Here’s th’ latest. But don’t expect to find anything about the election in it–I had to write this a couple weeks ago.
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Toni’s email list looks a lot like my own: Eli Pariser, MoveO… etc…
Lordy, I’m sooo glad my kids aren’t Raffi and Emma’s age anymore; God only knows the kind of stuff they would’ve put on YouTube about me…
Notice what Clarice says when she’s still half asleep? Telling. And think about who’s being hoisted here–Clarice, Gloria, the Freedom to Marry people, Raffi and Stella… Wow. that’s a lot to cram in one strip.
I really, really wish Toni would get a clue … Clarice vs. Gloria — no contest.
I love the spam ads. Ah, but look! Mo has sent a note headed “Lunch?”
Hmm, Toni’s been hitting the red wine kinda hard….been doing so for awhile now. Lookin’ haggard too. I’m starting to worry about her.
God, I really need to get a life of my own.
I think YouTube should have been fictionalized to YouBoob a la Buns and Noodle…
Speaking of the newest elections, though….I’m living in Germany right now and am in a German language class that’s full of immigrants from all over the world (i’m the only American.) Last week all of my classmates were buzzing about the American midterm election results and Rummy’s departure. I just sat back, listened to their conversation, and preoccupied myself with the following two questions:
1. Can you imagine a randomly selected group of American adults having enough knowledge about any foreign election and/or displacement of a foriegn cabinet official to be able to patch together an actual conversation about it?
2. How can any one nation be allowed to have so much power over the rest of the world that the outcome of a piddly midterm election and the minor reshuffling of White House staff would even NEED to become a matter of great concern to my classmates, and millions of other people born and living thousands of miles away..most of whom will never even set foot on American soil?
Most powerful image? Clarice’s face and hands in the last frame after Toni yells “That must be Gloria!” Half-asleep truths aside, this one shows she knows it’s over. Just walk away, Clarice.
I’m confused. Is Raffi trying to say that his moms (or at least one of them) are hypocrits for espousing (sic) gay marriage because one of them had a very brief affair?
It seems so strange. Is he mad at Toni? Is he mad because they are breaking up and don’t seem to have discussed it with him? Knowing Clarice and Toni, I can’t imagine them taking this step without involving the whole family in therapy as a support system.
Other than that, I just want to cry. Clarice and Toni breaking up? Its just too too sad…..I’ve been knowing them so long.
Geez, can you tell that menopause is hitting me hard today?
I just read in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that the lead couple on the California marriage suits has split up:
So Toni and Calrice are far from alone…
As the mother of a teenager,I’m glad I don’t have a camcorder & a daughter as techno-savvy as Stella and Raffi. However, she wasn’t above emotional blackmail in the past. Glad she’s calmed down at 18,has a part-time job,and will go to comm.college after graduation.
Sorry to be a Janey-come-lately,but I just got Fun Home from the library and read it all on Sun. It surely deserves all its accolades. Very well-written with incredible attention to detail. (I couldn’t help but notice some look-alikes: the young Alison and young Raffi,one of AB’s friends at Oberlin looks much like Lois at the same age,and Alison’s freshman English prof.looks like a younger Stuart. Not a criticism.)
In addition to the California lesbian couple’s breakup: The first Massachusetts lesbians to marry, have filed for divorce. The first Vermont lesbian couple to file for a civil union, also have split.
Freedom to marry = Freedom to divorce, I guess. But still, it’s sad for couples who fought so hard to legitimize their relationships. It’s really, really sad, actually.
Raffi wants attention and explanations, but he also doesn’t. Maybe he hopes they’ll unite against him.
I don’t think it makes sense to ask what Toni sees in Gloria as compared to Clarice because I think Toni would never have been interested in Gloria if her needs were being met by Clarice.
Loved the inbox! And the shaded panel with the open fridge. Is that press-and-seal I spy?
Its a sad – yet very realistic state affairs in that household. Has anybody else noticed that Toni hits the sauce ALOT? I think she is treading dangerously into full blown alcholism.
Look at us – handwringing over this situation like their real people! 😀 I guess when you follow the same soap for 15 years, they are real!
Lauren–Yes,Toni AND Sydney need to go to AA,Clarice and Mo to Al-Anon,etc. Yes,they do seem like real people; this is the only “SOAP” I follow.
Maybe not just Sydney. Am I imagining it, or has Mo developed a taste for champagne?
I think the “MoveO…” that you can see in the e-mail in-box is MoveOn.org that has gotten truncated.
Classic Clarice: *before* the outrage comes the cool analysis of Raffi’s technique.
caexile, I sure hope when you say there’s no contest between Clarice and Gloria you’re coming down on Clarice’s side!!
I sometimes wonder if AB knows where she’s taking this saga. probably, yes . . . maybe she just doesn’t want to move it along too quickly? once the drama’s over the work of rebuilding our lives (or relationships) is more mundane and, well, harder to figure out.
I can’t help but think about the cynical straight people who say we should be allowed to marry so we also have the privilege to divorce — as though we don’t split up as it is, or our break ups are less painful because legal ties don’t need to be severed! I was quite impressed that the separation rate for legalized gay/lesbian relationships quoted in the article that Deborah linked for us is so incredibly low. It’ll probably go up when our relationships are legally recognized, though.
anyone done research on the break up rate of gay vs. straight relationships?
“Hoist by your own petard”. I had to look this up.
Injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others.
For the origin see:
The giant exclamation point coming out of the window reminds me of Herge (TinTin artist).
When I read that, I had a vague memory it was somewhat Shakespearean, but that was all—so (once again) I had to look this up as well. It’s also a quote from “Hamlet”.
When I used to read this strip in the papers, I often had a pocket dictionary by my side. At least now I can just “Wikepidia” or “Webster” it on the ‘puter.
You know I’m addicted to this strip, but sometimes I wish Alison had chosen to write about a group of Ozark hillbilly women with 3rd grade educations…
Well, I for one think it’s about time someone in this strip split up! I was getting really bored in recent years by the state of happy couplehood for every major DTWOF character. It was bad enough that the perennial loser Mo landed the amazing Sidney. For a while you could still rely on Ginger and Lois to stay single. But lately there has been nobody left for us singles out here to identify with…
1) Toni’s an activist and she only has six messages in her in box?
2) Who is Liz Farakas-McLaughlin? Gloria’s S.O. is Ana, right? Did I miss a character introduction? Should I recognize this name?
“Most powerful image? Clarice’s face and hands in the last frame after Toni yells ‘That must be Gloria!’ Half-asleep truths aside, this one shows she knows it’s over. Just walk away, Clarice.”
She could mean “That must be Gloria calling about the email” – especially since a) She’s the topic of the fight in the footage and b) The newsletter was sent from *her* computer. If I were Gloria, I’d call as soon as I found out for both personal and political reasons. Personally, things have unavoidably come to a head: Romantic entanglements aside, the four parents need to deal with this as parents. And politically, the chance that the email list is being monitored by the opposition is rather strong and they need to go into damage control mode immediately. If they have a lurker, the video clip is no longer obscure.
Another powerful strip!
I knew it!! I knew that link was gonna get sent to the entire FtMarry listserv. God–no–they’re not alcoholics. And I don’t think Raffi has an agenda. His frontal lobe is still developing. He’s just getting into mischief, and is being diligently aided by Stella. Let us remember who had the idea to upload the video to YouTube in the first place. It was Stella’s idea… ditto on imbedding the link into the newsletter. I think it’s high time these two CHARACTERS split up. They haven’t been happy for ages. And I think the 6 messages refers to 6 NEW msgs, not that she only has 6 in her inbox.
I betcha that Liz Farakas-McLaughlin is a reporter.
And I’ve also heard (not that I know the source or the validity) that the break-up rate for couples involved in major relationship-related lawsuits is really high. Potentially because of the life-changing aspects of being a household name spoken in pride/disgust for a long time–not so easy for a relationship.
If I remember correctly, Liz Farakas – McLaughlin was the woman from Freedom to Marry who came to pick up a box of literature from Gloria’s house when Gloria and Toni were hanging out together, and holding hands. They pretended they were a couple. This was just before they jumped into bed together.
Okay, I’m gonna rant a moment.
I am personally so sick of compulsory couplehood I could puke. This manifests itself in many ways, including the “Awww, too bad you broke up.” WHY? Why is it *always* too bad, always a cause for sympathy? Because the implication is it’s better to be in a relationship than not in a relationship.
And that’s just plain crap.
I am sick of the unexamined acceptance, especially in the lesbian community, of the notion that couplehood is a desirable state. Can we talk about this?
And I am 100% totally convinced that marriage is a very, very bad move for any couple in love. I am beginning to believe that if you’re in love, keep it to your fucking self, because the minute you or other people want to celebrate it, you get handed a crap ton of expectations and confinements that make it impossible to continue. Witness our sisters in the marriage rights effort in CA, VT and MA. Just tooooo much pressure and weight.
Rant mode off.
Expectations, confinements, pressure, weight. All those things. Especially for those among us who have broken trail and stood in the spotlight.
I’m lucky, in my partnership, not to carry so much.
Instead the partnership, time and time again, carries me.
Why is it “too bad, always a cause for sympathy” when a couple breaks up? I don’t know. Maybe because it’s just one more confirmation that nothing lasts forever; that limerance burns out; that even long slow steady quiet love isn’t enough. Those things are “too bad”, aren’t they? I feel regret, and a little pressure right behind the eyes – that itchy feeling that signals tears might be about to start – just listing those acquaintances, over and over again, with the sorrow from which none of us can escape. Goldengrove and Margaret.
