DTWOF episode #511

August 7th, 2007 | Uncategorized

511 detailHere’s th’ latest.

206 Responses to “DTWOF episode #511”

  1. Ellen Orleans says:

    Physical movement! Emotional movement!

    What more could a girl ask for?

  2. shadocat says:

    Yay! Nekkid Wimmin! Mo having a coffee talk! I still want to strangle Sydney!

    Seems like old times…

  3. kara says:

    aw, sniffle(and thats for ginger, lois, and sparrow- not sidney!)

  4. Kyle says:

    Ouch! A little too close to home on the reading of the emails. Been there, done that, squirming now :(.

  5. Ydnic says:

    “just a figure of speech”?? Ouch!

  6. Ellen Orleans says:

    Of course, Alison has skillfully placed the “yes” word bubble in the “Breaking the Sabbath” frame so that it covers not one, but two key body parts.

    One might deduce that this “yes bubble,” in its two-for-one location, positively affirms the joining of Ginger and Samia’s flesh as they agree to not only move in together, but buy a house together. Yow.

    Of course, that might be reading just a tad too much into it.

    I also like the S/M Sydney/Madeleine Sydney/Mo connection, and the emotional S/M involved in all of it.

    So much lies within the details.

  7. Ellen Orleans says:

    And just one more–

    I love how Stuart’s bagel becomes the “O” in NOW.

  8. Ann S. in Madison says:

    Brill, AB.

  9. Josiah says:

    Harry Potter and the Vicious Veep? Unlikely. Dick Cheney is far too terrifying and evil for J. K. Rowling’s readers. Voldemort didn’t manage to stay in power nearly as long as Cheney has, either.

    Hmmm… I wonder whether there’s a Horcrux with part of Cheney’s soul hidden somewhere in Guantanamo Bay?

    This T-shirt says it all, really.

  10. Tera says:

    wait…..Mo still hasn’t broken off things w/Sydney?! Mo get some self respect and kick her out! I think being broken up with is going to be the catalyst to get sydney to reflect on her behavior. although maybe she will spiral downward for a bit longer and hit another “bottom” first! It seems like she hasn’t learned anything.

  11. Jellyfish says:

    Or maybe, after all this time, Sydney truly is in love with Madeleine, finally and for real, in a way she’s never been in love before.

    Just a thought.

  12. Feminista says:

    Congrats to Ginger and Samia! And it looks like Mo is getting more assertive; I liked her comeback to Clarice. And for the record,I’ve never considered Mo a “doormat”,as some have suggested before. I’d still like to see our feisty librarian reunite with Harriet.

    Re: Sydney and Mad–Each sounds too selfish for “true love”,but perhaps obnoxious people deserve each other.

  13. JenK says:

    Er… does this mean Samia is now legally single?

  14. Bella says:

    Ten coffee cups! Count ’em. Another vice?

  15. Tone says:

    Very exciting episode! Sad to see Ginger leave the house though!In former attempts to break up that household it has felt like betrayal, but now it feels kind of ok. Why is that? I love Stuart, but wonder if it is the development of a nuclear family inside that once so alternative household that make it feel natural for Ginger to move out. But what will happen to poor Lois? Let’s hope she still has enough integrity to take here share of room/space! I’d hate to see everyone retract back too couplehood, but of course we have new possibilities now that two miserable couples hopefully are breaking up!

    Can anyone enlighten a foreigner on what the stickers J.R. puts up stand for?

  16. laura says:

    Am I the only one who remembers that Sidney tried and tried to convince Mo about poliamory? So, somehow Sidney explicitely and honestly state what she desired. Mo was forewarned, somehow. As we all know, sadly, saying no and shutting your eyes does not change our partners’ (or ours, for that matter) desires. Then again, apparently Madeleine is unavailable (= married?). She does not sound like a real threat, and Sidney is still there (AND she is hot, and intriguing, and there is really something going on between her and Mo). Anyway, whatever happens, please, not Harriet again!

  17. kat says:

    I just started re-reading dtwof after a long hiatus (I read the first few books in high school, then the strips as they appeared in my local GLBT newspaper for a while. But that was ten years ago).

    So I’m missing a decent bit of backstory, despite having caught up on almost everything online (I’m still finishing the stuff at planetout. Also, I like parentheses).

    Regardless, this makes all this quite fresh in my mind; mo/syd, the poly thing, etc. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but trying to convince a partner who, from most of what we’ve seens, is inherently monogamous to accept a poly relationship with half-joking comments is not the same as saying, “Look, I’m poly. I’d like this to be workable in the context of our relationship. I love you and I don’t want to be dishonest.” Let’s seriously discuss this.

    Hell, for that matter, painful preface aside, has Syd ever *told* Mo she loves her in-strip before?

    Blah. I’m braindumping because I’m so overwhelmed by re-finding this [margo]ing incredible comic.

  18. Deb says:

    I loved it! Harry Potter and the Vicious Veep! LOLOL That one cracked me up! There were so many things that reminded me of the old days. Everyone at their place at the table….in the cafe, at home………in bed…….it just felt like the ‘old days’. I loved this one! Good GAWD Mo………”That’s just a figure of speach?” ARGH! Mo……..sweetie………..wake up!

  19. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    “The leaky downstairs toilet”… amazing how you combine bathos, eroticism, excremental vision and wit in just four words. 🙂

    Speaking of Samia’s possible bigamy, check out this story in the UK…


  20. Michelle says:

    HUH? figure of speech?????? Better break up with sydney. That Sydney is NOT worth make Mo WORST not better…. She USED MO! Come on!! :::::::slap Mo’s head:::::: wake up!!! break up now!! Just does it! Mo!!!

  21. Mabel says:

    I love it! For a few months now, the strip just hasn’t been right. It started with the whole “let’s raise 5 grand for Episode 500” phase, during which things just seems a little flat. Then there was the whole “blogged out” phase when things seemed a little contrived. Then came the “critical acclaim” phase when things seemed a little neglected. I was sure the “monthly cutback” phase would result in a bland, drawn-out, hollow strip. But no! I was wrong! We are now in the “normal service has resumed” phase. Brilliant.

  22. Hariette says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Sydney & Mo’s initials are S&M? And how perfect that Sydney matches her S & Mo matches her M?

    Perhaps I shouldn’t post this early BC — before coffee.

  23. AnnaH says:

    Going into people’s email without having permission is not not not right. obviously sydney did not give mo permission to read her correspondence with madeline. why is sydney not calling her on that? because she feels guilty? really, what is mo thinking? jealousy justifying anything and everything?

    Both of them have some murky boundaries.

  24. byrdie says:

    My loudest thought upon reading this installment was: NIPPLES! 🙂

    Quoth [b]JenK[/b]:

    [i]Er… does this mean Samia is now legally single?[/i]

    I was wondering if they were going to end up with an additional housemate, or if his story was pretty much done now.

    Quoth [b]laura[/b]:

    [i]As we all know, sadly, saying no and shutting your eyes does not change our partners’ (or ours, for that matter) desires.[/i]

    Actually, didn’t Syndey back off of the whole polyamory idea once she realized how fascinated Mo was becoming with new-mommy Harriett? If Syndey really wanted polyamory — open, honest, multi-partner love — wouldn’t she have used that as the perfect hook to introduce Mo to the concept? Instead, she started nitpicking at Mo’s interest in Harriett, acting jealous and eventually poking holes in her own arguments.

    Since Sydney’s denying that she really meant that she loved Madeleine, I think that she’s into poly-humpery than polyamory. Either that, or she’s so warped that she believes that love for another is a deal-breaker on either side, and simply tries to uphold the sex angle.

    Quoth [b]Tone[/b]:

    [i]Can anyone enlighten a foreigner on what the stickers J.R. puts up stand for?[/i]

    The design is a [b]W[/b], circled with a slash through it. The current American president — George W. Bush — is commonly distinguished from his former American president father — George H. W. Bush — by his middle initial. This initial is often pronounced as “Dubya” to poke fun of his accent.

  25. byrdie says:

    Well. So much for mark-up text.


  26. Vicki says:

    I’d say “How very Dick Cheney of you” counts as Sydney calling Mo on reading her emails. In the instant, though, she seems, plausibly, more concerned with convincing Mo that she loves her and wants to stay.

    Never mind “figure of speech,” I say “I love you” to people other than my partners. And I don’t go read their email, or they mine. We don’t need to read each other’s email to know what’s going on: we tell each other things like “I’m thinking of getting involved with so-and-so” or “she’s really cool and attractive, and if she were poly I’d be interested in a relationship with her.”

    I don’t know whether Mo and Sydney can make that relationship work, monogamously or otherwise. For someone that into processing, Mo seems to be having some real communications problems here, and that’s bad for any relationship, poly or mono.

  27. Tone says:

    Thank you so much for the enlightenment byrdie! I would never have guessed! I thought it might be a “No War” sticker, but this was much more interesting.

  28. Dr. Empirical says:

    I love how everyone discusses the characters in the strip as if they were real people.

    byrdie: You have to use greater/less thans instead of brackets:

  29. Andrew B says:

    Byrdie: Use angle brackets (less than/greater than), not square brackets. Anyway we all knew what you meant.

    Tone: W = George W. Bush. The circle with a slash through it is a symbol for “is forbidden”. So the stickers mean roughly Bush is forbidden or get rid of Bush. (Actually if the slash goes one way it’s the symbol and if it goes the other way it’s derived from the Ghostbusters logo, but one of the more erudite commenters will have to straighten out which is which. The idea’s the same either way.)

    I’m glad to see Clarice has finally figured out the difference between her personal life and the war in Iraq. Now if she’d only stop talking about an implosion, as if it were an astrononical phenomenon she can’t possibly change…

    I believe Sydney, sucker though I could be. I also think she may like it that Mo got in her emails. That’s more attention to her and her problems than Mo has given her in ages. Remember Mo blithering about the cat while Sydney was trying to cope with her mother? None of this is ideal, of course, but I’m still holding out hope for both S/Mo and C/T.

    And I still don’t trust Samia and I still don’t like Stuart. Even if Ginger doesn’t mean that much to him (which would be understandable given how she treated him at first), he ought to know what she means to Sparrow and Lois.

    But it’s nice to see a couple of characters out of their private homes and back in Java Jones. And it’s nice to see them pursuing a friendship that’s not romantic.

    Were we really due for another new strip already, or did we get lucky?

  30. Scotia says:

    I’d like to second laura’s observation about polyamory, and I hope that Sydney and Mo DON’T break up. Sydney has never been truly monogamous, and maybe Mo needs to come to terms with this. Polyamory does not equal scumbag. How about a short-term break-up, so Sydney can feel lonely and miserable while Mo has a rebound fling with someone who’s ready to rush into commitment and makes her claustrophobic and bores her senseless? Then they can have a “don’t-know-what you’ve-got-til-it’s-gone” reunion.

  31. Montrealais says:

    I favour _Harry Potter and the Homoerotic Leitmotiv_, myself. And regarding “Republicans for Voldemort,” my fellow Canadians might enjoy the following: http://userpic.livejournal.com/39490567/1411111

  32. Robin B. says:

    I love that Ginger still has her armpit hair after all these years. Sometimes I feel like the only non-shaving dyke left on the planet (I know I’m not, but sometimes it feels that way).

