DTWOF episode 501

December 12th, 2006 | Uncategorized

I’m nearing the end of my family visit.

fish eye

Here’s the next DTWOF episode. I made this a couple weeks ago. I was supposed to write the next

two installments while I was here at my mom’s house, then start drawing them when I get home Wednesday. But in all the hubbub, I didn’t manage to get anything written at all. I wonder what I’m going to do? (oh! um…big tip o’ the nib to Yi-Sheng for “Elspeth.” I forgot to write that into the margin!)
DTWOF episode 501

273 Responses to “DTWOF episode 501”

  1. Maggie Jochild says:

    we r toolz

  2. Smctopia says:

    Looks like Raffi needs to learn the difference between “their” and “they’re”. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the details like the cable knit sweater.

  3. Str8butnotNarrow says:

    “Exactly”? Lord have mercy!! Wonder if anyone’s gonna come clean about the weekend Ana and Clarice spent at the museum…

  4. Feminista says:

    Glad to see Mo leave wage slavery at Bunns & Noodles for her new library gig. Hope they’re unionized,get good benefits (including domestic partners)and have a pension plan. Though I thought she might modify her wardrobe a modicum. In any event,reference librarians are fonts of knowledge who serve the people with their instant access to all kinds of info. Now about regulating those computers…

    Maybe Mo can lobby for a coffeehouse within the library–it’s been done before. And the old Madwimmin crew could have a reunion.

  5. Danyell says:

    I like the very accurate portrayal of the internet destroying the English language. But, OMG iz it funz0r, rite? LOL!!1 (j/k).

    But as far as the political thingers: I really, honestly think that the gay marriage issue may be enough to create another civil war. Well, it would be, were we living in a period wherein people actually got angry.

    But let us left-commie-homo-liberal-hippie states secede now, and start a trend. Perhaps NY, MASS, VT, CA…others will follow. We’ll call it…South Canada

  6. Duncan says:

    Oh, nice. And they’re/their is the least of it. I love the way you set up the second half with Stella’s remark about how when straight couples divorce or fool around, no one blames it on their straightness.

    This is something I meant to mention before, but (I think) forgot: tonight I watched the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” for a second time with a friend. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s about a program to teach New York City schoolkids how to dance, culminating in a citywide competition. But one of the judges in the finals is — I swear! — Betsy Gilhooley.

  7. ES says:

    interesting cartoonly features on their two faces in the last frame: the most Fleischer/Disney expressions I’ve ever witnessed in this strip (from what I can remember).

  8. Em says:

    *cue music*

    Bum ba BUM!

    I think it’ll be interesting to see Mo and Raffi intereact, I recall that as a tot he was would clam up around he but only opened up around Sydney.

  9. ES says:

    (elspeth.. why, laffing out loud)

  10. Xanthe says:

    I love the parallel you’ve drawn with Mo unexpectedly appearing in the library with the way she popped up at the out of town coffeehouse when Toni and Gloria were trying to secretly meet when Ana found out.

    Excellent observations with Raffi and Stella. No need for me to start on about why there / their having an online conversation sitting face to face at the same table.

    Is Beth on Neighbourhood Watch too ? Curtain twitcher ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. ready2agitate says:

    Love Mo’s expression when she tells Raffi “I have my eye on you.” Funny how she (we) look through the eyes of the kids (like a goofy middle-ager…). Great expression of intensity on the kid playing the computer game/joy-stick. Oh and does the frumpy, balding librarian have a pony tail? Perfect!

  12. tallie says:

    oh man, that defense of marriage meeting is my worst nightmare my promiscuous, selfish gay ass will just stay out of it.

  13. Marquis says:

    One word: Schadenfreude.

    Or even better: pwnd!

    The events in DTWOF are approaching the point where they would be greenlighted on FARK. Awesome.

  14. Atillani says:

    What is going on with Janice/Jonas and the hormones?

    Will Sparrow and Stu have another child?
    Did Sparrow take the new statewide job?

    What is the status with Ginger and Samia?

    What about Clarice’s brother? He is in one strp and ig Gay, but never heard from again. Peraps he can come out to help his sis move.

  15. Joan says:

    It is GREAT that mo has a job where she can still wear her striped shirt.

    One wonders, does Mo own dozens of the SAME shirt, or are all shirts striped, but there are different colors stripes. Funny that Sydney is such a clothes horse.

  16. Purple says:

    I love reading the comments here, you guys always make me take a second and third look at the strip, just so I can catch all the detail..

    Btw, just because a video is uploaded on YouTube, doesn’t mean it has to stay there – all they need is to log in from Raffi’s or Stella’s username (which ever of them put it up there), and remove the video. If they had done it quickly enough, the rest of that marriage group thingy people wouldn’t have even be able to watch it.

    Also, love the clicking sounds curling around Raffi’s hands as he’s typing at the keyboard. Cute.

  17. Emma says:

    I can’t even keep up with the language. What’s a tool?

  18. shadocat says:

    Who’dathunk it? Raffi and I are both typographically challenged (at least he has an excuse- he’s what,-12?)

    Gloria and Toni should just tell the “Freedom To Marry” folks to stick it-their private lives are no one else’s business. Straights are no paragon of stability when it comes to marraige; look at Brittany and K-Fed, Brad and Jen, -even Ronnie Ray-gun had two wives!

  19. AmandaTheGreat says:

    “Tool” can generally be used in the same places as “jackass,” meaning either “jerk” or “idiot.”

  20. Josiah says:

    Emma, see here for some definitions of “tool”. I think that etymologically, it’s a euphemism for “penis”. Which adds another level of irony to Raffi’s usage…

  21. Josiah says:

    Oh, and I have to say โ€” Toni’s clavicles are very sexy in this strip.

  22. Jaibe says:

    I think “tool” is another reference for the same part of the male anatomy as “dork”.

    Haven’t they taken the video off of UTube yet? What, are they worried someone has copies? I guess there may have been conservative lurkers on the list, but I personally don’t know how to steal videos off of UTube, I doubt it’s possible.

    Poor Rafi & Stella, they probably think Mo is going to rat out on them using the Internet at the only place they can still use it.

  23. Luita says:

    Does anybody know what GFTIFL stands for?

  24. K.B. says:

    It’s an IQ test: divide 100 by the number of seconds it takes you to figure it out and you’ve got your IQ.

  25. Ruth says:

    GFTIFL = Grounded From The Internet For Life

    Somehow I doubt it’s a common acronym. But what do I know?

  26. Anonymous says:

    That Mo, she’s a big hit with the kids.

  27. Emma says:

    And I love Mo’s deliciously dated slang as she tries to be down with the yoof. Somehow i think she is going to love being a bossy librarian.

  28. Anonny Mouse says:

    I think the scene (back prior to Raffi’s birth) where Clarice’s brother Clarence said, “It’s all right, Momma. I’m gay, too” was intended as a joke by Clarence. I’m not sure.

    In one of those “the characters know they’re in a comic strip” strips, it was alleged that Toni’s parents joined PFLAG. I have no idea if that would be “in continuity” or not.

  29. Josh says:

    Man, I can’t believe those people who say that having kids keeps you young. There’s nothing that can transform you into an insufferably dorky middle-aged tool faster than the presence of a twelve-year-old.

  30. Quaint Irene says:

    A homage ro Roz Chast’s IMs of Romeo and Juliet? Or just another delicious peep into new and baffling idiolects? I remember the coffee-shop slang fest some years ago when Mo and Lois gossiped.

    And come to think of it, where is Lois? Maybe it’s time to have spin-off comics for the characters, rather like Marvel and DC presumably still do.