Although the relief that comes with break-up, after the agonies of a partnership dying, may not be “too bad”, may be well better than those agonies…
Ah well, Ann S in Madison. It’s so late that it’s early, and I may not be making the best sense. “I recall / Your first kisses / Pre-dawn imagination / Is all this is.” Phoebe Snow, singing to me, and thank you, Ann S, for giving me the chance to agree with you and to differ with you.
Liz Farkas-McLaughlin is mentioned in “Theory and Practice,” the bonus story at the end of Invasion of the DTWOF. Her partner Beth F-M shows up and thinks that Toni and Gloria are a couple.
I wonder if “Liz and Beth” aren’t a homage to “Liza and Beth” of Ethan Green fame.
I hope Toni and Clarice find a way to work it out! I love them both so much!
And what Raffi did was brilliant. ;D Albeit a bit naughty.
Is that really true—that the first Massachusetts couple to marry are now divorcing? I thought they’d been together for like 20 years before they got to make it legal. And now they’re splitting uo? Wow…
The reason I always say how sad it is when a couple I know breaks up, is because I hate to see the people I love in pain. Especially when they still love each other, but can’t make it work. I’m not saying that they aren’t making what could be a healthy choice in the long run—it’s just those first few months that make your heart ache so (sigh).
I’m really all for equal marraige rights for all of us, but if your going to get married, the flip side is divorce. I love my gal dearly, and hope we’ll be together, but I don’t think we’ll ever get officially, legally married. Why? Because once upon a time, I went through a divorce. And if you think breaking up with a girlfriend is bad; well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Sorry about the typo-that’s supposed to be “splitting up”. Don’t you hate it when good sentences go bad???
Raffi’s face poking out from behind the door is a picture! (uh, so to speak).
And I like Clarice’s enjoyment of the irony of the situation, even though she’s none too happy about it. It’s mainly Toni’s decisions and demands which have led to this, after all.
Rafi sort of knows what is going on but doesn’t know he knows and basically hopes he doesn’t and has convinced himself he has no idea — he’s trying both to get someone to make sense of a world where his mom would cheat on him, and he’s trying to focus attention on the most important thing in his life, his parent’s relationship. Stella is in the same boat but with less to lose, thus she did the actual posting. At least, that’s what I make from the strip where Rafi showed Stella the film and said “there’s *something* going on”.
Drinking a glass of wine most nights is a normal (& apparently healthy) thing to do. Drinking a second glass (or even a whole bottle) the very night you break up a long-term relationship is allowed. The problem may come when she’s alone, or it may not.
I agree it looks like Clarice is the innocent and likable victim in this episode, though it used to look like she was the one working too much & in avoidance.
This episode makes me kinda sad. It is sad that children usually are the ones suffering most when parents are breaking up. And being angry to your parents really is hard, cause you care so much and they`re suppose to be the people you can always count on.
From my experience mothers tend to develop alcoholism when they`re in a safe relationship rather than when they`re breaking up. cause when you are alone,there`s no one taking care of your child when you are out there drinking.
There was a great debate on gay marriages here in Finland few years back. Nowadays non-straight couples can go to the register office and sign some sort of form. It is called “registered couplehood” and it basically gives the couple some of the priviledges that married straight couples have. Except that you cannot adopt your spouses kids.
”Same-sex marriage opponents have argued that the July breakup of Julie and Hillary Goodridge in Massachusetts and the August breakup of Carolyn Conrad and Kathleen Peterson in Vermont show that same-sex unions do not have the staying power of heterosexual marriage.”
cos 18 years together is such a flash in the pan 🙂
over here, weve had civil partnerships for nearly 12 months and already some of the media want to hear about short lived marraiges.
so annoying, straight people marry for weeks and months but its so old news its not news.
if gays and lesbians could have been able to marry 200 years ago, we would also have our share of very long and very short marriages.
the media seem to have already forgotten all the couples who have been together for 20 years before they could marry.
and to the woman who rants about coupledom .. get a life will you?
when i was single I was too busy enjoying myself to moan about all the couples I knew who were (also) happy.
believe me, there is enough stuff out there that could have me ranting about how the singleys go on about it.
Why is everyone defaulting to giving Raffi credit/blame? STELLA’s the one who did it.
>>>>>I really, really wish Toni would get a clue … Clarice vs. Gloria — no contest.
I don’t think the split-up’s about Toni leaving Clarice for Gloria, I think it’s about the emotional issues invoked by the “affair.” If Raffi and Stella were on the verge of sharing mothers (so to speak), I think it would’ve been mentioned.
Mo is not a “perennial loser”!!!! She’s my geek library heroine!!!
It’s about time that Clarice & Toni split up for heaven’s sake…. they haven’t been happy for years.
It’s too bad when a couple breaks up because it’s painful. Compulsory coupledom certainly does suck, but so does having the basic truths of your life change. No matter how long it’s coming it’s still a shock when you actually do it.
I’m with the poster from several weeks back who hoped that Clarice and Toni could work out something other than living together (coupled) with their kid and totally breaking up and living apart — how great would it be to see a different sort of relationship modeled? It happens in straight and gay couples all the time. Of course, different things work for different people, so whatever happens has to make some sort of sense for the kind of people they are.
I’m worried about Mo and Sydney, personally. I was re reading old comics last night (my recent bedtime ritual — far better than staying up with my LSAT books!) and remembered that Sydney started her affair with Madeline when Thea got sick. She runs off to her again after her illness when Mo’s interested in the librarian, and wouldn’t marry her. I love how AB brings back the story lines and incorporates information we’ve seen way back when — no wonder the characters feel so real to all of us! Personally, I love Sydney and Clarice, and whatever happens I’d be sad to stop reading about either of them.
1) Shadocat: Don’t think that “Ozark hillbilly women with 3rd grade educations…” don’t use a lot of words you would need to consult Wikipedia for. I understand the need for a dictionary with Alison’s many references, but that’s a lot of stereotyping in one sentence.
2) Re all this “blame on Toni” stuff because she “strayed.” Are there any other gay men on this blog? I never understood why it was such a big deal. Toni and Clarice have not had sex in years and years (“since the Clinton administration.”) Why is it destructive for someone to go and get some sex? The prob was the lack of communication about it–then the guilt and blame–not that she had sex with someone else. I also think they will be much happier if they split amicably–well, Clarice might be too weighed down in self-pity for awhile, but I do think they need to move on from the primary relationship, manage co-parenting differently, and of course, have sexual and hopeful lives again!
I’ve felt so sad and frustrated reading the strips with the looming breakup. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it to have to happen. It’s actually a relief to catch glimpses of Clarice and Toni each facing their feelings of how the breakup might be. I guess it’s a reminder that (even stressful) changes don’t have to be bad in themselves, it’s how we deal with them… and denial, making threats, and fearing them are maybe worse than the changes themselves have to be… And something does seem to have to change, a split or otherwise, due to Clarice’s mental absence for so long.
I may be totally alone on this one, but . . . I don’t get it why Toni and Clarice are so unhappy together.
Years ago it was easy to blame Clarice, who was always veering off into politics when Toni wanted to talk about the relationship. But now . . .
When you’ve been together that long, the relationship can’t be all about the relationship anymore. You need to get on with the business of living life together. And on this count I think Clarice actually gets it right and Toni gets it wrong. It drives me nuts that *every* time we see Toni and Clarice, Toni is wanting to process something.
If they could just have a good mutual rant over dinner about politics (or Raffi’s school, or the pecadillos of their friends, or whatever), they might discover that they really do enjoy each others’ company.
What does “hoist” mean? I can’t find a german equivalent which fits…
You’re not the only gay man here, Shmuel. 🙂 Am I the only gay male Singaporean here though?
Still, remember, it’s not just about the infidelity, it’s the unhappiness behind their being together.
Contrast their situation with Mo and Sydney’s – the two of them aren’t splitting up. Unless Alison decides to be an wrathful goddess and have them break up too…
I believe episode 500 might be a dream sequence that allows everyone to do and say what they feel.
Sydney gets it from Mo
for being such a ho.
Clarice gets it from Toni
for not being horny.
Toni gets it from Clarice
“no more victim please”.
Raffi gets it from both moms
and to his rescue Stella comes.
Stella gets it from her mother
for being such a pain and bother.
Gloria and Toni become good friends
with Clarice and Toni together the strip ends!
I hope it won’t be a dream sequence but will actually happen : ).
Hoist? literally probably “hochziehen” or “hissen”, but idiomatically, the phrase is kind of “to be hurt by your own bomb”, so in context, “sich an etw. verletzen”
and I thought that German major would never come in handy…
rohmie, of course she means “that’s Gloria calling about the email.” And she probably did think about it in a mixture of personal and political. (have to say, though, I don’t see her thinking “we’re four parents who need to work this our.” I think Clarice might have flet that way, though.)
My point was how does Clarice hear it? As Toni thinking of Gloria first. Gloria before Raffi’s terrible (but brilliantly so) behaviour. Gloria before Clarice’s humiliation. Gloria before Toni’s family.
If I were Clarice, that’s how I’d hear it, and I’d sink my haead into my hands in despair because I knew it was over, no matter how much I was hoping it wasn’t.
I’d also spell better the next time around. Sorry.
