isn’t that Ethan doesn’t care, Ethan didn’t think of it.
He was and still is running. He went through a lot of stress too – parents, everybody in high school. His best friend is Mike. His only other friend is avoiding him.
So in that state, especially as a teen, it is easy not to notice what others go through. He’s trying to solve his problem.
Amber fought for him – she acted strong when he didn’t. He was too wrapped up in his issues to see the cost on her.
Now she gets to re-live Prom Night again – the rejection of her as a woman.
Now he can see the Butcher’s Bill – and he should.
That’s a very good way to put it.
All snark aside, what Amber is experiencing in that last panel could only be described as “soul crushing”.
SO THEY DIDN”T FUCK??!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!
Don’t worry, we still have them doing it in Shortpacked, which in hindsight is really unsettling.
Yeah, all I was hoping for was no tears in my eyes. Look how that turned out.
whoomp, there it is.
To get into Dumbing of Age, you’ve gotta have Issues. You’ve gotta have Issues ON your Issues. You’ve gotta have Issues on your EYEBALLS.
I ate a bowl of issues for breakfast…
With out any Dina…
RIGHT THIS WAY.
SORRY TO WASTE YOUR TIME.
Nah. He lures you in with innocent story lines about Joyce’s silliness and Walky’s butt tacos and then sucker punches you with the date rape and the alleged gay-shaming. It’s really quite dastardly.
When you wake up in the morning the first thing you see is issues or Joyce, sometimes both
That’s what I was figuring the underlying issue was. And honestly: She’s entirely right.
“We were going to be -married-!” But turns out he’s gay. So she gives up on that. Because that’s what you -do-. And now he hooks up with someone else pretending to be straight… But… If he’s going to pretend to be straight, why is he doing it with someone -else-?
I feel for Amber. I feel for her -so- hard.
On certain days I feel like Joyce would be easier to be around than Amber, if only for the fact that Faz shows up less.
Ethan: Amber, I’m sorry, you just can’t be my beard. Your brother is just too annoying. Joyce’s brother on the other hand will be total eye candy til he gets his sex change. I need to take full advantage of that before then.
-eep- Sorry for being *that person* but it’s actually really disrespectful to refer to a transwoman by he/his pronouns, whether they’ve had gender confirmation surgery or not! I totally get that you’re making a joke here, but it’s possible to do so without misgendering Jocelyne.
I tend to use prural pronouns like “they” & “their” to avoid making any gender faux pas.
Wait, do you mean “his/her” pronouns in generally or the “his/her” pronoun that conflicts with their gender identity?
Taara said you shouldn’t use “he/his” pronouns for a transman. You also shouldn’t use “she/her” pronouns for a transwoman.
other way around. A transman identifies as a man, so he/his pronouns apply, and a transwoman identifies as a woman so she/her pronouns apply. There are exceptions though based on what the individual prefers to be referred as.
I have to admit that I get the transman/woman wording mixed up a lot.
I have a bit of a hard time with this, sometimes, because he/she/his/her pronouns aren’t always about appealing to a person’s sense of identity. I don’t like the idea of being insensetive to someone’s sense of self, but at the same time, if I’m talking to a third party, and trying to point out the trans individual, say, across a room, and I say “she” when the person is visually obviously male, all I have done is create confusion. I can get around this confusion by explaining who I mean and why I called them “she”, but then it defeats the entire -point- of having a pronoun in the first place, since pronouns exist to be identification shorthand.
Does anybody else fumble over this?
That sounds like parents freaking about having to explain to their kids why those two dudes are holding hands. Don’t make things more difficult. Just call things what they are, man. Don’t tell lies just to make conversation easier on you. Folks can be grownups.
Exactly this. It’s true that in day-to-day life I sort of accede to this sentiment – I don’t like to go against people’s subconscious gender typing, so I accept male pronouns without really faulting people for using them. But that should not be taken to indicate that this is “how to be trans,” since there really, really isn’t such a thing. You’d better believe that it grates every single time someone refers to me as “man” in passing, and that whenever someone acknowledges even slightly that they respect my gender identity that it warms my heart.
Were I to actively request the use of female pronouns for me, I would expect people to do so. I personally don’t expect that to come naturally (yet), but in a world that legitimately understands and respects transgender people it would be absurd for people to conceptualize me as a male, and this would be a moot point. It’s worth helping to make that world a reality, even if it does take a little more effort to explain sometimes.
Identity is more important than convenience. Done.
Also if people were doing that to me when they know I identified as a guy I would be fucking FURIOUS. Instant de-friend. If you can’t respect my identity, I can’t respect you.
Probably doesn’t hurt that Joyce has two brothers who (as far as we know) identify as male and the genes of the family seem to indicate that they’ll be attractive too. So he’s pretty set.
Same. I feel for her so hard in fact that it brings up stuff I haven’t thought about in years which were very similar. Man. Poor girl
Ethan can be such a bitch, as well as being a son of a bitch.
Jeez Willis, what did Amber kick your puppy or something? I think this the first time Ive seen one character get bombed by almost every storyline.
Emotional Carpetbombing! >_<
Remember, it’s Willis… someone must die of their own volition…
… and I don’t think it’ll be Ruth or Dina this go-around.
*looks at Gravitar*
Well, shit… just slap a red shirt on me now -_-
I bet one of these characters will die:
“No one will die.”
(Paraphrased, I think)
Not that he mightn’t change his mind, but he’s said that he wasn’t planning to off anybody.
Carpetbombing gets everyone. Precision bombing would be for just Amber.
Okay, I’m just trying to reason out Amber’s uber complicated feelings.
On one hand, she helped Ethan come to terms with who he is, despite that it seems like most people from their school, and his parents who got along with her before, thought she shouldn’t. She wants him to love himself, that much is clear.
On the other hand, he wishes he could love her too, the way he did before. Finding out he was gay ruined their relationship, even if they’re friends, yet he was able to start a new relationship with a stranger. And be happy.
I don’t think she really wants him to fake it for her. But she wasn’t even worth *considering* faking it for, not once, but *twice* now since Danny broke their friendship for similar reasons.
Hugs for Amber.
I’d argue that Danny’s refusal to fake a relationship with Amber for his parents is a completely different situation. He was uncomfortable doing it because he believed he was in a relationship with an entirely different person, and did not want to be unfaithful to that person. Danny breaking his friendship with Amber was on the basis that he felt like there was a temptation there for “cheating” on his girlfriend, and that the only way to remove that temptation was to remove that person from his life. And she was entirely at fault for that situation to occur because she could not confess that she was Amazi-girl, even at the final moment of their conversation.
How bad does a situation have to be for this to be the best-case scenario?
Because the only alternatives I could see two strips ago involved physical violence or even more dishonesty.
You forgot three-way.
In this situation? This is one of the few times that “three-way” will cause nothing more than confusion, pain, and awkward tension.
Amber is a nesting doll of issues.
Damn, Willis, way to really bring all that together. my feels…
I just want to hug them all D:
That seems like what Willis is going for with this comic series.
Oh Amber T_T
This is the most heartbreaking strip ever.
I… I really think Amber needs a nice break away from all of this. Away from Danny, her dad, Ethan, basically everyone. She must be so overloaded right now.
This is why she plays WoW.
Yup, there’s nothing more positive than the World of Warcraft community.
It occurs to me that she also just didn’t really get a summer vacation as such. That alone would have somebody pretty frayed around the edges as they started a new year. Stress’ll flatout eat you from the inside out physically and mentally if there isn’t at least a periodic lull in that.
Wait a gol darn minute. Amber outed him in high school. She wouldn’t have faked it with Ethan. She wanted him to accept his sexuality, so she never asked him to fake it with her. She is the one who forced him to do what he simply was not ready to do. Now she is jealous? She is mad at him for faking it with Joyce…while she convinced him to come out.
I don’t feel sorry for her. I am angry with her. She is a lying, manipulative abuser just like her dad.
Amber didn’t out him with the intention of forcing him to embrace his sexuality. She had no idea until the afterparty, in which she found out in one of the most awful ways possible.
She did not convince him to come out — he revealed it to her in an accidentally horrible way. All the time they had been together, she had been convinced he loved her the way she did.
Amber is not simply jealous. Amber is simply mad and devastated because (Aside from having an abusive dickhead father) while he could not love her the way she did him, he is clearly not showing ANY regard for the shit she put up with in the aftermath of his being gay.
I think some misconceptions have occurred comrade. For a start, she didn’t ‘out’ Ethan. They kind of blundered onto him being gay on Prom Night. She then supported him through the backlash from his family.
Then Ethan kind of backflipped, being uncomfortable with varying aspects of being gay (glossing over for brevity) and started dating Joyce. Its made all the pain Amber went through meaningless. I mean, finding out your boyfriend is incompatible has got to hurt. Spending your holidays emotionally supporting him while he revealed his preference to his family, is in my opinion above and beyond the basic duties of friendship.
As to her ‘jealousy’, we’ve noted how close they were before Prom Night. Its hard to completely lose that, and while it may be irrational I’d say she’s in a fragile state. What with the abusive dad rocking up, her realization of the darker side of the motivations behind Amazi-girl and being dumped by Danny.
So she hasn’t lied, no deliberate attempt to manipulate and no distinct attempts to emotionally or physically abuse Ethan.
Except for the part where it’s totally wrong about the series of events and thus draws wrong conclusions from them.
Wait, crap. You replied to Hippoman, didn’t you? I thought this response was to Fuzzy.
Sorry, sorry, I fail at thread-reading.