  33. Dale says:

    These characters eventually begin to feel like real family or friends to us. It’s the same with the Harry Potter books. Upon finishing the last book I felt as if I’d lost several good friends.
    I wish I could yank Mo out of the comic strip and say this to her:

    Mo, I’m not going to tell you to end it with Sydney. I say that only because I’ve been in your shoes and I know how hard it is to walk away. But you have got to see what’s going on, you are not blind.

    *shrugs* Anyway…high-five to Ginger and Samia! I was wondering the same thing, Jen – is Samia’s husband lurking in the background somewhere?

  34. Grisha says:

    Er um .. I’m a str8 guy and all, but I can’t help noticing in the first panel that Sydney is getting just a little thick around the waist. I wonder if this natural part of the aging process, plus her bout with cancer is behind compulsive infidelity, or at least it’s acceleration.

  35. Eris says:

    Byrdie, I *love* your newly coined term, “polyhumpery”! Bwah!

  36. Benny says:

    This is all very well, but whatever happened to Jezanna!?

  37. Ginjoint says:

    Grisha, that’s what a lot of women really look like. In real life. Really.

  38. Alex the Bold says:

    That’s not a bagel. Stuart’s eating a donut. He’ll have a heart attack any day now. And Mo will find him, turning blue, and drop to her knees and start to lecture him on getting proper care for himself …

    Aw. Sydney said she loves Mo.
    Aw. Sydney said black is white.
    Aw. Sydney said war is peace.
    Aw. Sydney’s lying tongue just turned to ashes in her deceitful mouth.

  39. DeLandDeLakes says:

    I’m wearing my Republicans for Voldemort t-shirt even as I write this, Josiah! And I’m pretty sure that Dick Cheney IS the one horcrux that our bespectacled friend failed to find. 🙂

  40. Ellen O. says:

    Sydney says she loves Mo.
    Sydney also says “I love you” is just a figure of speech.

    Doesn’t that apply to her “I love you,” for Mo too?

    The most genuine affection I’ve ever seen Sydney display is with Madeleine, when they were examining the scars on each other’s chests.

  41. NLC says:

    That’s got to be one of the greatest exchanges in the history of comicdom:

    “You told her you loved her.”
    “Mo, that’s just a figure of speech! I love you.”

    Really says everything that needs to be said…

  42. donnie says:

    thick about the waist? i don’t see it. her waist doesn’t look any different to me.

  43. AnnaH says:

    @ alex the bold
    and everybody else,

    apart from the comment that “figure of speech” probably also applies to Sydneys love for Mo (Ellen O.), which I share, just taking the “I love you” part

    why would one assume that sydney does NOT love mo?

    in my book, love is not something that can be proven easily, if at all. one can prove to have an ethical attitude or an healthy approach to relationships by their deeds, though.

    people can be bad to be in a relationship with.
    people can deceitful and lying to you.
    people can have a hard time articulating their feelings to you.
    and all at the same they can truely love you.

    it is a myth that people that love you will by the power of this love not lie to you.

  44. Ginjoint says:

    P.S. DeLand…OT, I finished reading Saturday night. And yeah, I too feel kinda sad. But the idea of Cheney using horcruxes has me cracking up – I bet that bastard WILL find a way to live forever.

  45. LondonBoy says:

    I’m never entirely sure what “love” is, but I quite like the definition I heard recently that “love is what keeps you there when everything else has burned away”.

    I see a lot of myself and my partner in Mo and Sydney, and I’ve always felt fond of Sydney as a result. On occasions Sydney can be horrible, but she can also be playful, entertaining, intellectually stimulating, and so sexy that her and Mo’s private life would make great pornography ( and did ! ). She doesn’t express love well with words, and seems fake when she does, because for her words are tools of the mind, not the heart. Her actions speak louder than her words: she’s had plenty of opportunities to propose to Madeleine, or to run away with one of her admiring grad students, but she’s always come home to Mo.

    In a way, Mo and Sydney have a relationship that looks like several gay male couples I know: negotiating, either tacitly or explicitly, rules whereby sex and love are disengaged from one another. A good strategy for Mo might be to say this: “I don’t mind if you play away sometimes, provided that (a) it’s safe, (b) there’s no deep emotional involvement, (c) you always come home to me, (d) you don’t rub my nose in it, and (e) I get the same options if I want them.” If Mo and Sydney can agree this, or some variation of it, they might be able to both get what they want. It requires care on both parts, though, and Sydney has to avoid being selfish by respecting Mo’s needs and wants first. The same goes for Mo, of course, but since she’s the one who’s hurting more here at present Sydney needs to be more gentle.

  46. Alex the Bold says:

    “why would one assume that sydney does NOT love mo?”

    Um, because of the way she treats Mo and Mo’s needs.

    If this was some mutually agreed upon open relationship, Sydney wouldn’t be skulking about with Madeline. She wouldn’t be telling Mo things like “Oh, that charge to the sex toy shop on our shared credit card? That was a gag gift to friends getting married. Yeah, that’s it. Sure.”

    This isn’t a case of Sydney having these deep complex emotional aspects that we of a lesser-being are incapable of grasping. She’s simply a manipulative, self-centered, arrogant bitch (can I say that?) who has always been able to come up with ways to justify how she treats others.

    And most of her excuses are puh-thetic. If her students gave them to her, she’d fail them. And I’m sorry, Sydney surely doesn’t come across as a success to me — at least as a human being.

  47. Morgan says:

    new character! new character! a hot and *cool* dyke for mo to flirt with and to make syd. JEALOUS!!!! yessssss

  48. gatheringwater says:

    “I don’t mind if you play away sometimes, provided that (a) it’s safe, (b) there’s no deep emotional involvement, (c) you always come home to me, (d) you don’t rub my nose in it, and (e) I get the same options if I want them.”

    Now who’s living in a dream? I think the impeachment movement is more likely to get traction before a-e work in real life. I know, I know, there are always some polyamorists who will say it is so, but they always seem to have the slightly crazed look of a convert in their eyes when they talk about. Put me in the camp that hopes Mo dumps Sydney, cancer notwithstanding.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Harriet, but I’ve noticed that so many of the comments reflect nostalgia for old characters in old strips. Maybe it is time to start wishing someone new comes into Mo’s life…

  49. Josiah says:

    Off topic, but I figured this was the place to ask:

    I’m working on getting the Fun Home Wikipedia article to be one of Wikipedia’s Featured Articles, and I realized that the article should mention translations into other languages. I know that it’s been translated into French (and serialized in Libération), but what other languages has it been published in? Any help would be greatly welcome; you can answer here or on the Wikipedia article’s talk page. Thanks!

  50. Renee says:

    Of course a-e work in real life, for some people. Not for you, and not for me, but who are you to suggest that they never work for anyone? I think plenty of polyamorists would beg to differ.

    However, I do agree completely that they won’t work for Mo, period. I understand why she’s still there — it’s surprisingly hard to get out of an obviously bad relationship, esp when you already live together and share so much. But I really believe she will do better. Right?

  51. Mojave66 says:

    I never wanted to be the kind of person who can fall for multiple people. I really didn’t. But I’m poly because it’s the most honorable way I know to deal with my emotions.

    I have huge problems some of the a)-e) list. In order:

    a) it’s safe: No argument there. a) is good.

    b) there’s no deep emotional involvement: No one can guarantee that, unless all they do is stick to anonymous sex and even then it can be a bit shaky. You’re better off discussing the possibility with your partner(s), and figuring out how to handle the possibilities.

    c) you always come home to me: I don’t necessarily have a problem with this one, either. It does need to be explicitly stated what “coming home to me” actually means.

    d) you don’t rub my nose in it: If by “rubbing my nose in it” they don’t mean “have an honest dialogue about the situation.” Discretion is a good thing; denial, not so much.

    e) I get the same options if I want them: Like A, no problem here.

    I have serious problems with Syd’s ethics, but I have been in her situation. In my case I did have a very painful year where I had to tell my partner I’d fallen for someone else– no affair, but emotional entanglements are just as difficult. Still, I loved/love her very much and always want her in my life as my primary partner. You just don’t toss 15 years out of the window when there are alternatives.

    Working polyamorous ethics in real life is hard, constantly being negotiated and re-negotiated, and isn’t easily tossed off in a list like that. There may be slightly crazed converts that think a laundry list can take care of all contingencies, but that certainly hasn’t been my experience.

    Assuming Syd has it in her (and I’m not sure she can be honest with herself, let alone Mo) she certainly could love both Mo and Madeline at the same time. I can safely say I’m in love with three people right now and how I feel about any of them does not impinge on anybody else. Love is not a zero-sum game.

  52. Red Genie says:

    I think I missed the episode in which Syd and Mad compare scars… Which one was that? I really don’t want to go into all of the archival strips to refresh my mind. Help please.

  53. TMVA says:

    Sydney is a selfish twit, a user. Mo is not so much a doormat as a realist, but she’s stuck thinking she can’t do better, or she doesn’t want to go back to the drama of being single. But when Mo finally walks out or kicks Syd out, whenever that happens, it’ll be a great turning point for her. Maybe we’ll get a wiser, but still fiesty Mo. And I second the reuniting of Mo and Harriet, but I’d love to see Mo model the behavior of healing after a relationship before jumping into another one. I would like to see some growth in Mo. Mo has always secretly wanted to be a parent anyway, and Harriet was so good for her.

    By the way, LOVE Mo’s astute comment about the Bush administration’s sticking with a failed Iraq policy being so much like the inertia of her and Clarice’s relationships. Right on.

    But I don’t think Toni and Clarice should break up. They need to work through this. Relationships are at their heart about learning to be better people, learning to grow up and work like hell to honor your committments. And marriage is also about healing your childhood hurts and unlearning your destructive coping mechanisms, like Clarice’s use of political problems to distance herself from her family. I wish Alison would move the story line towards dealing with that issue, which is so very real in lesbian and gay relationships. I wish the strip would also deal more with the hardship divorce creates for children. And then I wish Clarice and Toni would GROW UP and honor their responsiblity to their child and their committments to each other.

  54. shadocat says:

    Maybe Sydney really does “love” Mo, or has a feeling for her that she thinks is love. But she’s bad for Mo. She’s at the very least, disrespectful of Mo, and at the worst lying and deceitful.

    We all know Sydney talks all the time about polyamory. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for her and Madeline to go sneaking around behind their partner’s backs. She needs to find a plyamourous partner, or at least someone who gets off on these cheating games Sydney seems to love playing.

  55. Elly says:

    Personally, I’m just really upset by how skinny Mo’s looking. Poor thing. She needs a hug. And then a fry-up.

  56. Suzanonymous says:

    Well done, Alison. 🙂

    Some of the comments early on were great — funny! Ellen O, LOL.

    Grisha, I don’t see tubbyness, but “middle-aged spread” is legendarily part of, uh, mid-life.

    Here here, Alex the Bold (about Aw, Sydney, Aw Sydney, and about the way she regularly treats Mo speaks more loudly than her words and how she wouldn’t accept the excuses she dishes out herself).

