Sunday, December 7, 2008

Comic 513: You're Breaking Up


[calm before the storm]
[breathe in]
[hold it]
[breathe out]

Oh good god randall this is such a creepy weird comic. I might feel better about it if you didn't have so many other comics about failed relationships, but this one just seems to confirm my suspicions that you are just fucked up.

Now I know it's possible you're joking with all of this, making fun of it, etc. And maybe you tell yourself you are kidding and you are not really like this. But there's some little hints. The fact that the girl in the comic calls the guy "this jerk." I feel like if the comic were totally kidding she wouldn't call him a jerk, because she doesn't think he is. But it feels like an artist putting words in her mouth. "Oooh, look at me, I'm a stupid woman who doesn't know what's best for me, I'm going to date this jerk."

The dude starts out by talking to the girl - which means that in the world of the comic, it's an imagined conversation. He isn't actually going to tell her any of this. It's an imagined conversation, from the main dude's head, and how does Randall write this unless he's been there? Most of the people I've talked to - and people seem to want to talk to me about this comic way more than other ones - have been reading it as "holy shit that freaks me out" and very few enjoyed it.

I would say he's vaguely kidding. To use a wonderful phrase that you should all get to know, he is kidding on the square. I say, it comes off as creepy and weird. Even some kind of your-mom joke at the end would make it at the very least, not creepy.

But don't take my word for it. Let's see how the fans reacted!

This comic has generated a veritable explosion of comments from the forumites, where the comments have stretched to 512 comments on 13 pages (for reference, Egg Drop Failure is currently at 119 comments, and Sleet is at 84). There are, truth be told, a handful of comments that say "GUYS this comic is MAKING FUN OF THOSE PEOPLE not making them look good y'all are weird" but there are a shit ton more "omg this is so totally my life right now randall get out of my head." And some of these people are downright creepy as hell. Some favorites:

This one, where all i can HOLY CRAP you turned to the internet for help? What the hell? And you moved to ANOTHER COUNTRY? What the hell???

Dnumde Setnad
is hopefully kidding because DO YOU KNOW HOW FUCKED UP YOU SOUND TALKING ABOUT BEING ATTRACTED TO A 14 YEAR OLD ON WORLD OF WARCRAFT??? update: Ok, this one's a bit unfair, as upon rereading the post in light of Sean's comment below, the dude is probably her age (I assumed that that "she was in my class" was a warcraft like half-breed shaman dwarf thing, but it looks like he means like in school). Still: He describes himself as being attracted to a girl who is " 'role-play-married' to God knows who as a night elf" so he's got to earn at least a bit of an honerable mention for weirdness, no?

has apparently tried this in real life! 5 TIMES. holy fucking christ! i guess he wins points for perseverence and sheer CREEPYNESS

"About the strip itself, I don't see why so many people think the comic is creepy. It's about a shy guy who really wants to date this girl, but he's afraid, so he's going to try to get close to her so maybe she'll see something in him. Seems like a good strategy to me" Yeah probably! Go for it! Not creepy at all, I totally agree.

And the winner of the Creepiest Stalker of the Creepy Stalkers Award goes to...MR. KOKURO! Holy crap, kokuro, you are freaking weird! Way to tell everyone on the internet about your skeezy plans.

But of course, that's just my reading. How did you fine people react?

PS creepy! creepy creepy creepy creeeeeeepy creeping sketchy creepy CREEPY!


  1. Given Randall's numerous other worrying comics on the subject, I guess it's justified to a degree. But it still seems to me on the level. Considering what seems to be your primary concern, I think the "this jerk" is okay firstly 'cause it's (presumably) still in the head of the narrator, and secondly 'cause a ridiculous stereotype is necessary to present the lack of contrast between the narrator and him.

    Having said that, Jesus wept, those XKCD forums-people are terrible wretches.

  2. I have to agree that the xkcd forumers are pretty fucked up.

    Some guy tried to do something similar with me. Ugh. I hate people like that.

  3. I get such bad second hand embarrassment reading those posts =S

    Yea, lets not call them creepy. they're just socially awkward, and they seem to be making progress.

  4. Oh, dudes and ladies, this is priceless!

    "She's not huge in the chest area, but what she has is just right for her body."

    Definitely creepy.

    On the plus side, knowing that most XKCD fans don't understand satire makes it more fun to ridicule the strip.

  5. Second guy you mentioned--Edmund Dantes, eh? At least we know this guy has biiiig plans for the future with his 14-year-old honey and her new fantasy hubby.

    I don't read the forums but cheers for being brave enough to dip in there and unearth the sketchiest of the sketchies. Nice work on the blog.

  6. carl, you missed the comments on digg. here we go:

    My emotions felt while reading this:
    1) Oh great, another emo comic. (Frustration)
    2) Wait, why does this sound so familiar? (Confusion)
    3) Oh right, its my exact situation with MY friend. (Realization)
    4) Well now I'm depressed. (Depression)

    (604 diggs)

    Just to make sure...does everyone here have that one girl they have this exact friendship with? Because that was a little painful.

    (194 diggs)

    Why does this feel like a personal attack on me?

    (680 diggs)

    it goes on and on. onto my real comment about this: total emo kid fan service. and commiseration. munroe may be like the person in the comic, but all he's doing is validating what his obviously creepy fans are saying/doing/thinking.

  7. Dear xkcdsucks guy,

    This comic strip is an obvious ripoff of the common "MS Paint relationship" comics that are usually posted on /b/ a lot. This comic reminds me a *LOT* of one particular comic, though I can't recall nor find it at the moment. Just thought I'd give you a heads up on it.

  8. I wasn't sarcastic when I said it was "one of Randall's best," but that's because I read it as a breakdown of why becoming someone's friend for a long-term hookup is ultimately jerkier than just being a jerk and asking a girl out. Between the straightforward jerk and bullshitting "friend," there's really only one choice. Whether he meant to or not (I think he did), Randall did a good job of snuffing out 90% of male whining about girls who don't notice them. The forumites' responses are creepy as hell, though.

  9. I didn't find the comic itself creepy. I'm not sure if I found it amusing, either. It's, well, about a creepy guy. (Apparently Randall has a girlfriend and is not going through a terrible breakup.) I don't think it was funny.

    I'm pretty sure it's actually legitimate satire of the "I will BE THERE FOR YOU" mindset. There is this sense of entitlement there--a sense that if a magic wand could be waved and make love happen, the Nice Guy will do so in a heartbeat. He might say he wouldn't, or maybe he would even hesitate--but he says yes. It was never about her.