She didn’t ‘Out’ him in high school- He finally came out to her on his own will on prom night right before they were about to ‘go all the way’, probably as a result of an affliction commonly known as ‘Not being able to get it up’, destroying her plans for their entire future and shattering any chance of her love for him being or ever have been reciprocated. Regardless of that she defended Ethan’s sexuality as he came out to his parents and was subsequently blamed for turning him gay while they didn’t blame Ethan and simply encouraged him to be straight. Which is what he’s trying to do now.
Yes, Amber gave him the ultimatum of coming out to Joyce. But that was because she didn’t want him to break another girls heart in the way hers was, which is completely understandable and the fact that he accepted that ultimatum and actually did it without arguing with her shows some understanding on his part that ‘You know, lying to a person about my sexuality when I’m in a relationship with them is probably a bad idea.’ Rather than not being ready to do it, he was -refusing- to do it.
Figured that was coming. People going through the coming out process are often pretty hard on those around them. And vice-versa. Kudos again to Willis for capturing this so well in this medium.
I just have an imagein my head of Willis collecting our tears for his sustenance that I cant shake
Emphasise on the word FAKEING, I mean lets go back to when Ethan started to come on too Joyce’s brother, imagen If he wasn’t gay and he’s was coming on to her older sister( for all the females out there wouldn’t that just piss you off if that was you) but that would be on Joyce for not seeing that coming
Ethan is not a bad guy and in a lot of ways he’s a good friend supportive and nice, it’s just when he’s raped up in his own “oh who is me my sucks bullshit,” he tense to have a lack considering other people when he off doing reckless shit.
Kind of like huh…is there a word for when someone is going through a midlife crisis but is but is young to be in one?
Early quarterlife crisis?
…I think you meant to say “wrapped up”. I HOPE you meant to say that.
Sorry, didn’t realize you’d already noticed it!
And THIS is the Mark V kaiju of drama.
This is sad…
Also, I think I’m the only one who sees Ethan’s expression in that last panel as a sad one. He was frowning with righteous indignation within panel three. But when Amber starts crying, it’s expression totally switches.
Maybe only subtly but still. His eyes are wider and softer. Like he’s softening too. I figure at least the guy is feeling pity. I mean, Amber is still his friend and he’s responsible for making her cry.
No, you’re not alone. It’s subtle, but I think he’s about a panel away from bursting into tears himself.
Ya….To bad he didn’t think about this happening sooner
No, you’re not. With this and the last strip’s comments about how Amber was right about Joyce, I really wonder just if some of the other readers are in a bizarro world where everyone does things for the opposite reason from normal.
I think people are just looking for someone to blame for the mess.
Me, I’m perfectly happy pinning that on Blaine and Naomi.
I blame it on the Boogey.
Wrapped so got that wrong, funny how autocorrect didn’t fix that!
Auto-correct only ensures that your words are actual words, it does nothing to ensure that they are the /correct/ words.
Amber’s face just broke my heart
Poor Amber T_T
I want to hug her, but who’s gonna hug me? :’(
I would do it but I hate coming into physical contact with others.
So… much… awful. You know the person I feel worst for? Sarah. She has nothing to do with any of this, and all she can do is remain awkwardly quiet while horrible stuff happens all around her.
Crushing guilt, bottomless shame, indignant embarrassment, crippling insecurities, and… mild awkwardness. Yes, I can clearly see how that last feeling is the most tragic of the lot.
Well maybe its not to bad for her since her and Joyce have a lack of knowing what the hell is going between those two…we’ll acutely after that entire display I think they would get a good idea what’s happening
It could be worse. People could be staring at Sarah and asking her why she isn’t saying anything.
Who say’s she wants to invloved, you know her she hats being the middle of other people drama, that goes especaily with people she just met
Eh, on the other hand, when she gets free of it, she goes about her day as normal. When everybody else gets free of it, they get to wallow in guilt, fear, doubt, self loathing, and anguish.
So yeah, I don’t really feel that bad for Sarah.
This is about the saddest thing I’ve seen. I feel so bad for Amber. This is beyond what a normal kid has to go through. The poor little thing.
Just how much more is she going to have to take? Every damn storyline has dumped on her. At this point she either says, the Hell with everyone and everything, and transfers to an another school with no forwarding address; or pulls the plug.
Truly Ethan is the perfect man. Handsome, and totally uninterested in sex.
I think you have confused “uninterested in sex” and “uncomfortable with his desire to bang some dudes.”
Poor kid’s heartbroken.
Omfg. I just said ‘whomp’ out loud. This makes *so* much sense, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. I’ve been in a similar emotional place as Amber is here and boy is that feeling not fun. I just. Everything hurts in this panel. Everything’s been hurting about this storyline (and all storylines, lbr) for weeks.
Hey read this webcomic, they said. It’ll be fun and hilarious, they said. I feel like DoA should come with a ‘warning: may cause emotional trauma’ sign. For reals.
At least 12 people called this.
God, Amber! *hug*
Yeah, well maybe the trainwreck has finally run off the track. R.I.P. Amber’s self esteem.
The poor little thing.
So many people are jumping on the “Hate Ethan” bandwagon…
and I’m just over here, not hating him!
man for years people have been on the hate-train to dantown for a whole lot less
Knew this was the root of it. Poor thing needs somethin to relieve her stress before she explodes.
Well Roz is right there.
This is the best superhero comic I’ve ever read.
So what we learned from yesterday’s comic’s comment section is that the general consensus is along the lines of “yeah, Amber went through some shit herself too, some of it directly caused by Ethan, b-but Ethan’s gay thus life for him is so so much harder!!”.
I’m not denying the fact that being a young gay person is incredibly troublesome, but taking sides like that is just ignorant as fuck.
And today Amber made a very good point. Ethan wanted to play straight to “be in control” of things around him. And even after Amber clearly stated that she didn’t want to be away from him and still loves him as her best friend, Ethan chose to be in a “relationship” with a thirsty delusional religious bigot girl who just wants to cure the gay out of him.
If it didn’t hurt Amber so much I wouldn’t mind if Ethan suddenly died in a horrible accident.
Now let the hate flow.
The only thing I’ll contest about what you said is that Amber didn’t want to be away from him. She did. She couldn’t hang around with him and Mike earlier on in the strip because she said she was emotionally exhausted from supporting him against his parents. Other than that, you’re more or less right.
I have evidence . She didn’t want to, she needed to
Yeah, that sucks.
Holy BALLS. I sense a ‘Damn you Willis!” welling up in my throat.
You can replace every speech bubble of Amber’s with a “Damn you Willis!” in the last three comics
Okay, I gotta say I have a bit of a problem with Amber’s speech here…
“I finally got him to stop believing it!” Um…no, you obviously didn’t as he still has issues about it, still wants to be in the closet, and still isn’t ready to deal with it. And it’s pretty egotistical to take credit for someone else’s internal struggle as if it has anything to do with you and you have some magical power to influence it.
“He could have been happy!” The subtext I’m seeing here…and I could be wrong…is “Damnit, the gay guy can’t do ANYTHING right!”
“You’ll fake it with her but…not with me?” Good God (or the benevolent deity of your choice), Amber! THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU! THis is about ETHAN dealing with HIS being gay! You aren’t anywhere in the equation! You’re off dressing in tights faking it with Danny and beating up random bad guys! Okay, Ethan not nailing you on Prom Night was a blow to your pride, got it…but he’s NOT your bend-and-pose-gay-toy! You fought for him because how else are you going to prove you’re tough and independent; you darn sure didn’t keep him close and supportive, needing your space like you did. Okay, I fought for you, go away and leave me alone, you’re not worth my time…WHAT? You’re dating some other girl and faking it for her? What about ME ME ME?!?
Maybe in the next comic, Ethan will put his hand on her shoulder, lean in, and say calmly, “Amber, it’s not about you. It’s never been about you. I’m the one who’s gay.”
I love Amber, but the past few comics make me burningly aware she’s a teenage college student who doesn’t know nearly as much as she thinks she does.
Which makes Dave awesome for creating these characters and these situations.
Jesus where to starte on this….fuck it let someone else do it
Wow, never get in a relationship with another person. Because I can’t see how you can tell Amber this has jack all to do with her.
I’ll take this one. What can I say, I like poking at things with sticks.
1) Amber helped Ethan because she cared about him, and because she (correctly) doesn’t think that wallowing in completely ineffective self-denial and delusion is a good idea, mentally-healthily-speaking.
2) Amber doubtlessly got a lot of crap for ‘turning him gay’. We’ve actually SEEN some of that, in the seconds of interaction we’ve seen her have with his parents so far. She doubtlessly invested a lot in helping him, and since she’s one of the more perceptive people in the comic, she probably wasn’t doing this over his objections. She was helping her friend.
3) She LOVES HIM. She was planning to MARRY HIM. She was DATING HIM. She is not a stranger! She selflessly pushed her emotions away in order to help him do what was right for himself. Because he couldn’t keep dating her and being what what she wanted and needed him to be.
4) Ethan then turns around and starts dating this girl he just met, because yeah totally he can do this now that it wouldn’t be fulfilling Amber’s needs. Of course he’s not going to fulfill Joyce’s needs either because he’s the most unfaithful man-hungry boyfriend in existence. He’s only interested in his own needs. That’s how he rolls nowadays.
5) So, next comic: Ethan leans in and says calmly, “Amber, it’s not about you. It’s never been about you, or Joyce, or anyone else; I’m the only person who matters, and whatever works for me in a given instant is what’s good. Kissing Joyce, chasing men right in front of her, glaring at you while kissing her, whatever’s working for me.”
Yes… Ethan trying to turn straight with a girl has nothing to do with the girl he didn’t turn straight for less than a year ago. Nothing to do with his best friend who after having their heart broken defended him and his sexuality against his parents who to this day blame her for having turned him gay and whose goals involve turning him straight again. Nothing to do with the person who invested YEARS of work and love into a relationship with Ethan only to be informed ‘Sorry. Can’t do it anymore.’ on their Prom Night and then not long after witness Ethan go ‘I can do this.’ with a completely different girl who wants to turn him straight.