    Red Genie, you have to go to the back half of one of the books for that story. It wasn’t in an episode strip.

  57. gatheringwater says:

    Mojave66 has some criticisms of the londonboy’s good relationship laundry list that I agree with, but I’d go even further: I think people are underestimating their risk if they think they are just as safe with one partner as they are with two (or however many more).

    I know that non-monogamy happens. And I know, Renee (sorry, I wasn’t trying to offend you), there are happy, well-adjusted pollyanna polyamorists who screw with scruples that would put Mother Theresa to shame. I just don’t think it is the norm.

    I think the norm is a lot closer to what is happening to Mo: She is being ideologically coerced to accept Sydney’s infidelity as somehow morally superior to monogamy. As if only Mo could be more sexually sophisticated she wouldn’t be so miserable that Sydney has lied to her. Mo, with her comic and endearing idealism is ripe for that kind of coercion.

    Isn’t it just a little suspicious that the people advocating polyamory are so often (like Sydney) the ones who benefit from their partner’s tacit acceptance of their sleeping around? What’s in it for Mo? Is she going to have to get the convert’s gleam in her eye just to hold on to Sydney? I’ve met a lot of former advocates of polyamory who are now former partners of polyamorists. If a friend were in Mo’s situation, I’d think she was in a relationship with a lot of potential for abuse. I’d be worried about her.

    Beyond any other argument about the pros and cons of polyamory, from a personal perspective I see it as a matter of simple fairness: Nobody should have two dates until I have at least one. 🙂

  58. Red Genie says:

    Thanks Suzanonymous, I have all the books but just don’t remember this scene. As a cancer survivor myself I’ve followed Syd’s story closely. I have seen firsthand that there are those that feel justified for selfish behavior,like Syd, because they have looked Anubis in the eyes.
    I have truly enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, especially those about Madwimmin books. My partner and I are folding up our little brick and mortar book store.The big box stores win. We can no longer compete with online shops. A new chapter in these Dyke’s life is about to be written.

  59. ragthetiger says:

    Great strip in oh so many ways.

    Hey Kat, have I seen you on the Curmudgeon?

  60. shadocat says:

    I just looked at the strip again. All I cansay is…


  61. shadocat says:

    “cansay”? See, the woman has me tongue-tied!

  62. Ellen O. says:

    Red Genie —

    The scene with Sydney and Madeleine is at the end of Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For (p. 149-151.)

  63. The Cat Pimp says:

    Sigh. Our little Ginger is all grown up. I wonder if Lois is next.

    As for Sydney and Mo, I want it to be over. Mo was more fun when she was flying solo.

    And will SOMEONE adopt a new pet?

  64. K.B. says:

    I have a feeling Clarice is closer to the truth than Mo, regarding the administrations’ reasons for clinging to its Iraq policy.

    And, yes, even as a gay man I couldn’t help noticing that Sydney has gained some weight.

  65. Red Genie says:

    Thanks Ellen

  66. Hariette says:

    Grisha Says:
    Er um .. I’m a str8 guy and all, but I can’t help noticing in the first panel that Sydney is getting just a little thick around the waist. I wonder if this natural part of the aging process, plus her bout with cancer is behind compulsive infidelity, or at least it’s acceleration.

    Grisha —

    It’s interesting that you would comment on Sydney’s waist. To me she seems thin. Your comments make me want to ask how old are you? Have you been reading DTWOF long?

    Weight & gender comments have always interested me. Valerie Bertinelli is on Jenny Craig commercials announcing she wants to lose 30 (!) pounds. Why hasn’t John Goodman called Jenny? Why is Jack Black cast as romantic leads but stories about Kate Winslet still mention her ‘heft’?

    When slender cartoon characters are scrutinized for looking ‘thick’ I do get a bit rabid. But who knows — maybe it’s just my time of the month so it’s to be expected?

  67. Suzanonymous says:

    Hariette, I google-image-d those people and it was striking, it really underlined the point you made (I’m not really up on popular culture). What a double standard we are surrounded by.

  68. Naava says:

    I want to say that this latest strip is heartbreaking, but it’s so close to real life that it’s hard for me to do that.

    I don’t think Sydney is really polyamorous. If Mo can’t trust her to respect her limits of safety and comfort (i.e. to stop screwing around) now, how can multiple partners make it better? I have a lot of sympathy for Sydney at this point, less so for Mo. She’s been trying to juggle her academic career, her father’s mental deterioration (which must be rough for her, seeing as they’re so similar) her bout with cancer that she never really worked through..I’m not saying that her selfish, narcissistic behavior is justified, but I think that for her it’s just another part of filling her life to overexcess, because that’s the way she deals with things. I don’t want to contemplate what would ever happen if she came to a standstill.

    I’ve been on either side of the Mo/Syd equation, unfortunately. Nothing is going to change Sydney’s behavior but a good shaking down, and Mo’s not gonna give it to her because she needs one herself. I think the question isn’t why does Mo stay with Sydney, but why does Sydney stay with Mo? (Also, is it just me or does Sydney look scarily like her father in the third panel?)

    God, it’s nice to armchair shrink fictional characters over coffee in the morning. 🙂

  69. Jen says:

    Sydney reminds me of that Ani DiFranco song with “…juggling two women like some stupid circus clown, telling us both we are the one…”

    Really, I think that the women depicted in the strip are generally pretty average/below average weight for the modern (pudgy) standard. Looking at my circle of women, there certainly is a range, and a good handful of slimmer women but we are younger than the women in the strip. Among those of us that are older/have been mums there is a definate skew towards the Stuart end of the spectrum.

    Grisha’s circle must be pretty willowy…

  70. ready2agitate says:

    Oh fabulous strip! It’s great to see Mo & Clarice reading each other like old pals. At least Mo acknowledges that she’s staying in something ambivalent and stuck. And Ginger looks hawt! (check that pelvic curve). And is Lois jaw-dropping in the last panel? Before reading everyone’s comments, I thought the last scene was kinda’ ‘sposta be like the Iraq withdrawal: Now that W’s screwed everything up (W -> reference to US Pres. – argh – GWBush), he acts like he’s sad to leave, but he keeps hanging on while other more nefarious elements are eager to move in? Hmmm, maybe not the right metaphor…. For what it’s worth, I always took the “W” with a red slash through it to mean, “No Bush,” (or End/Stop Bush) like “No Smoking.” I wore one with the word “Reagan” slashed out in red in the 80s… Sigh.

  71. Straight Ally says:

    “And is Lois jaw-dropping in the last panel?”

    I’m pretty sure that Lois is *yawning* in the last panel. It’s part of the same joke (to us) as Stuart’s reacting to Ginger’s farewell talk by expressing eagerness to take over her room.

  72. Straight Ally says:

    No, wait, scratch that. Lois is about to take a big bite out of the breakfasty sandwich she’s holding, with which she’s preoccupied. But as a response to Ginger’s farewell talk, that has the same effect as a yawn.

  73. Ginjoint says:

    Red Genie, your post broke my heart – I’m so sorry to hear about your bookstore. More independent thought sucked up by the damn chains.

    I’m so sorry.

  74. kate m says:

    It’s telling, how people are so threatened by the concept of polyamory that even a character in a comic strip can elicit such strong , fearful, suspicious reactions. You know, it isn’t easy being green, whatever green is for you, and poly people love other people too. Of course Sydney loves Mo. The concept of unbending monogamy to prove love is really so… provincial. The French grasp it beautifully- partnership, marriage, whatever, is very important and family and home life is a rewarding part of existence. Does a satisfying home life and a happy partnership mean that our romantic and erotic life must die on that hearth for our lifetime, just to prove our fealty? God. It’s so tedious, the concept that if I love you, I won’t ever fuck anyone else, or even want to.

  75. Andrew B says:

    Sydney used to take a lot of pleasure in sports — rollerblading, skiing, and so on. Whatever you think of that as a way to spend one’s time, and granted that she is still slender compared to most Americans her age, her puffiness probably is, in her case, a sign of sadness or depression: eating to make herself happy.

    Stuart’s bagel doesn’t just form an “O”. It also forms a zero, as in the chances for impeachment. And aside from being obnoxious, he’s also being optimistic in assuming that Lois and Sparrow can and will buy Ginger out. Maybe, if Sparrow has taken the new job, but it’s not a given.

  76. bean says:

    i don’t think sydney’s gaining weight; clearly, she’s pregnant. god, how insensitive can you people be?

    (and, yeah, more harriet, more jezzana, more fat chicks and i agree with everything gathering water said, especially the part about more dates for those of us who can’t even get one!)

  77. Eva says:

    The drawings of Samia are gorgeous. I love all the different ethnicities and races depicted in the strip, but right now I’m particularly taken with Samia’s profile. Excellent work!

  78. Grisha says:

    OK guys .. er a guys ‘n gals .. er a how about y’all ..I guess its truth-in-lending time so ..

    Jen: My circle and I were pretty willowy a few decades ago. Now, with a few exceptions, we’ve filled out. I was once in striking distance of having Carlos’ figure, but now I tend to resemble Paul morphing toward Stuart. My only saving grace is that I’m taller than both of them (I think .. I keep forgetting they’re cartoon characters) and thanks to my gene pool still have all my hair. Next it really get’s dicey.

    Hariette: I can’t believe it but .. I turned 60 last month. God bless whoever coined the phrase “60 is the New 40.” I think I started reading the DTWOF books that were in the living room of her “Mod” at college. I guess that was circa ’94-95. I also leafed through Girlfriends Curve and On Our Back(s?). The latter was quite an education.

    Maybe someday I’ll go through the archives and see how well, or not, the characters have aged. Does anyone recall which strip Sydney first appeared in?

    Anyway .. I’ve got to wake my wife up and say I’m sorry I didn’t rousing her in time for us to both go to the gym before work, but…. Oh well .. we’ll go tomorrow.

  79. Tinky says:

    Sparrow looks burned out and sad. The house she shares with with Ginger (not for long), Lois, JR and Stuart does not resemble a home anymore but it seems Stuart has transformed it into some 24/7 political compound or headquarters. Sparrow was always more spiritual (but too tired to even connect with her inner self these days) and Ginger and Lois are concerned on political issues but never lost sleep over it like some of the other DTWOF cast. Stuart has no life and even makes Mo and Clarice look complacent.

  80. ready2agitate says:

    Yeah, Samia and what’s-his-name are wonderful additions to the strip. Samia is beautifully drawn. I too miss Harriet (less so Jezanna – she was SO cranky! – sorry). Was Harriet the only Jew? And I’m thinking positive thoughts for Janis as she careens toward puberty…

  81. TeratoMarty says:

    I’m in a long-term nonmonogamous relationship, and I still think Sydney’s being an asshole. Nonmonogamy can work, it can even involve deep emotional connections among everyone concerned. I don’t agree with “rules” b and d above, personally, but this isn’t about me.