Hoist (the tense is probably archaic, modern English would be hoisted -any English majors?) means lifted or raised, in this sense perhaps blown into the air by the petard (bomb).
to be hoist by one’s own petard = mit seinen eigenen Waffen geschlagen werden
(I’ve also been in Astrid Jane’s situation of being in a German class, in Germany, discussing US politics with a bunch of non-Americans who know more than many Americans about it.)
Hey, I just found a beautiful photo of Alison with her artworks at http://mrtoledano.com/frame_editorial.php… you have to scroll to the right several photos, though
Yi-Sheng–the above link didn’t work.
I couldn’t get the link to work either. I still think Clarice and Toni will eventually be better friends than partners. Maybe they need this time to be apart. I would rather see them apart and happy than together and miserable. They both look so haggard. Being in a relationsip where separation is looming ahead does that to a person! They do need to sit down with Raffi and talk to him about this. I’m sure he knows, but they need to talk to him and try to ease his mind that even if they are apart, they will never stop loving him.
Try the link without the three periods at the end.
Just try http://mrtoledano.com Then go to Editorial, then scroll right. Worked for me 🙂
Actually, if you just go to http://mrtoledano.com/ and click first on ‘photographs’ and then on the ‘editorial’ box it brings up a page with a scrolling bar on the bottom. Use that to scroll along to the right and eventually you come to a wonderful photo of Alison Bechdel sitting on a cartoon chair with a speech bubble hanging over her head. Rather a fab portrait I thought …
whoops, first Photographs, then Editorial, then scroll right…
sorry Ian, stepped on your post.
Grumpy says: “It was bad enough that the perennial loser Mo landed the amazing Sidney.”
I agree that it’s nice to have diversity in the characters — not just by race, age, gender, etc, but in relationship status as well. I also love to see change in fiction, whether that’s single characters becoming coupled or vice versa. It’s so much easier to witness, though, when it’s desired change. And easier to read about in fiction than to see in real life. My partner and I have recently witnessed the split of friends of ours who were a wonderful couple for 8 years and it’s been gut-wrenching. Granted, seeing DTWOF characters struggle in relationships that have had happier days can be nearly as gut-wrenching.
I do object, though, to the characterization of Mo as a perennial loser. I really think Mo is loveable and wonderful. And Sidney is just as flawed as Mo — if not not more so. They’re both impassioned people, Sidney by critical theory and Mo by politics.
But I wouldn’t object to seeing Mo with someone who’s a bit more tender. Sidney is so distant and disconnected and I think it’d be good for Mo to connect with someone emotionally, not just intellectually. I mean, they’re frequently impassioned but it seems they’re rarely passionate about each other.
Just a quick reminder: Clarice once cheated on Toni with Ginger. They have both had their flings, so there is resentment on both sides. Also, I think I recall that Toni felt taken for granted when she was a stay at home mom. She gave up her accounting job to stay with Rafi. Things have been rocky for quite some time and there is hurt on both sides.
To Dana: I think you are right about the dual interpretation. At first, I took Clarice’s look as fatigue since she had just been woken up; but knowing Alison’s frequently layered work, a dual meaning seems quite probable.
BTW all—I am not the “anonny mouse” that made that previous post. I don’t know why, but I never thought about anyone else using that name, but hey, it’s a free county, I guess. Just remember-it’s not me!
Oh and Shmuel, in case you missed it; I was making a “joke”.
That’s a little somethin’ we hillbilly women down here in the Ozarks like to do from time to time (tho’ I went a lot farther than the third grade-I done went to kollege and all).
And how could anyone think Mo was a loser? She’s always been my hunnybunny! I tell ya, if I were 2-dimensional, I’d give that Sydney a run for her money…
I agree with Thea: Mo should leave Sydney. And go back to the calm,compassionate Harriet,and co-parent H’s daughter. The sex will be much hotter what with all Mo’s learned from Sydney!
I also agree with rohmie’s reminders about Clarice. I tend to side with Toni–she’s tried SO hard to keep the family together for many years,and as much as I’d like them to stay together,I think she’d be happier with Gloria. As I recall,Ana is as workaholic as Clarice,and I think Stella and Raffi,already friends & used to non-traditional families,could adjust to being step-siblings. Kids can be quite resiliant–I have seen my daughter adjust to many changes
Now we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming on,say,Oaxaca & Nicaragua.
Are you in Arkansas? I went to high school there, and when I saw “Ozarks” in your post about hillbilly women, it brought back memories. My parents are still there, and I do visit them every so often. I also heard that Oprah went through Arkansas with Gayle and felt welcomed by the people of Fort Smith . . .
Stella may have sent the email and suggested uploading the clip to YouTube…but RAFFI spied on C&T, made the video and showed it to Stella.
So I think it’s even.
I was worried when I read about what is going on in Oaxaca since my mother’s side of the family is from there and most of them still live there. After talking to my uncle and other relatives, I am more concerned with what the media is saying about what’s going on there. Apparently, one of the leaders in the protest is not even Mexican; he is a guerrillero from Honduras. In addition, many of the protestors, many of whom are not from Oaxaca but from different states in Mexico, are being paid to be a part of the protest. My uncle says that most Oaxaqueños are not part of the protest now and want it to be over especially since the teachers have gone back. They want these guerrilleros to leave their city and stop the protest.
hehehehe…..how many of us from divorced or dysfunctional homes didn’t fantasize about playing tricks on our various parents and parent-like substitutes??
yeah, yeah, what they did was wrong, but oh, it was gloriously, hilariously wrong!
Go Stella and Raffi!!
No, I wish! I spent many of my formitive years in mid-southern Mo. I now live in K.C.Mo. Big celebrity Southern Mo. connection? My best friend spent one summer working at Silver Dollar City with a young Brad Pitt (he’s from Springfield). I really love Arkansas, though; have been to Ft. Smith and of course Hot Springs (which is great and very gay-friendly)I tease a lot about it, but the Ozarks are a beautiful part of the country.And a lot of wonderful people live there.
I grew up in the Arkansas Ozark foothills and Shadocat’s right; the Ozarks are beautiful, especially this time of year. Scary conservative out in the boonies, though. . .
ummm…how about the long-lost poly possibilities w/ C&T??? I was always disappointed this was hinted at but never explored. But maybe I just wanted to see options after too many failed monog. relationships…
Also, any chance of seeing Thea, Maxine, or Jezanna again? Or do they have to breed? Not to bitch, but I miss them…
–fellow crip to watch out for!
Holy cow! That “Mr. Toledano” photo is fabulous! There’s another if you go to the home page – information – editorial clients – Entertainment Weekly – scroll right. Love AB’s expressions in both of these.
Another gay male reading this…
It seems to me that in gay male couples there is very often a certain amount of straying by one or both guys. Sometimes this is ignored, sometimes it is tacitly condoned, and sometimes it is actively encouraged and discussed (rather like weekend sports are discussed round the water-cooler on a Monday). I have the impression that straight people and many, though not all, lesbians don’t do this as much. Whether this would help any of the couples in DTWOF I can’t tell.
I do hope that Clarice and Toni can work things out. One thing that strikes me is how many people have been going through old strips finding cases where they were unhappy with each other in the past. It seems to me that I can go through old strips too, and find plenty of examples of when they were happy together. As humans we have a natural tendency just to focus on the bits of the past that support our current view of the present: this is an inbuilt bias, and difficult to overcome, but it is, nevertheless, just a bias. Personally, I hope that Clarice and Toni will think back to the time they made love just after their commitment ceremony: it’s one of the best strips, and still brings tears of happiness to my eyes.
Everyone reading this has had their moments of being lucky in love, and their moments of being bitterly unlucky. We can see this in the sad cases of the FtM pioneers who are now divorcing, but remember that sometimes love does last – it’s not always easy, but it does happen. I hope that everyone reading this strip who wants lasting love does find it, and I hope that this is true for everyone in the strip too.
that “mmm, come to bed” gives me hope that clarice isn’t going to let this split happen.
love all the viewpoints here!! someone wrote “I agree it looks like Clarice is the innocent and likable victim in this episode, though it used to look like she was the one working too much & in avoidance.”
isn’t that the way it is in relationships — not that *anyone* has suggested it isn’t! both parties have strengths and areas for growth. this strip has finally shown the upside of Clarice’s analytic abilities and detachment.
remains to be seen if T&C can use their strengths and whatever is left of their commitment to turn this around. I’m still hopeful — but then, I’m hopelessly hopeful.
for what it’s worth, the breakup with my first female lover was harder and required a longer recovery than ending a 17 year marriage . . . probably because I was never in love with my husband. It’s such a relief to leave a long stretch of misery, and an incredible disappointment to have someone give up on you (even though, in the final analysis, she was right; it just wasn’t working).
and, for what it’s worth, I read Clarice’s expression in the final panel as a response to the huge mess that Raffi and Stella’s prank has brought to the FtoM movement.
this petard has blown their family problems out of the picture for the moment.
This blog gets more comments than Wonkette.
there’s been few comments on what the kids feel. as a kid who used dtwf to get me through a divorce and learn to love my now beloved step mother it should be noted that divorce is far nicer then a messy brake up or a slow and painful one like toni and clarice. i only wish i had had a compatriot like raffi to help me show my adults just how stupid they were being and how much it was impacting me. maybe kids go about it in round about ways but adults seem to listen so little when we are blunt that sometimes such things work. i’m impressed that despite their mom’s affair raffi and stella are still friends. if i were them i’ld want to kill the other’s parents for braking up my home.