  31. Duncan says:

    I like it: the Alison Bechdel cartoon empire. What would the imprint (analogous to DC, Marvel) be? DTWOF Comix? Just what she needs; she’d implode from the stress.

    As far as Raffi and Stella conversing by computer when they’re in the same room — like duh! that’s so you can talk in the coimputer lab without the dorky librarian telling you to “Ssshh!” Not to speak of the subversive pleasure of using the Internet when you’re GFTIFL.

    It’s too late for the Internet to destroy the English language. It was destroyed no later than 1490, when William Caxton complained:

    And certaynly our langage now vsed varyeth ferre from that whiche was
    vsed and spoken when I was borne. For we Englysshe men ben borne
    under the domynacyon of the mone, whiche is neuer stedfaste but euer
    wauverynge, wexynge one season, and waneth and dycreaseth another
    season. And that comyn Englysshe that is spoken in one shyre varyethe
    from a nother.

    *That’s* the ideal of pristine English, I mean Englysshe to which we should aspire. Then there was the Great Vowel Shift, and in the late 1700s we started dropping the “e” sound in words like “rebuked.” No, the Internet is just a mopping-up operation at most.

  32. ldfs says:

    Except for the ponytail, the man who was showing Mo around the library looks *exactly* like one of the librarians I work with at the U of MN. Eerie.

  33. bean says:

    ok, let’s address this right now…

    librarians are, shall we say, *touchy* about our self images, and the stereotypes that abound about us and our profession.

    so far, we’ve had one “bossy” and one “frumpy” and one call for a farstucks in the liberry.

    i’m sure mo would be the first to tell you that she didn’t go to library school to learn to make cappucino, or to be evaluated on her wardrobe.

    it’s kind of interesting to me, from a feminist point of view, that librarians are mostly (85%) women, and there is so much discussion about our APPEARANCE. and while some of us do wear our glasses on chains, others seem determined to make sure everyone knows there’s lingerie on under there. It’s like, the backlash to all the image discussion has spawned this new breed of hyper sexy librarians. makes the rest of us a little insecure…not to mention, it’s become a new stereotype.


    but, i’m down with KR – someone as misanthropic as mo really should have considered becoming a cataloger. there are more jobs for one thing, although less comic potential, i suppose, outside our little world.

    a couple of links:


  34. silvio soprani says:

    Is anyone else having trouble with the display of the Episode? The graphic will not load. Is it just my slow computer system? I have never had this problem before.

    Is there an alternative place to view it?

    I don’t want to read everybody’s comments until I’ve read the episode! AAARRGGGGGH!

  35. Mame says:

    i am not getting the episode either….i thought it was my punishment for questioning original sin…

  36. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    OMG!!!! I made a dent in contemporary American queer culture!!! FTW!!!

    Oh, and a very sober thanks to Alison for drawing off her readers’ feedback.

  37. Colino says:

    About downloading videos from YouTube, Google Video, etc… here’s a way: http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php

  38. shadocat says:

    As for Raffi and Stella talking to each other on the net, even when they’re in the same room: true, this time, I think it’s just the modern day version of passing notes in class-a way to converse w/o the old people hearing you. But something tells me they’d probably do it even if the authority figures weren’t there; my daughter actually had a cell phone conversation with her best friend while she was in the kitchen and said friend was in the living room (about 10 feet away)!

    Mo seems so happy to finally have a library job! And I love that she’s as dorky as I am when trying to relate to the kids…

  39. Cat says:

    I’m kinda glad that the pro/marriage group called Toni and Gloria out on their tryst. I don’t think they have a right to demand to know what’s going on, but from a storyline point of view it works. in the end of Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For I was frustrated by the level of promescuity with characters who had partners elsewhere(Gloria and toni, Sydney and Madeline). I really love this strip (hence why i’m still here!) but I find it hard to like/respect any person/character who cheats. Its time for Toni and Gloria to realize what they’ve done to their significant others and their children. Next stop: Sydney!

  40. Sophie says:

    About “tool”: I had to look it up, English not being my native language, much less slang. Here’s a helpful page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tool_(insult)

    Apparently, it has nothing to do with, ahem, the male organ, and more with being a “tool of the establishment”, so to speak. DTWOF is so educational!

    And, congrats on the Salon interview!

  41. Sophie says:

    Hm. Somehow the URL stops before the (insult) part, so you’ll have to paste it in to go to the right page.

  42. dbd says:

    Am I seriously the first person to get “MOFO”?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Speaking 4 teh younger generation LOL:

    Okay well I’m not that young actually, but ZOMG Don’T U no How 2 n3tsp33k? Or R U Not l33t enuf? LOL

    It isn’t exaclty that kids don’t know how to use good grammar (although often they don’t) but they also don’t want boring old adults to look over their shoulders and be able to decipher what they are saying to each other.
    And AFAIK (as far as I know) “tool” has a connotation of “sellout” or “slave to conformity”.

  44. --MC says:

    As for the Freedom to Marry group calling Toni and Gloria on the carpet, it makes me think of those self-critiques that Communist party members used to have to give themselves, to satisfy some functionary’s whim. I hope T. and G. have the presence of mind to tell Beth and the others to pull their long noses out of their business — it just seems like too convenient an opportunity for the group to sate their curiosity.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Purple – that was my first thought – grabbing Raffi by the ear and forcing him to take down the video immediately – although I think it adds a touch of realism that the stodgy old parents didn’t know that.

  46. Xanthe says:

    Thank you, Duh!-ncan, yes, I’d worked those things out ๐Ÿ˜€ I was mainly sparing folks a long philosophical ramble about how things like chatting online and texting is killing the art of verbal conversation.

    I think it was reading this on the BBC website that nearly set me off (it’ll probably make more sense if you’re a Brit, though): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6173441.stm

  47. Yossi says:

    There is a benefit from the inquisition that Freedom to Marry has imposed upon Toni and Gloria: they can finally define what they have together. I hope that they realize their love and give themselves burning passion and give Raffi and Stella siblings and a functional home life.

    Did any other LIS professionals pick up on Mo’s P’s and Q’s joke??

  48. Raffi says:

    oh, now I want to change my handle to RaffiProSk8r! ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Silvio Soprani says:

    Okay, Yossi, please translate! WHAT is an “LIS professional” and what do they get out of the P’s and Q’s joke? (I just thought it was the old “Minding your P’s and Q’s” that people have been referring to for centuries!)

    And by the way, I am home now and can read the Strip just fine…I guess the network at my job is blocking graffics or something…I have no clue, but am very relieved to be able to finally read Episode 501.

    By the way, all that code kids use on the Internet probably comes fom text messaging where you have to type in each character on your cell phone keypad…of course they want to abbreviate! Is there going to be some new kind of thumb-related carpal tunnel affecting this generation of text-messagers?

  50. cranky librarian says:

    add, tells you to “shh!!!” to “frumpy”, “dorky”, and “bossy”.

    what happened to “stamps things” and “won’t let you touch the books”? “hair in a bun,” anyone?

    P’s = languages and literature
    Q’s = science

  51. Cat says:

    As far as I know IM language happened before (I mean B4) cell phones had the texting capability. I’ve been chattin online for 6 years now and I didn’t have a phone with texting till 3 years ago. maybe i’m just behind on the cell phone market. I think Toni and Gloria really need to look at their relationship, and while I agree that the commitee shouldn’t be the reason that they do so, perhaps they needed that outside influence to force them to look at what they are doing and who it is affecting. I don’t know if Raffi and Stella are heading towards siblinghood or towards dating, AB has been pretty vague about their personal feelings, and I like that. It’s kinda frustrating though that AB’s characters seem to be running back to the old and familiar (Toni and Gloria, Sydney and Madeleine) rather than work on the relationships that they are in now.