    Any relationship takes work and honesty. Sydney doesn’t want to do the work, so she avoids the honesty. Her only explicit discussion of other commitments with Mo was her statement that her work is her primary relationship. That’s OK, Mo knows that she’s in a secondary relationship with a logosexual. However, Sydney keeps assuring Mo that she’s not also having a secondary relationship with Madeline, when she manifestly is. Moreover, Sydney got pissy when Mo was having her epistolary affair with the woman from her grad program.

    Sydney may be nonmonogamous in her sexual needs, but she’s also lazy and selfish. Even if Mo can work with the first characteristic, she needs to dump Syd for the latter two.

  82. shadocat says:

    R2A; I think you’re thinking of Naomi, a character from “back in the day”. Harriet’s not Jewish–I don’t Alison ever talked about H’s religion or sprituality. And for all you Harriet fans out there; I love her too, but I think she’s gone for good—she’s not ever coming back.

    As far as Sydney’s concerned,it’s true I’m no fan of her character. But wouldn’t she be better off finding someone else who was poly and comfortable with it, than trying to push a monogamous woman into a lifestyle that makes her unhappy? Sydney needs someone who’s poly and happy to be that way. If she truly loved Mo, she’d break up with her and let her move on with someone that better suits her. And Sydney should do the same.

  83. Olivier says:

    Samia in profile is just beauteous!

  84. Alex the Bold says:


    “Sydney needs someone who’s poly and happy to be that way.”

    Well, that’s Madeline, isn’t it? I think Sydney’s got a sadistic streak and enjoys the sensation she gets from making Mo miserable.

    Haven’t we all known people at some point who would deliberately jerk someone else around and you knew they got a sick little thrill out of it?

  85. Angela says:

    I agree that Sydney does love Mo–for what that’s worth, which ain’t much, given her behavior. It may be new age cheese to say, “love is a verb, not a noun,” but . . . there’s a lot of truth in new age cheese. Anyone who’s been with someone for longer than a year knows you don’t always feel loving toward your partner, but if you’re an adult who wants a working relationship, you do your best to behave in a loving way. That means honesty, not putting your partner’s health at risk, and being present without excuses when you’ve hurt your partner. Syd falls down on all counts. I think she’ll be pretty miserable if Mo leaves her, but I doubt she’ll do the work to change her behavior. Perhaps Alison will surprise us!
    TeratoMarty–I bet Sydney will try to argue that Madeline, being a fellow women’s studies academic, is part of her logosexual primary relationship. She’s just fleshing out (har har) her many theories as a part of research. Yeah, that’s it.

  86. ataraxite says:

    Weird to think that Sydney is perceived as being “thick”–I always thought most of the characters seemed either way, way skinny (Mo, Sydney, Lois, Ginger) or way, way not skinny (Jezanna, Harriet). Not much middle ground. (Maybe since AB is pretty skinny herself, this is how she sees the world?) (Or is this what the world really looks like?) Sydney still looks pretty skinny to me…

    But who knows. I’ve read that what we perceive as a “normal” weight is increasing all the time as we, well, increase as well. (Not to be confused with what we think of as an ideal weight, which I assume goes down in proportion.) Today’s size 4 is yesterday’s size 10, or something like that. Which you could argue as good or bad…I’m undecided.

  87. shadocat says:

    ataraxite; you know, you’re right. Not many people in the strip fall “in the middle” For what it’s worth, I think Sydney looks way too skinny–maybe her underwear shrunk or something. And Alex, I don’t for one minute think she’s really poly. She likes to cheat on her partners and make them miserable—I mean, wasn’t she raised that way?

  88. anon-eponymous says:

    Subject: AB encyclopedia article wanted

    Hi, I checked on this and it appears to be legit.

    Greenwood Press is publishing an encyclopedia called LGBTQ America Today.

    The person who was going to write the AB entry dropped out, so the editor, Dr. John Hawley, who is chair of the English department at Santa Clara University is soliciting submissions of 250 words. I don’t know if that’s a limit or if it’s exact. In fact, I’m not that sure how words are counted in this context.

    The letter instructs interested person to contact him directly. I’m not going to post his email address here, because that’s a liberty, but the information I’ve given above ought to be enough to locate him.

    I imagine the person who maintains the Wikipedia article on AB would have all the necessary information at their fingertips.

    I do not intend to submit an entry.

  89. straight girl fan says:

    I don’t think it’s casting judgement, or calling Sydney fat, to notice that the shape of her figure has changed. It’s the same as noticing that the characters are showing bags under their eyes and worry lines. Alison does a beautiful job of showing realistic bodies and realistic aging.

  90. JenK says:

    I am thinking that Sydney may be more interested in the swinger side of things (fun sex, no ties) than polyamory (multiple loves). I say this as a poly person who knows swingers who are very happy with swinging, and gay men who negotiated similar nonmonogamy agreements (but don’t identify as swingers)….

    *waves at byrdie*

  91. Sir Real says:

    Alex the Bold –

    Madeline is poly and happy that way? Hmmm, I seem to recall Syd and Madeline scrambling frantically out of bed when Madeline’s partner paid a surprise visit… Madeline appears to be cheating too.

    Not that this nessesarily means they’ve agreed to monogamy – she may be cheating on some other agreement with her partner. There can be limits agreed upon in polyamorous situations, too – in fact there probably need to be limits, in order for it to work! But anyhow, their haste in dressing, implies a secret kept and some unhappiness in Madeline’s relationship, whatever its terms.

    Gee, The Cat Pimp, how is it “growing up” to move into a separate home with a lover, as Ginger is? I recall when Ginger was documenting their friendship network, in the bonus section about how they all met, Ginger challenged that very assumption, when made by Clarice.

    Per Sydney’s girth – I noted her body too, mostly ogling/envying her hot butt. That’s either genetic luck or alot of excercise!

  92. Sir Real says:

    JenK – I tend to think of polyamory in the sense that the authors of _The Ethical Slut_ use it. That is, not implying anything about the type of connection between sex partners, but including all consentual nonmonogamy of whatever mode. Maybe that’s a better term to use for clarity – “consentual monogamy”

  93. Sir Real says:

    Uh I mean “consentual NONmonogamy” Yeesh. Sorry.

  94. a different Emma says:

    Whew! A ziffing good episode!
    I think Alison should get some royalties for product placement–notice the cool laptop stand?

  95. a different Emma says:

    And how can anybody question Sydney’s ‘waist’ when the next pannel shows a side-view where she’s comparably no larger than twice her coffee cup?
    I’m with Bean on this one.
    Definitely preggers.

  96. Alex the Bold says:

    Sir Real,

    Thanks for the observation. What I very badly was attempting to say was that Madeleine was engaged in a relationship when she got involved with Sydney and she (Madeleine) was quite happy to be tomcatting about.

    As to the polyamory aspect of all this, my understanding of that subculture is that the whole point of it is that you genuinely love and care for all of your partners (and they all genuinely love and care for you). So I definitely don’t think Sydney is engaging in polyamory; she’s just sleeping around and stabbing Mo through her heart and trying to come up with a tidy bit of pop-culture bandaging to cover up the resulting turmoil.

    Wow. It’s hard enough finding one person. Finding two? Or three? I don’t think it’s possible. (One one thousand. Two one thousand. Three one thousand.) But I’m willing to be convinced. 😉

  97. Zeitgeist says:

    “And is Lois jaw-dropping in the last panel?”

    ‘I’m pretty sure that Lois is *yawning* in the last panel. It’s part of the same joke (to us) as Stuart’s reacting to Ginger’s farewell talk by expressing eagerness to take over her room.’

    No, I’m pretty sure she’s about to take a bite out of Breakfast.

  98. Sir Real says:

    Oh, polyamory-wise, I genuinely love and care for everyone I have sex with. Even if I’d rather never see them again! 😉 There are people, say, at sex parties , who I enjoy getting off, but who I wouldn’t care to be friends with – but then I’m rather misanthropic, there are few people whose company I can stand for long. 🙂 Nonetheless I feel I bring a caring attitude to every encounter. Loving, even, though I’m stingy with that word.

    Yup, there seem to be competing definitions – one (such as myself) who use it to mean all/any consentual nonmonogamy.

    Another group seems to define polyamory wherein folks cultivate more than one attached and intimate relationship.

    Anyhow, I concur with many that Sydney’s lying, sneaking and conniving isn’t polyamory, nor does her behavior indicate that she’d be capable of the honesty and empathy that ethical nonmonogamy requires. It’s just pondscum-esque behavior, and it seems to me that she enjoys inflicting mindgames on the winsomely earnest Mo.

    Though sure, I do believe she loves Mo. The presence of that emotion, I find, does not guarentee anything about behavior. Though that may be a case of differing definitions, again.

  99. mlk says:

    Stuart’s thoughtlessness crossed a line for me in this strip. I’ve been an advocate for Stuart on a past thread, and want to see Bush impeached as much as anyone (and actually believe it’s possible, which seems a rarity). at the same time, I’d like to see Jasmine and Janis move into the household. Stuart, can’t you work for impeachment without taking over the house?

    Stuart’s not being to financially realistic here, either — as I believe someone’s already pointed out. Jasmine and Janis joining the household will bring in another income. Stuart’s impeachment efforts aren’t going to help pay the rent!!

    maybe when she’s finished her breakfast (and Ginger is elsewhere) Lois should call a house meeting?

  100. Pamela R says:

    The family’s known for a while that Ginger’d been looking at homes with Samia. Stuart’s response could have been less brusque, but I don’t think that bringing up the finances immediately would have been any kinder. As close as they are, I doubt they’d want to lay a guilt trip on her over that, intentional or no.

    I like your point about a house meeting without Ginger, mlk, as well as the possibility that Jasmine and Janis might move in.

  101. mk says:

    Sydney strikes me as more of a sex and love addict than anything else. Especially when she tried to confide in Ginger that her thing with Madeline was out of control. I wonder if SLA could help her.

  102. Scotia says:

    Actually, it looks to me like Lois is opening her mouth to take a bite out of a schmeeded bagel. I think the point in this panel is that her soon-to-be erstwhile housemates accept Ginger choice and are are persuing their own choices.

    Though has anyone noticed a certain comics structural synchronicity with a Doonesberry family in the strcuture of the remaining household? I’m thinking of BD-Boopsie-Zonker-Sam in relation to Stuart-Sparrow-Lois-JR.

  103. Dr. Empirical says:

    I love being part of a group that uses terms like “structural synchronicity.”

  104. shadocat says:

    So now that the make-up of the “house-mates” is changing, will we get to find out just what’s with Jasime and Lois? I mean are they “TOGETHER” together, or are they just kickin’ it? Is Lois genuinely drawn (no pun intended) to Jasmine, or does she just want to be a parent to Janis? Remember when we used to see Lois naked all the time??? (Clearly, I have too much time on my hands tonight…)

  105. April says:

    Mmm… schmeer…

  106. ready2agitate says:

    And I love being part of a group in which someone muses that “…there’s a lot of truth in new age cheese.” Heh.

  107. gatheringwater says:

    Sir Real (great handle) wrote: “…Sydney’s lying, sneaking and conniving isn’t polyamory…”

    Obviously, you are right when you say that there are multiple definitions of polyamory. (It seems fitting, somehow.) But the definition implied by your statement above is one I find especially maddening. 🙂 So, it’s only polyamory when it works?