    It reminds me of a line Joey Comeau wrote once: "But I love you, you stupid fucking whore!"

    Maybe Randall does it himself--I'm not really qualified to judge. But I don't feel like it's creepy to be satirical about something you do. Maybe that's just me.

  10. I might agree with Rob here about the comic itself not being creepy. It's more the subject matter, maybe... the GINORMOUS amounts of comments like the ones you found, though, were creepy. Hugely so.

    I mean, I definitely know some people like this, but then... Oh man. Some of those comments freak me the fuck out, dude.

    Have you read this, a response to this? Or this, similar to the first link?

    I guess I am semi-glad that Randall wrote this, because a lot of people found out about the first and third link through the comments on the comic, and were enlightened. But I think that also a lot of guys like this thought the comic was some sort of excuse to spill their guts about all their creepy thoughts. *shudders*

    Also I am sort of wondering how Randall knows of this cycle if he doesn't do it himself, or if he is recovering from doing this in his past. I mean, I know he might hear it from friends or something, but I think this is more like something he would do than something he heard about. Still shuddering, btw.


    I am also having a problem with the usage of "this jerk." Because it's almost like... I dunno, like you said, she doesn't know any better because she's just stupid. But they're both jerks, in different ways. So it makes me feel like he's saying that women only ever date jerks. Ever. And the genuine nice guys sit around and write comics about this? I do not fully understand.

    By the way, Rob, how do you know so much about Randall??

  11. "I read it as a breakdown of why becoming someone's friend for a long-term hookup is ultimately jerkier than just being a jerk and asking a girl out. Between the straightforward jerk and bullshitting "friend," there's really only one choice."

    However, I can see how some of the fan-base may be twisted and deluded into thinking that this comic is commiserating with them or validating their actions, and that is depressing.

    However, those men won't have much trouble finding validation on the internet. If even a few people read the comic and become aware of their sketchiness, that will be a good thing.

  12. I'm willing to give the guy after the fourteen-year-old the benefit of the doubt. There's a good chance he's still young enough for that to be a reasonable age difference. If he's only sixteen, it's not like he's some kind of pedophile.

    That out of the way, Carl. I think you've missed the mark a bit about this comic. I've given it a lot of thought and read pages of discussion on the comic on Digg, Reddit and the XKCD forums and have come to the conclusion that artistically, though not comedicly or visually, this is the strongest thing in the XKCD archives.

    What we have here is an ambiguous comic whose meaning can legitimately argued to be Randall's creepy lament, a satirical criticism of the Nice Guy or anything in between.

    The use of Megan as the girl, the typed "hug," and the "jerk" line at the end lend credence to the idea that it's a creepy rant but there's more than enough there to indicate the creepiness of the comic character was Randall's intention.

    It's easy to see all the creeps and dismiss it as a validation of their wickedness but you could say the same thing about The Catcher in the Rye. (I am not saying this comic is nearly on par with the classic novel.) Depictions of creepy people like this can make people question themselves, rethink the wrongs they've committed and begin to change. Just because they're easily misinterpreted doesn't mean works of this type are worthless. They can get people to start changing their lives and that is valuable even if it turns out Randall was just being his creepy self here.

    On an entirely unrelated note, the guy in the last panel has hair. Am I correct in believing there hasn't been a male XKCD stick person with hair before?

    On a coincidental note, my CAPTCHA says "berate." It's like it's telling me what I should do.

  13. As others have said above- it's clear that this comic isn't validating the "I will be there for you" stalker-friend thing, but is trying to show how creepy it actually is. I still find the way Randall writes about this stuff a bit unsettling though.

    Having said that, the fact that the forumites took it at face value shows just how creepy they are. Seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up... these little stalker anecdotes are both hilarious and scary!

  14. "these little stalker anecdotes are both hilarious and scary!"


  15. Friends pt II. Nice Guy realizes all his problems will be solved if he kills her boyfriend. He buys a set of land mines from the illustrious Mr. Hat and places them under his car. Chicks dig cold-hearted terrorists.

    Friends pt. III. Nice Guy wakes up to Mr. Hat in jail.

    I think this would be the start to a much better story than 'Secretary', don't you think?

  16. "WoW was our connection, she was in my class, I found out she played, and I played the nice guy." (emphasis mine)

    Ever consider that "class" in this case might actually be, you know, a real life class with books and teachers and students and stuff as opposed to a "(character) class" like Ranger, Paladin etc.? Now unless Dnumde Setnad is really Mr. Smith who gives fourth period English class (now that would be creepy), it sounds like another 14 year old trying to catch the eye of a classmate if his.

    Youngsters being nice to each other and trying to find activities which they both enjoy as a basis for a relationship? Gee, what is this world coming to? But hey, don't let me stop you from jumping to the conclusions you want to jump to.

  17. Uhh that should read 'next to' in my comment above. Next to Mr. Hat.

    Also yeah, I didn't interpret the WoW comment as being creepy. Well, all those stories were creepy, but it wasn't like pedophilic or anything.

  18. Um... it was supposed to be creepy?

    Let's face it. Everyone in the world has either done this, or knows somebody who's done this, "this" being the "Let's be friends because one day I'm hoping you'll spontaniously decide you like me" thing. They may not think through all the reprecutions of such an idea, so it seems a lot less "creepy" in real life, but this is a pretty accurate analysis of the idea.

    Then the irony: "If I had my way, you'd date me, somebody that you clearly have no true feelings for whatsoever. If I had my way, you'd be miserable with me instead of happy with somebody else. Yet that guy's the jerk."

    I have no question that Randal's writing from experience. If he hasn't been there, he's known someone who has, and he's socially awkward enough to understand the motivation there.

    Was the comic creepy?: Yes.
    Was it witty?: Yes.
    Was it funny?: not particularly. I don't think that's what he was going for.

  19. I didn't find this creepy, mostly because I read a similar comic to this somewhere where the guy was intentionally creepy and I just assumed that this was the same thing.

    But yeah, totally creepy objectively.


  20. I don't think it's creepy at all (although the forum posts are). I think it' just indicative of his sense of humor, especially the whole "...this wasn't the ending you'd hoped for" part in the last row of panels.

    I think the entire point of the comic is the last panel. It was especially funny to me because I was just discussing a girl with a mutual friend, and how she seems to like guys who treat her like crap. She's had more than 1 guy who would have been great for, and in each instance has basically turned around and gone with someone who uses her and treats her like an object.