Thanks for the tips to get to the picture of Alison in the artwork chair. Very, very nice!
Emma, I’m not sure the kids are sure there really was an affair, I hope this innocculates them against hating each other when they do know for sure!
I do wish there were more kids on this blog talking about this, yeah, that would be interesting! Thanks for being here!
Well, my parents separated when I was 6 months old and were finally divorced 2 years later. It was a very messy and unpleasant split and I spent years going between very bitter parents who never lost an opportunity to make comments about each other. So in a lot of ways, Raffi is very lucky that T&C are being so civil!
I remember in the strips T&C made lots of effort to sit down and communicate reasonably with him but I’ve not seen that in the last couple of years. I think they’re still making the decision to actually separate and I think they’ll need the support of friends. Hopefully Mo’s mature enough not to freak out about it this time! It’s very difficult to remember other people in situations like this and parents (for whatever reason) seem to forget children at times like these. I can’t remember a single time when they’ve discussed Raffi when they’ve talked about separating. Hopefully this will knock some sense into them!
pedantic note on “hoist with your own petard”.
It is to “be injured by your own bomb”, but what it refers to exactly is being lifted (‘hoist’) and, presumably, flung about in a deleterious way by the premature explosion of gunpowder in a petard. Petards were small rocket-like devices (a.k.a. “bombs”) used to blow holes in doors and walls in castles and the like.
Maybe I’m just being slow, but I can’t exactly work out what Clarice meant by ‘hoist with your own petard’ in the context she said it. I mean, I know what the phrase means literally, but what did Clarice mean by it? In what way is the Freedom to Marry newsletter a ‘petard’? Toni isn’t out to try and attack anyone with the newsletter. Or am I just taking it all too literally?
And whilst I’m asking questions, why have Mo and Sidney stopped gettin’ it on? They used to have a hot sex life, regardless of whatever else was going on. Seems like no-one’s gotten laid for months.
I believe the expectation of monogamy, or mandatory exclusivity, is responsible for a lot of suffering and broken relationships.
Expecting yourself and your loved one to magically stop looking at anyone else the minute you fall in love together, as a sign that this is “true love”. Then, if/when desire for another person arises, this surely means that it wasn’t “true love”. Then of course you have to call everything off and go lick your wounds somewhere.
In my opinion, this a load of bullcrap fed little girls to condition them to want marriage with all their hearts, and never, never cheat on their husband, so that he knows for sure the little brat who wears his name also carries his genes. The indoctrination has worked so well, nowawadays everybody wants to get married and spend the rest of their lives as one half of a pair, as if human beings were shoes, or oxen tied to a cart day in and day out.
I really believe there is much more to the human heart and soul than we expect, including the capacity to be happy for your loved one(s) when they are enjoying themselves in good company. Every being in the universe is unique. The love between two persons is unique too, and cannot be destroyed by the love between two other persons. Not only do I believe that, I live it, and very happily, too 🙂
Some people worried about Toni’s wine drinking, which seems pretty constant and moderate to me. Was nobody upset by her drinking fridge cold _red_ wine? I was taught that you only chill white wine. And I thought that Alison was not making a compliment to Jezanna’s father’s girlfriend when she showed up to dinner with “chillable red wine” (that’s in the bonus story at the end of one of the books).
On a more serious note, is it really clear that both T&C and S&M have no sex at all? That I find really sad. It would impact my relationship much more than any passing infidelity. Maybe I’m too much like Sidney.
>>>Just a quick reminder: Clarice once cheated on Toni with Ginger.
Well, yes, but they’ve now been together over twice as long as then (that was back in 1992 or so). They’ve had a commitment ceremony, a civil union, and a marriage. They’re homeowners and parents. Their relationship is way more “serious” now than it was then. Some people would say that makes a difference.
There is a subtle joke in this episode that I didn’t get until I went back and looked at the bonus story in “Invasion…”. Probably some other people missed it as well. Liz’s partner introduces herself as Beth McLaughlin-Farkas, and refers to Liz by the same last name (with the same order of names before and after the hyphen). But Liz calls herself Liz Farkas-McLaughlin. So much for the perfect unity of marriage. (Do you suppose they have a daughter named Betty? Maybe Liza?)
I bet she’s named Elspeth.
YouBoob: a good idea.
Re: Shadocat’s comment (many posts ago) “once upon a time, I went through a divorce. And if you think breaking up with a girlfriend is bad; well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
At least when you’re getting a divorce from a legal marriage you have legal protections. Especially if there’s a kid involved. Imagine if Ian’s parents (who had a “very messy and unpleasant split”) were gay (maybe they were) and only one of them was legally related to their child. The other one could not only *not* get equal custody, he/she could lose the kid entirely. (This is not hypothetical–I speak from experience.)
I also have been little pissed at Toni, and not really sure why. Sure she cheated, but like others said, so did Clarice. So why the negativity? I think this is why:
1)Clarice cheated with Ginger under these conditions: Yes, she went behind Toni’s back and was not honest with her.She was also not honest with Ginger, and this hurt Ginger as 2well. But at least Ginger was not in a committed relationship, and raisng a child. More importantly,Clarice did all this before her FIRST commitment ceremony. After that, she may have had a lot of fantasies about G-girl, but she never acted on them. She went on to marry Toni (in one way or another) three more times! She may be addicted to work and politics, but she kicked the cheatin’ bug long ago…
2)On the other hand, when Toni and Gloria started dancing around this thing, they both were in committed relationships, MARRIED, if you will. (Remember the kiss?) Then, despite the knowledge that they’re both extremely attracted to each other, Toni teams up with Gloria to work on (of all things) the “Freedom To Marry” project! Does Toni even know what marraige means? To commit to one person, and one person only, and to do all you can to keep that promise? Sure, people make mistakes, but Toni didn’t even really try to be faithful! Even poor Mo, who doesn’t even want to be married, couldn’t do the final deed with her librarian crush because of the hurt it would cause Sydney!
Just look at all the people Toni and Gloria hurt-their partners, themselves, their kids. Plus they made the “Freedom To Marry” organization look bad, YouYube or no YouTube. (It would’ve come out eventually, trust me.)If she wanted to do the Suburban Swing thing, she should’ve at the very least, held off until she could sit down with Clarice and be honest.
I just am so back and forth on this thing. Part of me says “Put a fork in ’em, they’re done!” The other side wants them to work it out, to fight to save this relationship. Clarice is no saint, but yeah I wish I could just grab Toni and shake her! She put her whole life and her son’s on the line just so she could have a fling? Please!
Ummmmmmmm, I have to tell you that getting a divorce even though you have not been ‘legally’ married, but with someone for over 10 years is not easy either. There are no young kids involved like Tony and Clarice, but there are 9 grown kids involved. Talk about stress………but far better than being together and miserable.
You and I agree on one thing; for couples raising children I think marraige is the way to go. I makes both parents (bio and adoptive)more legally obligated to “be there” for the kids. But don’t think it won’t stop long, drawn-out, messy battles over child support, custody, property division, or other money issues. Even if you somehow manage to keep the kids out of it, your former partner in wedded bliss who once promised to love and honor you forever, can still grind you into the financial dust if he/she can afford a better lawyer than you can.
oops-sorry for the double MAG (how’d that happen?)
and “It makes” Ok-no more I promise.
As someone who watches “Worst Jobs in History” and seeing that someone who planted petards had a very short life span, I think it is somehow very appropriate that Raffi is taking Moms with him in the explosion. I think very few relationship break apart neatly especially when a child is in the middle. AB has a way of keeping things very real and adding surprises that keep me coming back to my ancient computer just to see what’s next..
I am happy that you live out your beliefs regarding love and relationships. I think that’s a great thing.
However, I must note that your judgements about marriage do not apply to me or to my partner. I have a monogamous, heterosexual marriage not because I was indoctrinated to live that way (OK – I think every person in our society *is* indoctrinated to live that way, but I was raised to regard men and heterosexual marriage AND monogamy with a huge amount of skepticism) but because that is what works for me and my partner. Also, our marriage is monogamous, but that does not mean that I am not supposed to look at other people, have crushes, etc, and same for him. It just means that we draw the line at *having* feelings, not acting on them, because that is working best for us – this was a conscious decision, not a reflexive one.
I don’t think this is the best way to live or the only way to live, and I also don’t believe that any of us can really know what the future holds. The only thing I know I can count on is change and the unknown. So who knows, in the future, what will be right for me or my partner. But I do know many couples who have made a long-term monogamous partnership work for them. And I have always openly fought for the rights of my brothers and sisters to enjoy the kind of relationships that make them happiest, regardless of gender, monogamy/polyamory etc.
It would be nice to know that my relationship was also viewed as an individual relationship, not a stereotype or the mindless result of social indoctrination.
>> Well, yes, but they’ve now been together over twice as long as then (that was back in 1992 or so). They’ve had a commitment ceremony, a civil union, and a marriage. They’re homeowners and parents. Their relationship is way more “serious” now than it was then. Some people would say that makes a difference.
I don’t have the books in front of me, but I recall that Clarice’s infidelity was a very fresh memory when some big step was taken. As another poster noted, they have gotten married in various ways more than once – including deciding to have Raffi together. Clarice’s fling with Ginger occurred while one of these commitments was being contemplated and the events may have influenced one another. Panic may have nudged Clarice into the fling with Ginger and the resulting guilt may have nudged her into taking the plunge with Toni. Hence, Clarice’s infidelity was historically bound up in their decision to get “serious.”