    It seems unfair to weed out unsuccessful relationships or unethical practitioners after the fact by saying, “Oh, those aren’t *real* polyamorists.”

    Maybe that is why I was only half-kidding when I mentioned the look of a convert. Polyamory, by defining itself in terms of ideals of love rather than the mechanics of sex, offers a lovely ideal that doesn’t seem too far away from religion. (It may be worth noting that, in the modern Christian West at least, the earliest Free Love movements arose in religious contexts.) Sometimes, I can’t help but admire the polyamorous ideal. Too bad people are so seldom able to live up to it.

    Anyway, I think I’ve used up all my poly points–although I’m interested in reading what others have to say. In my defense, let me state that I stayed out of the last debate entirely. Kate’s comment about getting worked up over a comic strip character gave me pause but why not talk passionately about something I care about? I mean, what I love about DTWOF is that it engages real issues that matter to me and my community. Now, thanks to this blog, I get to talk about real issues with real people. I think that is wonderful–even when we have real disagreements.

  108. Suz says:

    ” So, it’s only polyamory when it works?”

    How about it’s only polyamatory when it’s agreed upon? Mo never signed onto Sydney being with Madeleine.

  109. Josiah says:

    Excellent point, Suz. A relationship in which one partner thinks they’re polyamorous and the other thinks they’re monogamous is obviously fulfilling neither ideal.

  110. D.F. says:

    re: the addiction stuff: I’d like to see Lois + Sydney (has this been suggested before?). seems like they are each other’s foil, to a certain extent.

    actually, they seem like angles of the same person, to an extent.

    as is, if i dare say it, Mo.

    (but hey, they say that all characters, in fictional novels at least, are various sides of the – y’all saw where this was going, no? – author).

    not that that’s happening here… (so presumptuous!) ok, i am suggesting it might be, if only in within the context of the strip (… sorry AB, i’m trying not to ‘psychotherapize’ you as the auther, but the links seem important somehow….

    i mean, we all like to distance ourselves from certain aspects of our selves, or collectively, to scapegoat: put all the evil on one person and do ’em off — but what if we saw lois, sydney, and mo as different dimensions (and differently gendered!) of one basic person trying to work out some of the same shit – just going about it in some very different ways?

    just a thought….

  111. Alex the Bold says:


    “I wonder if SLA could help her.”

    You mean the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst? Well, that’s a little more extreme than I was thinking, but, hey, let’s give it a try. I’ll get some berets from the Hat Warehouse. You get the gunny sack and the chloroform. We’ll meet at whichever Bounders Musak and Books is equidistant from us both!

  112. Leshka says:

    Sorry to lighten the mood here (such a heady conversation so early in the morning!) but I love the determination JR has when she’s putting stickers on everything and everyone. There’s this sad conversation going on and the ridiculousness of the Dubya stickers all over the place.

    Yay for stickers!

    OK, you may return to your regularly scheduled polyamory talk. Very cool conversation.

  113. Scotia says:

    and perhaps being plastered with stickers by a determined (and parentally unchecked) toddler is just one of the reasons that Ginger is a bit more psyched than she lets on about her impending move.

  114. Laura says:

    Personally, I think our girl Sydney is just intimacy-averse, doing her best to keep whoever she’s with at a nice safe distance. Look at her parents, for goodness sake–they’re nasty people who apparently spent their marriage hurting one another’s feelings and competing with each other. Yuck. So there’s what Sydney learned about relationships. Mo’s not exactly from the most emotionally close home either, for those of you wondering what in the heck she keeps doing getting into problematic relationships. Lots of us stay with partners who are less than perfect out of fear, inertia, or the need to maintain just enough distance to never have our fears of being really intimate evoked (okay, off therapist soap-box, oy veh, this does get me going).

    Polyamory, when it really functions, is about deepening intimacy and creating community in one’s life. One of my aikido buddies is in a long-term committed poly relationship; their kids have three functioning, on-site parents, the adults have support and companionship, and everyone stays relatively sane. If one of them acted like Sydney does to Mo they’d get their butt kicked (or more accurately, someone would irimenage someone else to the ground, since two of three adults and both kids are aikidoists-grin.) I don’t have the emotional makeup to do poly, but I know that Syd’s nastiness and commitment avoidance aren’t poly. If she were MY therapy client I’d be confronting the heck out of her about this pattern…

  115. Butch Fatale says:

    Clearly, lying and breaking your agreements with your partner(s) is bogus, whatever those agreements may be. If Sydney’s not willing to be honest and upfront with what she wants and needs, and honor Mo enough to be honest and considerate, she’s doing a bad job being Mo’s partner, whatever their relationship structure.

    That said, I still adore Sydney. Fortunately, I show better judgement in picking out my own partners ::knocks on plywood::

  116. Sir Real says:

    Butch Fatale – dandy handle! Is it from the Lynn Lavner song, “The Seduction’s the Thing”?

    Suz – you said it. The idea is _consentual_ nonmonogamy, and Mo hasn’t agreed to it. Well other than with Syd’s passion for her work.

    Yah, I was thinking that Stewart seemed pretty cold. But then I noticed Sparrow’s expression – also putting across the reaction of `and this is news how?’

    Yet at the same time I’m surprised that they aren’t offering some comfort to Ginger – her posture seems to indicate both grief for this parting, and shame that she’s imposing it on her housemates.

    But! even if Sparrow _is_ making twice as much as she was (did she get that NARAL post?) paying the mortgage and taxes may get tricky – maybe a new character will answer their ad in the co-op?

  117. ready2agitate says:

    Sir Real – SLA, bwa-har!!! (You *know* she meant SLAA, silly goose!) I’ve been kind of yawning through the poly/mono discussion. BUT: I kinda smiled at the “convert” notion. ‘Tis true that more than a few get a glint in their eye about how good and open and true and natural and important it all is. But that’s usu’lly the partner who is the more “active” polyamorist, never the one who you can almost *tell* is not really poly by nature…. Sigh. We humans are a piece a work! xo.

  118. Wow. I just read through all the comments in one go. I don’t want to get all schmaltzy…or schmeary…but it’s very deeply gratifying to see people discussing the characters in such depth. In fact I feel a little sheepish sometimes, when you see more than I intended in some places, or point out holes in the story I haven’t seen.

    I cringed a bit at Mabel’s comment about how the strip “just hasn’t been right” for a while now–but only because I know she’s absolutely right. I, too, felt like this latest episode worked in a way things haven’t for a long time. What with Fun Home and my crazy book tour year, I was always just trying to get the strip done, as opposed to getting it done properly. Now that my life is quieting down a bit and I’m still on the once-a-month strip schedule, I’ll be able to manage better.

    Though I must say, cutting back to once a month isn’t as big of a time-saver as I thought it would be since I have so much more stuff to fit in each episode.

    Anyhow. Thanks for all your comments. The polyamory discussion was most educational. I enjoyed the speculation about Sydney’s thickening waist (yes, she’s pregnant) and whether Lois was yawning, dropping her jaw in surprise, or taking a bite of her bagel. If I drew at a proper size instead of microscopically, I could perhaps have done a better job here. It’s a bagel. She’s supposed to look kinda bored.

    Alex the Bold’s SLA intervention, complete with black berets, was also highly amusing.

    Oh, and thanks to people who pointed out where Sydney’s scar scene with Madeleine was. Yeah, it wasn’t in a regular strip, but was part of the extended story at the end of “Invasion of the DTWOF.” That piece also includes Sydney’s only other “I love you” to Mo, which was delivered under similarly fraught circumstances.

  119. JenK says:

    Heh. Remember when Mo first told Lois she had sex with Sydney?

    Mo: “I’m telling you I like this woman! A lot!”
    Lois: “Whoa, slow down. I’m all for having a good time. I just don’t want you to get serious about someone like Sydney.”
    Mo: “Oh? And just what is Sydney like?”
    Lois: “Like me.”

    (Dialog is from memory and may not be accurate)

  120. Jaibe says:

    Not to disagree with the author! But when Sydney said “I live you” in _Invasion_, I thought she was truly feeling insecure & repentant, and I know in that circumstance (sadly) you can honestly feel very in love. She’d had a bad talk, been taken advantage of by her old prof., and knew she’d just betrayed her long-time lover. I thought her real feelings for Mo moved her to try to make up with a nice gesture for the hurt she’d just caused.

    This time I somehow find her statement less plausible. I can’t believe anyone can feel in love after having just discovered their privacy had been violated in that way, and their relationship compromised forever by their own words. She *may* be reporting on what she knows intellectually she often feels. But I can’t read the look on her face.

    And, to disagree again, I thought the last strip really rocked too. But it is amazingly good to see Ginger happy. & sex :-). And I did notice, we got our wish — Mo & Clarice had coffee! I hope at least one of them thinks of something…

  121. mlk says:

    Jaibe, I agree that Sydney was feeling insecure and repentant at the end of _Invasion_ and was doing damage control in the strip here.

    I don’t think Alison was saying anything about the meaning or emotion behind the words, just that Syd has only used them twice (in the strip) to Mo. I expect she’s right on that point . . .

  122. Butch Fatale says:

    Sir Real — Thank you! I have to admit I don’t know Lynn Lavner or that song. Though I just looked her up on Wikipedia, and feel moved to confess that I was 10 when Butch Fatale came out. (I know, I know, I can see you backing away slowly as I reveal that I am in fact barely out of diapers).

    It’s in fact from a joke my friend made about my dating habits in college. I’ve since mended my ways, I swear. I blame it on the shock of attending a women’s college in a dyke mecca shortly after coming out.

    As to the rest, Ginger has a tendency to drag things out. I’m sure they saw the move coming ages and ages ago, and once she started looking at houses with Samia, how long did it take for her to actually get it together. I think they should be excited for her — she’s finally committing to someone! Remember the girlfriend she cheated on at the conference (how apt that Sydney used her to cover her own scurrilous behavior, no?)?

  123. Sir Real says:

    Tee hee, arguing with the creator of the work smacks of Sherlock-fans! Alison, may I ask, have you received alot of fanart and stories based on explaining inconsistencies in the details of the strip?

    And I _would_ argue – that the recent strips have _indeed_ been up to snuff.

  124. Sarah says:

    AB – hate to point out a lack of continuity, but it’d be pretty surprising for Sydney to be able to get pregnant. Most women over about 40 go through “chemopause” because of the chemotherapy given for breast cancer . . . (Maybe Sydney is supposed to be younger than that??)

  125. Maggie Jochild says:

    Sign me up for the SLA quest, but I want to be MizMoon. (Anything but Tania.)

    My working definition of love, acquired decades ago and still functional, is thinking well about somebody. Or vice versa. Cuts through codependency.

  126. TeratoMarty says:

    Jaibe, one of the reasons that Syd’s “I love you” rings hollow in this strip is that she’s just said “I love you” is a figure of speech. You can’t have it both ways, no matter where you put the inflection in that sentence.

  127. Kommishonerjenny says:

    i like this strip for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is sydney’s butt cleavage in the second panel.

  128. Suzanonymous says:

    I loved J.R. with the stickers, too.