  52. Gwen says:

    Yeah, IM became popular in my town when I was in middle school- about 9 years ago (although I must say, I got bored of it by my second year of college). The text messaging thing is newer; it actually seems to be part of the mini-generation gap between my younger sister and I, even though I’m only three years older.

    And I agree with Atillani: I’ve been wondering for months what’s up with Janis!

  53. sjusju says:

    Hey Alison,

    that guy in the bottom LHS frame, chin in hand, looks like your dad from Fun Home, floating like a ghost between your mom’s house and the DTWOF strip. But by the RHS frame he looks quite different.

    No surprises Fun Home is getting such great reviews – it is a beautiful, amazing novel. Thank you so much for creating it.


    ps I loved the elspeth moment!

  54. Mary says:

    I don’t visit this site often because if I did (I’m a huge AB/DTWOF fan) I’d never get anything else done. Talk about a strip drawing forth its own best audience: literate, hip, yet just a little bit nerdy . . . Oh, and sane. Either it’s some miracle of cultural consonance, or AB ruthlessly edits out the nutcases. (I prefer to believe the former).


  55. a different Emma says:

    The strip perfectly frames the difficulty of being a member of any grassroots organization, or a ‘special interest’ group — there’s exactly zero percent of leeway for any slips. It’s a classic one step forward two (or three or more!) steps back. This sort of pressure causes members of organizations to work against each other too–internalized self-monitoring. Egads. It’s like seeing my memories on screen or paper or something similar.

    Duncan, you are too funny.

    Silvio Soprani — I think LIS means Library / Information Science but I could be wrong. So then the ps and qs thing could be both the typewrter joke and a library joke. Wow. It’s amazing how quickly explanation kills humour. Better not do that again…

  56. ready2agitate says:

    OMG I *thought* I’d seen that guy B4 – thx sjusju! PS Fun Home makes a great holiday gift!

  57. Callan says:

    hey, it looks like Alison’s dad there at the end of the strip. thanks for the funny self-portraits at the family home!

  58. Deb says:

    Once again, superb on all levels………….!

  59. Maggie Jochild says:

    Well, we descend into literary geekdom again — I’d heard yet another explanation of the origin of “p’s and q’s” so I went looking online, found this at http://www.yaelf.com/aueFAQ/mifmindyourpsandqs.shtml:

    This expression, meaning “be very careful to behave correctly”, has been in use from the 17th century on. Theories include: an admonishment to children learning to write; an admonishment to typesetters (who had to look at the letters reversed); an admonishment to seamen not to soil their navy pea-jackets with their tarred “queues” (pigtails); “mind your pints and quarts”; “mind your prices and quality”; “mind your pieds and queues” (either feet and pigtails, or two dancing figures that had to be accurately performed); the substitution of /p/ for “qu” /kw/ in the
    speech of uneducated ancient Romans; or the confusion by students learning both Latin and Ancient Greek of such cognates as _pente_ and _quintus_. And yes, we’ve heard the joke about the instruction to new sextons: “Mind your keys and pews.” The most plausible explanation is the one given in the latest edition of Collins English Dictionary: an alteration of “Mind your ‘please’s and ‘thank you’s”.

    In any event, for Mo’s first statement in her new role as librarian to children she knows to come out in the form of a warning was the kind of blind obnoxiousness that adults too often indulge in around children. Hence, Stella’s perspicacious (ha) assessment: Just who was it in this situation who wasn’t paying attention?

  60. Josiah says:

    Duncan, your Caxton quote is great, but I don’t think you’re going far enough back. We should all aspire to the level of pristine English proposed by the Original English Movement. Hwรฆt!

  61. amelia says:

    I can’t get the strip to load. Is there something wrong with the site, or is there something wrong with my browser?

  62. silvio soprani says:


    I am back at work today and once again, the strip won’t load. This is only the 2nd time this has ever happened. So either they changed something on my work network, or something on Alison’s server has changed. (I can’t speak tech-talk, all I know is, I can’t see the strip!)

    Cat and Gwen,
    Maybe I should have said that all those abbreviated messages were caused originally by PAGER culture (not cell phones.) I think a lot of the “R U ” etc started there.

    But Maggie, you take the cake for the most explanations of two little letters! Thanks! Most amusing and visual too! (All those pigtails!! And all those sailors!!!)

    Now I am in a good mood on a rainy morning and will try to get some work done. But I hope the graphics come back soon. It is too tantalizing to read everybody’s comments about details in the strip and not be able to scroll back up and go “Ah ha! Now I see it!”

  63. AK says:

    It’s been a while since this was imparted to me, but I always believed that “mind your p’s and q’s” originated in pub life. Bartenders would keep a customer’s tally on a chalkboard and “p” stood for “pint” and “q” for “quart.” I love the origins of language. Even if any or all of them might be wrong.

    But really, when was the last time in this strip that Mo looked that happy about *anything*? She’s giddy. The minute she gets the least bit of wind behind her sails, she has to pontificate a bit.

  64. mysticriver says:

    Oooh, yes! Bring back Clarence Clifford!

    Re: IMing – while face to face: It’s so they won’t get shushed! Or, as last frame w/Stella illustrates, so grownups around them won’t know what’s going on.

    Re: Texting slang – this pre-dates even the cell phone and has its origins way back in the pre-web days when computers were just for geeks communicating with stuff like Usenet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Re: tool – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! Etymologically it’s closer to petard than to penis! (To reference episode 499…) It’s a good all-around insult for those who follow (and can be seen as acting as the tools of) advertisers, big business, political & social movements, major trends, fads, etc. Which basically includes all of us. Again, it’s the perfect all-around insult, since you can apply it to anyone and make it stick. Which is what makes Stella & Raffi’s conversation so funny.

    Congrats to Mo! When a new job was mentioned in the last strip, I had no idea it was at her own public library. And reference librarian, no less! Well done! I love how Mo is really blossoming with her new passion for library science, and now with her new job it will be interesting to see how she develops and changes (I wonder how this will change her relationship with Sydney?) She’s come a long way from the cynical complainer who couldn’t muster the energy to vote in the 1980 election. And can I just say, she has never looked more cutely dorky than she does in the 7th panel of this strip. Love it!

    Give a shout if Mo needs help with upgrading, monitoring usage, protecting the system from malware, etc. For that matter, as long as folks are changing career paths, why not have Lois get into IT? The poor dear needs a break, job-wise, and it’s a great way for someone who didn’t finish their degree (like Lois) to make a respectable living. Plus it would be a great fit for Lois – after all, we already know she’s great with hardware!

  65. Suzanonymous says:

    Danyell writes. Well, it would be, were we living in a period wherein people actually got angry. chuckle.. Too many people on Prozac.. But then again, back when people got angry, it seemed to me that everyone was trying to get me outraged about something or another, which I found very tiresome.

    Loved the text-speak and misspellings (esp. teh). Especially that, rather than make her own face sad directly to Raffi, Stella types in :-(. I guess they want to keep it a secret that they are talking to each other, though the kids next to them are making no secret that they are using the library to play games. I think also it is about being bored and clever.

    They may not be able to spell, but I couldn’t type at their age.

    It’s very like at my library it’s not a library, it’s a video game arcade and porn palace. Okay, I’m testy, not exactly angry, about this.