With that rant aside, let’s break down your argument against Amber. Amber is absolutely a part of the ‘Ethan dealing with him being gay’ equation because ‘dealing with being gay’ includes any of your romantic relationships, in which Amber was the biggest of his life, and visa-versa. And Amber -did- convince Ethan that his being gay wasn’t evil and wrong. Ethan is trying to turn straight because, rather than being guilted into it, which would be the result of him thinking it was evil and wrong, he simply wants to be because being gay is tough and it’d be easier for him if he was just straight.
Amber doesn’t want a “Bend and pose gay toy” or to prove some self righteous “look at me I’m progressive” ideal. Amber genuinely wants Ethan to be happy. You know why? Because she loved him. And after Danny spurned her- The only other guy she -could- of had a relationship with since or beside Ethan- Ethan remains the closest guy that Amber’s ever had in her life. She sure as hell didn’t have her father. And he couldn’t be happy with her, because he’s gay. So hearing he’s happy with another woman, AND STILL GAY? Hurts.
Well, to answer a few points and hopefully clarify my position…
Ethan is the one who is gay. I don’t see him trying to turn straight, just come to terms WITHIN HIMSELF, with his orientation. It is no more fair for Amber to make this about her than it is for his parents to make it about her. I am on Ethan’s side, to the extent that one can be on a fictional character’s side. HE has to come to terms with, accept, himself. Anyone else is, of necessity, of secondary importance.
Should Amber be hurt? Of course, same as any person in a relationship would be that found that relationship not going (or ending) in the way one hoped or wanted. However, let us not lose sight of the fact that AMBER has been moving on her own self, no sitting in her room pining for Ethan. She can explore other avenues but Ethan deserves this sort of treatment from her?
Amber obviously did not `convince’ him that being gay wasn’t evil and wrong. Ethan has had numerous strips dedicated to his trying to deal with it; Amber didn’t wave a magic wand and cure his insecurities; Joyce didn’t hit him with a Bible and brain damage him into wanting to be straight. ETHAN…you know, the gay guy? Yeah, he’s the one who finds life easier in the closet, `dating’ a girl he knows very well won’t be his One True Love. He’s taking comfort or refuge in his idea of `normality’…whether that is a skewed perspective or not, it’s still a valid choice for him at this point. He doesn’t want to be labeled `the gay guy’…he wants some space, a bit of room to deal with a pretty huge deal.
And you know what? He *deserves* that space, the opportunity to find out what it means to him to be gay. Without people pushing him and telling him he has to be THIS way or THAT way. Joyce accepts him as he is…for now…and that’s what he needs…for now.
Because if anyone is okay with Amber making his choices for him, telling him how and what and who he has to be…then ipso facto, you must agree his parents have at least an equal say. You cannot have it both ways.
For myself, I maintain that it is Ethan’s choices must be paramount in this issue. Amber being butthurt and jealous is way down the list of priorities.
That is not to say I don’t understand Amber’s anger and pain, or the other issues she’s dealing with. I suspect Dave is going to use this to a lead-in to actually focus on Amber’s issues and hopefully cut the poor girl a break.
But I, myself, cannot say Ethan is dealing with this badly or wrongly or anything. It is something ONLY he can deal with; he can get help and support and advice from friends, relatives, and advice columnists…but HE is the only one who can live his life. In the same situation, I like to think I would have made different choices than he has, but I can say that about any personal crisis I’ve ever witnessed.
In this comic, Amber shows that Ethan’s being gay is supposed to be focused on her. All that SHE has done in service of him being gay, all that he DIDN’T do for her. If she really loved him, rather than her own twisted idea of what she wanted or expected him to be…well, if you think what Amber is expressing right now is `love’, I weep for the world.
Ethan doesn’t have to justify his gay existence to anyone. There is no One True Way To Be Gay. He will come to terms with his orientation in his own time, at his own pace…and because it is HIS orientation, I sincerely hope he doesn’t listen to ANYONE who tells him how he `has’ to be.
In that case, Ethan should be telling Amber that he doesn’t want her help, that he wants to handle it on his own. But he hasn’t, not even after the last time they were arguing about revealing his sexuality to Joyce. But who knows, maybe we’ll see that in the next few comics.
He pretty clearly just told her it’s his choice to make. Her response was “The Fuck it is”.
Telling something to someone who had about reached the height of their anger definitely won’t get through to them; the best opportunity to really get the point through would be in the next comic or so, now that Amber has realized she can’t do anything about Ethan dating Joyce.
Its not really Ethan’s fault that telling someone something when they’re angry won’t get through to that person. He DID tell her. Amber is one one who was off the handle.
You’re right; I guess, then, I’m looking for more direct words, like “I don’t want your help on this, let me decide how I live my life”.
I don’t think having a beard is a legitimate choice unless you’re in a situation where being publicly gay would lead to physical violence.
Look at it from Amber’s point of view. Joyce is VERY obviously conservative Christian. She attached herself to Ethan, who was previously Amber’s BOYFRIEND. Not just friend. They were an item. So when Amber, who is technically Ethan’s ex, sees that Ethan is now spurting out the VERY SAME STUFF she has been trying to defend him against a WHOLE SUMMER of bullshit, you gotta understand I believe she sees Joyce as brainwashing Ethan. i think thats why she went “THE FUCK IT IS” because she doesn’t REALLY believe Ethan made this choice – she believes Joyce has coerced him into straightness.
i think she does know that it comes down to what Ethan wants. But if you believe a friend, a friend you were once in love with, is being controlled by someone else? Of course you’ll question their actions.
Ethan was out at the beginning of this comic. Its not like he started it off going “maybe i’m not gay” – he was pretty firmly gay. This is a huge step backward.
That comment was longer than many essays Cragalanch has written…… and was more coherent than Cragalanch’s essays as well……
In other more positive news, I learned that Dippin dots was once in bankruptcy but bounced back……
Goddamit I’m crying Willis! Are you happy?! Evil human based Decepticon…..
Here is my issue with Ethan and people (both fictional like him and real ones as well) like him; they accidentally are some of the worst kind of gay people around. Coming out is a difficult thing for anyone, it shouldn’t have to be, but it is for now at least. And many people of divergent sexualities struggle with the idea of going “back in the closet” because of the judgement and hate they face. But those who do it are awful because it perpetuates an idea to the world that you can, in fact, shame someone hetero. You can’t, and by going along with it you diminish the struggle of everyone who strives to identify themselves. And THAT is why Ethan is terrible as a person/character. Hopefully Willis understands this and will eventually get that point across in a future strip. Though experience has taught me not to expect much from people…
Everybody is on a different part of the Kinsey scale. There are some folks who can “choose” how they live, though they are by no means even near the majority. They are disproportionately represented, which I think is your point – and is very true that media should not do this. But… they do exist.
You mean… Pansexual people…? Everyone can choose how they live. People can’t choose their sexual orientation.
As a trend, queer people being bullied or shamed back into the closet is damaging, yes. But representation does not fall onto the shoulders of any one individual queer person. We don’t owe the world being out in situations that are dangerous or difficult or detrimental to our mental/emotional well-being. If a queer person decides that going back into the closet is the right thing for them to do, then all the power to them. Those are personal choices, and they should be made based on what’s right for the individual, not what’s right for representation.
In no way is it okay to to call a queer person “awful” because they don’t fit one particular definition of the Good Queer.
For the record, I do think that Ethan’s behaviour is incredibly unhealthy (and we do get to judge Ethan, a fictional character, in a way that would be so not cool in regards to an actual person).
And the armor peircing question has been deployed.
This is very sad.
But we can’t say he’s morally wrong for not being happy with her…
Happiness isn’t really moral. Emotions just are.
Can we say it was wrong that he never considered Amber’s feelings, what she went through, her sacrifice?
Also, everybody is wrong in their own way. Like real people!
Okay, he’s happy. And by “happy” we mean “he likes having a beard until the SECOND a hot guy comes around, and then he drops Joyce like a flaming turd”. So Amber should be glad he isn’t faking it with her, because it’s the most pathetic and insulting act I’ve seen in waking memory, and unlike Joyce Amber would notice this instantly, and NOT be happy.
Ethan has found happiness by treating everyone who wants to be close to him like crap. He may have more in common with Mike than he thinks.
Hey, Mike is directed in his shit-flinging. He improves people sometimes.
The hot guy is already there. Jacob is his room mate and we’ve seen Ethan’s reaction.
begbert2 — So true! Ethan can say he’s happy all he wants, but he is one flaming ball of lust ready to combust upon contact with a mildly interested gay man. Then we’ll see what happy Ethan looks like. And whether Joyce can flip a table.
Dina should come up right now and quietly guide Amber away.
“Come on. I have acquired ice cream and now we will watch romantic comedies. I’ve been doing RESEARCH for this kind of scenario.”
Oh god now I really want this to happen. But only after Ethan gives her a fucking hug, because she needs that desperately now.
It has to suck to feel so unwanted.
Cragalanch knows what you mean….
I know someone’s gonna yell at me for this but Amber is really pissing me off here. I believe that Amber is the one solely in the wrong here. In fact I think she’s so in the wrong that its really angering me. When it comes to how Ethan chooses to love his life there is only ONE person that gets a vote and that’s Ethan. Just becausea person is someone’s friend or their privy to somebody’s secret doesn’t give them a vote in how that lives their life. Amber claimed in a previous strip that she fought all summer with Ethan’s mother to let him be able to choose how he he lives his life. Now she’s done a complete 180 and is trying to tell him how he has to live now. She’s s hypocrite.