    I think maybe one of the elements of “living in a dream” of the last panel is that the house mates have not considered how they will pay for the place (isn’t Ginger the mortgage-holder?). I realize people have alluded to this but not stated it explicitly to the sense of living in a dream.

    Also a note that the picture at the top of the web site pages will have to change soon. No Ginger at that table. Or maybe another plot twist is waiting for us?

  129. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    Maybe the plot twist in store could result in a new person living with Lois, Sparrow and Stuart. With Stuart not working, Lois’s and Sparrow’s salaries would not cover expenses, so maybe Sidney will get the boot from Mo and end up living with them because she’s too broke to move any place else, and any allowance she gets from her father is about to run dry with his Alzheimer’s. Of course Lois would see it as a financial relief but there would be so many potential issues. Friendships, loyalties and patience would be put to the test, especially if Sydney is pregnant. Anyone would say Mo doesn’t need her and would have some peace of mind without her.

  130. ready2agitate says:

    Wait! Hold on! Sydney really *is* pregnant!? Did I miss something??? Is it with Mo? Or is she doing AI by herself and will just casually mention it to her GF after she gets through 12 weeks? Or > are there things going on behind the scenes that we’re not privy to, such as Mo & Syd reading through donor profiles and doing the AI thing 2gether. Yikes – I feel like I missed something, if someone can enlighten me (said sheepishly knowing that AB is spying on us… oh, um, well, I guess it’s HER blog… 🙂

  131. D.F. says:

    ready2agitate said ‘Yikes – I feel like I missed something, [re: sydney being preggers] if someone can enlighten me (said sheepishly knowing that AB is spying on us…’:

    hey Ready: um… AB actually confirmed it — she doens’t just ‘spy’, she has the audacity to tell us what she thought of our little meanderings…yup, she announced the pregnancy, here on the blog (above). bit of a shocker, yes. but then i haven’t read all the zillion comments on this thread either, and here i am posting.

    in line w/ the above comments, esp that bit of oh-so-totally-on dialogue btn. Mo & Lois from way back when (thank you JenK, that was amazing to bring back jus’ about now): an’ now i *super* wanna see Lois & Sydney together. pure delicious fun. (i kno, i’m evil).

    maggie, you rock. i think i’m just beginning to sort out the different ‘feel’ of stable love & codependency / addiction-driven swooning. in return, my definition of family (in a good way): the people you love loving each other.

    (and that applies to poly situations as well, or especially… Laura i really appreciated your comments.

    as for sydney … i used to think she was repressed poly, but am now beginning to think she’s a little sociopathic. “it’s just a figure of speech… i love *you*” — ?! what kinda messed up double think flip flopping oxymoronic orwellian BS is that?

    whew! sorry… guess it pushed a button.

    and oh, by the way… i am pro-poly, pretty persistently, i’ve found, tho i’m *not*, generally speaking, the more active ‘polyamorist’ when i’m actually in something (‘sides being a huge flirt, as some here have noticed). like to snuggle in like a bug in a rug, jus’ get a little restless occassionally, n’ also gots lotsa love for folks who come in & out of my life over the years…

    then again, i haven’t been in rltnshps at all for a minute now, so can’t really speak to it too much.

    lastly – on samia – yeah, i hugely noticed the change. nicely done. in the beginning toni and samia were a li’ll hard to distinguish sometimes; now there’s no question, and not just cuz of toni’s aging / haircut / ever-present wine glass.

    the strip still feels sad, tho.

  132. kat says:

    ragthetiger: Yeah, but not often. I’m the Cerulean Hand over there (posted as -k- a couple times, too). The kat on CC has been there longer than me.

  133. Anonny Mouse says:

    Hold everything, doesn’t Ginger OWN the house that the housemates live in? Didn’t she buy it when it looked like they might be evicted? That would mean that Lois, Sparrow, and Stuart pay their rent TO Ginger, who presumably doesn’t charge rent to HERSELF. So, really, Ginger moving out would have no significant effect on the household’s finances at all, so there’d be no need for a new housemate.

    In fact, Ginger could’ve asked the OTHERS to move out so she and Samia could have the house that Ginger already owns to themselves, although of course she wouldn’t do that to her friends.

  134. Grisha says:

    ready2agitate: If Sydney really is pregnant, and AB isn’t joshing with us, don’t be too quick to assume she used AI and not the Old Fashioned Way. If she’ll overtly step out on Mo with a another woman, why not covertly with a man?

  135. bean says:

    ok, i don’t _actually_ think sydney is pregnant. i was kidding. i think alison was too.

  136. ready2agitate says:

    OK – I had a late-night flip-out over that shocking news. I think I’m back to center now. Whew.

  137. Jain says:

    Ginger and Sparrow bought the house together. Sparrow (or Sparrow with Lois or Stuart or someone) has to buy out Ginger’s share.

  138. siena says:

    um, yes, i think alison was joking.

  139. bindweed says:

    How can you not like Stuart?? I love his effeminate beardedness! And he’s a great father!! Is it so bad that the male is more involved than the female? JR obviously has a safe, supportive home and family, so what’s not to like? Yes, Sparrow is ambivilant about motherhood, but who isn’t?? Full disclosure- I’m a bi woman with a bi guy partner who is a wonderful step-father to our son, and I love kilts!! And he’s not really being mean to Ginger; she’s been thinking about moving out for how long? He’s just excited about his latest effort for the cause.
    And yay for Ginger’s armpits and Samia’s breasts!!

  140. Dr. Empirical says:

    Around the time Raffi was born, I moved to the deep South and had no access to DTWOF. When I was finally able to reconnect, there was a whiney fat guy and a right-wing snakewoman in the strip. I think some of my dislike for both characters stems from my viewing them as interlopers.

    On the other hand, he IS whiney, and she IS a snakewoman.

  141. Natkat says:

    Robin, you aren’t the only non-shaving dyke. My girlfriend has never shaved in her life. But then again, she only has something like six hairs on her legs. I like women unshaven.

    Hey, what happened to Stuart’s kilt? He’s wearing shorts in this episode.

  142. Brazenfemme says:

    I vote for Jasmine and Jonas moving into the communal household. Easier to home school two kids! As for Sydney, I have a love/hate relationship with her. I love her because she represents my love of academia and po-mo theory (perhaps more apt now would be “poor-mo theory”). I hate her because I see her sabotaging everything in her life except her career (umm, not that I know anything about that…) And three cheers for dykes who don’t shave! I like my butch gals au natural. Even if they take longer to do their hair than me, LOL.

  143. mlk says:

    Kommishonerjenny mentioned Sydney’s cleavage in the 2nd panel. I also noticed it — along with some weight in the thighs. no, I don’t think Sydney’s pregnant, she’s just putting on a few pounds. she’s probably been treating herself to calorie laden foodstuffs with all the stress at home.

  144. Feminista says:

    Jasmine and Janis are practically living at the house anyway,so they may as well move in. Yes,Stuart is wearing shorts,probably because the Utilikilt is in the wash.

    And while we’re on the subject of shaving or not shaving, my sister and niece don’t shave,and I only do in the summer.

  145. Wendy says:

    I am loving this polyamory discussion, since I’ve been in a poly lesbian relationship for over 14 years.

    I have two lovers, partners, wives, whatever we’re supposed to call each other. We are together, and have been for many years. They are also partners etc etc with each other. We have two children which we are raising together, and dreamed about togehter. In fact the desire to have more than two parents is what started my “original” partner and I on the road to having another partner. My first partner and I have been together for over 22 years.
    We all fall in love with other people, though we don’t take other lovers. Even though I am done having any new lovers, I still fall in love with new people all the time. These are real, intense and very satisfying relationships. The world is full of amazing, interesting, lovable people and it is a tremendous joy to find time in my busy life for them. I am also a huge flirt – it’s terribly fun.

  146. ready2agitate says:

    That’s great, Wendy. I realize that my last comment (re: poly’s who get “the glint” in the eye) was a little poly-phobic. Hooray for folk who can do it and do it well (with others : ).

    As for shaving, well, I just shaved my extremely hairy Stuart-like legs this summer for the first time in 23 years (since I bagged it when I left home/suburbs for school/city at age 17), in part because my partner was interested in seeing what they looked like clean-shaven (as a gift to my partner), and because I also wondered how it would look/feel, and because, well a bunch ‘a reasons, I guess. Believe it or not, it was the hugest decision, absurd as that is…. (pits are still a black hairy jungle, though, and thick unplucked eyebrows, mustache, etc.) Yup, we dark Ashkenazim be hairy women.

    I love how determined JR always looks. She’s going to be handful as she gets more independent, don’t you think? I’m still in the anti-Stuart camp, though. Oh, is he now the one Jewish DTWOF character? (not that I’m obsessed with seeing myself reflected in the world or anything….)

  147. liza says:

    When I was editing DYKE, A Quarterly in the 1970’s I was going to write an article on body hair in my column “What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear.” I never got around to it, but it was going to be a take off, kind of, on a beauty tips column, but for Dykes. These days, it would also be for men and straight women who, at least in some places, have just as much trouble figuring out when to groom as Dykes.

    My main point was that we should pay just as much attention to our grooming details as we do,say, to our hair cuts and clothing. Some people look great with all their body hair intact. Others less so. Of course the call is subjective, but the point is, there are variables along the shave – don’t shave continuum. And it can be for everyone – straight men, straight women, butch and fem and androgyne Dykes and gay boys alike. Grooming is fun for all!

    I love bushy eyebrows on anyone, but shaping the bushy brows can be a good idea. Like topiary, they usually need trimming and shaping to bring out the beauty. There’s no need for anyone of any sex or gender to have eyebrow hairs marching down their eyelids.

    Armpit hair? A perfect place for grooming. Too long and thick? Sticking out beyond the arms of your t-Shirt? Why not trim a bit off the top and sides? Too sparse – shave ’em. Those sparse hairs stick to the skin when you are sweating, and just make you look damp.

    Mustaches? Beards? Personally, I can’t stand them on men OR women. Again, a subjective call. I do admire women with really thick full beards and mustaches (perfectly groomed, of course) but mainly for their boldness and the cognitive dissonance they cause.

    I’m an Ashkenazi Jew as well, and my tweezer is my best friend.

    Friends, let’s have some creative fun with grooming.

  148. Deena in OR says:

    Natkat-re: kilts

    Do you where the same pair of slacks all the time? Like Deb said, the kilt has to get washed *sometime*.

  149. JesterJen says:

    Though butchy, I’ve always shaved my pits and legs. Rationale (if anyone’s interested, if not just skip) is that my pits are super sensitive and the feeling morphs from itchy to tickly as the hair grows. My legs because my hair grows like the artist of “Cathy” used to draw her unshaven legs: sparse but dark and at a 90 degree angle to my legs. I don’t really care what other people think, but when I look down at them they don’t look like my legs anymore. I get a similar feeling as I did the one time I let my sister paint my toenails. Suddenly a part of my body looks disturbingly wrong.

  150. Jana C.H. says:

    I assume Stuart has several kilts, probably in different colors, but they don’t constitute his entire wardrobe. I would expect him to wear kilts in the summer (cool and breezy) and pants in the winter (warm and cozy).