    Also, I’m pretty sure their YouTube account can be shut down because they are children. And you can flag the video as inappropriate because it’s invading their privacy, which is against YouTube’s “community guidelines.” This can get them permanently banned. (How they can prohibit you from just creating a new user, I do not know.)

    Also, I agree that the Freedom To Marry people have no right to demand to know the history of the break up, just about the break up itself. I liked the way they are so worried about what Joe and Jane sixpack’s reaction would be that they aren’t giving any thought to the sane points that their kids easily understand.

    Nit: Mo needs a name tag. ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. DW says:

    I started reading D2WO4 in “Out in the Mountains” in the 80’s. Sadly, it has just folded. I prefer to think it has done it’s job and is no longer needed as we move forward. Maybe so, but it was a comfort twenty years ago.
    Abrupt change. I have always assumed Mo’s stripes were red. They are aren’t they?

  67. Duncan says:

    Thanks, Josiah, but if we *really* want to show our kulchah we shouldn’t be speaking Englysshe at all: it’s a barbaric, primitive language without any grammar, totally unsuited to discussing Higher Things. We should be speaking Latin. (That was the argument back *before* Caxton.)

    But if we’re going to talk about misuse of language, how about the misuse of “promiscuity” for Gloria and Toni’s, or Sydney and Madeleine’s tryst? “Promiscuity” means having a number of partners without commitment; “cheating” is something else. Toni has hardly been promiscuous by any standard, and while I think Sydney might have the right personality for multiple partners (or maybe she just wishes she did), a fling with a former partner, and evidently a much-loved one, is a grey area as far as I’m concerned. Lois is, or has been, promiscuous, bless her heart. (That’s leaving aside the whole question of a weasel word like “promiscuous” in the first place; while it can be used to mean something, mostly it is used as a mere insult, like Kinsey’s definition of a nymphomaniac: someone who has more sex than you do. For example, if I have six orgasms a day, that’s normal and everyone does it — but you have six, that’s going too far, that’s *sick*.)

    It’s my impression that the online dialect Stella and Raffi are using became widespread in the glory days of America Online and Compuserve, back before the Web. The early-to-mid 80s, maybe? Especially when a 1200-baud modem cost several hundred dollars, people wanted to compress the typing they needed to do, because every character took time to crawl onto your screen. Also, I suspect it was primarily a boy thing: touch typing was girly stuff, and real guys showed their manhood by using hunt and peck, and pretending that they weren’t really comfortable using a keyboard. (The book in which I got the Caxton quote also quoted a couple of contemporary language cops who argued that English should be taught by women, because men who are interested in English and literature aren’t Real Men, y’know?)

  68. PJeannechild says:

    As is my wont, I am about to be presumptuous: For god’s sake, woman – TAKE A SABBATICAL! Trudeau did it. Brethed did it. McGruder’s doing it (not permanently, I hope). We do not own you. Our love for & identification with your characters, our endless suggestions & high expectations (no matter how well-intentioned) – surely these have worn you to a nub by now, yes? Visit your mother guilt-free (well . . . bad example. Who among us possibly could?) Tour for Fun Home guilt-free. Take vacations guilt-free. Sit staring at your walls guilt-free. Whatever. You have earned a looooong break from DTWOF, a million times over. Like it or not, you are a born leader – through your art and your applied intelligence – and leaders need relaxation, recuperation, rejuvenation. STOP WRITING AND DRAWING FOR US for a spell, your gift to yourself. Go spend some of that money I hope to god you’re making on Fun Home. Disappear. Hole up. Visit a spa. Be decadent where no one knows you. Whatever2. Fearful of painful withdrawal symptoms? (A rhetorical ? addressed to both writer & reader.) That’s what a blog is great for! Drop us a line; obviously we’d love to hear from you. If I were a fairy godmother, I’d make this happen, poof! (BTW, in ’87 or ’88, can’t remember, as the editor of the Lesbian Voice, a once-a-month insert to the Philadelphia Gay News, I was excited to find your work – can’t remember where I first saw it – and then proud to be able, not only to run it, but to PAY you for it! Philly dykes thanked me endlessly for carrying you. I thanked owner/publisher Mark Segal endlessly, for coughing up the cash.) So . . . anyway . . . POOF!

  69. Elaine says:


    I’m in ur library

    watching ur kidz


    (Seriously – loved the IM transcript!)

  70. Silvio Soprani says:

    I would like to think that if Alison needed/wanted to take a sabbatical (even since this blog started), she just would. She would hang out a little sign saying “I will be elsewhere for a while. In the meantime, I wish you well…” and we would all be fine. (in withdrawal, but FINE!)


    Surely AOL began in the early 1990s, right? In 1992 there were no graphics online. There was e-mail, and there were newsgroups, but the “www” thing did not begin until around 1994 or so. And AOL was very big around 1993 or 1994, if I am not mistaken, but definitely not in the 80s.

    You are right about “real men” not wanting it to be known that they could type. My many years as a secretary involved serving guys who could think but could not be bothered to ty pe. And if you could type, you had ruined your rep as far as being perceived as someone who could think.

  71. Maggie Jochild says:

    Elaine — Hysterical! I used to be a big Doom player until I decided it was impeding my ability to get along with others. (Seriously.) But some phrases live on…

    Silvio, et al — From what I can gather, seems like the word “secretary” was used exclusively for men until it became associated with typing, and then the typewriter became linked to women (must be one of the few times that ever happened, women being assumed better at “mastery” of a commercial machine) and secretary came to mean female. I wonder why THIS machine, in particular, got linked to us XX’s? Any herstory or theories from ya’ll out there?

  72. Feminista says:

    Maggie,Silvio,et al,ad hominum…

    With the invention of the typewriter in the 1870s,women moved into the male-dominated clerical field. These women actually were called *typewriters* for awhile. With the growth of bureaucracy and greater need to push paper,a cheaper labor source–young,American-born women–was recruited to serve in this capacity.

    In addition,”cheerful,helpful” women were expected as well to be good ego boosters and coffee servers for these bit players,captains of industry and their (white male)clients. This work was considered prestigious–good,clean work in pleasant surroundings which paid better than factory wage slavery. As more immigrants came to the US,they filled these factory jobs in large numbers (my paternal grandmother worked in a jewelry sweatshop).

  73. Ellen O. says:

    What a gorgeous drawing of the library in the second panel. I wonder if it is based on a three-dimensional library, somewhere outside of DTWOF land?

  74. Nif of Jen and Nif says:

    The whole Beth-Liz-Elspeth thing makes me think I’m watching “Attack of the Lesbian Clones.” Scary!

    Of course I say this as someone who has the same first name as her partner and who inadvertently wore the same color shirt as her partner two days in a row.

  75. mlk says:

    Nif, you and Jen may be OK so long as you didn’t also wear identical underwear along with the matching shirts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m still puzzling over some of the abbreviations, like “FTW” (Ng Yi-Sheng) and “MOFO” (DBD).

    Cranky Librarian asked “what happened to โ€œstamps thingsโ€ and โ€œwonโ€™t let you touch the booksโ€? โ€œhair in a bun,โ€ anyone?”

    technology and diversity have eliminated those stereotypes in our library system (Columbus Metro and OSU). we use scanners to check out books and our branches have self check out stations. seems to me new technology has made libraries quieter — except cell phones are allowed and some of the younger set use headphones at a volume that leaks music. even there, shhhhhhhh has been replaced by a quiet and respectful comment to the offender.

    is this a new norm, or are we unusually civilized here in Ohio (at least in our libraries — won’t comment here on other settings)?