It reminds of Smallville, when Chloe would lecture Clark about his secret. I just wanted to grab the TV and scream,” it’s HIS secret not yours, you don’t get to have a say in what he does!”
But Amber choosing to act this way is how she’s choosing to live her life: by meddling* with Ethan’s affairs. How can you criticize her for how she chooses to live her life?
*Nobody jump on me for this. I KNOW she has every right to care about Ethan’s life and choices; I’m just tabling that for the sake of argument.
There’s a difference between having an opinion and meddling. I highly disapprove of what Ambers doing here but that doesn’t mean I’m going to choose to act like a maniac and walk over to her table and overturn it. A,very needs to practice what’s she preaches and let Ethan love his life how he chooses and make his own life choices.
Ethan is being a dick and someone needs to call him on it.
How is he being a dick? He’s living his life. He’s being a dick because he’s defying Amber? Amber doesn’t know everything thing that’s going on in Ethan’s head, she doesn’t know all his feelings. He’s living his life as he chooses too and Ambers trying to make him do what she wants him too.
He’s being a dick because some part of him has to know (that’s the assumption anyway) that he will never love Joyce romantically, and yet he continues to date her despite this knowledge, and despite the knowledge that she almost certainly does not understand enough about this sort of thing to have realised that yet. So although she knows he’s gay, he’s still dating her under false pretences — the pretence that he might fall in love with her just as she is beginning to fall for him.
Also, because he must know it’s just a matter of time before his sexual urges are too difficult to ignore, judging by how he reacted to Jocelyne.
Also, maybe because he didn’t have this conversation with Amber a lot sooner. He decided this past summer to come out and try to be honest with the world about who he was. Amber put up with a lot of shit to help support his decision, at great personal cost to her. Now he’s rescinded that decision, and the person who sacrificed so much in order to support it really should be told.
All of this said, though, the kid’s a fucking teenager. I sometimes have to deliberately separate him in my mind from the Other Comic’s Ethan, because he’s not. He’s really, really not. He’s an eighteen-year-old kid who doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing in life.
Yeah, Joyce is definitely way to naive to realize that being gay doesn’t just mean he’s into boys, it also means that he probably will not ever be romantically into Joyce. All the romantic gestures he does will be to make her happy, and will not be a reflection of his feelings beyond that he cares about her platonically and wishes to please her.
If you want to ignore all the emotional components that go into human relationships. Forget that she didn’t just want to have sex with him on prom night, but have sex with the guy she grew up with, was her boyfriend, and thought she’d have a life with. You ignore that while prom night was a shocking discovery for Ethan, if was a rejection of Amber who then fought for him anyways.
And after all that anguish he not only threw away what she did by going into the closet, but finished the complete rejection of him.
No, if you only see one person as wrong and anybody only being wrong without much extenuating circumstances you are only reading superficially. Life isn’t black and white, that’s why this arc has people on both sides.
Actions aren’t contained because they are your choice – it affects others too. Going into the closet with Joyce is a rejection of Amber. Period. It wasn’t meant to be, but it is.
Choice is one of the few things we truly have in life. Amber doesn’t have the right to try and control Ethan’s life just because his choices might hurt her feelings. Ethan and Joyce made a choice, maybe not the smartest choice but it was still theirs to make. Now Ambers furious because Ethan won’t do what she tells him too.
You mean like how Amber rejected a part of herself? That instead of accepting the fact amazi-girl is a part of herself and sharing that with Danny, she metaphorically shoved that part of -herself- in the closet and put herself in her current condition of misery? And the fact no one else is connecting the dots here? “Why couldnt you fake it with me?” Takes on a deeper meaning with these events in mind. Its not just ethan destroying her efforts. Its the fact where her own actions with Danny failed, Ethan is succeeding. Joyce will fake it with Ethan. Danny wouldnt fake it with Amber. And thats got to be tearing the stitches open as it were.
You aren’t the only one to notice the parallels between Amber’s situation and Ethan’s, and that Amber losing control of her life is being contrasted with Ethan gaining control of his. The entire difference between them is that unlike Amber, Ethan was honest about who he was to Joyce, while she didn’t say anything, even during her last conversation with Danny. Hopefully this confrontation will eventually result in Amber revealing her identity to Danny, and give her a chance to undo all the shit she’s put herself in.
I -do- want to yell, or rather the lower-case politically correct version of yelling, but I’ll settle for a brief synopsis of points you are not taking into consideration.
Amber is a person who was and is to this day directly effected by the way Ethan chooses to live his life. When the way you -choose- to live your life effects someone else, you are responsible for it. That doesn’t include things that you could not choose- Like being gay. Amber doesn’t involve herself in Ethan’s sexuality. She’s not trying to make him straight, bi, or gay-er, she’s completely accepting of Ethan’s unchangeable sexuality.
She is NOT accepting of him having a relationship with another women who is actively rejecting his sexuality because she loves him as a best friend, something best friends -do-. Especially after having been -the- woman he could have pretended his whole life to be straight with, but had decided that being gay made that impossible. Yet here he is, reneging on the whole ‘I can’t be in a relationship with a woman because I’m gay’ thing actively and openly between both these women who are directly effected by his actions of which he is responsible for.
Nothing Ethan does effects Amber beyond hurting her feelings. Heck she herself admitted to intentionally dropping out of his life awhile back and that probably hurt Ethan’s feelings but he respected her CHOICE so I don’t know why she thinks she can police him now.
It distresses me how many people think that Amber should be allowed to tell Ethan how to live his life. She’s diss approves of his choices and now she’s trying to take choice away from him entirely.
This is one of the big problems in society. Everyone seems to think they have the right to intrude in other people’s business.
So you shouldn’t care about hurting other peoples feelings? Amber is not trying to tell Ethan ‘How to live his life’. She’s trying to help him make the right choices. Which he’s not doing. When a best friend of yours becomes a heroine addict, or becomes dangerously suicidal, you do not ‘just sit and watch’ because it’s their choice. Ethan is denying his sexuality in a bad way and regressing to a state of delusion, which can end up hurting a lot of people.
For fuck’s sake, she’s having a hard time seeing her ex with somebody else. Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill here. Shit happens, feelings get hurt, you can’t live your life around all the people whose feelings might get hurt.
Sure, don’t go out of your way to be flipping people the bird, but at the end of the day you do what you think is right for you. You move out even if your parents don’t think you’re ready. You remarry even if your ex thinks your new partner’s scum and has a hard time seeing you with another. You pursue that job opportunity in the next city over even if your friends will miss you and think the venture is doomed to failure.
If they’ve got your back then they’re still here for you when shit hits the fan and everything goes wrong just like they said it would. If they don’t then they’re sure as hell not worth the kind of consideration that would take your life off the path you want to be on.
She’s not just an ex, though. She’s supposed to be his best friend, and he’s supposed to be hers- He’s the ONLY guy in her life at the moment who hasn’t- Excuse me- Hadn’t completely rejected her. Yes, you can’t live your life avoiding stepping on toes. But Ethan has done more than stepped on Amber’s toes- He rejected being in a relationship with her after years of romantic involvement because he was gay. And now’s he’s in a relationship with another girl -despite- being gay, openly. That’s much more than seeing your ex with another girl.
Yeah, no fucking shit he rejected her. She could be his soulmate and it wouldn’t change a thing. Still being BFF’s with your ex doesn’t give them a claim on your life decisions. You pursue whatever you think is best for you and if it’s hard for them to watch then pain is happening. If you didn’t you’d get to date one friend and be stuck with them forever because your pursuit of happiness doesn’t have room for rejecting friends.
She doesn’t have the right to claim his life decisions as her own, no. But she does have a right to be involved in Ethan’s life. She can’t tell him WHAT to do, ultimately even if she does he has the right to do different, but she has the right to talk to him and voice her own concerns and opinions. She shouldn’t be table flipping or yelling and I’ll agree that’s out of order. But seriously, there is NOTHING wrong for caring about how others feel. Relativism isn’t the end-all philosophy.
Well sure, of course if she’d wanted to talk to him about all this when it was going on that would’ve been well within the realm of what their relationship can allow.
She can provide her input, but going back to the beginning of this thread it doesn’t give her a vote.
Who gets to define the limits of `right’ and `wrong’, though? As far as Ethan’s parents are concerned, they may feel sending him to a camp to have the gay beaten out of him is `right’. (I don’t think Dave was went into detail about how weird his parents got, so that’s only an extreme example). And if you knew anyone who deals with heroin addicts or any form of addiction, you’d know the addict is not going to be helped until THEY decide to seek help. You cannot save the unwilling; you can burn their stash, murder their dealers, lock them in a cellar…but eventually, they’ll find a way to score. Same with suicide: if someone really wants to do it, they will. You can stop one attempt, get them counseling, whatever…but if they truly want to do it, they will. You simply CANNOT take a person’s right to make their own choices away from them. Well, I suppose you *can*, but it is never anything less than a selfish act.
When you start to think you know better than another person how they should live their life…that’s a very scary road to travel.
No, you can’t force people to make the decisions you want them to make. What you can do is help them in making them. I won’t say that Amber’s going about this the ‘right’ way- I’m saying she has the right to be involved, to some extent, in Ethan’s life. Maybe she’s stepping bounds, but she’s passionate about someone she considers her best friend, someone who she’s been in love with and cares a great deal for. You can’t fault her for those feelings, even if you can fault her for the way she chooses to express them. But you can’t fault her expressing them entirely.
Absolutely agreed. Joyce is going to be one who gets hurt here. Worse, she isn’t in full control of her best judgement because of her infatuation with Ethan and some of the teachings from her upbringing.