    Before they moved to another part of town, I used to drive past the Utilikilts factory every day on my way to and from work. They had kilts flying from the roof on poles like windsocks.

    Jana C.H.
    “Is anything worn under the kilt?” “No, everything’s fine, thanks.”

  151. Josiah says:

    Q: What does a Scotsman wear beneath his kilt?
    A: His socks.

  152. Grisha says:

    OK – Sydney HAS put on few pounds as she’s gotten older and life has become more complicated. Compare her on panel # 1 above and on page 138 of Hot, Throbing Dykes to Watch Out For (1997.)

  153. bindweed says:

    Maybe I like Stuart so much because he’s fat, like me and my love. We never see Jezanna anymore, so who else is there? And oh yeah, at one time or another I’ve gone furry armpits/shaved legs, or vice versa. I like the fuzzy feel of my pits, but I also sweat like a gardenhose, so in the summer shaving can make me smell a little less homeless (I’ve spent years of my adult life homeless, so you don’t have to tell ME). I’m a hosiery fanatic, so shaving once in a while looks more harmonious, though stockings are a great way to hide a little stubble! I think hair should be a choice for everyone, women and men. Tho I cringe at cop-style mustaches, I like to see a femmy man with a nice soft beard- like Stuart, or Marcus on ‘Babylon 5’.

  154. Guy says:

    I am sad to see the Ginger-Sparrow-Lois household breaking up! I am sad to see nobody in the strip but Ginger expressing any sadness about it! Wah!

  155. Bella says:


    but a few pages earlier on page on 109, Sydney looks about the same as in this episode.

    Drawing fluctuates, weight fluctuates, the national obession with it appears to remain constant, much to the detriment of more important things like poverty, injustice, global warming and torture. Just to name a few.

  156. Pam I says:

    On shaving – as I’m not at all hairy (Celtic skin) I’m not really entitled to comment. But – hairy bodies come with puberty. Children have those smooth bodies sold to us in razor ads. Men are not required to have smooth bodies (except models, an interesting spin), women are. Women’s bodies are rendered childlike by shaving. Bestselling porn mag – Shaven Ravens – uses women with pubic hair removed. Could there be some connections here?

  157. ready2agitate says:

    I’m with you, Pam I (while simultaneously seeing the other points of view). Now shall we turn to hair coloring? (although in this realm, I am not entitled to comment(no grey)). Which DTWOF folks do you think do/don’t hair color? At this stage of their lives, most of them must be greying, no? (In this episode, Clarice, Sparrow, and Ginger all look to me like could be greying; Sydney prolly colors (fits) (she could be dyed-platinum), and what about Mo…?)

  158. James Mobius says:

    Alison, I love you so much! ^_^ (enough to double check the number of l’s in your name even!) I could blather on with the usual generic gushing praise about what a great artist and storyteller you are, so I will, you are such an excellent artist and storyteller! your faces are so emotive, characters so real it’d be easy to believe they were based on specific people though I know they aren’t for the most part. please continue to rock on mightily, as you are wont to do! this is not in response to this particular installment, just on your work in general. and congrats on Time book of the year, not comic book of the year. (I must pinch myself over that one!)

    James Mobius, Mobiusbandwidth.com

  159. van says:

    Love 511! So many things going on! At least we got one panel that had a happy face. As for Syd and Mo, eh, they’re not S/M for nothing.

  160. kat says:


    Your comment has me thinking more on polyamory. It’s great for me to hear of a three-point relationships working so well for so long: A (male) college friend of mine is involed in a three-point relationshipw tih two women, and I occasionally find myself having to defend their approach to love to others. So it’s great to hae at least one example of that working.

    That said, I wonder if a three-point relationship in which the option of anyone taking a new lover is closed is polyamory in the sense most think of it. It’s almost monogamy, just extended dimensionally.


  161. Deena in OR says:

    Kat, and all involved in the polyamory discussion…

    From an intellectual standpoint, I’d be interested in your take on polyamory as you see it, and the practice/doctrine of polygamy as some faiths practice/have practiced it. I’m sure that some of differences spring from the amount of choice all parties involved have.

    Any takers?

  162. Pam I says:

    I’m an atheist so I can have as many wives as I want.

  163. spudulike says:

    It’s years since I last contributed to a DTWOF discussion, in fact I think it was the PlanetOut page that doesn’t seem to exist any more. Anyway, I just want to say how relieved and delighted I am to find that other readers, and Alison herself, think that the strip hasn’t been quite its usual self for a while now and that this new episode is like the good old days. I thought Alison was turning right-wing or mainstream American, or something, since the attack on the Twin Towers. But no! This episode feels as though it had been written for me and for people like me. Thank you Alison!

  164. shadocat says:

    The three-point relationship does sound more like monogamy, but I don’t think it falls within the realm of polyamory (remember when we used to call it non-monogamy?).Maybe a new word is needed to describe it—triogamy, perhaps?

    As I said before, I don’t think Sydney is a true polyamorist. My gripe with her is that I see her as “Not A Grown-UP.” Because when your’e a grown-up, you quickly learn you just cannot say “yes” to every damn person, place or thing that strikes your fancy. You can’t buy that I-phone because you are so over-extended on your credit, you’re getting loans to pay the minimums on your loans. You can’t keep doing your old gf, because your current gf, the one you might even love, may just get sick of your sorry ass and dump you. And you can’t eat that french pastry because you’ll gain too much weight, and people will think you’re pregnant, for Chrissakes!

  165. shadocat says:

    spudulike! Gawd, I remember you from Planetout! Good to read you again!

  166. mysticriver says:

    Yay Mo & Clarice having coffee together!

    Also glad to see that Java Jones has survived all these years.

    Great episode. Thank you for another engaging chapter.

  167. Ellen O. says:

    Hmm… I liked this episode too, but I’m not sure why so many people feel as if marks a shift or is clearly superior to previous months. Looking back over the year, I count several strips I really liked, including #499, #500, #505, #509, and especially #496, Sleep’s Sister.

    I’m genuinely curious, what is it about “Summer of Vice” that people like? Is it the advancement of plot?

  168. Ruadhain says:

    Wow AB, I guess the break did you good. Loved the last two episodes.

    As a first time commenter I have to say I’m extreamly jealous. Quite a tallent you have. Not just the drawing but the story telling and the depth of commentary. Sorry I missed you on your book tour through St. Louis.


  169. kat says:

    Deena: I’d be most interested to discuss the many facets of -ogamy and -amory. Pose questions, and I’ll do my best to deliver a considered response.

  170. breindl says:

    I’m sure Sydney’s not pregnant. A joke, folks…

    Also shaving legs regularly for the first time since I tried it once or twice at age 14. 28 years ago… it feels nice for a day but what a hassle…

    and mostly hello to Sir Real! who sat next to me on an inter-city bus this weekend and we discovered our shared dtwof groupie status…

  171. breindl says:

    also curious about why people like this month’s strip better: I’ve been pleased in general lately, usually am.
    Tho I miss Janis and want to know her story line…

  172. spudulike says:

    Hi shadocat, yes I remember you too! and recognise a few other names on here.

    Not sure exactly why I like #511 so much more than… well, any of the episodes that feel ‘recent’ to me. Possibly because of the subtle characterisation. Mo absolutely shouldn’t have been reading Sydney’s emails, but I find that I can understand why she did it. Precisely what did Sydney’s facial expression mean in the ‘figure of speech’ panel? What did Mo’s facial expression mean in the ‘implosion’ panel? – I can’t help wondering whether, whatever reason she and Clarice had for splitting up all those years ago, they might get back together soon. Or was it just the intimacy of long-term friends who see straight through one another’s bullshit? Also, I’m one of those who like Samia’s face, although I’d like to know a bit more about her personality and her situation with Ammar. Has she kicked him out yet? Why couldn’t she do it sooner? Did she really want to?

    I like the fact that Stuart’s political activism wasn’t placed in a story about what a silly twit he’s being. What I mean by that is, there was an episode while Sydney had cancer, in which Mo was ranting against the ‘war on terror’ and Sydney confronted her with a nurse whose son was in the US Army, knocking the wind out of Mo’s sails. I hated that. Mo the silly, cloud-cuckoo-land liberal theorist, giving up her nonsense when she’s made to see the real human tragedy of a mother fearful for her son? No and a million times no! Mo was talking sense! Likewise all Clarice’s concern about world events and about her human-rights legal work, contrasted with Toni’s concern about immediate family and domestic matters. Both the wider world *and* one’s own family are important! Being interested in current issues doesn’t mean that a character is just a twit needing to be knocked down.

    One thing that’s still bothering me is that there seems to be a subtext saying relationships can be stable and more or less functional only when there’s a needy child (young like JR, transitioning like Janis) to glue the couple together. As soon as Raffi started growing up, the long-term problems between Clarice and Toni flared up and they fell apart. Childless Mo and Sydney have never really liked one another (who knows how that might change when Sydney gives birth, though?) Ginger and Samia might be an exception, or maybe Ammar is playing the role of child. Similarly for Jezanna and Audrey, Jez’s dad was dependent and quite childlike. Meanwhile Sparrow and Stuart live and childcare-work together with only mild bickering, as did Clarice and Toni, and Gloria and Ana, for most of their offsprings’ early years.

  173. Josiah says:

    Interesting thought about the role of children in holding DTWOF relationships together, spudulike. It’s tempting to play armchair psychoanalyst and say that since the careful and awkward dance which held Alison’s parents together seems to have collapsed once their children were out of the house, that this pattern reflects Alison’s own ambivalent feelings about long-term relationships, given the model of her parents. But that’s almost certainly bullshit. :^)

  174. Dr. Empirical says:

    On the apparently abandoned subject of hair coloring, I think women with streaks of grey in their hair are extremely sexy!

    Tomorrow, I’m heading out to Philadelphia Folk Festival, where there’ll be lots of them.

    Envy me!

  175. Jana C.H. says:

    Hi, Spud! Long time no see. I, for one, am glad to have left Planet Out behind, along with its ads for naked torsos. It’s also great to be on a blog where you don’t get stomped on for using three-syllable words and correct grammar. Drop by to see us on Maoist Orange Cake for more literate weirdness.

    I always thought polyamory included wedded threesomes and groups as well as couples with wandering rights. It looks like the word hasn’t settled into a fully agreed-upon meaning yet. I suspect there haven’t been enough examples of long-term successful polyamory for an official pattern to develop. I doubt that it ever will.

    Marriage, whether monogamous, polygamous, or polyandrous is mainly about property and setting up a household. Its structure is shaped (though not entirely defined) by economics. Tibetans in the old days practiced polyandry (and polygamy and monogamy) largely because there was so little arable land that a family couldn’t divide up its holdings among several brothers. Instead all the brothers would marry one wife, regardless of whether she liked all of them or they all liked her. The British, being islanders with similarly limited land resources, went in for primogeniture instead. Everything went to the eldest son, and the younger sons went off to conquer India or something. I’m over-simplifying, of course, but in no case was marriage completely free-form.