  76. jmc says:

    Regarding the drawing of the library – it looks like one of the old Carnegie libraries, doesn’t it? Seems like they’re slowly disappearing because of their limited size, but they sure are gorgeous… (The windows, especially; it’s so lovely to work in a room like that.)

  77. Duncan says:

    Silvio, I was never a member of AOL, so I could be wrong about it, but Compuserve was definitely there in the mid-1980s. I know because I had an account with them as early as 1985. If America Online didn’t exist then, there was another service much like it, with chatting and chat rooms. I’m sure of that because I knew people who were members in the mid-80s. The name isn’t pertinent; what is pertinent is the emergence of chatroom dialect, which I speculated goes back to that online environment at that time. I was seeing it on local BBSs, I think, during the period. I’m sure someone has documented it, but I haven’t done much reading in that area. What Raffi and Stella are writing to each other is a variation of that online style. Which sets my teeth on edge, too — it’s a good thing people who type “LOL” are separated from me in space, lest I throttle them — but it isn’t *just* ‘bad grammar’ or ‘bad spelling’, it’s a jargon like that of CB. You’ll notice that I don’t use much of it myself, though I do sometimes fall back on smileys. 8-P

    You’re right about the history of women in clerical work, of course; some of that was already familiar to me from my own reading in women’s history. (Cheerleaders used to be all male too; many still were as late as George W. Bush’s schooldays, but he may have become a cheerleader for his own, murkier personal reasons. But being a sissy who wanted to be a writer, I taught myself touch-typing at 14 or so. I’m certainly not totally free of male anxieties, but in general being a sissy frees me to do what I want, rather than what is manly. It may be why I’ve always liked lesbians, who it seems to me are in general more successfully androgynous than gay men are. Dykes have been my role models for a long time.

  78. gw says:

    Actually AOL’s been around since something like the early 80s, and had a GUI in the late 80s, I think it was. You used to have to get their proprietary software to go online, I think (Prodigy, which I was on at the time, had a similar setup).

    I remember using netspeak, smileys, and so forth in 1994, which is when I discovered both Usenet and DTWOF. Ha!

    mlk asked:

    is this a new norm

    Sure it is. I don’t wear my hair in a bun and I’ve never shushed anyone in my life (okay, I’ve been a librarian for less than two years). My library’s circ staff still stamp things, but that’s because we can’t afford RFID. And lordy, I wish they WOULD touch the books. Not everything is on the Internet (yet).

    I am cranky though!

    (Oh, FTW means For The Win. It denotes approval.)

  79. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, I noticed MOFO in the strip, too. Acronym for the Marriage, Family and Order Organization — but has other (delicious) meaning in modern slang. Very, very clever, Alison.

    Hair in a bun actually works for me, erotic-wise. Kinda like the Doris Day/Rosemary Clooney fixation. But not as much as a buzzcut. (Or Doris Day in a buzzcut — omigod.)

  80. Josiah says:

    Oh, dear. Looks like I messed up the HTML tags. I wish there were a way to edit your comments. I meant to say, “How can you advocate for a language that has no middle voice?” So much for attempted wit…

  81. mrubyjean says:

    Yes, Mo is a reference librarian! I’ve been one for 20 years…just another in the many connections I’ve felt with this strip over the years. And my libraries (KCLS, Seattle)use self-checkout and scanners, but no cell phones allowed and the “young adult” area is now the “teen zone”. And we’ve been admonished by some library users for not shushing folks enough!

    Thank you, Alison, for your articulate, wry and insightful commentary on the world as it’s been changing through the years. Finding this website has been pure delight and I recently introduced my partner to D2WO4 and she was seduced by it as well. We’ve just finished reading all the books, in order, to each other out loud at bedtime. And we look forward to the next collection, whenever.

    I also love the comments by everyone along with each episode. It is wonderful to share perspectives. And incredible to know that there are other folks for whom this strip’s characters are as real as flesh-and-blood friends.

    A last accolade to Alison regarding FUN HOME. I read it breathlessly in one sitting (a library copy, then had to run out and buy one to keep!) and I am so glad the book is getting such acknowledgement and praise. It deserves everything marvelous word said about it!

  82. RI Red says:

    Hey AK,
    Minding one’s ps&qs is a typesetting term. Back in the day before type was generated by computer, each letter was set by hand. In order to read right on the printed page, the letters were backwards or reversed. A reversed lower case p is easily confused with a reversed lower case q. So a good typesetter, one who minds her ps and qs, is too busy to mind the affairs of others.

    There is so much to love about Fun Home but I was thrilled to read an explanation for the term “86”. My first job out of art school was fabulous but the pay was major suckage. I made ends meet by bartending in a country-western honky-tonk. Talk about culture shock. As you might imagine, I frequently had to “86” people who had had one too many Grain Belt beers but I never knew the origins of “86”. Thanks AB.

  83. shadocat says:

    A few have touched on the matter of a “man” in the last panel of #501, who supposedly looks like Alison’s father. I looked, and true, he has some of the same features as her dad, but doesn’t seem quite the same. Maybe he’s just some guy. But then I noticed the Tintin haircut and I thought-Alison-could that be you, or some version of you in your own strip???

    And Maggie; a friend showed me a picture of Doris taken about 1960 by one of her husbands. She was at Cannes, and wearing a BIKINI, And I swear, her bod was as toned and muscular as a Williams sister! Now if she’d only had that buzz cut…so much for sleeping tonight!

  84. Fernmonkey says:

    Love the detailing in this one.

    Ana’s cable-knit sweater, the expressions on the faces of The Teens, Mo’s Down Wit Da Kidz gestures, the balding ponytail hairdo of the librarian, Beth’s hair and neck.


  85. Fernmonkey says:

    Not Ana, Gloria!

    *slapping of forehead*

  86. silvio soprani says:


    Okay…your point is good that Compuserve was around in the 80s. I do remember around 1982 or 84, I think, I got my first Radio Shack computer–can’t remember the name of it–darn, the brain is just missing a few little grey cells today…anyway, it had a modem (the kind where you plug your phone set into those rubber cups)and I was so excited to try out the bulletin boards (“BBS” right?).

    What a disappointment! It was all teen-aged males bragging about how they were the best hackers and phreakers or whatever. I had envisioned wonderful conversations about books and life, but all the “conversation” I found was monomaniacal rants that were probably pre-cursors of a lot of 90s mysogenist rap, only from white adolescents with no driver’s licenses.

  87. syd says:

    I really liked the bear who was showing Mo around the library. I hope he shows up in later installments. Thanks, Alison! I think Stuart might be getting lonely as the only bear in the main “cast.” I would love it if Librarian Bear turned out to be Gay Librarian Bear…

  88. Sarah R. says:

    The artwork is particularly stunning in this episode.

    and omgz nice work on capturing IM speak 4 sere ok laterz hahahah!11one

  89. straight european says:

    One of the many great things about the comments here: you help me (and, I suspect, many non-native speakers of english) to catch a few “hidden” jokes. For instance, I thought MOFO was just an acronym… but now, thanks to Maggie Jochild and google, I know better.
    Thanks everybody, and keep helping.

  90. JJ says:

    The funniest strip in a long time. ROTFLMAO!

    “Ah, the library, temple to the written word.” followed by internet talk.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Josiah, why settle for Greek? Bring back cuneiform! To say nothing of the fact that writing is unholy — oral tradition all the way!