Sorry my comment was agreeing with Rocstream.
Amber already warned Ethan not to break Joyce’s heart like he broke hers – though that time it was presumably ignorantly. This time it will be with the knowledge that it is inevitable. Ethan’s the worst offender here.
Speaking as someone who had an older brother put a gun up against his head and pull the trigger I’d like to think I know the differences and the lines between personal choices, mental illnesses and breaking the law. People have the right to choose what sex their attracted to, what they want to believe in, what political party they follow, if they think there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll, how to vote, if they want to color within the lines. They can choose if they want to accept a romantic invitation, if they want mustard with their sandwiches. These are choices and we have the right to make them for ourselves. People with mental illnesses, like my brother can’t make good choices, preventing them from killing themselves is not taking their ability to choose away. It’s protecting them during a time in their life when they can’t make choices with a stable mind and trying to heal them until they reach a point where they can again. We have laws to keep is from hurting one another (and I don’t mean our damn feelings) inflicting harm on another is one of the few choices we don’t have and we shouldn’t. I propose having the right to live our lives how we want but I’m not suggesting total anarchy. Ethan is not hurting Amber, he is not mentally ill. Amber simply thinks she has the right to make Ethan’s choices for him.
I used some extreme examples, and I’d just like to apologize up front if they were in poor taste. But everything I know about sexuality leads me to disagree with you that we can ‘choose’ our sexuality. Ethan can not choose to be straight. And even if he denies that, Amber isn’t so delusional as to agree with his denial. And he is most definitely hurting Amber. Not physically, mind you. But she’s hurting -a lot-, and this hurt was the straw that broke the camels back.
She may not be going about things the right way. But she just wants Ethan to be happy, and until he accepts who he is there will always be difficulties in achieving that happiness long term. Her heart is in the right place here, and she has the right to be involved in Ethan’s life- But I’ll agree that she’s going about it the wrong way.
Rocstream, no worries. Also I agree we can’t choose our sexuality. What I meant to say there is that a gay man has the right to chose to try and pursue a heterosexual relationship with a woman if he wants to. It may be a foolish thing to do but he still has the right to make that choice. Furthermore, since Joyce knows what’s she’s going into the only thing being hurt at the moment (admittedly for now) is Ambers feelings and Ethan doesn’t have to live his life in only a way that doesn’t hurt her feelings and he certainly doesn’t have to take orders from her on how to live it either.
Having the right to do it doesn’t mean it’s ok.
I mean, if you’re under no illusions about your sexuality (you know you’re fully homosexual) then you’ve agreed to enter a loveless relationship. I mean, Ethan is happy, but he isn’t in love with Joyce. He’s her friend.
Purposefully entering a relationship in which one person is in love and the other isn’t is, by definition, being a user.
tl;dr I have the right to scream racial slurs at the top of my lungs, but that doesn’t make it a good decision or I’m being a good person while doing so.
“Amber simply thinks she has the right to make Ethan’s choices for him.”
How about the idea that Amber is the one who is mentally and emotionally unstable and was trying to fight against a perceived threat that has just been revealed totally wasn’t there at all?
I agree that if she was not involved in all the drama, she would have no right to meddle with Ethan’s life.
But she was dragged into it last summer. She has said herself that she’s exhausted from doing damage control for Ethan all Summer.
In the end, any decision is Ethan’s and Ethan’s only, but he did made it her business previously and that gives her the right to scream at him at full lungs before leaving the scene for good.
Amber makes a very good point and we now understand where she’s coming from. And absolutely none of that justifies how she’s acting, especially now that Ethan’s probably gonna get another guilt trip cause of this on top of everything else. She’s essentially taking a bad situation caused by Ethan and making it worse for everyone involved rather than actually helping out like she thinks she is.
Of course it isn’t justified, but it does make her reaction more understandable, at the least. At first, it was righteous anger at the idea that everything she did for Ethan was being wasted because Joyce might’ve been pulling Ethan back into the closet with her religiously bigoted values; but when she realized that Ethan was in on it, and wanted to be in the closet, and was HAPPY being there, it turned into feelings of betrayal and anguish that everything she did for him was being thrown away by Ethan voluntarily, with the idea that he never even considered to fake it with her added to that.
She’s also assuming Joyce is some sort of raging fundamentalist when she’s just a confused young woman.
It’s an easy mistake to make.
Okay, Amber’s last statement’s REALLY frustrating. A lot of the arguing about yesterday’s comic was all about how Amber was justified for being angry, because she was trying to prevent Ethan from hiding his sexuality. But by wondering why he wouldn’t “fake it” with her, she’s demonstrating just as little regard for his sexuality as she says Joyce is showing. Amber needs to see, homosexuality notwithstanding, that sometimes relationships just fall apart, and her flipping tables isn’t going to put theirs back together. I’ve been in her shoes- gay ex-wise, I mean- and that’s just how it works.
Also, I’m a fan of Ethan and his relationship with Joyce. A LOT of comments on here (from yesterday) say that this is a “trainwreck” and “destructive” and “doomed to fail.” I think that the premise is ignorant- Joyce can’t just “fix” Ethan’s sexuality by having a relationship with him, and Ethan is clearly not anywhere close to accepting his sexuality. However, sexual compatibility doesn’t have to be the MOST IMPORTANT thing ever in a romantic relationship; it’s important, maybe, but not crucial. Not all relationships have to be built off sexual compatibility. Right now, neither one is making sexual demands of the other- they don’t really WANT to- and they are both gaining emotional support, which is really what they both need right now. Ethan needs that support to keep from feeling alienated and overwhelmed, and Joyce (I imagine) needs someone she can completely rely on right now after being so sheltered earlier in life. A sexually-incompatible relationship like theirs is difficult, but possible with enough communication- which they (hopefully) have. Like I said, they’re really misguided about the result of their relationship, but they have an understanding, reached through communication. I DON’T think Ethan needs more opposition to his being gay, and I DON’T think he needs someone trying to change him, but I DO think he needs someone he can absolutely rely on. And that’s Joyce, because let’s face it, judging from how Amber’s been reacting, he can’t get that from her, no matter how much it upsets her.
I couldn’t agree with this statement more. The amount of abuse Joyce and Ethan have been getting on this board is much too high. They are both gaining something from the relationship, so as long as they make sure to be open and honest about what they are looking for in the relationship, it isn’t necessarily the giant disaster people think it is.
Two of the foremost radical feminist were a gay male and lesbian female, and they were in a relationship for some time (I believe they were John Stoltenberg and Catharin Mackinnon), so it’s not impossible for such a thing to work out, it will just have to be handled with the foremost delicacy.
“Amber needs to see, homosexuality notwithstanding, that sometimes relationships just fall apart, and her flipping tables isn’t going to put theirs back together.”
It seems like she’s getting to that now. Up until this point, she had been told she was rejected for being a woman. She fought to allow him that right, and alienated herself from his family at least. And only now does she realize that it might not be that at all – maybe Ethan is rejecting Amber herself.
Taking that personally isn’t so unfair, I think.
For a lot of people, sexual orientation is tied to romantic orientation. Can you have a “romantic relationship” when the romantic attraction is one-sided? They aren’t just sexually incompatible – they are romantically incompatible. She will only ever be his friend, “girlfriend” or “wife” title notwithstanding. Maybe best friend, and most loved friend, but still friend. Meanwhile, she’ll want someone who gets butterflies in his stomach thinking about her, who’ll kiss her spontaneously because he’s into her and not just to make her happy. All his romance will be scripted, or just an extension on being her bestest friend. Man, that’s depressing.
I wonder how Amber would feel if Mike outed her as Amzigirl to Danny.
My guess? Pretty damn good. Smug even. Hell, maybe give her a chance at ending THAT sham of a relationship. It would give her the high ground there. The same high ground Danny had yesterday, and which he took vicious advantage of.
If being outed as Amazigirl would make Amber feel so smug, then why hasn’t she done it herself?
Because then it wouldn’t be without her permission.
Its important to remember Joyce’s interest in converting Ethan from homosexuality (unlike his mother) seems about zero. Despite her religious beliefs probably not being adjusted enough to think of homosexuality as something God is okay with just yet–I doubt she has any real intense feelings on it.
She’s actually dealing with her assault by having a boyfriend to serve as HER sexless boyfriend. Ethan is using her to hide away from his gaynst but Joyce is using Ethan to hide away from the experiences of sex in an equally unhealthy manner–both both very understandable ones.
No one is the bad guy here. Both are victims, not victimizers.
That’s a very good point. I forgot about Joyce’s freaky sex dream.
Joyce wants a celibate *boyfriend,* but I’m pretty sure that the chapel-searching suggests a marriage plan — and in a marriage, sex will not only be permissible for Joyce, but encouraged, at least until they’ve had a few kids . . . You can’t tell me she’s not imagining him as a straight/het husband.
Help me Willis! I’m…FEELING!!
Worth noting that Ethan probably would’ve been willing to fake it with her if she’d been around to provide her thoughts on the decisions he was making. Literally the entire thing was based around how he would’ve liked to have done things differently with Amber.
She’s kind of late to the party now, though. Life didn’t stop because Amber needed her space.
No. Now go and get me more mac and cheese.
I aint holding this plate for nothing.
Oh. Oh dammit. This made me laugh more than it should have.
I feel like an awful person now.
Wait guys! Way more important topic! Where did the lunch-lady in the background of panel 3 go?!?!?!?
And there’s the knockout blow folks, thanks for tuning in.
No, the REAL knockout blow is reserved for the next person Amazi-Girl catches doing something wrong. Even if it’s a jaywalker. I feel sorry for them already. I hope they’ll be doing something WORTH being pummelled to near-death, because Amber’s got a LOT to vent out.