  21. But dwinkie, what you said in that last paragraph is *exactly* what the Nice Guy thing is all about. Read the links above.

  22. IsItFunnyToday rating: about 79%, last time I checked. WHAT. Guys, this isn't supposed to be funny!

    dwinkie: that isn't the point of this comic, and thank the good Lord it isn't, because if it was, the HISCARIOUS comments made by forumites - not just XKCD forumites, but forumites across the Interblagospheretubes-a-ma-web - would be justified. Hopefully Randall is still witty enough not to have to resort to 'HEY GIRLS SOMETIMES MAKE DECISIONS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME, AN INTERNET MAN'.

    As for the comic itself, well... at first, I hated it, because whatever sort of ironic angle you peer at it from, it's still just several panels of whining. I also feared the introduction of a Dominic Deegan-style Fourth Caste of uncaring jocks (or in this case, jerks). But after seeing those comments, I can't help but think that Mr Munroe actually has a point here. That said, I'd rather not have been exposed to the unsettling rants of these so-called Nice Guys, so I still don't like the comic. But it isn't Randall's fault, this time.

    Jay: oh I hope not. Please please no Randall no. Remember what happened the last time he upset a considerable proportion of his fanbase... the Journal series, and the ruin of a perfectly good Black Hat comic, and ultimately, one could say, the Black Hat himself. If that happens again we'll be seeing Mr Nice Guy getting his girl in Friends part V for sure. Don't do it Randall, this comic is fine as it is!

  23. holy CRAP i knew this comic made a lot more people talk about it than most but I was not expecting 22 comments that fast. There is no way I will be able to respond to all of these. But I do read them all!

    So quickly: Mr. Nice Guy and Mr. Hat in jail would be hilarious, yes.

    World Of Warcraft dude was probably not as bad as I represented but dammit any post with the phrase " 'role-play-married' to God knows who as a night elf" is going to freak me out.

    It is possible for Randall to have meant this comic to make fun of that type but for it to still be creepy.

    Rob, seriously, how do you know Randall Munroe so well? We need to talk about this.

  24. okay you caught me i am randall

    No, seriously. I'm in Boston now and I know people who are one or two steps away from Randall. And because he's in Boston and we're all internet people we discuss XKCD because it's not only topical, it's local. Admittedly that basically means it's hearsay, but it is better than pure speculation, right?

  25. Having read it a second time, it's not as creepy as it was the first time through. "Friends with detriments" is a decent tag, but the I'm not going to step up to bat for this one overall. My first thought is that stick-figures might make this kind of fine-line humor tough to pull off, since they give less context to the dialog.

    All in all, it's a restatement of the "Nice Guy argument," an incredibly enduring and irritating argument that surfaces endlessly where the socially awkward are gathered together on the 'net.

    Phase I: "Why don't girls like me? I'm such a nice guy." -Socially Awkward and/or Shy Dude.

    Phase Ia: Sympathy from other Socially Awkward / Shy types.

    Phase II: "Because you're trying to sidle your way into their pants, you gutless, insincere mouth-breather." -Socially Awkward and/or Hypercritical Dude/Dame.

    And the whole argument ends up being predicated on people being incredibly emotionally fragile and unassertive, and one or two people may or may not manage to point out that it's possible to be nice to people, be assertive when necessary, and even have friends of the opposite gender, with whom you may or may not want to have sex, without anybody jumping off a bridge about it.

    ...So yeah. I really hate nerds on the internet sometimes.

  26. Carl, you're displaying a pretty massive lack of comprehension skills here. You can't possibly argue (as you're implying) that it's siding with the guy. How the heck do you answer the penultimate panel with that argument? It's clearly arguing that dating the 'nice guy' will lead to nothing but a second rate life, pleasant yet devoid of true happiness.

    And I also dispute it's an imagined conversation. You're in the right ballpark, but it's more a 'you'd never really think this, let alone say this' construction. That's why the punchline, "I'm going to date this jerk" is so specifically crafted to be swift and brutal. (His response isn't so much the punchline as a coda.) Yep, he's a jerk... and he's still better than you.

    You can do better than this, Carl. You've accused him of being lazy so many times, it wouldn't hurt you to put some thought into your criticism either. Because dammit, we need webcomics criticism. I even like the idea of specific comic criticism sites like this one.

    But you're doing it badly.

    Instead, why not just point out that this basic observation has been done better, earlier, and with improved brevity and wit?

    (Actually, brevity is dubious. The wordcount looks similar, although S*P manages it with fewer panels.)

  27. Sean, I gotta disagree. I think that S*P's approach lacked subtlety and finesse. XKCD took viwers through a hypothetical self-contained situation that illustrated the situation with artful skill but S*P basically made a comic about one of its characters being a creep. What a shock!

  28. Sean, because you are special I will respond to you.

    The penultimate panel just means that the girl is not totally happy, but clearly the guy doesn't care what she thinks. It's all about him.

    One would very much really think this, unfortunately (see: Forums, The) and the conversation is clearly imagined. The whole point is it's a stealth operation, you don't give away the whole thing to the girl. And the punchline isn't swift and brutal, dating a whole bunch of jerks is integral to the dude's whole plot. The whole thing is going according to his plan, even in the end.

    The Something Positive cartoon is good, but again, it's only a similar comic if you assume that Randall Munroe is entirely kidding with this comic, and I really don't think he is. I think it's a "if I write about it that makes it less creepy that I actually do it" or at least, what it feels like. I mean, it's such a passive-aggressive nerd thing to do and that fits perfectly with the style of romantic comics we've seen on xkcd before. Given the responses of the usual readers on the forums I only get more sure of this.

    Clearly this is a hell of a controversial comic, and if I don't take the "it is creepy and weird" approach, who will? You don't have to agree with me.

  29. Rob hold up a second JUST A SECOND PLEASE.

    You have regular in-person xkcd discussions? Are we to suppose that xkcdsucks has generated some minute amount of social mobility for someone (you)? Granted, it's among "internet people," but we could be arming you with wit and humor bombs nonetheless.

    Sean, great Something Positive strip. I keep getting on/off that bandwagon, good stuff there.

    Captcha: Cytoid SP! Only catchable if you play on a Game Boy SP? (did I do it right?)

  30. Yeah rob, the only in person discussions I have about xkcd are along the lines of "fuck you, you have no sense of humor, are you still working on that stupid blog?" So UNFAIR, ROB! why do you get all the coolness from this blog.