    Silvio, yep, I know what you mean. I found a few good places for conversation in local BBSes, but there was considerable resistance. (And that’s not ancient history — try to have a serious discussion even today in the Intellectuals room on gay.com with college-educated gay men.) Anti-intellectualism is deeply rooted in human beings.

    But again, the history: gw confirms that not only Compuserve but America Online has been around since the early to mid-80s. As for “misogynist rap,” that goes back to the late 70s, but virulent misogyny in popular music and culture, as you must know, is much older than that. In “high” culture, too: consider Shakespeare and the biblical book of Ezekiel, among so many others. I don’t much like rap, but I believe it gets singled out because of American racism, not because it is much worse than white culture. Your experience with misogynist geekboys just confirms that, really. And misogyny among white gay men is just as virulent, another reason I don’t usually like to be in groups of gay men.

  92. mlk says:

    I wonder how long Mo can hold out before shushing a patron?

    gotta say, in our highly civilized libraries I’ve wanted to say something to some of my ruder neighbors but was afraid it’d come across too nastily. have never believed in correcting rudeness in a heavy handed manner — just doesn’t make sense somehow. or maybe I just don’t know how to pull it off?

  93. jasmine says:

    the radio shack computer was the TRS-80, I think… we called it the trash-80.

  94. ED says:

    I think that if Toni and Gloria got together, it would burn out very quickly. They really don’t “got it” and for more selfish reasons, I don’t want to see them together. This isn’t “As the World Turns”, they don’t always have to end up with the person they slept with.

    I also love those blank looks on Raffi’s face as he types. That’s what makes the internet so interesting. I’ve had huge arguments with people online, and after all this heated emotion, I realize I haven’t uttered one real word.

  95. TG says:

    Re: Susanonymous’s “Loved the text-speak and misspellings (esp. teh). Especially that, rather than make her own face sad directly to Raffi, Stella types in ๐Ÿ™ . I guess they want to keep it a secret that they are talking to each other, though the kids next to them are making no secret that they are using the library to play games. I think also it is about being bored and clever.”

    As a somewhat latecomer to the IM thing, I quickly became (and remain) fascinated by the psychology of the whole process. In my first forays into instant-message land, I observed that the psuedo-anonymity of communicating instantly with a person whom you could neither see nor hear gave you license to type things you would never say face-to-face or on the phone. This sense of cyber-security inspired a boldness that fostered flirting, creating instant deep best-friendships, and waging virulent wars with all the folks around whom you usually behaved normally. There was a sort-of “I can share my deepest secrets with you and take huge emotional risks” attitude that, in the moment, was oblivious to the consequences that cropped up when you had to go to class or practice with that person the next day.

    I often wonder what effect this IM-safety has on the way people communicate and develop relationships in person now. Stella can express her sadness with an emoticon on the screen, but would she be that open to Raffi without the cables running between them? Is this good for emotional development, or is it stunting “real” communication?

    In my adolescence, we wrote bad poems and letters and stories to deal with the angst we couldn’t express to other people. And there was safety in that: no one else ever read those things, so the risk was low. And even if we were tempted to send them along, it took a bit of physical effort. Now, you just hit send or enter and its out there.

    So are people sharing what they normally wouldn’t share under the false sense that the computer screen protects them? Or it this method of communication a good thing because it encourages you to be open and take these emotional risks?

  96. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    Hilarious strip, Alison!

    Are there no _Sanskrit_ speakers, anymore? Damn all these new-fangled languages, anyhow…As for AOL:



  97. Jana C.H. says:

    Ellen O. mentioned the drawing of the library in the second panel; I also noticed it, and I think it looks like a Carnagie Library– the only place for an old-fashioned book nerd like Mo. Seattle’s icy new glass-and-steel monstrosity would drive her crazy. At least it drives ME crazy, and when it comes to books Mo and I are a lot alike. I wonder if she also lends paperbacks only to people who can be trusted not to break the spine.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  98. Bad_Korma says:

    Well, with the young people (12-24) I work with in Sydney, Australia, ‘tool’ translates to ‘wanker’ which means; ‘idiot’, ‘loser’, someone who is unable to do anything adequately because he has his member in his hands and is too busy focused on this. I guess the equivalent here would be ‘dickhead’which means ‘tool’.

    This may be different from in the USA as I recently told a visitor from Chicago that he had to wear thongs when he went to the beach. Thongs in Australia meaning rubber shoes, flip-flops in some countries, or jandles in NZ. He thought I was talking about something we call a G-string.

    I love how language is always imbued with new meanings, from country to country, state to state, to person to person!

  99. Em says:

    “I often wonder what effect this IM-safety has on the way people communicate and develop relationships in person now. Stella can express her sadness with an emoticon on the screen, but would she be that open to Raffi without the cables running between them? Is this good for emotional development, or is it stunting โ€œrealโ€ communication?”

    Well I can’t speak for everyone else of my generation but getting into the world of IM, messageboards and the like at age 12/13 certainly didn’t stuntmy emotional expression. In fact, if you ask anyone around me, they’d probably sigh heavily and wish that I would be a little LESS emotive. And oh yes, I had the worst typing… “liek” and “teh” cropped up constantly but pretty much everyone I talk to over IM doesn’t use the constant netspeak shorthand anymore (except for one friend of mine, it drives me batshit insane. Not because of some deep love for the English language… it just gets so grating to read “what liek u done wit finals girl thats cool lol neway i gotta study grr ttyl bye” but she is thankfully the exception) I think if anything, growing up on IM culture has given me a new appreciation for the all the delightfully absurd ways I can express myself and all the wonderful idiosyncracies of the English language. I admit a deep love for certain internet shorthands that are used in fandom in a tounge-in-cheek kinda way, like ZOMG!!! Oh how I love ZOMG!!!, so delightful in capturing my frequent spaz attacks over something geeky. Ohnooes!!!11!, O RLY with Hedwig the owl winking… so perfect for distracting myself from whatever it is I should be studying. But if it’s not geeky internet-speak, it would just be something else.

    Above ramblings courtesy of pulling an all nighter with copious amounts of caffeine and sugar still racing through my bloodstream.

  100. Em says:

    Of course, all that said, and as much as I love the internet, I still enjoy the hell out of David Sedaris’ hilarious anti-computer sentiment in his essay Nutcracker.com. Any lovers of the typewriter will get a kick out of it too.

    Oh man, this is bringing back so many fond memories of the computer in pre-internet days…playing Oregon Trail in gifted class, this fun-despite-the-fact-that-it’s-math type game whose name escapes me, the fun of MS DOS and all these weird art programs… this is why I will never be convinced that technology is deadening our emotions cause you ask any 22 year old about Oregon Trail and watch them launch into a giddy, nostalgic reverie!

  101. Macci says:

    The university library where I work just initiated an IM reference service. Our glasses fell from their perches on the end of our noses (but were saved by their chains) when we discovered that a very large percentage of the IM-users were sitting a few yards away from the reference desk as they typed away.
    As for Mo’s wardrobe– as a librarian, I like to look professional at work, but it’s important to keep the funky edge.

  102. Alexis says:

    Oh Pulease!!!! I am so tired of Toni and Clarice, lets get on with it! I want to see Toni happy, and I think it could work with Gloria. I do hope they find something more interesting to bond on than boring old marriage though…re someone else’s comment about heteros screwing up the institution (of marriage, among other things) here is the snl gay marriage protest song

  103. Straight Girl Fan says:

    Latin, Greek, Sanskrit . . . peh! Now, Proto-Indo-European, that’s a language!