Oh, god dammit. You just lost all credibility and moral high ground here. YOU WERE RIGHT until you went and said that.
Maybe it was never about the moral high ground. Maybe, at the core, she still hasn’t coped with the fact that she went through a terrible heartbreak with him and seeing him move on in the wrong direction was making it worse.
Man, I was actually angry at Amber for causing this ridiculous scene, but one idiotic line from Ethan 180′d that for me. Now that Amber’s finally being honest about her anger, it’s painfully clear she has every right to be angry!
And while I’m not normally about the Joyce hate because I don’t have anything against religion and don’t need a strawman to take potshots at, boy does she deserve what Amber said to her in panel two. Sure hope she listens.
I think though, the reason Ethan could “fake it” with Joyce is because she’s not looking for something he can’t give (i.e., physicallity) whereas eventually, Amber was going to expect Ethan to “up” the fake and be physical with her.
Well also I think it just never came up with her. She was there for all the coping with being publicly gay, but when it got to the point that Ethan was considering hitting the reset button she was recouping from having her heart broken, spending her summer helping him get through some really difficult shit, and just all around having her life brought off track and being put back in the dating pool when she thought she’d moved past the point in her life when she’d be looking for new partners. So here’s Ethan talking about how maybe he doesn’t want to go through all that hometown stuff again over here and Amber’s not even a part of the conversation.
The physicality aspect of it probably isn’t coincidental since they got to “We Would’ve been married” before sexual preferences turned out to be irreconcilable on prom night, but also it’s just that things have changed since then.
I suspect this might be a “Grass is always greener on the other side” kind of thing. Like how financial troubles might get bad enough for you to pick up some roommates, then with roommates you miss not having to deal with people so you move back on your own, but once you’re knee deep in all your old problems you remember why this wasn’t really how you wanted to live your life either.
So she’s a Nice Girl ™ now?
Because that’s the vibe I’m getting. She’s upset that she put all this work and attention into a boy and it didn’t pay off with sex and instead he went and dated someone she considers a jerk.
That’s a oversimplification. Wanting sex with someone who you have been in a committed romantic relationship for several years and who has not voiced any opinions or concerns about sex is not the same as showering attention on someone in the hopes that it will lead to sex.
Also they split because of their fundamental incompatibility, but now she sees him “overcoming” or at least denying this with a new girl, making her feel like she wasn’t good enough for him.
David Willis, purveyor of web comic gut-punches
Ethan is ‘happy’? That’s going to have a short shelf life. He’s avoiding external drama, but he is bouncing his eyes off his girlfriend to every male he sees. Like his roommate and his girlfriend’ s non-gay sibling. Danny wasn’t willing to two-time his girlfriend and Ethan thinks about nothing else. That may be his right, but it is wrong in too many ways.
Please Willis, keep Amber away from Mike right now. She’s had all the truth she can handle for this week. She should be on suicide watch. So alone and damaged.
Maybe Mike will put her in the right direction. He’s been known to do that.
Whoop meant to post this as it’s own comment.
I haven’t seen a lot of people say that Amber’s personal issues make her actions okay. What you may be misinterpreting is the difference between excusing one’s actions and understanding one’s actions given her experiences; Amber’s whole day thus far has been nothing but shit, and most of that shit was set up by her due to her actions weeks ago within the Dumbiverse. I can’t help but feel bad for her; her attempts at controlling her life, from trying to woo Danny via Amazi-Girl and herself, to trying to be a good friend to Ethan while taking time to focus on her own life, are blowing up in her face, and after the revelation that Mike dropped on her about how she might be more like her father, someone who abused her, Danny friend-dumping her because she was too much of a temptation for potentially “cheating” on his girlfriend, and the fact that Ethan’s dating a girl again after she went through a heartbreak with him because they found out he was not sexually attracted to women, Amber can’t be far from the breaking point.
So, rather than saying “her actions are okay because of her shitty life”, I and others are saying “her actions are not surprising because of the shit she’s been going through lately”.
And then there’s the difference between supporting her actions and supporting the meaning behind those actions. Putting aside her unacceptable behavior, Amber has been wholly in defense of Ethan’s honor and his identity, regardless of whether or not he accepts his identity, because the fact is that Ethan CAN’T run from being gay (for long), and she understands that, and we see it in the few encounters Ethan has had alone with another guy. So to see Ethan withdrawing into the closet and dating a girl whose religious beliefs she assumed would negatively influence the acceptance of his identity must be pretty frustrating for her; from Amber’s perspective, Joyce must represent all the unpleasantries she’s dealt with over the summer in Ethan’s name, so wanting to separate the two of them in that regard is not surprising either. There are people here who support that sentiment; who agree that Ethan’s decisions will only end in harm to either himself, or Joyce, or both, and that someone had to intervene in their poisonous relationship at some point. And about none of them have claimed that this sentiment justifies violence.
And what of those who believe that Amber’s actions are entirely justified? For them, there probably is value in taking drastic steps to make sure people don’t fuck themselves up in the future, and they see this situation as one of those instances. I can’t assume to know their point of view because I don’t think about it that way; for me, there’s more value in knowing every angle before taking steps to ensure a friend’s safety, and even then, doing it in such a way that it an isolated, controlled environment that’s safe for everyone involved to say their piece.
As for Amber’s father, there has been no mention of his past and whether or not he was abused, but it would probably be the case. Yet, no one would EVER think to say that what he has done to her and her mother was in any way okay, because the difference between Amber and her father is that Amber had good intentions for her outburst; intentions that, in a different context, everyone in the comments section would be clamoring to side with her, because she isn’t wrong to want to do something about the issue, to want to help her friend out. It is because of the events from the past few days (Dumbiverse time) that have been piling on her, because she took her leave of absence from Ethan’s life weeks ago (again, Dumbiverse time) and has only popped in once or twice since then to check on him, leaving her out of the crucial information that would’ve kept this whole thing from going off in public in the first place, that she reacted to this situation the entirely wrong way. With the best of intentions, she majorly fucked up, and it is all entirely her fault.
But it’s important to understand the “why” and “how” and not focus mainly on what she did because first, there is only so much to say about the “what”, what happened and what she did and what it says about her, that gets people nowhere but blaming everyone but the character of their preference in this situation; lastly, it is from understanding why she did what she did and how she got to this miserable state that we can glean some wisdom of how not to fuck up in our own lives. This goes for every character in this comic, because Willis writes very complex and detailed people, with very clever and emotional stories that make me ask questions about life and the nature of others; to “imagine others complexly”, as my favorite author John Green would say.
Ethan seems oddly accepting of the location of the conversation, so either he’s really caught up in the moment, or the only people in the cafeteria at the moment are the ones we’ve actually seen there, which means that Dina is the only other person present. And she’s *always* present, so there you go.
Also, the only thing Amber has done that has been *really* load was her shout during her table flip, which didn’t out anybody. All the rest can be assumed to be happening in reasonably low tones, so if the room is otherwise empty enough, the only person she’s outed him to so far is Sarah. (Who already knew, but Amber didn’t know that I don’t think.)
I’m really wondering if it’s gonna come up exactly how many people noticed and cared about this whole public scene, especially after Ethan’s “Do you even talk to any of the other girls on this floor to know what they think of you?” line in response to Amber not wanting the incident from yesterday to make her “Amber the chick with the asshole dad”.
It would be a bit of a turn of events if they came to the conclusion that the grape vine just wasn’t as potent a force in an environment with far more people and far fewer forced presences in their lives. That Ethan could literally start making out with dudes in the halls and most of the time word would not precede him when he introduced himself as the internet addicted robot collecting geek. That he could know somebody for a year before ever bringing up who he was dating, and only then it he was comfortable with that.
The other possibility I guess would be that his fears were totally real and he’s now “The Gay Guy” forever. In either scenario I guess there wouldn’t really be any need to keep up the romantic public image with Joyce though. Either it’s not an issue and they can just be friends, or it’s totally an issue and people start laughing when they try and say they’re dating.
Okay, here’s the thing that bothers me about this post: The comment about “romantic public image” implies that they are both simply concealing Ethan’s homosexuality to protect him from the world. They’re not. Joyce thinks she can pray the gay away, and Ethan thinks he can accept a lifetime of unfulfilling sex in exchange for having an emotional safety net. His relationship with Joyce isn’t a disguise to hide his sexuality from the world, it’s a disguise to hide -himself- from his homosexuality.
Ethan has said outright that he wants to control his public image, so that people will hang out with him and see him as the internet addicted robot collecting geek instead of of leaving him all by himself as the depressed gay guy.
Unless his reasons have changed since yesterday, or there are other as of yet unexplored reasons, then dating Joyce while continuing to be The Gay Guy would be pointless for him. Similarly, if he can be publicly gay without becoming The Gay Guy, then dating Joyce would be needless for him.
Joyce I don’t think has actually gone so far as to say that he could stop being gay. She’s made called his homosexual urges a temptation to fight, similar to her own premarital urges. She’s said that they can learn to resist temptation together, but I don’t get the impression that she’s expecting both of them to become sexless individuals who don’t experience temptation. On her end of things the how quickly word of Ethan’s temptations shouldn’t effect anything, but only one person has to opt out for the relationship to end.
“I AM happy.”
If this was the early fifties it would have been the perfect opportunity for a pun with the word “gay”.
Ethan wants to be accepted for being a toy-loving nerd first.
He’s afraid of being “Gay Ethan” a lone.
Ironically, he’s missing the part of Martin Luther King’s speech. The content of his character versus his sexual preference.
It’s a really sad but believable story. Good job, Willis.
it been done in another universe by a reanimated Regan.