  31. Non-internet discussions about webcomics? These things exist?

    I saw a couple of Dilbert comics pinned to a noticeboard once, but that's it...

  32. The discussions come and go. I usually recommend that people check out the blog if they seem like they might be similarly feeling the "well, it just isn't that great anymore" vibe.

    But the people in Boston (esp. Harvard and MIT students) are all from the internet so this is a discussion which is actually relevant. And I'm hanging out with the people responsible for ROFLCon, who actually deal in internet culture as financiers deal in moneys.

    Basically my life in Boston is ridiculous and involves the internet in a way which is not socially isolating.

    Carl, I feel like it might be Randall saying 'oh god, I used to do this' if it is about him. And while it's a little creepy if he does that on purpose, it might be his realization that what he does/did is so much more evil than just being a smarmosaur slash jerkface jerk.

    I still feel like it's more satirical than actually creepy, even if he's writing about himself. At least he identifies the problem.

  33. Okay, I like reading this blog because I'm a big fan of objective discussion the comics I enjoy, even if I don't necessarily agree that they suck. However, if you're going to analyze a comic, let's do it right.

    If you saw a comic of a woman walking into a plastic surgen's office, and the dialogue was as follows:

    Doctor: "What can I do for you?"
    Lady: "I'd like to have some poison injected directly into my face so that people can treat me as an object for the rest of my life"

    You wouldn't assume that that was her conscious thought process. Her conscious thought process is "I want to look prettier." Yet the author is using that dialogue as a device to show you how rediculous the whole idea is. It's irony.

    The same thing is going on in this comic. Let's go through it panel by panel.

    Panels 1-3: "I have a crush on you. I could ask you out and move on with my life if you said no. Or... WE COULD BE FRIENDS!"

    Translation: This is the acceptable, non-sketchy course of action to take, BUT I'M TOTALLY NOT GOING TO DO THAT!

    Panel 4: "See, I don't want to consider that you might not be attracted to me. I'm scared of rejection, so I've decided relationships should grow smoothly out of friendships."

    Translation: I'm a socially awkward geek who's going to attempt to justify his cowardice and lack of confidence by redefining it as "friendship."

    Panel 5: "When you have problems, I'll be there for you. Night after night. Selflessly."

    Translation: I consider myself selfless even though I'm totally attempting to emotionally manipulate you. I think I'm a good guy, but I'm really a creep.

    Panel 6: "I'll tear down the jerks you date and wait for you to realize how good I am for you. That only I will ever understand you."

    Translation: I'll ruin your relationships and justify it to myself.

    Panel 7: "You won't want to hurt my feelings and I won't ever force the issue. I'll tell myself it's because I "value our friendship."

    Translation: I will make it known that I would like to be with you, but I'll never directly ask you out because that still allows a chance for rejection (notice how he says that he'll "tell himself." If that doesn't prove to you that this isn't the character talking, I don't know what will)

    "But bit by bit, I'll make you depend on me. You'll think about how long it would take to build this kind of connection again. And in a moment of weakness, and loneliness, you'll give in."

    Translation: "If I hold out long enough, I can manipulate you into a relationship"

    "It'll feel comfortable and natural. You'll quietly revise your definition of love and try to be happy. And sometimes you will be. Only the wistfulness in your gaze and the tiny pause before you say "I love you" will hint that this wasn't the ending you'd hoped for. Sound good?"

    Translation: I don't give a shit about your feelings because I'm not really better than all those guys I complain about. All I care about is my own happiness.

    "I'm going to date this jerk."

    Translation: Irony! I'm using you as a means to my own happiness, and that guy is the jerk who doesn't respect you!

    The character's real thought process would go more like this. "I don't want to pressure her into a relationship. I'm content to be her close friend. And maybe, one day, she'll change her mind about me."

    ...Wow, that was long. But seriously, I don't understand how somebody could read this as condoning the "nice guy's" actions. It strikes me more as playing them out in all their rediculous reality to show that his definition of "niceness" is actually pretty manipulative and... well, creepy.

    As for the forum-ites, where better to find creepy, cowardly, socially awkward people than the xkcd forums? Doesn't change the point of the comic.

  34. Anonymous, sweetie pumpkin. Two things.

    ACtually, three.

    First: GET A NAME. You do not have to sign in. See, I am not logging in to post this one. I still have a name, and a URL even!

    Second: You spelled "ridiculous" wrong. You might want to look into that.

    Third: Everyone here, Carl included, understands the comic. Carl just thinks that Randall is talking about himself here.

  35. Am I the only person who finds the phrase "sweetie pumpkin" inordinately funny?

  36. Alright, maybe he is talking about himself. But if so, he's being EXTREMELY self-depricating with the whole thing. No matter who or what he's talking about or if he's just attacking the idea of becoming friends with your crush to begin with, the comic is still the same, and it's still a flame against people who think that way.

    It's hard to view it as but so sketchy when he's clearly explaining how ridiculous the motivation there is.

    And as for the idea that the the comic MUST be coming from the author's own head because it's in the character's head... I don't even know where to start with that. I get that the comic is somewhat autobiographical, but if you're claiming that every thought the characters have is a thought Randall has, there are comics that are MUCH creepier than this one. For instance, any one with Mr. Hat.

    It's bad criticism, that's all. If you read it as sarcasm, I really can't see how it's also supposed to be an internal thought process. It strikes me MUCH more as a comment on the whole "nice guy" act that people put on. But, I guess we can agree to disagree.

    Anyway, sorry for making spelling mistaeks.

  37. I was really disappointed by this. Usually xkcdsucks is, gasp, good, but "this is a creepy comic and everybody in the forums is CREEPY omg omg CREEPSTERS" is, well, neither original nor mature? I thought you were above finger-pointing, but then maybe this is taking the same downhill plunge as xkcd took quite a while ago, to join it in mediocrity.
    Oh, and the SP comic is good!

  38. Now I realize it, this is TOTALLY T. Rex.
    Hey, he've had crazier and creepier plans.

    Also, sounds like a good plan. Better than... uh... my situation? May certainly be!

  39. Haha, thanks for being awesome, Sweetie Pumpkin.

    Okay, so, look at it like this. If Randall is talking about himself, no matter how self-depreciating it is, it's still creepy. It is like if someone wrote something satirical about how they go to parties and latch on to cute drunk girls and ply them with liquor--even if they are being satirical about it, you have to be like "Uh, kind of creepy."