  104. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Re: Beth OMG what a bi-atch! ๐Ÿ™‚

  105. Josiah says:

    Proto-Indo-European is just a fad, like spoken language itself. The gestural language of homo habilis, now that was a Golden Age. None of this newfangled noise young people today call “talking”.

  106. LondonBoy says:

    Not all librarians are dull and grey. I can’t remember if someone’s mentioned this, but have you seen “The Modified Librarian” ( http://www.bmeworld.com/gailcat/ ) ?

    BTW, I’ve posted the orange cake recipe in the comments for the 8 December entry.

  107. Yossi says:

    Silvio, as a librarian-in-training, I would call anyone who works in the library: libraians, library technical assistants. However, LTAs are not exactly professionals because we haven’t gotten our Masters in Library Science yet. (Two more semesters, baby!!! YESSS!!) But we do alot of the things that librarians do or used to do. For instance, I work the Reference desk and teach Library Instruction classes to freshmen, which is ALOT of fun. More and more cataloging is being done by LTA’s and Graduate Assistants.

    Mo is going to be a TERRIFIC librarian because she is passionate and intelligent. Alison, you probably know this already, but the library is a perfect place for various social activities that used to occur in Madwimmin Books.

  108. Mame says:

    hey, NJ legislature ok’ed civil unions. The bill is waiting to be signed into law by the gov who has previously indicated he would sign it. not exactly Freedom to Marry but a step…

  109. JJ says:

    EM ……I used to be hooked on Oregon Trail on an Apple 2e computer with a mono-green text monitor. I was pretty good at it too and was the champ among my peers for awhile. Haven’t played many computer games since then..late 80s early 90s.

  110. silvio soprani says:


    Around the late 80s there was a “Library Science Librarian” from Univ of MD College Park who also was a virtuoso on the Musical Saw. He used to perform at a coffee house in Takoma Park, MD. I think he was first library academic I ever met. It gave me a whole new perspective of the science of libraries.

    I must say that librarians in general are just cool people. Much more affable than their reputation and a certain amount of mystery too because one hesitates to disturb such deep thinkers from their reveries…and then it is always such a surprise how willing they are to be “disturbed.”

    I have to also say that since all the bookstore chains introduced coffee and even (gasp!) pastries into the book milieu, that some libraries have even installed little snack areas with tables and coffee machines RIGHT IN THE LIBRARY!! So that puts in a crimp in the whole “shushhh” library culture. How can you expect to shushhh when people are eating, drinking, and chatting at tables?

    Add to that the long time phenomenon of libraries as free after-school alternatives for many working parents’ children, and libraries are just not quiet anymore.

    I had one of my ESL students complain that people clicking through through the audio cd racks in the media section of the library was disturbing him as he tried to use the computers or select books. Hey! Libraries are just too happenin’ anymore to be quiet.

  111. Yossi says:

    Our library certainly isn’t quiet. Libraries are becoming social centers. We have a Starbucks (much to my chagrin) and people can be seen and heard studying and kibbutzing. We rarely hush. My goal is to become a librarian in a Public Library where I can do communiity work, working with at-risk young adults on continuing their education and eventually breaking the cycle of poverty and with immigrants learning English and who want to become citizens.

  112. Cat says:

    Odell Lake any one? always hated when the osprey got me. I’m 23, and I can’t speak for my generation either, but I can say that my internet experience came when I left home for college, I started doing Role Playing in chat rooms. it was a way for me and my boyfriend to continue to interact, and a way to feel needed when I was sitting in my dorm room on a saturday night. Eventually it got to the point where I was living online more than I was in the real world. People would ask me how I was and I’d go off about one of my characters or characters that I was rping with. I woudld stay up till 5 or 6 in the morning RPing with the same group of people in 5 or 6 rooms. At my peak I had over 20 characters I was playing regularly in 10 different rooms, two that I owned, and I was an assistant manager in at least 6 more. THis is not bragging, I am pretty embarassed about how involved I got. It took a new job where I worked over 70 hours a week and some very outgoing neighbors to get me away from my computer. in my case the internet and chatting was a crutch for me, and it really kept me from experiencing my college years to the fullest. I can’t say if it helped me emotionally or not, I do remember nights where I would be pissed about something and so i’d pick a character where I could be a complete b*tch and not care if I hurt someone, because “I was just playing my character”.

  113. Jain says:

    Odell Lake? Cabin 5 next week, Tuesday through Friday.

  114. Arte es Vida says:

    You are all too funny. I never played Odell Lake but went looking for a description of it online because of your reminiscences. Seems there’s a link here http://www.gb64.com/game.php?id=9294&d=18&h=0 that might allow you to download it and play it. Had to share it with you.

  115. JimmiJon says:

    whatever ..

  116. Lee says:

    I don’t have time to look at all the comments, but that library sure looks an awful lot like Neilson Library at Smith College (where I spent hours and hours in the reference room), Noho.

  117. Alan says:

    > …but I find it hard to like/respect any person/character
    > who cheats. Its time for Toni and Gloria to realize what
    > theyโ€™ve done to their significant others and their
    > children. Next stop: Sydney!

    Yeh. I sometimes wonder why the characters never seem to have a good polyamory model on their radar screens. Oh, wait! We’ve already seen how good Sidney would be at poly!

  118. Cat says:

    Alan I was not knocking Polyamorous partnerships, I am merely mentioning that one of the biggest arguments against gay marriage is the opinion (and i’m not saying that this is a correct opinion) that gay couples are not as serious about commitment as straight couples, and that gay marriages will destroy everything that “marriage” stands for. With Toni and Gloria pushing so hard for the right to marry, it seems very hipocritical to my that they are doing the exact action that the anti-gay marraige groups are upset about. As far as Sydney, I just don’t want to see Mo hurt, and Sydney is flouting her relationship with Madeleine, from texting her to making plans for their next sexual tryst right infront of Mo. I understand that drama and emotion create better characters, giving them depth and intensity, but there’s something to be said about having a positive role model.

  119. Therry says:

    I’m coming to this whole dialog thing wicked late, but I hafe to say that reading the endless hashing out of the details of relationships as if these were real people is always my favorite part of reading the archive on line. I also love the way the community wants instant gratification, as in “That tool Clarice is so OVER, move in with Gloria right now!” a) waht’s up with you people, don’t you believe in grief? and b) I am continually stymied by freedom to marry. I thought it wasn’t queer enough. And I hope you all saw that straight celebs are now putting off their own marriages until everybody can get married.

    Sigh. Sometimes it’s weird to have other things to do.

  120. kim says:

    Okay,I’ve hit the too old category, just what were Raffi and Stella talking about?

  121. Kyle says:

    Maybe I missed further discussion of this point in the second half of the thread. But, yeah, nowadays when people say “tool” they mean “dick.” Especially if they’re 12 years old or Jon Stewart. The word is a staple on his show and always gets a big laugh, which guarantees that it has obscene connotations.

    Kim — Raffi and Stella were

    1) discussing the fact that their mothers are getting divorced
    2) comparing notes on being forbidden to use the Internet, an experience that they agree is not at all bad
    3) accusing their parents of hypocrisy because, supposedly, gays who want the right to be married should not also be seeking a divorce
    4) agreeing that being gay has nothing to do with the couple’s breakup, since straight people also get divorced 5) saying that their mothers, critics of gay marriage, and poor old Mo are all dicks.

    Poor old Mo. Well, you got to love her.