(BTW this Universe is in desperate need of a Ronnie)
Ethan, Amber may be a deeply wounded person, but please look a little deeper. You are looking at the consequence of playing with someones heart. People fall in love and that results in deep needs, needs you KNOW you can’t respond to. Stoppest thou from being so dickish.
Careful, almost sounds like you’d be defending the Nice Guy creeps when they fall in love with someone and that person doesn’t reciprocate. Ethan isn’t some vending machine that you put time and attention into and he pops out sex.
I don’t think I am. I’m saying he’s playing at love to feel normal and “have fun” and basically absolving himself from any responsibility for it’s effects, which is feckless. I’m saying he knows, KNOWS, that Joyce is putting her heart out there, and that Amber did too and he’s taking no real responsibility for his role in either case. He’s treating them as a means to an end not as ends in themselves (to go all Kantian on his ass), as if their falling for him wouldn’t be his problem. So with respect to him being a sexual vending machine, I think quite the opposite. For him to be sexual with either of them would be worse for exactly the same reasons as playing at being their boyfriend is. It’s highly likely to trigger deep emotions he’s just not equipped to support. I might be willing to temper my judgement of him if either Amber or Joyce were more like Sarah (i.e. I don’t want to marry him. I just want to use his body once or twice). Both of them are looking for Love with a capital L–and that’s what he likes about them. I’m willing to give him the “I was a teenage idiot in high school who didn’t understand” free pass for what happened with Amber. Most of us have been stupid THAT way in our lives. But now he’s doing it again and he should know better, way better now. Now he’s every bit the POS that your garden variety PUA is.
Except Ethan pretends to reciprocate by being in a relationship with people he can’t love romantically.
In the words of my revered ancestors… “Whoop, there it is.”
Ethan’s a user. He’s used Amber and tossed her aside and now he’s using Joyce. He’s treating Amber like toilet paper that’s backed up after he flushed it.
Maybe it’s not about you Amber. That’s not where he was then; it’s not where he is today.
If Amber is right, Ethan will work his way thru all this to a conclusion he can live with.
Whichever way it/he goes, let him choose his own path.
Suddenly Amber looks a lot less noble.
You thought she looked noble when she was fllipping tables and grabbing Joyce by the arm?
I only mean to say that there was a time in my life where I could have done with a few pre-panel-four Ambers.
She’s less noble because she’s having a human moment? She just got rejected by someone who likes her alter-ego, but for whom “plain old Amber” just doesn’t seem to be good enough. Now, her high school sweetheart, who couldn’t continue their relationship because he was gay, is playing pretend with another girl. What she’s getting out of it is that she, once again, was just not enough. That, while he’s willing to try with Joyce, he wasn’t with Amber because she just wasn’t worth it.
Amber needs a hug. I need a hug. Everyone needs a hug. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that part of her outrage towards Ethan was that she was feeling depressed that he was faking it with someone other than herself, but it makes a lot of sense. And after having the brief time with Danny and then that failing, I can see how vulnerable Amber feels now.
I knew this was Amber’s main problem with this situation, though.
And seriously, I understand her so much.
…Although I guess it’s way easier to “fake it” with Joyce though.
Their relationship is probanly platonic as hell so far.
Not sure Amber would be that abstinent.
Yeah, that’s probably why he hasn’t hit the brick wall yet. If Joyce wanted to do sexings, I imagine he’d have a harder time faking it.
*sigh* You know what, I don’t feel much sympathy for Ethan. He’s taking advantage of Joyce, hurting his oldest friend that was there for him for so long, and is not facing the music that he’s gay. I know it’s hard, trust me I know, but he’s in college now. He’s an adult. Unless his parents are holding on to his college purse strings, I see no reason to continue this stupid crap. I feel everything for Amber. What a prick.
Ethan’s scared and taking the coward’s way out. He wants to be loved and he wants to be seen as “normal,” so he’s killing two birds with one stone with Joyce, who he will never love the way Amber loved and maybe Joyce loves him.
FAKE IT WITH BOTH OF THEM! FAKE IT WITH BOTH OF THEM!!!!11!
Truth be told… I see issues with all three of them.
Joyce, in many ways, is the perpetrator of these events. She knows Ethan is gay and yet, in many ways, feels like she has to “help” him become straight as if it were that easy. Though with Joyce’s personality she’s doing it with the best of intentions, it’s still a bit despicable. However, she’s also scared of guys due to previous events and someone like Ethan, whom she knows won’t take advantage of her, is a comfort to her. It gives her someone that lets her stop being scared and try to get back to a more normal state.
Amber, meanwhile, has a huge mix of selfishness in her. She very much DID fight for Ethan and tried to help him come to terms with who he was, and given how that came about it could all be seen as a very selfless thing; she was basically rejected by Ethan, her best friend, and rejection of that level can be painful. However, despite that she still fought for him. Then she goes to college and begins to get interested in Danny, but things for that go south when Danny has a huge crush on Amazi-Girl and he ALSO rejects Amber. So now she’s had two boys she really likes reject her in the period of a few months, all while she fought tooth and nail to help one of them only to now watch him basically undo all the work she did. This really hurts her, so a selfish level of her is trying to stop some of this pain by trying to put an end to Ethan’s relationship with Joyce. She’s trying to make herself feel better here, and her own emotions over rejection are spilling all over the place.
Ethan, meanwhile, is just being stupid. Despite all his best friend did for him, he decided that the approval of his parents, one of which is just not a nice person, is more important than her friendship and his well being. He’s engaging in a relationship that is rather self-destructive. It’s ruining his friendship with his best friend, which he doesn’t realize, because of how hard Amber fought for him and tried to help him accept this. Now he’s just undoing that all and not really caring how much it’ll affect his best friend.
You don’t see Ethan and Joyce’s relationship as transitional for both of them and beneficial? Joyce will get to see how reality varies from the cocoon she was raised in and maybe even how unsatisfying a romantic’ relationship free of physical intimacy can be. Ethan on the other hand gets to see that what he wants, not to be treated as other, deprives him of finding someone who values every part of him without reservation. I think Ethan’s biggest mistake was not fighting harder to stay close to Amber when she told him they needed space. If Amber had seen day to day how unhappy Ethan was and at the same time Ethan saw the unintentional slight’s effect on Amber from the get go, they could have hashed their shit out ages ago and no innocent tables would have had to give their lives…
Oh, no doubt it’ll be beneficial in the end, but it won’t be because the relationship works. Quite oppositely, the selfish aspects from all three of them, whether aware they’re being selfish or not, will eventually lead to it being beneficial for them. But this isn’t about the eventual benefits, which are likely going to come at the expense of Ethan’s and Amber’s friendship, but rather the now. Lots of comments point at different people being the one at fault at this, but in the end all three of them are. Each is contributing something to the problem, and sadly the one taking the brunt of the pain from it all is Amber (At least externally. Internally, they could all be in pain, though we can’t be certain).
Exactly. It’ll be beneficial when it ends horribly, as an example of what not to do in the future.
Oh, there are issues with the entire cast, no doubts about it.
Yep, and that’s why we read it and debate about it.
is it me or have you all missed the biggest possibility maybe Ethan is Bi in this universe. its a possibility isn’t it?
I used up all my serious comments and extra thought energy yesterday, so all I’m going to say is agh, Amber’s adorable little face. Hugs, Amber. Hugs and talks and therapy.
Willis is the master at adorable crying and making me simultaneously feel sympathy and want to pat said crying character and coo. It’s like baby animals in distress.
Ope, this was supposed to be a new comment, not go here.
I would only consider it if the comic ever hints at it, but so far there has been none.
There is only one little thing that invalidates the idea: He was dating Amber and didn’t bone her because he doesn’t like girls that way. If he was bi, that incident wouldn’t have happened.
It has been explicitly stated in and out of text that Ethan is gay.
Ugh every time I go into the comments looking for good, wholesome commentary on this comic, I get enraged by all the unhappy, unreasonable ones. Someone join me in looking at cats.
My cat pictures of choice are kittens. All the kittens.
I like this tumblr full of cute baby animals. There’s also a drop down list on top so you can choose different varieties of animals!
So many kitties…
the difference here is that faking it with Joyce carries no connotations of physical intimacy… faking it with Amber would have had a whole lot more baggage attached to it, considering Amber’s devotion to him. Amber wants him, Joyce wants to “help” him… that’s a big difference… Amber would be in a fake relationship with him, Joyce is in a fake relationship with what he is.
But Joyce wants him too, she just wants to wait until they’re married, which she is already envisioning happening at this stage. In Joyce’s brain, I’m sure there’s already a family of ten in their future, and he rubs his thing on her tummy every night.
Joyce thinks she can cure him and make him straight, so it’s not a relationship that’s accepting of who he is.
Oh, and considering they have already kissed a couple of times, there is physical intimacy going on.
Except she actually did a lot of work for him after finding out she couldnt get sex, and is only now realizing that he’s willing to do with another girl what he wouldn’t do for amber, so in addition to realizing she maybe could have gotten more, she’s feeling like she wasn’t good enough. She really has done a lot for him, and someone can only give so much without wanting something for themselves; it may sound selfish, but at this point she basically feels completely unwanted and undesirable, so she should be allowed to express that.
Aaaannnd that was supposed to be a reply. siiigh.
Man this strip is bringing out some pretty interesting debate
Amber is a… troubled young woman.
Well fudge D:
Oh god next strip might be a flashback strip. D: I dread the possibilities of what this could mean for this whole debacle.
Pretty sure that’s for Shortpacked.
Congrats Ethan for rejecting the struggles of your best friend to live a lie and the fact you’re happy living with nothing but a lie I hate and set you on fire
I love how he says he’s “happy” standing there with his empty plate.