  40. I would have commented on this comic much earlier.. but I've been laid up in bed with a case of common cold. So many 'C's..

    This comic made me incredibly uncomfortable. My stomach was churning while reading it.

    I had a boyfriend a little while ago. I didn't really like the guy, but I cared enough about him to not want to hurt him and couldn't find a good way to break it off. It lasted a year because the opportunity never arose. We had a mutual friend at the time who developed a huge crush on me. Caused huge problems. He was a good friend, but he was creepy and very unattractive. Yes, I will admit that I am shallow.

    Anyway, I told creepy-guy that there was just no way he and I could be. I avoided the lack-of-physical-attraction aspect, because there were other good reasons to rely on and he was well aware of his shortcomings in that area.

    I broke it off with boyfriend-guy. Creepy-guy and I tried to stay friends, but it became difficult. I told him I had decided that being single would be the best thing, and I believed it for a little while.

    Enter sexy-guy-from-my-school-days-and-still-good-friend-guy (will be referred to as simply "sexy-guy"). We'd had a short thing one Christmas/summer break. Rolling around on the sheets together, sweating and full of lust. Oh hurrah! We'd stayed friends (he lives 500kms away and the distance was too much at the time), he is genuinely a nice guy but not a pussy about it, and not a "nice guy" which to me is code for "guy who takes covert pictures of you with his camera-phone and uses his tears as lubricant, dreaming up a world where you and he are together while he drifts towards sleep (I sometimes worried that creepy-guy was specifically THAT guy).

    Sexy-guy and I met up at our best friends 21st in Sydney. I never really stopped liking him. I didn't allow myself to consider those feelings much, and barely saw him whenever he came back from university. I had the decency not to hang off some guy I thought I had no chance with.. though it might have been better if I did make him more aware of my feelings, considering it turned out he also still had feelings for me.

    So.. we had an awkward, intricate dance that lasted two days while we tried to assess our feelings for each other (because we couldn't just come out and ask the other one, we know that isn't how these things work!). Then, lying next to each other on our best friends loungeroom floor on eve, we spent hours working towards a kiss and fell asleep as the sun rose. Damn that night was tiring and confusing, and we only kissed!

    So we both went back home (his family still live around here) and let our relationship blossom. I told creepy-guy one day over msn, and he got very upset and called me a whore. Similar to the apparent anger at the woman in the last panel of the strip, no? I blocked him so he tried to call me. I hung up on him. I removed him completely from my life.

    It's a few months on now. We were in a long distance relationship. We've grown a little, and were strong enough to make it work. If everything goes smoothly, I'll probably move back with him when he returns to uni in February. I always wanted to live there anyway, and did for a few months after I left high school.

    From the outside, creepy-guy would probably consider sexy-guy-now-boyfriend-guy a jerk. But he has always been a good friend to myself and our close-knit group. He is a wonderful boyfriend. I am happy, and of the belief that the sort of love that we have is the sort people envy.

    Every single item I post online usually is a long rant, at the end of which I often feel the need to apologise, which I will do now: sorry peeps! Some may think I'm being a little open, but I enjoy telling stories and had to share my thoughts on this comic. It seems that many people were also made very uncomfortable by this comic.

    It is my belief that a comic does not necessarily have to amuse, but it should entertain in some way or another. Having glaring truths and reminders of uncomfortable pasts shoved in our faces in such a confronting way isn't entertaining to me. If I wanted that, I'd go see a drama film about a man who regularly beats his wife. Because that's how this comic made me feel. Melodramatic, possibly. Honest, yes.

    Oh, and the captchas are spot-on so often.. mine is "blabedt". BLAB. Haha!

  41. I know I've already posted on this topic- but some things Bunnie said above made me think a little more about why I find Randall's comic creepy.

    Randall is showing that the stalker-friend-guy is in the wrong... so why do I still dislike it? It feels to me like he's romanticising the role of the stalker-friend, and casting him as some sort of flawed poetic hero. In reality, there's nothing romantic about someone wanting to follow a woman around when he isn't wanted, and insinuate himself into her life- it is just creepy.

    Perhaps I'm over-analysing this comic... but this is one of the things I really dislike about Xkcd. People would probably call me a geek- but I certainly don't want to be associated with people who behave obsessively towards women, and then dress it up as a sort of tragic romantic story.

  42. Let me just say that most of the members of the forum don't post on the individual comic threads. Those people usually join just for that, leave their comment, and never return. Those of us who actually frequent the forum find them just as creepy as you do.

    And, yeah, it's obvious that Randall is pointing out just how creepy that mindset is, not condoning it. Which is why all the "get out of my head!" posts are so hilarious, these people are completely missing the point of the comic: that they're really fucking creepy.

  43. Also, I don't see how Randall must be talking about himself here. This "nice guy" mindset is everywhere, the number of posters that registered just to say how well it represents them is testament to that fact. I've certainly noticed it in real life, and I've seen plenty of discussions on it before this comic came around.

  44. Just to let you all know, most of the forumites aren't like this. In fact, the comic discussions are the worst place to go check what we are like, because most of the people posting there are one-post-wonders, who say what they want to and leave without actually contributing to the community.

  45. See, I read this long after this had happened back when I was in high school and realized that trying this and denying that I was trying it made me so much worse of a jerk than the other guy, so I read it and laughed and thought "haha, yeah, I was a socially awkward jerk back then." I thought it was for people like me that used to be like that but now knows that it's a terrible thing to do and makes you a totally contemptible asshole.

  46. I have a feeling that very few of the readers of this comic used to do that but don't anymore. I suspect they mostly still do. Luckily, you are better than them.

  47. Anyone who is at all familiar with Monroe's feminist politics would understand that this cartoon is in fact *deconstructing* and *exposing* this mindset as pathological rather than demonstrating that Monroe is unconsciously exhibiting it in his own relationships.

    For further reference please see the discussion on the excellent blog "feministing."

  48. My feelings about this comic are pretty mixed. Kinda creepy, when taken at face value, humorous at the inability of the guy to realize he's a jerk and doesn't respect the girl either. But to waaaaaaaay overshare, I'm pretty close to being that guy.

    The difference? I *know* I'm close to being that guy. Most girls I crush on, I befriend instead. But not to get in their pants. Because I know I'm crushing on an ideal. I'd rather get to know them and see if I still "like" them when I actually know who they are. You know what? Hasn't happened yet. Every single one, I've thought "You're a wonderful person, but dating you would go horribly, terribly wrong." Also, I don't tear down any boyfriends they have. I figure, as a friend, I want them to be happy. If I really "liked" them, I'd want them to be happy. Either way, being "that guy" is disingenuous from a friendship standpoint. Still takes effort to make sure I don't slide in to creepy-town.