  122. Red Genie says:

    Thought I’d share something funny for the New Year http://www.moveonmoron.com Good for a laugh to start 2007

  123. Therry says:

    Just to reply to an early responder who remarked (more or less) that now that Mo has a “real” job it might be time to revise her wardrobe, honey, what part of personal style don’t you understand? The current issue of INStyle magazine (I don’t inhale, really) did a huge feature on how to incorporate Mo’s striped shirt into extremely expensive outfits suitable for those in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and those of us who dress far too young for our age, in our late fifties. Striped shirts are now officially fashion forward, Madam, and Mo would appear to be hip to the jive. Go MO!

  124. 502 says:

    When will episode 502 be posted?

    Enquiring minds want to know the next plot details.

  125. The irony says:

    If this were a comic strip about gay men, this little 1x trist would have meant absolutely nothing. I don’t know if I have ever met a gay male couple that was ever truly monogamous, though rarely I have met partnerships where 1 was and the other wasn’t.

    HOWEVER this is a comic strip about lesbian women, and in writing this little part, if it is actually a true reflection of the way lesbians treat relationships and seek to adhere to the principals of a monogamous relationship, then the irony is rich.

    The strip ends with a lesbians for marriage group coming down hard on the two who had the 1x trist.

    Considering the length of the relationship in question, this 1x trist while totally unwelcome would not be UNexpected in a straight relationship, and most surviving that long, would get over it easily enough.

    Yet the women here cannot. It is such a major issue,just sleeping with another person 1x, they are going to end their relationship. Hmmmm

    Which makes me ask, “is it possible that lesbians more than any other group respect and try their upmost” to uphold the cherished principals of marriage more than any other group?

    Most straight couples surviving this long, would stick it out. Gay couples such trists can be a regular thing and meaningless.

    Is this reflective of a general (though NOT absolute) lesbian woman’s mindset re: monogamy? If so how come they don’t get any credit for being so loyal to the relationship standards that are behind why straight people marry in the first place?

    Hell, if this is at all typical, far from shying away from the breakup, it should be trumpeted. “Lesbians break up after 1 day affair after a decade together.”

    To make it even more amazing, it’s clear they still care for each other very deeply.

    It’s something i don’t quite get.

    I love AB, and all her stories are fantastic Etc., so please don’t take this as questioning her. Rather I’m just trying to understand it.

  126. VS says:

    “Considering the length of the relationship in question, this 1x trist while totally unwelcome would not be UNexpected in a straight relationship, and most surviving that long, would get over it easily enough.”

    You must know very, very different straight people than I do.

  127. Jay says:

    It very much depends on the person you do it with. This wasn’t a meaningless one time fling; this was the culmination of a flirtation that’s smoldered for years.

  128. The irony says:

    VS: str8 women in a marriage this long have to be more realistic vs. a vs. the str8 men due to the still very deeply rooted aspects of sexism in our society. A 40yr. old str8 woman has less options than a 40yr. old man. She is considered over the hill, he is considered to still be in his prime (there are ALWAYS exceptions, but exceptions don’t make or break the rule) Of course this is an inherent evil of sexism, BUT because of the inequity in the way society treats men and women, a woman in a str8 relationship of this long, has far more reason to compromise, and thus will stick it out. Men know this, and “Generally speaking” will exploit it.

    Lesbians being on equal footing, perhaps they can afford to be far more strict (I do NOT know – that’s more a question, NOT a statement)

    JAY: Yes, i got that. I’ve been reading the strip for forever (as I imagine you have) and I guess what gets me is the need to make a “1x affair” the breaking point? Their personal growing apart was enough reason to call it quits. Hell, no sex, is enough reason. LOL Is this realistic? I just think, if two people have stuck it out this long, and endured so many changes and had a child, an eventual 1x tryst seems to be part of the equation. How it could be the “absolute” make or break is confounding.

    I wonder if under the obvious storyline one can construe a subtle jab at the desperation so many homosexuals feel to “live up to the standards of straight expectations.” This would explain why two lesbian women would react so strongly to a 1x tryst and make it the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    In many ways their relationship is patterned on the str8 one. I don’t mean the simplistic Clarice is the “butch” rather across the board, Clarice adopts all the subtle nuances that go with being a man in a str8 relationship and how they deal with a wife.

    A man in a str8 relationship “stereotypically” is the one who canNOT deal with his “wife’s” infidelity. Whereas women, though it’s not easy usually end up dealing with it. Again this is due to the inherent inequality and unfairness in a strongly sexist society. A man is expected to play around, but NEVER a woman.

    Clarice seems to be imposing this kind of strict requirement on her mate, cheat one time and it’s over, no matter what we’ve endured.

    Of course this could also be seen as sarcastic jab at the whole notion of promiscuity, as if a 1x tryst can be called that ever. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    That’s the beauty of Bechtel’s writing, it can co-exist on so many levels, all can make sense without contradiction.

  129. gabrielaa. says:

    what I don’t understand is why “freedom to marry” should exclude “freedom to divorce”

  130. Karen says:

    Episode 502, pretty please.

  131. Tuchfrau says:

    I heard on the radio (dinosaur that I am), on a documentary about Telegraph operaters (who had to tap out all messages in morse code) in the late 19th/early 20th century, that they routinely used to send eachother messages along the lines of how ru cu l8r. Also, my Dad said a fave joke at school in the early 60s was B4 I ?u ru/16? (‘Course my Dad -is- now a computer programmer). When writing was runes carved in stone it was probably similarly abbreviated. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

    Really enjoyed the strip, as usual.

  132. Cat says:

    Irony, I have to agree with VS, I don’t know the straight people you do, and honestly, I don’t know the gay people you do. My friend and her partner have been together for 10 years, and have never wandered. My boyfriend’s bestfriend and his boyfriend have been faithful since they met, and a regular at the gay bar I work at is still with her first girlfriend after 12 years, and again, they have never faltered in their faithfulness to eachother. I recognize that there are couples out there both gay and straight who do “cheat” on their partner, whether the partner knows about it or agrees with it. But for some reason I doubt that those couples that do allow outside sexual encounters into their lives are not looking for marriage. Toni and Gloria had been looking for that sort of commitment, hell, when they slept together it was when they stayed home to work on the gay marriage campaign! I’m not trying to knock couples that go outside of their partnership to find sexual encounters, I just don’t think that the majority of them are looking for marriage anyway.

  133. Miranda says:

    Excellent comic timing on digitally calling Mo a tool :^)

  134. The irony says:

    Cat: self-selection helps a lot.

    I’m single and looking, and find a lot of “partnered, long-term Etc” looking for some on the side. I’d say it’s about 50% of all “online” gay men looking for hookups.

    Also in our society, talking about those things is still pretty verboten, UNLESS it explodes out in the open.

    Do you really think a wife or husband or partner who has indured infidelity is going to broadcast it to the world, that they were cheated on and decided to stay?

    Usually if it’s out in the open, it’s broken beyond repair.

    Silence is the rule for those that survive it.

  135. Amy says:


    My interpretation is:

    (1) because these are two kids whose lives are being screwed up by their parents’ getting divorced and logic doesn’t have a lot to do with their reaction

    (2) because it sets them up to observe that straight people get divorced too and no one says “hey, you straight people think you have the right to marry, so how come you’re getting divorced?”

    Which is right on, and why this queer disagrees with Therry that freedom to marry isn’t “queer enough.” Freedom isn’t queer or het . . . or rather, it shouldn’t be.

  136. gw says:

    So much library love (and so many librarians) here! So I have to mention this comic strip, which is written and drawn by two librarians right here in WA state. Enjoy.

  137. caz says:

    bring on the etymology!
    and i’d always thought “watch your Ps and Qs” meant “mind your manners” (as in “pleases and thank-yous”)

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