Indeed, it seems like their troubles began about the time they started getting “serious,” even though they had been together forever. Remember, they were introduced as a couple and have been together since the strip’s use or regular characters. The only time we have ever seen them single was in flashbacks to their childhood or to their first meeting. One of the troubles I mentioned earlier was Toni feeling taken for granted and shut out of the adult world while she stayed at home with Raffi. Obviously, that was part of adopting their more conventional suburban life.
For the record, I’m not a Toni partisan: I like both characters and see neither as the villain. I’m simply pointing out that the situation is far more complicated than just being just a matter of Toni’s infidelity. Things weren’t hunky dory right up until Toni’s fling, they had been rocky since their decision to formalize their commitment which was also the time of Clarice’s fling. This doesn’t mean I’m blaming it all on Clarice, either. Perhaps the pressure to formalize things is at fault.
I don’t know if this is the message Alison is trying to send, but that’s the story the events tell. I believe, in The Indelible Alison Bechdel, she writes that she puts part of herself in all her characters, but Mo is the one most strongly identified with her (hence the cover) and Mo’s stance on conventional coupledom is quite clear. Of course, it should also be noted that, like Aaron McGruder’s Huey, Mo says things that are a tad over the top and the central character is not always the author’s voice.
>> Remember, they were introduced as a couple and have been together since the strip’s use or regular characters.
That should read “since the strip’s use *OF* regular characters.”
Another obvious source of tension was the fact that Clarice never wanted to move out to the suburbs in the first place. I’m with Clarice on this one, but it’s yet another example of long standing tensions associated with their more conventional relationship.
Mo might say she’s anti-marraige, but she’s definately not polyamorous, non-monogomous, or whatever is correct term. Deep down inside, she’s a hopeless romanitc (she cried at T&C’s first ceremony, remember?), and I’ll bet she secrectly dreams of that “white picket fence”, forever and ever lover. Her stance is more of a matter of protecting herself from hurt, than any real conviction, (IMO).
I wish people didn’t feel so threatened by each other’s choices. Amy, of course your relationship is an individual one, and your choices are perfectly valid, as are mine. Nowhere in my post did I imply otherwise.
What I am saying is that the _ideal_ of monogamy creates a lot of suffering. This may be seen as a paradox because the prevalent opinion is that infidelity creates suffering, and lots of protective steps are taken to protect people from that possibility.
I just want to point out that sometimes it can be interesting to consider things from another, less taken-from-granted point of view. And that some of us make different choices and are not unhappy as a result. We don’t have to all live the same way.
I’m glad you took a moment to affirm Amy’s choice, because your original post came across to *this* reader as “this different way is better than the unrealistic and hypocritical norm.”
as a rather traditional person with a quirky personality, it seems (to me) unsophisticated and shortsighted to assume that what’s been done by many is necessarily inferior to what is chosen by — and works for — a small number of people.
to look at it another way, isn’t dishonesty poison to both monogamy and polyamory? I may be missing something, but isn’t “infidelity” just another name for dishonest polyamory? as we know, *that’s* all too common.
hmmmmmmmmm . . . perhaps honest relationships — with one partner or several or many — are what are so rare.
sorry this is so soapboxish. and I hope what may seem like an attack will be recognized as simple venting.
whew!! I feel better now . . .
Well, in a departure from the very deep discussion of honesty and emotional consequences, here’s another dive into etymology, one of my favorite pastimes (escapes?). I was kind of musing on the ‘lift’ aspect of Hoist, and then wondered if maybe in that sense it’s related to the term Heist… to my surprise, ‘heist’ does not appear at all in my Webster’s New World edition on the shelf. So began to wonder if it’s slang and some kind of vowel shift/dialect thing. Anyhow, not the AB necessarily intended all this, but sure enough the kind of sneaky behavior in this episode does kind of translate. Here’s what google found at “Maven’s Word of the Day:”
What is the word “heist” derived from? Has it anything to do with “hoist” as in “hoist ’em up”?
Yes. The word heist, which is used chiefly in senses referring to robberies, is a pronunciation variant of hoist.
The pronunciation currently represented by the spelling heist has been common for centuries in dialectal speech, but was rarely represented orthographically before the nineteenth century. Some spellings that are found for the pronunciation are hist, h’ist, hyst, hyste, and our heist.
The word hoist (thus spelled) and its derived words (hoister, etc.) have been used in the criminal underworld to refer to burglaries, shoplifting, and the like since the early eighteenth century. These senses did not become common until the 1920s, and when they did, the spelling heist (and its associated pronunciation) was the predominant one for the senses. Now, heist is associated exclusively with the various underworld senses of the term and is popularly perceived as a different word from hoist.
Semantically, heist refers to the “lifting” of the stolen goods, rather than the lifting of one’s hands in the air during a robbery, as you seem to suggest.’
… and I’m amused by the kind of mixed-marriage surnames of that peripheral Farkas-McLaughlin pairing.
sorry for the little punctuation errors there, and I meant to type ‘not that AB necessarily intended…’
Anyhow, I think this is a brilliant examination of it all. I was very moved that Clarice, maybe too late, might finally have rekindled things right then if Toni really had come to bed. And all this Stella/Raffi stirring it up is just so perfectly true to form, kids finding crazy, sane ways to express their own pain, confusion, anger, and some kind of power cutting through the adults’ mishegas. They could have ‘gotten away with it,’ but Stella needed to push it further. And she didn’t ask Raffi or explain it either before she went ahead. Quite an interesting quasi-sibling dynamic. Who’s to say they wouldn’t get involved with each other eventually either?
I had dinner tonight with my 8-year-old godson who is an avid DTWOF fan (has met Alison and is drawing his own cartoon strip) and he brought up the current thread. He was thrilled with Raffi and Stella’s actions. When I asked him why he thought they were doing what they did, he said “Because everybody understands what’s going on except them.” He also pointed out that in order to upload something to YouTube, you have to register with a valid e-mail address and have to be above a certain age — disconcerting to find out that he automatically knew this, information which I will share with his parents, but an excellent point. I don’t consider either of these kids to be of an age to have an unsupervised e-mail account.
The dual surname custom (AB-BA) is something I’ve seen among lesbian couples, where you retain your own surname as the second in the hyphenated version because of the tendency of people to honor only the last name as the “real” surname, so you retain a scrap of independence this way.
I understand where you’re coming from. I was married for ten years (no one can say that I didn’t give that heterosexual lifestyle a good ole try) but you’re missing an important point. Because you are in a heterosexual marriage, you have the right to demand that you and your partner be treated as individuals. Gays and lesbians do not have that luxury. If your marriage fails, gawd fuhbid, people will not point their fingers at you and your husband and say,”See? Straight relationships never last!” The break-up of couples like Julie and Hillary Goodridge represents to our foes a justification for their bigotry.
Oh the part where Clarcie says “Mmm. Come to bed.” Oh how heartwrenching! See, part of her wants it to work.
I wish they could stay together. 🙁
I can still remeber the look on the therapists face when C&T staretd talking about polyamory or whatewer. Their therapist was saying that they should both find new interests like a new job or a hobby, or perhaps to travel and see new places together.
But both of them found the idea of seeing other women more luring than douing other changes in their life.
That surely says something about their relationship back then.
I think Clarice’s “come to bed” was just a sleepy habit thing rather than a revelation about her deeper commitment to the relationship. I think part of Clarice just wants things to stay the way they were, but that “treading water status quo” was not working for Toni–she tried to change it by having them go to couples therapy, and she “acted out” (partly just as a function of her own sexual and emotional frustration) by having that fling with Gloria, but in the face of Clarice’s resistance to change she’s helpless.
For whatever reason, Clarice has consistently avoided being emotionally present for a long time. Maybe this is related to why she became depressed in the first place?
Andrew B’s comment about Liz and Beth was great fun – it’s also rather lovely that Liz and Beth are of course both derived from the same name (Elizabeth). How many of us haven’t been part of a couple with a woman who shares our name or another version of it?
Re:”I can still remeber the look on the therapists face when C&T staretd talking about polyamory or whatewer. Their therapist was saying that they should both find new interests like a new job or a hobby, or perhaps to travel and see new places together.” I have a real-life example that just totally tops this. While I was struggling with coming out while in a hetero marriage, one of the things we contemplated was an open relationship. So, we dutifully went to a therapist to discuss (circa 1997) After we brought it up, the therapist sat kinda stunned, then stumbled around and finally said, “But isn’t what you’re suggesting like those people in Utah, the, um, what are they, oh, yeah, the Mormans?” (While she was searching for the words, I was thinking, “If she says Mormans, I am SO out of here!”)This of course was quite painful at the time and we never went back and dropped the whole thing. Now, I can laugh about this, cuz it’s so ironic on many levels. (I can also laugh because I finally worked up the courage to leave in 1999 and am in a lovely relationship with a woman.)
“Was nobody upset by her drinking fridge cold _red_ wine?”
I thought the original appearance of Liz and Beth was a comment on merging of identities. Assuming they’re both legally “Elizabeth,” these two have exactly the same name, which should make opening the mail at their house interesting. (Perhaps the more recent reversing of the last names was a slip on AB’s part?)
I don’t think Raffi and Stella will ever get it on. Children who grow up together tend to feel like siblings, whether they are related or not.