    And I prefer friends to relationships, anyways. More group activities ;) *rimshot*

    Captcha: rophy. That's a little close to rohypnol, or rufies. Man, now captcha's calling me creepy.

  49. I thought it this one was of sad... :-(

  50. I more and more grew annoyed by how the situation and the causers can solely be summarised in the word creepy. How vague is that, can you define this?

    Does it mean that person is positively scary, that he instilled dread in you when his character flaw became apparent?

    If I understand correctly the word creepy in this context wants to depict the behaviour of a person to obsessively lust for someone whilst concealing this with interpersonal detours which by the end wouldn't suggest romantic desires to anyone but themselves.

    The problem of such a person is that he puts effort or rather work into pleasing his (romantic) target for later profit, which of course is a misguided concept for initiating a relationship; because being as submissive as this idea suggests has hardly ever any attraction, and also because it comes off as a scheme to get consent for a trade.

    To me this is a defective character trait to be sure, one which rightfully would be repulsed; but were the word creepy comes in I'm not sure.

    I hate this trendy use of words that doesn't care for the real meaning and doesn't account properly to the matter to be described.

  51. Null, you are not only a dumbass prescriptivist, you are a dumbass prescriptivist who doesn't even know how to use a goddamn dictionary.

    Let's throw a few definitions out there, shall we? First, from the Oxford American Dictionary:

    informal. causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease.

    From, which you probably just read the first definition of and then decided it was WRITTEN IN STONE:

    Slang. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who is a creep; obnoxious; weird.

    A creep, by the way, is "Slang. a boring, disturbingly eccentric, painfully introverted, or obnoxious person."

    Those are from the Random House on This one is from the American Heritage dictionary: "Annoyingly unpleasant; repulsive." Definition two, there. The word is identified as informal.

    So, yeah! Those are some nice solid dictionary definition of words. Now, since it's an informal (or "slang" if you are going by the Random House definition) word, "creepy" comes with a very strong connotation, as well! Even prescriptivist dumbasses should be aware of this. A word is much more than its definition, and in informal language this is true even more so! Creepy denotes a person who is unpleasant, but it connotes that this person is unpleasant in certain ways--usually because of something like this. A creepy person is one who makes unwelcome advances without knowing how to stop, or plots elaborate traps to trick people into dating him, or exploits someone's vulnerability to get them to date him, or otherwise does something which is unwelcome and unpleasant, and usually he also doesn't relent. At its most innocuous it's just making people uncomfortable and not being aware of it, whether because of lack of awareness or just people being secretive about it; at its worst, it's scheming and manipulative, showcasing not just a lack of awareness, but a complete lack of concern for the victims of said schemes and manipulations--a sort of active apathy towards others.

    But yeah, you're an idiot.

  52. I wanna fuck some alien pasta worms!

  53. Me too! OMG, those alien pasta worms are sooooo sexy!

  54. ....Wow I thought this was a joke on all the silly sitcoms and rom coms where you go, "ugh just make out already and end this dumb thing." If the alt text was something that referred back to this kind of joke or at least a funnier one, this would've been a good comic. Instead, it's in this category of "just kidding, well not really."
    The forum for this comic is incredibly creepy. It appears people are actually employing this method. I mean some of them said that this comic made their heart ache (not for Carl's reasons) and other such b.s. Man the xkcd forum(ers? ites?) are freaky. There should be a blog devoted to them.

  55. I just reread that and it's just criticizing what the narrator character is planning. It's not creepy, it's anti-creepy.

  56. First of all, I don't know where you get the "He must have done it to have told it" idea. Anyone who's read a significant amount of manga, for example, knows the "childhood friend wants to be more than friends" story, which is just a variant of this. It seems like you're going out of your way to pin the "creepy" label on Randall, when the label rightfully belongs to the guy in the comic.

    Second, the last panel is the refutation of the idea that this is just a conversation in the main guy's head, or Randy's actual experience. The whole point of the comic (as you note) is that this is a stupid idea and the girl won't want it and the guy's a jerk (highlighted by the phrase "this jerk"--as in, instead of you, you jerk). He is actually telling her that he'll do this, and she is actually rejecting him. Where does the imaginary conversation come in? Where does the kidding on the square come in?

    Third, I'm not going to try to defend all of the XKCD forumites since I haven't read all the comments and some of them are undoubtedly really creepy, but quite a few of them are agreeing with him merely on the situation of being the friend with a crush sidelined by someone who spoke first. Hardly a skeezy situation, unless the friend then goes through the stalker shit that's in the comic.

  57. If you're going to criticize the forum, fine. The comic, however, stands well on its own two feet. He pretty accurately describes the subtle slow hell of being stalked by a Nice Guy (tm) in the manner described. There is ZERO hint in the comic that Randall approves of the method employed here.

    The last panel seems to be filtered through Nice-Guy-Speak. Nice Guys generally view other men as falling into one of two categories: Nice Guys (i.e. creepy passive-aggressive stalker types like themselves) and jerks (i.e. men that actual women might actually be attracted to.) No actual real-world conversation has ever gone, "I'm going to date this jerk now." "But he doesn't respect you!" I'd guess the conversation was originally probably something innocuous like, "Hey, I want you to meet Joe! We met a couple weeks back, I really like him, I think you will too!" "Sounds cool, I can't wait to meet him. If he's important to you, he's important to me." But it's filtered through Nice-Guy-Speak, so obviously any guy she actually likes must be a jerk, while the main character is blissfully un-self-aware in believing that he, and only he, really "respects" her.

  58. Except, Randy has demonstrated his creepy Nice Guy tendencies all over the place.

  59. Yeah, the comic is soaked in sarcasm. Look at it again.
    Panel 4: how 'selflessly' is in it's own box.
    Panel 5: the underlined 'I' as if stressing the fact.
    Panel 6: How 'value our friendship' is in quotes.

    It seems these points we're 'highlighted' if you will because the comic is pointing our how flawed that thinking is. Almost to slap you in the face with irony.


    Then the comic ends with lines like:
    -revise your definition of love
    -TRY to be happy
    -SOMETIMES you will be
    -This wasn't the ending you'd hoped for.