SO HAPPY GRRRRR
I AM THE LIFE OF THE PARTY AND A JOY TO BE AROUND SO YOU ALL GO TO HELL!!!!!!!!
(Incidentally, Willis, have you considered providing angrier looking fonts for your commentators. There’s only so much I can do with caps.)
Panel five: Awkward Lever cranked to max, then broke off the fucking machine!
Everyone’s acting like an asshole
Ethan: Getting in a relationship with a girl he knows he can’t be intimate with.
Joyce: Trying to cure a gay man despite her roommate telling her about the consequences.
Amber: Acting violent and manipulative to her former boyfriend, her old friend, and Joyce.
I don’t see manipulative. Amber isn’t trying to toy with people’s emotions to influence their behavior, she is shouting with righteous indignation.
As for violent – we’ve established she has anger problems and emotional baggage galore, and she’s just been rejected by Ethan in every possible way; she might be out of line, but given the circumstances I’d be more surprised if she WASN’T
Ethan you smooth talker you
That… Is the face a damned man facing the gallows.
There’s a not so small part of me that wants to blame Danny for all this.
Well, Danny didn’t recognize Amber as Amazi-girl or have the clairvoyance to somehow handle the problems with their relationship anyway, and that’s part of why she’s so emotionally vulnerable.
And he could have caught Joyce’s attention before Ethan did, which would have helped prevent this situation from developing, but was too busy knowing other people.
And he’s not a hot gay Jewish comics nerd, so he’s not providing any better alternatives for Ethan. So you can take your pick.
Is this a “Danny rejected Amber” thing or a “Its just fun to assume everything bad that happens is Danny’s fault” thing?
Pow! Right in the feels!
Gosh dang it you guys, before I looked at the comments I loved every character, now apparently I’m supposed to hate Dan and Joyce? (and sometimes Ethan)
FOOOOOOL! your supposed to hate everyone except the people your shipping right now. bonus points if the ship contradicts their stated sexual orinatation
I see your problem. You’ve skipped a few steps. Right now you should be purging all hope and joy from your mind. Then you’ll be ready hate everybody and fit company for the rest of us.
ohhh… ok, thanks
I still don’t quite understand all the hate for Dan. <<;;
And there it is, the real motivation for the anger comes out. I was expecting something like this as the reason for the anger.
It’s like everyone keeps kicking a puppy.
And Amber’s the puppy.
I still want to see an ass-kicking … oh well, we know Danny is around somewhere
She put herself through five kinds of hell for the guy, to help him accept himself, and face down all the A-holes who told him hes a sick freak, and this is what she gets for her troubles. Its a total betrayal.
I don’t think I’ve seen much, if any, comments about the fact that there really are people happily coupled in “mixed orientation” relationships. I have friends who are doing this. They don’t deny one another’s sexual preference. They have accepted it but found other things to be more important that sex. I see Ethan’s relationship with Joyce as one of a guy who cares more about an emotionally safe relationship with someone who won’t try to hurt him than about finding someone to have sex with. And Joyce wants a guy who will treat her respect and make her feel safe. So why is it anyone else’s business what their specific sexual preferences are? And why the heck is sexual preference the end-all-be-all of relationships? As Kirk van Houten once famously told Homer Simpson, “It can’t just be the sex!” (And yes, I understand that these are fictional characters, but I also fully believe that we learn a lot about real life as we examine the lives of fictional characters.)
I believe that for most people with sex drives, sex and sexual attraction is an important part of the relationship and compatibility. I’ve been in and out of almost exclusively long distance relationships for five years, so while I’m often not with my partner, I still feel like being compatible in that department is pretty important.
I honestly don’t understand people who do this. It’s not even about sexual incompatibility, it’s about romantic incompatibility. He’s not into girls. He’ll never love Joyce the same way she might love him, or the same Amber loved him, as she’s said before. The relationship will be built on mutual respect, but it won’t be a truly romantic relationship if that attraction is one-sided. For someone like me, that’d be pretty unfulfilling.
Sexual compatibility has absolutely nothing to with romantic compatibility. There is a huge distinction. I’m an asexual, and like many asexuals, I am still capable of feeling the same love anyone else feels – I’m just not sexually attracted to anyone. And although a large chunk of heterosexuals and homosexuals are respectively heteroromantic and homoromantic, Ethan has shown STRONG evidence that he’s not quite one of them, because he DID love Amber – they didn’t have a problem in their relationship (that we know of) until they found out that they were sexually incompatible, there was nothing pointing to them being romantically incompatible.
Sorry, I shouldn’t say sexual compatibility has “absolutely nothing” to do with romantic compatibility, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Obviously the majority of heterosexuals, for example, are heteroromantic. But there are certainly exceptions.
Exactly! Sexual compatibility is important for many, but not all. Live and let live.
There’s a big difference between being asexual and any of the ranges of sexuality. When you’re asexual, you’re not sexually attracted to anyone. But if you’re not, that means there’s a group of people out there you ARE sexually attracted to, and if that attracted doesn’t include your partner, there is a significantly increased chance for those relationships to go awry. While it’s evident that Ethan can be in love with a woman, Joyce isn’t looking for a pure, sexless relationship. She wants to pray Ethan straight and marry him and then jump his bones. She’s repressed and traumatized, not asexual, and the steps needed to overcome those traits aren’t ones she can take with Ethan. And Ethan’s also repressed. He obviously WANTS to be involved with other men sexually. That’s not something he’ll get from Joyce, certainly. They’re emotionally-developing teenagers and it’s incredibly likely that their relationship is going to end poorly.
I know that. But most people who identify as “gay” are romantically and sexually attracted to their gender.
This is what I get for skimming and replying.
Okay, I don’t quite agree. We’ve yet to see Ethan show any signs of being romantically into girls. Maybe he started dating Amber because he thought that’s what guys do, and he liked her enough (as a person). Likely he didn’t get crushes on guys until a later age, or didn’t understand them. But he calls himself gay, doesn’t he? He never really implies or says he’s into girls in any way.
The problem with this is that they are sexually driven beings, like most people. The reason you don’t see many comments about happy mixed-orientation relationships is because, statistically, there aren’t many, especially ones that last. I’ve -never- heard of this before, and I’ve known people of a broad range of sexuality. According to ten seconds of research, even if it takes years eventually their sexuality over rides their romantic relationships and they break down. And there are huge problems with the Joyce/Ethan relationship.
While we haven’t seen any real attempts at it, they’re engaged in a relationship where they’re attempting to ‘Pray the gay away’. Joyce -is- sexually interested in Ethan, but she’s repressed and traumatized and at the very least she’s trying to overcome that traumatizing and will probably overcome the repression while in the process. To her, Ethan is the guy who will never push her for sex- Not the guy she will never have sex with. But the latter is what Ethan actually is. And Ethan has shown an obvious interest in other men; INCLUDING her own brother. He’s never embraced his sexuality before, not once, making him a powder keg of pent up, repressed sexual gun powder ready to explode and Joyce will be hit with the emotional fall out.
I have a very high level of contention with this statement, for it seems to assume that the sex-drive is absolute in defining relationships. I do think that the mixed sexual orientations pose a potential danger in a relationship such as this one, but that does not make the relationship inherently unhealthy. I would also say that the relationship will be unable to last, but that still doesn’t necessarily make it an unhealthy one. Lastly, I’d like to say that mixed-orientation relationships are just one example where sexuality is not the largest factor within it. There are a number of relationships in which a member has experienced sexual assault or sexual violence, and is not comfortable expressing his or her sexuality. In such relationships, sexuality may be unexpressed, underexpressed, or misexpressed for a matter of years and perhaps even for the entirety of the relationship. This doesn’t make the relationship unhealthy here either, unless the non-abused partner has a mentality in which they want the person to get better for the sake of sex.
Now, mirroring this in terms of the mixed orientation relationship between Joyce and Ethan, the danger in the relationship does not come from the relationship itself, but what each person is wanting from it, and whether they are willing to be open and honest about that. It may be true that Joyce has a “pray the gay away” mentality, but she’s also in the middle of asking important questions about her faith and spirituality. Her faith appears to be a larger driving factor in her relationship with Ethan than sex. And despite possessing what appears to be a more active sex drive, Ethan is not defined by his sexuality either. He reserves the right to decide what he wants in a relationship, and if he finds what he’s looking for in Joyce, and is willing to sacrifice sex for it, more power to him.
Having said all of this, there are a veritable shit-ton of pitfalls ahead of them. Ethan is lying to himself to some extent, and he needs to come to terms to whether or not he wants a relationship with Joyce. Joyce needs to come to terms with what she wants from the relationship and how her faith will play into her outlook on… well everything (for which I don’t envy her). Most of the things that they have to deal with are just parts of a relationship between human beings though. I haven’t been in a single relationship that has been classed as “normal”. In fact, I don’t think anyone has. The potential for both good and harm exist, so it’s always important to know where the other person stands.
Lastly, I want to make a clarification: my comparison of mixed orientation relationships and relationships containing a partner or partners that have been previously sexually abused/assaulted is only asserting that these people are necessarily alike in their disinterest in sex. I don’t want to be making essentialist claims about either group.
Oh my, I wrote quite a lot, didn’t I? Sorry for whomever reads this and finds it a waste of time. I hope the next comment you read is spectacular.
AAAGH. I WANNA HUG AMBER *SO* BAD.
So much anguish and pain in this strip … It’s delicious. I think I had a schadenfreude-gasm.
Aaaand countdown until Amazigirl becomes a Supervillain in 3… 2…
Will her body temperature increase, causing her to wear more revealing clothing?
Well ya, that what happens. Everyone knows that evil has a higher temperature.
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So.... Walky Performs A Sex
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