This is just me, okay? No one should take it as advice, or as any commentary on the way you each live your own lives.
I believe in long-term relationships. But I also believe that no one person can be everything to another person forever. Sometimes there are going to be needs that one partner just can’t get from another partner. My feelings are, when confronted with such a situation, are: As long as it’s me you come back to at the end of the day; as long as you don’t bring home any complications; and as long as you’re willing to communicate honestly about what your needs are that I’m not meeting — then okay.
Sometimes those needs are as simple as “something new and different” and sometimes they’re a result of deep-seated dissatisfaction with the realities of the current relationship. Sometimes they’re in between those two extremes. But they need to be communicated. Maybe not in the pedantic, over-analytical, navel-gazing way that sometimes happens, but they need to be communicated. Failure to communicate is not just a line from a Paul Newman movie. It’s something that can break a couple.
The questions that the current situation poses to me, in light of my feelings about relationships, are these: Is Clarice failing to communicate? Why? Is there something in her background that makes her reluctant? Is it just that she resists because Toni can be so overwhelming in the way she asks for that communication? Is she afraid of what Toni might say? Of what SHE might say?
In case anyone cares, the Clarice/Ginger fling was prior to the Clarice/Toni commitment ceremony (at which, as shadocat points out, Mo cried); on some level, the former helped motivate the latter. I think it [the fling] was during the Reagan administration. In the “butch in the streets, femme in the sheets?” strip some years ago, Clarice “excavates a ten-year-old memory” of the fling, and Ginger has a “Lick Bush in ’88” poster on her wall.
“I don’t consider either of these kids to be of an age to have an unsupervised e-mail account.”
Erm… it’s really easy to get an email account, and it’s really easy to lie about your age, especially since many of the sites have a “I certify that I am at least eighteen years of age” button, which is there to cover their asses.
I’ve been a spectator / advisor through a number of different squabbles between some of the parents and teenagers in my life over computer use. I think in the end it’s one of those areas, like teenage sexuality, that parents are limited in how much they can regulate. They can cut down on the time and opportunity… but for the most part they can’t eliminate it without trully draconian measures. And relatively few parents have the tech skills even to monitor it.
(For instance, after openly getting a livejournal account after her sister pointed out to their mother that the mother couldn’t really prevent it, she could only give or not give her blessing (and the mother chose to give her blessing) the daughter of a dear friend now posts to that account while visiting her father… and knows enough more about computers than her father to delete all traces of her connecting to the site, as there are public things on that account she really doesn’t want him to see, or at least connect with her.)
It’s a priviledge, I must add, to get to be one of the other adults in the lives of a number of teens. But it can be pretty funny too — like when my godson came to me to discuss his college plans after resisting efforts from his parents to get that discussion going. (He’s only a sophmore, so he has time, and his parents were mostly glad to hear that he was thinking about it all.) Or watching some of my taiji students grow up, and realizing that yes, not infrequently in conflicts I really do agree with them more than their parents, though their parents are dear friends. (Luckily, there is no need for me to agree or disagree, so this is mostly a silent observation.)
>Maggie Jochild Says:
>The dual surname custom (AB-BA) is something I’ve seen among lesbian couples…
Thanks for pointing this out, but I still think there’s something fishy about Liz and Beth. In “Invasion…”, Beth calls both herself and Liz “McLaughlin-Farkas”. If they were doing what you suggest, wouldn’t Beth respect Liz’s desire to be called “Farkas-McLaughlin”?
I can’t resist throwing in my 2 cents about C&T. I just can’t believe that they want to break up. I’m not saying that because lifetime commitment is compulsory. Look at them. They’re miserable even thinking about it. They are too grown together to be happier apart.
I could go on and on, but I like to maintain the appearance of having a life offline. Isn’t it cool how Toni looks like Medusa when she’s angry, though?
Maybe she didn’t take that bottle from the fridge. My guess is that she opened the fridge to have a soft light in the kitchen, so that AB could draw a cool Rembrandt-like picture.
next episode is #500!! this may be a time for some of us to hit the PayPal button. added bonus: I’ve read elsewhere on the blog that you don’t need a PayPal account to use the service.
or, you can send a note + check to Alison at:
PO Box 215
Jonesville, VT, 05466
I’m sure she’ll love to hear from you.
and now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging . . .
PKintheUK, I think you have the right of it in a nutshell!
And………..who was that masked woman?
could it be that toni was drinking a rosé? it doesn’t seem like her style, i know, but maybe raffi’s pop-culture savvy is rubbing off.
Regarding Toni and the cold red wine;
We might not serve it that way to company, but some of us actually like it that way. Sometimes I even pour my over crushed ice, sorta like a snow cone (wirh a buzz).
I hear they drink red wine and coke in Spain. Put it on ice and you’ve really got a snowcone with a buzz.
The refrigerator, seems to me, is a symbol of coldness. During the episode Raffi filmed, and the one before this one, I believe (too lazy to check!), Clarice was staring glumly into the refrigerator.
Hey, I’ll even go a step further: Clarice sees a relationship without warmth which still provides things for their lives’ ongoing operation (much like refrigerated food does for our bodies) as worth keeping, even if they’re not jumping for joy. Now, above, we see Toni is facing away from the refrigerator: she has turned her back on the idea of her primary relationship being without warmth. (Love without warmth is not enough for some of us.)
Oh, and look, on top of the refrigerator is something Clarice cannot live without, which Toni is indifferent toward (at best): the TV.
shadocat, I agree. I keep cheap red wine in the refrigerator for the occasional glass.
And I think it’s interesting that some people immediately jumped to the conclusion that if Toni takes a couple of glasses, she’s a candidate for AA. Goddess help us. But it’s good to be reminded just how far entrenched the therapeutic cult is, and not just in lesbian culture. As an old gay man, I am not absolutely hostile to therapy and counseling — I’ve used both at times in my life — but I remember when both gay people and feminists were sharply skeptical of the therapeutic establishment. Now we are it. (Before I couln’t spel therapissed. Now I are one.) I don’t think that’s a good thing.
Kelli: “I believe in long-term relationships.” Um, seriously, what does this mean? Is it like, clap your hands if you believe in long term relationships? Is it a cautious way of saying that you believe that long-term relationships are the ideal? If the former, I believe in them too. If the latter, then I don’t. I believe that relationships should find their own length. If two people want to stay together for a long time, fine. If not, they shouldn’t. Short-term relationships, from tricks (fifteen-minutes stands 😎 to acquaintanceships to 10-week affairs to fuck buddies to friendships that have lasted for decades, have nourished my life far more than any long-term relationship I’ve attempted. When I was young and impressionable, I too thought that there was something wrong with me if I wasn’t in a long-term couple, so I often struggled to sustain relationships that should have ended sooner. It took me a long time to shake that propaganda.
To repeat: if two people want to stay together for a long time, fine; more power to them. But even long-term couples have friends outside the couple, and connections to people that come and go. Don’t discount the importance of those short-term relationships for everyone involved. And sustaining a relationship for a long period just for the sake of being in a long-term relationship — as opposed to sustaining it because it sustains *you* — seems to me masochistic. But to each his or her own, and I wouldn’t want to diss other people’s kinks.
It seems to me that Toni and Clarice are one of those couples that are sustained by crisis: boredom generates conflict, which escalates until it produces some hot sex for a while, which produces a re-commitment which eventually turns to boredom again. Repeat as needed. Maybe for some people it works, but I suspect that as people get older they find that the stress of the conflict ceases to be worth the hot sex. That may be happening to Toni and Clarice now. (If this is the norm for long-term relationships, no wonder I’m not in one.) If they *must* see a therapist, they should see one who can point this out to them and help them decide if it’s what they really want. … Ah, like everyone else I’m talking as if they were real people. Well, they feel like it to me too. Thanks to Alison again and again for such a rich, involving long-term story.
I love the comments about Arkansas. I spent my first 35 years in Northwest Arkansas…the last four away from home but with my honey…so I guess I am home after all. I love Eureka Springs…and Hot Springs (aunt-in-law- lives in HS).
Duncan, as a therapist, even Freud said “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”!
Andrew B Says:
November 15th, 2006 at 1:48 pm
There is a subtle joke in this episode that I didn’t get until I went back and looked at the bonus story in “Invasion…”. Probably some other people missed it as well. Liz’s partner introduces herself as Beth McLaughlin-Farkas, and refers to Liz by the same last name (with the same order of names before and after the hyphen). But Liz calls herself Liz Farkas-McLaughlin. So much for the perfect unity of marriage. (Do you suppose they have a daughter named Betty? Maybe Liza?)
I can’t believe I didn’t catch that joke, since my partner and I also have the same first name but go by different nicknames. We are NOT hyphenating so that our names are identical, however.
In regards to the rather sad irony of so many high-profile gay couples who fought hard for their right to marry and are now splitting up-
It is rather disheartening, but one has to keep in mind that relationships run their course, but not always to the same destination, and an unhappy couple can’t stay together just for posterity. That’s the logical side of things, though; I just can’t wait until the religous right starts waving these divorce statistics around as proof that queers can’t hold a union together (all evidence of the Republican’s inability to do the same being deftly ignored, of course.)