    These lines show that the author is pointing out how the whole idea is a bad idea by making it pretty obvious that the girl is not happy.

    And then one more awesome hit of irony with 'but he doesn't respect you!', even though by this point we know the character doesn't respect her at all.

    I don't see how it's creepy, unless you mean the people who employ these methods as such. The author clearly seems to be making fun/satire of the situation.

  60. if we didn't know from so many personal accounts that this is exactly how Randall acts, I might believe you more. see this chainsawsuit for a good 6-panel explanation.

  61. Yeh I don't know Randall enough to know any of his personal habits, but this strip still seems to be making fun of the situation.

    Self parody or not, it doesn't seem too creepy to me.

  62. I remember reading this when it first was out and I chuckled a bit at the premise, that being he was explaining his plan to force a relationship on her and she turns him down. Now this may not've ACTUALLY been that funny but I still chuckled, and with xkcd I don't laugh at anything (unless it's from 10-300, even then 30 tops) so I see that as a bit of a feat.

    Upon finding this blog and how everyone regards Randall for his comics and the "romance" aspect I remembered this one and was curious as to what everyone would say. A shock was the xkcd forum attention and it reminded me of a similar incident in CAD and "that" comic. Now I admit I was only introduced to webcomics 2 years ago, my buds were over on New Years and they decided to show me some webcomics they showed me VG Cats and CAD(CAD was actually funny so I started reading it, then it lost its funny) then at school I was reading CAD and a friend decided he would show me some other webcomics, xkcd and sinfest.

    Then the pregnancy arc in CAD ended with an abortion and I decided that since I felt so strongly about this that I should take to the forums to show how I felt(I even sent an email to Tim saying he better not cut and run by immediately posting a "filler comic" about a new game or something stupid) and I was one of possibly 1000 other readers who felt the same way (we didn't say the same things but we were all motivated by that one comic to do so) and when I did that I got sucked into the forums(after I had a bitchfest about Tim refusing get past his immaturity and actually try to have Rob be treated with respect and I was given like 20 negative karma hits I thought to myself "fine, fuck you all, I've been here too long and I have nothing useful to contribute and I don't think I ever did" and avoided CAD with the exception of 1 minute of my time M W and F because the comic entertains me from time to time(as does xkcd except for the "panel" comic))

    The reason I brought that up is I got a disturbing feeling of familiarity with seeing those forum posts, because I saw quite a few similar on the CAD forum, but none were as disturbing (it was interesting to see sooo many people admit they had gone through it or that others were celebrating their 2nd baby and were hoping Lilah and Ethan would try again X_X) but I have other reasons for posting here.

    Some people have commented that we are either looking to deep into this comic or are just being asshats for thinking Randall is voicing his actual experience in this comic. I understand their reasons for saying such, I also agree that the comic could be viewed as sarcastic, or ironic or many other adjectives meaning the same thing but here's another thing about that. Given that Randall has openly admitted that many of the things in his comics he has actually done I'm more than willing to believe he was/is the "nice guy" in the comic because let's face it, if you are a guy and have low self-esteem and self-worth, it's not much of a stretch to think we actively think up situations similar/identical to the one in the comic (whether we attempt to or not is different) so it's not a stretch to think that Randall hasn't actively thought up this scenario many times before but since we have examples of him doing things in real life that he did in his comics (the ball pen) I don't see it as much of a stretch to believe that there is a possibility that he has tried this on at least one girl in his life.

    To the other side of the argument that he's joking, k maybe he is just joking but from what viewpoint? Maybe Randall's joking like "haha I used to think like this and I realise how silly it was, oh ho ho look how clever I am by showing this in a sarcastic light" and if that's the case, I don't excuse his behavior because that's also an immature way of trying to look down on the behavior, it's like a 5 year old hitting another and then when that 5 year old is 15 he makes jokes about how silly he was beating up kids, there's a nicer way to admit to that and you don't have to look like a smug douche while doing so

  63. Hang on, hang on.

    There seems to be a consensus (fairly understandably) that the comic isn't glorifying Nice Guy behaviour. So far, the only people who have made an argument to the contrary have based that argument on their personal guess of what Randall might be thinking or intending.

    I have a bit of a problem with that. Firstly, none of us really know what Randall's actual thoughts or experiences on the matter may be. There are several possibilities that have been raised:

    - He acts the way the Nice Guy in the comic does in real life.
    - He once acted that way and is commenting on his own past behaviour.
    - He has never acted in such a fashion, but is merely commenting on a pattern of relationship/friendship behaviour that he has experienced indirectly (e.g. hearing from friends, manga/anime/other media plotlines)

    There is no real basis to consider any one of these possibilities more likely than another. Some people have put forward the argument that Randall has stated that many of his comics are based on his own experience, while others have mentioned his stance on feminism or other things. Nobody has any more evidence of how he actually treats such situations in his personal life than, at the most, speculation and hearsay.

    Now, speculating on this kind of thing is fine. Drawing conclusions on a platform as influential as this and presenting them as more than just an opinion (and, regardless of the fact that such statements may be amended later on, that is what I read out of the main post), however, goes a bit too far into tabloid territory. This kind of thing is quite clearly trolling as I understand the term.

    Be that as it may, on with the comic.

    If we can't really state anything about author intention here, then it has no further place in any formal criticism. The most one can do is put down ones speculations, as mentioned above. So we have to judge the comic on its own merits. The choice of words here (including references to self-deception, use of quotes and emphasis etc.) points heavily to it being a critique of Nice Guy methods, not an endorsement of them. Again, it's possible to disagree with that, but I haven't yet read any arguments based on more than "I feel that this does such and such". So I fail to see the problem here...

  64. J: First off, you are one of the most intelligent pro-xkcd people to comment on here, and you should stick around. I promise that if you are this logical all the time, people here will respect you even as you disagree.

    First off, regular contributor Rob does know Randall a bit in real life and has confirmed this. But even besides that, you can tell a lot from the hundreds of comics Randall makes - they may not tell you much directly, but you learn a lot about the person who writes them by reading all his comics, and they tend to point to a person who thinks women are perfect and amazing all the time, ie, more the Nice Guy in the comic than the other. It's also just how a lot of nerds are, as the regular readers on the forums showed - lots and lots of people, people who like xkcd and think like Randall does the rest of the time - all assumed that he meant Nice Guy as the hero, the "correct" one.

    Quite frankly I think that only someone who was thinking along these lines could possibly have written a comic like this - it was so full of earnestness that I feel like it either must be based on his own thoughts, or he suddenly got really great writing skills before losing them immediately.