I suspect the religious right will have to wait a long time before it has divorce statistics (as opposed to anecdotes) it can wave around. I’m waiting till the first Massachusetts statistics come in “proving” that same-sex couples have much *lower* divorce rates than straights. Of course it will be an artifact due to the many couples who had been together for decades before getting legally hitched, but it will be fun while it lasts. (p.s. Massachusetts already has the lowest divorce rate of any state…)
I too have enjoyed the comments about Arkansas. My brother is in his final year at the U of A, Fayetteville – razorback country. I’m fixin’ to take my baby pie to Hot Springs at some point . . . “Hot Springs, I just can’t wait to see you. Wake me up in beautiful Hot Springs, Arkansaaaaaaaaaaaw!” I am not originally from Arkansas, but I went to high school at the home of Johnny Reb. For college, I gave up the natural state for Taxachussetts : P, and I have fun reminiscing with my best friend about our high school years. Sadly, I have not visited Hope, Arkansas, but I have been to Paris, Berlin, and even England . . . in Arkansas.
Gawd, England Arkansas. You guys are makin’ me miss my home state. I used to talk trash about it, but now that I’ve moved, I discovered I do a lot more defending it’s honor. It’s a shame though the way the “Wal-Mart-ization” has swallowed the Northwest corridor.
Deb — so you’re a therapist. That explains a lot to me.
Someone asked, I think earlier in this thread, if there were any statistics on the lifespan of gay relationships. This would presumably give us (or our enemies) ammunition in the struggle for legalized same-sex marriage, by showing that we are just as masochistic as straights, or less so, or more so. But at this point it is impossible to come up with a meaningful comparison, because in most of the US same-sex couples can’t marry. And where we can, it hasn’t been going on long enough to give us meaningful divorce statistics, as Judy M. noted.
My relationships, as I said before, have lasted from fifteen minutes to a couple of years. The same could be said of many heterosexuals. If a boy and girl go out on a date, have a fight, and never talk to each other again, how long did their relationship last? Even if you limited the comparison to cohabitation, you couldn’t compare straights to gays because marriage produces legal as well as social pressure to stay together.
In the Good Old Days before divorce became easier to get in the US, many couples broke up through separation or abandonment — both of my parents’ families did — but they wouldn’t have shown up in the divorce statistics. Here in Southern Indiana I’ve worked with people whose religion wouldn’t permit them to divorce, but they were still separated. They wouldn’t show up in divorce statistics, so people like them push the average length of heterosexual relationships upward.
Judy M: “I suspect the religious right will have to wait a long time before it has divorce statistics (as opposed to anecdotes) it can wave around. I’m waiting till the first Massachusetts statistics come in “proving” that same-sex couples have much *lower* divorce rates than straights.”
For the relig. right, all it takes is one incident to prove the case.
What kills me is that Raf is about to get buried alive for Stella’s crime…altho, given the last strip, she may have told Raf what she had just done, and the reason he is peering out of the door is he knows the trump of doom is about to fall, and he has no way to avoid it. Do you think that they will even believe him? Poor little guy. Altho, since he made the recording and showed it to Stella, he planted that bomb and lit the fuse…I am sure he is sitting there wishing he had never done it in the first place at this point! He didn’t post it, and maybe they will beleive him, someday, but he will never get off the hook for having shown it to Stella in the first place!
As for monogamy vs nonmonogamy…I am going to shock the boots off a few people–yes, Greg, I am talking to you, I know you are reading this! *grin!* and say that what matters is, what WORKS. I have friends who are in life long non-mon. relationships and are very happy and well adjusted. It can work. But it takes a LOT of work, HARD work to make it happen. Honesty, ghu, yes! and communication, constant communication. Each person also needs to be honest about what their needs are to themselves. TO THEMSELVES!!!
A few years ago before I crawled out of a “monogamous” relationship that was disentegrating, I made the classic mistake of consenting to non-monogamy in hopes that it would make my now ex partner happy and help the relationship. Discovered 2 things…1, what I have always known about myself is absolutely true…I am one of those people who is happier when monogamous, that is me to the bone, and when I went against that, I betrayed myself. And 2, just because your supposedly non-monogamous partner says that’s what she wants, doesnt mean that is nessesarily so, nor will trying it “to save a relationship” accomplish anything but a very large messy break up in all directions.
On the other hand, one of my friends who is happily non-monogamous and in a healthy relationship-one of the healthiest relationships I have ever seen-it would be just the other way around. If she were to attempt to be monogamous, it would be a betrayal of HERSELF and would not work for her.
It took me years to understand that, but I have got it now, and this is what I have to say…to thine own self be true–and you cannot be false to anyone else. Hamlet was mentioned above…well, Shakespeare got that one absolutely right and it has been quoted unto death and to the point of having no meaning. But THINK about it.
I have no idea what happens next with C & T…it could still go either way, or even a third way…they could pull together in the crisis, rediscover themselves yet again which they have done before, go back down the same path and then almost break up again for DTWOF # 600. What a roller coaster ride! Way to go Allison! Whatever opinion any of us may have we are all glued to the strip…and that’s the sign of a sucessful artist!
And final thought…never try to set up a monogomous relationship with someone who refers consistantly to monogamy as “monotony”…even if they are the ones who give you chpt and verse on why it should be a monogamous relationship…take that clue, and run!!! LOL!
Hannah, I agree with your take on the monogamy vs polyamory matter.
I have no idea, though, what that third thing in successful polyamory might be — ghu!!?! I’m lost . . .
I hope if Toni and Clarice get back together because of this they lose the refrigerator dynamic. that’s a sign of a dead end relationship, and if they want to be together they need to do something about it. we’re all tired of that holding pattern.
Maybe T & C will appear on The Greg Behrendt Show (Greg does marriage interventions on TV, complete w/a couple’s therapist if necessary). of course, the community would be much better off if Ellen stepped up to the plate and helped them work something out. there’s something creepy about their appearing on a straight show . . .
Duncan: I did try to preface my remarks by saying, “This is just me, okay? No one should take it as advice, or as any commentary on the way you each live your own lives.”
But to clarify, I believe in long-term relationships as a *viable option*. I don’t believe that humans are somehow incapable of that kind of dedication. But in order to make a long-term relationship work, I believe that the partners have to take into account that no one individual person can be sempertotalis to someone else. And there needs to be a way, a mechanism, to deal with that constructively inside the relationship.
I have to agree with someone’s earlier comment (forgot who by the time I got to the comment box!) – the shadowy Toni at the fridge scene may be one of my all-time favorite panels of DTWOF; Clarice’s head in her hand is in the running as well.
All this talk about the politics of same-sex marriage has me wondering (and maybe I’ve forgotten it along the way in the midst of the drama) why some of our more left-leaning characters, perhaps one of the academics (or good ol’ Stuart), hasn’t taken Toni to task more directly for her assimilationist tendencies. Seems like a safe bet that Sydney would have read Warner’s The Trouble with Normal or Claudia Card’s Against Marriage and Motherhood even if she does tend to lean toward more heady post-structualist stuff. And hey, I confess I bought my copy of the former at Bunns & Noodle, so Mo could have easily been sneaking a few pages here and there between sales of the latest Limbaugh book…
And to those who have their anti-assimilationist panties in a bunch, I’d add that, as someone who’d like to see a culture that embraces a more complicated view of kinship than marriage allows, I’m still wholeheartedly behind any action that works to eliminate legal discrimination. (Come to think of it, seems like Clarice, ambivalent as she can be about normality, may have similar motivations for supporting same-sex marriage.)
As I recall, the onset of Clarice’s depression bore a direct relation to the 2000 election. Will the 2006 election break her out of her rut? And what will breaking out of her rut mean to Toni and Raffi? Can’t wait to find out!
Kelli — then we agree, to a point: people should do what works for them, and should work on mechanisms that will deal constructively with problems in their relationships. But is there really anyone who says seriously that long-term relationships are *not* a “viable option,” who says that “humans are incapable of that kind of dedication”? I really believe you are attacking a straw person there.
Remember too that long-term-relationship does not equal marriage does not equal monogamy. Think of a Venn diagram where those three categories overlap somewhat. People who don’t want to marry may have long-term relationships, and many marriages are not long-term. And so on.
Angel, I think my all-time favorite panel might be in one of the meta-episodes, where Mo is ranting about the need for more politics in the strip while Lois says that Mo just needs to get laid: in the final panel Mo is running off a string of sociopoliticocultural bugbears while Lois, grinning, pushes her out of the frame and pulls up her own sweater to reveal her breasts.
You’re right, I don’t recall much criticism of Clarice and Toni for assimilationism since they got their station wagon. Remember, though, that Sydney has proposed marriage to Mo; she’s not the one you’d want to look to for anti-assimilationism. Nor is Stuart, who’d be hoist on his own petard if he did anything like that.
But: ” … I’m still wholeheartedly behind any action that works to eliminate legal discrimination.” Anti-assimiliation is not the banner under which I travel — I think it’s as restrictive as assimilationism. (Why did the anti-assimilationist cross the road? because someone told her *not* to.) But I’m not so sure that same-sex marriage does work to eliminate legal discrimination: it just moves the discrimination to the unmarried, including unmarried couples. I’ve heard a disturbing number of pro-marriage queers speak slightingly of heterosexual couples who choose to live in sin, rather than seek benefit of clergy and City Hall. There are also the Independent Gay Forum crowd, who don’t think gay people should have sex outside marriage. (I wonder how many of them are still virgins.) I’ve also run into queerfolk who don’t think of themselves as assimilationists who froth at the mouth (or keyboards) over Warner’s Trouble with Normal. Lisa Duggan has some good things to say about all these issues in The Twilight of Equality, too.
want to return for a moment to one of Sophie’s comments (have been feeling a bit guilty about my rant) . . .
Sophie: What I am saying is that the _ideal_ of monogamy creates a lot of suffering. This may be seen as a paradox because the prevalent opinion is that infidelity creates suffering, and lots of protective steps are taken to protect people from that possibility.
just want to voice my agreement w/her sentiment. the ideal of monogamy certainly gets a lot of positive press, and yet it’s responsible for a lot of unrealistic expectations that in turn are the cause of much suffering. at the same time, the wholesale condemnation of infidelity excludes the possibility of polyamory that’s loving, respectful, and all that stuff that people want in relationships.
p.s. –I’ve never seen Sydney as anti-assimilationist. Clarice and Mo are the most anti-assimilationist characters in the strip. Ginger may have leanings in that direction but she hasn’t been protective towards Clarice the way that she is w/Mo.
Oh, thanks mlk! I was feeling a bit weird and wondering whether it was just me…
Yes, polyamory can be loving, respectful, and lived happily, which is what I was trying to convey. Talk about validation!
I’m going to pretend Clarice and Toni are real for a minute, and confess that I sometimes wonder what would happen if they allowed each other to embrace their secondary attractions.
I can see Toni go out with Gloria once a week, and Clarice see Ginger another evening in the week, while Raffi stays home with Mom or Meema. More love for everyone! And so much relief from all the tension that comes from trying to repress part of themselves and live up to each other’s expectations.
There is such a tremendous, hidden potential for happiness in liberating ourselves and our loved one from rigid expectations. “I love you, I love myself, and I want both of us to be happy” vs. “I want you to play a part in the perfect relationship I have in my mind”.
By the way, I don’t think all long-term relationships are of the rigid expectation variety. Heck, I’m in one! And it is the best relationship I’ve had in my whole life, which I “blame” on our open deal. I can be myself!
Duncan: Please don’t characterize what I’ve said as “attacking.” I’ve already stated twice now: what I believe is what I believe, and should not be construed as advice or as any commentary on the way any other people live their lives.
And of course they’re not all the same thing. That’s a lot of what I was actually saying. You’re partially trying to explain my own point back to me.
I would like to thank you, though; this is exactly the kind of over-analytical navel-gazing form of “communication” that I was discussing in my first post. People so interested in defining terms and delineating concepts that no one ever gets around to SAYING anything.
So, let me state it for you bluntly. In my opinion: Jealousy = bad. Honesty = good. Monogamy = neutral, but possibly unrealistic. Long-term relationship = work. Worth it = up to the individual. Committed relationship = not necessarily monogamy. Understanding that people have different needs at different times = critical for the health of any long-term relationship, whether committed or at-will, and ESPECIALLY critical for the health of a long-term relationship where any partner expects monogamy.
Your points are well taken, but Syd’s proposal to Mo seemed to me like more of a knee-jerk reaction (We know she’s got impulse control problems, after all…) than a thoughtful consideration of the politics and emotions involved, and it seems totally within Sydney’s character to be a bit of a hypocrite to Toni when she gets on a hyper-hyphenated-post-reason roll…could be a grand set up for Mo to really let her have it, actually…
I’ll check out the Duggan. Thanks!
Hannah here again…
mlk, to answer your question in reference to what I said back up there about 9 messages back ( I counted ) I apologize for the “ghu” reference, I should have known that would be confusing. “Ghu” is a science fiction / fantasy term used by some, tho not all, fans ( particularly scfi / fanstasy convention going fans, which I are one ) as a replacement word for “god”. So, my actual comment which read “Honesty, ghu, yes! and…” actually translates as “Honesty, God, yes! and…” as a term for emphasis.
Where the term ghu comes from, or how it became a synonym for god, I have no idea. I have been using it for years in the Scfi world and it is so much a part of my vocabulary when writing at this point, that I evidently typed it without realizing I had reverted to the phrase. Sorry if I confused anyone, and sorry it doesnt have some obscure polyamoury femmenist meaning that would probably make a whole lot more sense in the situation. I promise I did not intend to set out to be obscure. My brain got ahead of my fingers on that one!
My foray into nonmonogamy failed because of lack of honesty on both my part and my ex partners part. She was looking for an out and was using “polyamory” as a loophole hole for all sorts of bad behavior…but her refusal to talk honestly, and her jealous, dangerous behavior once we were into polyamory, made it impossible for me to be safely honest with her…hence my feelings of self betrayal and lack of honesty myself. So I stress honesty above all else, both internally and externally…not rigid honesty tho, because there is pain there too. If you really can’t stand your beloved partner’s favorite shirt, and she adores it, shut up and admire the shirt! If that’s the worst your relationship has to deal with, you are blessed. But on the big issues, like say, nonmonogamy or monogamy, you simply cannot fudge the issue!
Anyway, I am probably preaching to the converted here, by this time…hope my explanation of my little weird term “ghu” helps.
Blessings to all….
Listen you guys..stop with the theorising…if they didnt have issues there wouldnt be a strip…you have to keep the tension going to keep us interested in the characters. You cant look to a strip for validation of your own private lives. Of course seeing dykes in print for so long can hoodwink you into thinking that it should mirror you or your friends lives. I loved the YouTube thingy…keeps it current and sharp. How about our first gay divorce!!
Kelli, I believe I’ve said plenty, and that’s the problem, innit?
Bobby, one thing I love about DTWOF is that it’s theory in action. It *does* mirror my and my friends’ lives — except when it doesn’t, and that’s fine too.
Back when I was first coming out, it was “ideology” that got sniped at all the time, instead of “theory.” Times change, but I think it’s the idea that we should think about our lives instead of letting society tell us what to do (and I include gay society in that), drifting along and wondering why we didn’t get the True Love Soulmate and great consumer life we were supposed to get. Maybe because I’m not an academic, I used ideology/theory instead of letting it use me. But I never noticed that the people who sneered at ideology had better lives or were happier than I was.
Angel, you could well be right about Sydney’s proposal to Mo; but she did pursue the issue through a couple more strips (probably more because Mo had turned her down than because she really wanted it that badly).
to look at it another way, isn’t dishonesty poison to both monogamy and polyamory?
Yes… but a mono relationship usually grows more dark corners where stuff like dishonesty patterns can hide (for better or worse). Whereas poly tends to shine glaring light into corners and onto their moldy contents (for worse or for better).
That’s one of the things I like about polyamory — it DEMANDS honesty in order to succeed, and sometimes a readiness to go at your corners with a scraper, garbage basket, and bucket of bleach. (I’ve told people this is the Marine Corps of relationships — expect to be tested to your limits; you’ll either wash out in disgrace or gain strengths and abilities you never knew you had.)
Hannah, thanks for clarifying the ghu. I thought maybe that was a typo or something. however you get there, ghu = god at least makes sense!!
and Sophie, glad that assuaging my guilt dissipated some of the tension on this thread. guess some conflict isn’t so much over what we believe but when and how we say it?
as for failed (or half hearted) attempts at polyamory, I’ll share that when I got tired of meeting my husband’s needs I offered him the opportunity to take them outside the relationship. I sometimes wonder how many straight women do this when the sex gets monotonous. I missed the (emotional) intimacy with him, though, and it was AFTER we resumed sex (he’d been out of the game for awhile and hadn’t found another partner; no diseases involved) that he decided he wanted a chance to start over w/someone else! looking back, I see this as a creative way to get out of an unsatisfactory marriage. it was the start of a new life for me!
probably wouldn’t work for everyone, though. I’m not recommending it as a strategy.
I feel so bad for Clarice, I really do. She is going to be a mess if Toni leaves. Bad timing for Raf.
“boredom generates conflict, which escalates until it produces some hot sex for a while, which produces a re-commitment which eventually turns to boredom again. Repeat as needed. Maybe for some people it works, but I suspect that as people get older they find that the stress of the conflict ceases to be worth the hot sex. ”
That’s scary. You’ve described my relationship perfectly.
I think gay men who work out having sex outside the relationship have the right idea. I know lots of gay couples who do and have done this successfully. It seems to me they are more realistic and willing to accept their true natures – that of not being happy to have sex with the same person through all eternity.
My ideal relationship would be one that would include occasional flings outside the primary relationship, especially during those times when one of the people in the relationship isn’t feeling sexual for whatever reason. Some people see interest in someone outside the relationship as a sign that the relationship is in trouble. I don’t think that is necessarily true. I’m just a girl who likes a little strange now and then. My girlfriend expresses curiosity about sex with others and I always tell her to go for it. She won’t do it because she knows that that would mean I would have the right to do it too, and she is way to jealous to accept that.
The difference in the fling that Clarice had versus the one Toni had is that Clarice was just having a fling. She wasn’t honest about it with Ginger, but her intentions were clear from the start. This was just a one-time thing for her. Meanwhile Toni’s ongoing interest in Gloria is deeper and not just a fling. I think they are in love and if that’s the case they should break up with their respective partners and be together. I’m not placing a moral judgement on what anyone is doing. What I see is that Clarice was having a fling that was just her getting her groove on, while Toni’s fling is more than just a fling and she should be honest with herself and with Clarice.
Thank gd their finally splitting up. I’ve been very frustrated with their boring relationship – at last – so have they. How long could anyone live with a one track workaholic like clarice!
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