    Is it strong evidence? Not really, no. But it seems like enough that I am pretty confident, for real, that Randall means this more seriously than some have tried to suggest.

    PS when you say "a platform as influential as this," how influential do you think this is? I am honored, of course, but I think you are exaggerating just a little.

  65. TBH, I have gained a little something from this blog, although I'm not sure whether I should be happy about that or not.
    I've gotten more critical of most webcomics and many other forms of humour - which is a bit of a shame, because I now (subjectively) overanalyse things that I would otherwise just have smiled at. So the number of times my day is brightened has been reduced somewhat. Ah well.

    To put my position clearly, I don't think Randall is a great unsung genius whose work is untouchable. I do enjoy xkcd, I do tend to at least smile at every comic that I read, I'm not generally creeped out by any of them, and I do treat xkcd as a sort of visual ideas blog on those occasions when the comic isn't funny.
    I also acknowledge that the science and tech concepts in the comic have become simpler and simpler as time goes by, which I sometimes feel a little wistful about, but it doesn't really impact my enjoyment of the comic much.

    As regards the "Friends" comic, I didn't read any real confirmation for the "Randall acts like this IRL" viewpoint out of Rob's posts, but then, I don't have the same kind of contact with Rob as you, so maybe I'm missing information.

    I can see where you're coming from on this, but I myself don't see any logical reason to assume Randall is like this (as described before), nor do I feel that way in my spontaneous emotions when I read the comic. Obviously, we differ somewhat - shock! awe! ;)

    What I meant ("influential platform") was that this blog aspires to be an actual analysis of the comics as opposed to "just" an opinion, which it often is - just not here, on this one issue. It is also the premier blog that any search for discussion of xkcd beyond its own forums will turn up and has a bit of an "official" feel because of that. This last is probably unintentional, but it does strike me as more than just my imagination and therefore factors in...

    Thanks for your nice welcome, by the by - I probably won't stick around much, simply because I don't often have the time or inclination to discuss comics that take up a minute of my everyday life. But maybe, who knows - when I have time and feel like it, you might see me again. :)

    I commented on this comic specifically because this is one of my own favourite xkcds - mainly because I remember going down the "creepy Nice Guy" path for a short way in my teenage years before I realised what a dark and horrible path it really was.

    Have a nice life, all! :)

  66. "I've gotten more critical of most webcomics and many other forms of humour - which is a bit of a shame, because I now (subjectively) overanalyse things that I would otherwise just have smiled at. So the number of times my day is brightened has been reduced somewhat. Ah well."

    As they say, an unexamined life is not worth living. It is unfortunate if turning a critical eye to the world makes it less enjoyable--legitimately!--but I think it's an important skill to develop. Take nothing for granted, question everything.

    "As regards the "Friends" comic, I didn't read any real confirmation for the "Randall acts like this IRL" viewpoint out of Rob's posts, but then, I don't have the same kind of contact with Rob as you, so maybe I'm missing information."

    I don't put it in posts. My information is indirect--Randall and I share friends but we've only met a few times--and I am not sure how privileged it is. I don't mind it appearing in comments, but I avoid posts. He's not a bad dude. Like say, I think the comic was self-satire, and I admire someone who can make fun of themselves.

    "I commented on this comic specifically because this is one of my own favourite xkcds - mainly because I remember going down the "creepy Nice Guy" path for a short way in my teenage years before I realised what a dark and horrible path it really was."

    Thank God for revelations, right? I am so glad I was not a teen forever.

    "Have a nice life, all! :)"

    Oh, please stay. You are intelligent and thoughtful.

  67. J. plzzzz stayyyyy the only comments I have read in my quick checks of the blog are yours and they are so pleasant.


  69. anon 10:04 has it right... wow, people who have feelings for someone and don't know how to express those feelings are TOTAL creeps.

    how disturbing and disgusting is it to think that there are people out there like that?!?

  70. to think that there are people out there who let their inability to express those feelings manifest in creepy behavior, including manipulation, obsession, stalking, etc.? pretty disturbing!

  71. yeah, the people who glorify this kind of thing, say, in webcomic form, they are the weird ones.

  72. I just want to say that I fall into the "Randall is actually subtly poking fun at the internet nice guy and making him seem as creepy and stalkerish as he actually is." (This is the only interpretation in which the final panel could serve as a punchline, and given that it makes me giggle a bit when viewed this way, I would say it is a punchline.) Based on this interpretation, this is still my favorite xkcd comic ever, and the fact that it made all sorts of creepers come crawling out of the woodwork for us to laugh and squick at just makes it that much better for me.

  73. Wait I thought rob just knew some friends of his friends? This is the basis of your determination that he must be a creepy weirdo who does this in real life? And you compared this behavior to drugging people and raping them? And your evidence that he's a creep was that white-knights are creeps, because they disingenuously point out others as creeps. By that reasoning aren't you then white-knights like him? Also, you are joking when you make allusions to him glorifying this kind of behavior, right? I don't know why you'd even bring that up unless that was self-mockery of your own belligerence, meant to confuse me and at the same time draw parallels to randalls own supposed self-mockery.

    I guess basically what I'm saying is I find your arguments disingenuous and internally inconsistent. Unless it is self-mockery. In which case you went a little too subtle. Take cues from the comic for something in the appropriate range of subtlety (it's a little on the low end admittedly)

  74. I only just found this blog and was pleased as I find much of xkcd so irritating I want to punch the very self-satisfied code it's constructed from. But this post is disappointingly stupid.

    You've taken one of his best comics and completely missed the point of it in the rush to take cheap snipes at its creator. What Munroe is like in person, what his personal history is, how his fans have reacted to the comic - none of that really has any bearing on what the comic is doing.

    It's making a quite insightful attack on a certain misguided passive approach to relationships that a number of people really do subscribe to, usually without recognising how creepy and self-obsessed it is. The "I'll tell myself" line suggests that the guy himself is unwilling to confront the real reasons for his own behaviour.

    The point of the comic is that it's cutting through any bullshit self-justifications and showing the unhealthiness and futility at the core of it, exposing selfish motivations most people wouldn't admit they have, even to themselves. You're not supposed to take it 100% fucking literally - that's what makes it satire.

  75. Bah. I took it as, he didn't really say all that stuff, but the girl saw through him anyway, and she'd rather date the guy who's openly a jerk. And the main character of the strip still believes that he is a nice guy.