    Enough of this foolishness. Welcome back, Spud! I hope we’ll hear more from you.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Albert Schweitzer: There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.

  176. spudulike says:

    Jana! Good to read you again, too. I’m surprised by how much I care about having found in #511 a ray of hope that DTWOF and its fan-community might still be for me! There have been months when I haven’t even bothered to check whether a new episode was out but maybe that’s changing now!

    For me marriage is about personal, emotional security. Knowing that my OH isn’t going to give in to temptation with anyone else, and likewise that if I obey the same rule we’ve every chance of staying together for life. I don’t take her for granted but nor do I travel home after work each day doubting whether she’ll be there to greet me, nor do I have to make contingency plans about our holiday for next year just in case she gets a better offer. We found each other, we got together, and now we can get on with the rest of our lives. I know groups of long-term polyamorists who have that same feeling of security about one another and I respect that while knowing that, when I tried it, the jealousy and fear of abandonment were just too painful.

    Hi Josiah! Interesting snippet about Alison’s own past (I assume she made this public, so we’re not invading her privacy by discussing it.) You may be right that this influenced her view of relationships with/without children. Also, in response to somebody earlier up this thread who said Mo and Sydney seem like aspects of the same person: Alison said in an interview, some years ago, that all the characters are aspects of herself. To me that’s the only plausible reason why Mo and Sydney are still together – because Alison finds their relationship interesting – if they were real people, Mo would probably leave. Unless she really is hooked on emotional abuse.

  177. Josiah says:

    Spudulike, it’s all in Fun Home. You have read it, haven’t you? If not, get thee to a bookstore! It’s out in paperback now. You’ll thank me.

  178. larss says:

    People PLEASE! Why does everyone want Mo to get back with Harriet? I don’t understand the Harriet nostalgia thing. Sydney is much more interesting. Being single is also interesting.

  179. Jana C.H. says:

    Larss– Perhaps people’s preference for un-interesting Harriet over interesting Sydney has to do with the famous Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times!

    I’m not one who thinks Mo and Harriet should get back together. Unfortunately for Mo, that’s over and done with. But I think Sydney has broken Mo’s heart, and Mo needs to get free herself.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Arthur Pinero: Where there is tea, there’s hope.

  180. shadocat says:

    Harriet not intersting? Harriet was the salt of the earth! Just because she wasn’t a liar and a cheat doesn’t mean she wasn’t interesting.

    That said, all of us Harriet-lovers need to accept the fact that her ship has sailed and she ain’t never comin’ back…

  181. Maggie Jochild says:

    Shado, let’s think of it this way: Harriet is out here among us, making some other salt-of-the-earth dyke very happy. Perhaps she lives in Missouri? A devoted parent, steadily opening her mind and heart, living a life of quiet goodness and giving her lover bone-rattling orgasms devoid of the frisson of fear that we mistake for sexual attraction. Didn’t she have red hair, or was that just my wistful imagination?

  182. Deena in OR says:

    I wish she lived in Oregon….

  183. shadocat says:

    Awww, Maggie, you’re a girl after my own heart…

  184. Wendy says:

    Again, I am really enjoying this discussion of polyamory etc etc.
    I haven’t spent much time thinking about my “poly” relationship, just kind of being in it. In some ways I remind myself of the old style lesbians who just took wives without ever labeling themselves “lesbian”.
    Kat – I like your term “three point relationship” – to describe my life – that’s kind of what it is. I’ve also heard the term polyfidelity which sounds pretty close too.
    It’s definately a marriage of some type, with shared responsibilities and resources. I can really tell that having three adults helps with sharing the work of raising children and making a home. Of course it’s not perfect – but what relationship is? I am amazed that we make it work some days, and very grateful.

  185. AnnaH says:

    @ Jana C.H. August 16th, 2007 at 1:33 am

    “I suspect there haven’t been enough examples of long-term successful polyamory for an official pattern to develop. I doubt that it ever will.”

    ugh, I find those statements questionable. I am offended to tell the truth.

    Exchange “lesbian relationship” for polyamory in your sentence and you might get it. Just because there are no examples in your “world” doesn’t mean they do not exist.

  186. Jaibe says:

    I still like Sydney as a character & hope something works out, but that’s quite a hole she’s in…

    Hi spudsulike!!!

  187. shadocat says:

    “I suspect there haven’t been enough examples of long-term successful polyamory for an official pattern to develop. I doubt that it ever will.”

    Why would you be offended at that? That is simply an obeservation of one person’s experience. I find it offensive that you prsume what sort of “world” they inhabit.

    As someone who has inhabited many different “worlds”, I’ve known several people, some of them very well, who were non-monogamous. And I’ve got to say, the monogamous couples do have a higher rate of success. I’m 52 years old–I stated “dating” at 15—that’s 37 years of relationship experience, in case you’re wondering about my “world”.

  188. shadocat says:

    Sorry that should be “presume”

  189. Aunt Soozie says:

    A threesome that is closed to other partners would be defined as polyamorous by folks who are polyamorous.

    Poly means you are open to considering physical intimacy and/or a love relationship with more than one primary monogamous partner… it doesn’t mean your bedroom is an open free for all.

    Non-monogamous and polyamorous are not synonymous.

    There’s plenty of literature out there if anyone really wants to learn about the concept. like… the ethical slut. great book…did I mention it before? oh, I did? okay, I’ll shut up then…

    and Ellen O. Why is this strip so popular?
    I think it’s the boobage.

    Monogamy is over-rated but boobs are the bomb.

  190. shadocat says:

    Oh yeah-doesn’t everyone need more “boobage” in their lives. Personally, I think booage makes the world go ’round…

  191. shadocat says:

    oops, Dammit–that is supposed to be BOOBAGE

  192. Yossi says:

    RESPONSE TO:I like the fact that Stuart’s political activism wasn’t placed in a story about what a silly twit he’s being. What I mean by that is, there was an episode while Sydney had cancer, in which Mo was ranting against the ‘war on terror’ and Sydney confronted her with a nurse whose son was in the US Army, knocking the wind out of Mo’s sails. I hated that. Mo the silly, cloud-cuckoo-land liberal theorist, giving up her nonsense when she’s made to see the real human tragedy of a mother fearful for her son? No and a million times no! Mo was talking sense! RESPONSE: I don’t think the intent was for Mo to have some mind-changing epiphany. I think Alison was trying to have her characters realize the impact of the war on the families of those killed or maimed. Mo did what we ALL have to do at times, bite our tongues and let someone who is hurting vent. Would it have been kinder for Mo to respond to a grieving mother by shoving her views on the war down her throat? I don’t think so. There is enough “red state/blue state” (I hate that divisive term) mutual animosity and Mo did the right thing by letting the mother speak.

  193. Ellen O. says:

    Funny that the word “boob” also means a stupid person, fool, or dunce.

    Here in the English-speaking U.S., we seem to have a love/hate relationship with bodies. On the one hand, we venerate and desire breasts, butts, vaginas, and penises, and on the other hand, “asshole” and “cunt” are two of our most derogatory insults. Yesterday, I listened to four teenage boys slam each other by calling each other “dicks.”

    Strange world. Is it that way in other languages too?

  194. Aunt Soozie says:

    Interesting Ellen…
    coming from our puritanical past… we do have that love/hate thang going on… we want it bad… and it is bad…
    how warped is that?
    We’re all sinners afterall… except for Pam I.
    Since she is an atheist she can have as many wives as she likes and as much madonna-ish/whore-ish sex as is humanly possible with total impunity. Dang, she’s lucky.

  195. Pam I says:

    Except for the divergence between theory and practice….

  196. judy dark says:

    larss, i agree, sidney is interesting. in the sense that lit crit jargon and academic arrogance make me weak…

    but–wasn’t it liz who was samia+ginger’s realtor? not beth? (a dumb question, given the giant debate on actually important stuff here. sorry!!)

  197. Maggie Jochild says:

    I prefer red-footed boobies, myself. Lovely contrast between their feet and their blue bills.

    And Pam I, if you need more practice on your theory — oh, wait, dang, you’re on another continent.

  198. Maggie Jochild says:

    P.S. Berkeley Breathed assures a place in heaven for wimmin who don’t shave their legs.

  199. An Australian in Berlin says:

    I can`t get to the end, I’m flagging. AB is playing with us over the Sydney is pregnant line, yes? And hurrah for Sydney looking real.

    Is it not spelled consensual? As in consensus, rather than consent, though probably the same root. Otherwise it#d rhyme with eventual.

    AB appeared in my dream. She was living in my childhood home and wouldn’t let me get away with leaving my girlfriend without a hefty emotional price. A fairly neat summary of recent plotlines, eh? Dreams imitate art imitates life imitates art. Ooh, some tricky feelings in this strip.

  200. smexius says:

    I don’t know, I just turned 51, am I in the same age range as the dtwof? Personally, its gotten to be about mid life crisis (a bit) menopause, changes in sexual desire, oh, and having grand kids…

    It can feel kind of lonely being a dyke with grandkids, to tell the truth. Even in the gay (bay) area.

    I have been with mo et al since the very beginning, but I am starting to feel their reality, although interesting, is getting farther and farther away from mine.

    Who cares? Well me, for one. It’s kinda sad.

  201. spudulike says:

    Yossi said ‘I don’t think the intent was for Mo to have some mind-changing epiphany. I think Alison was trying to have her characters realize the impact of the war on the families of those killed or maimed. Mo did what we ALL have to do at times, bite our tongues and let someone who is hurting vent. Would it have been kinder for Mo to respond to a grieving mother by shoving her views on the war down her throat? I don’t think so. There is enough “red state/blue state” (I hate that divisive term) mutual animosity and Mo did the right thing by letting the mother speak. ‘

    Hi Yossi! You’ll probably never read this at the end of this long thread, but I’ve been away and only just saw your comments. I agree that what Mo did was kind and right. What bothers me is that the pain of a US serviceperson’s mother got DTWOF airtime whereas there’s never been a mention of an Iraqi or Afghan or Palestinian person’s pain. There could have been – there still could be – a story about Samia’s or Ammar’s sister having married a Palestinian, had kids, then the sister and kids turn up at the Samia/Ammar/Ginger house needing refuge because their house got bulldozed by an Israeli tank after a malicious hoax claiming there was a terrorist cell 2 doors down the street, and just after that the husband was shot dead by a
    soldier because he pulled a rude face when his ID papers were demanded at a checkpoint on his way to work. Or something about an Iraqi refugee family moving in next door to Mo and Sydney.

    There could also have been a follow-up scene with Mo telling Clarice how she’d had to bite her tongue when she found out about that nurse’s son, and Clarice agreeing that it can be hard to find your balance between your good, kind principles about world peace and your good, kind response to individuals who you meet.

    I know, Alison only had one strip a fortnight and now only one a month, in which to tell all these character’s stories. But for me that story about ‘feeling the pain of the US servicepeople’s families’ is one that is already being told in the mainstream media. I’d prefer to read a less predictable viewpoint in DTWOF.

  202. mlk says:

    very thoughtful comments, spudulike. I hope folks are still reading and will respond. maybe Alison will use your suggestions as a jumping off point for a strip about the war(s). we are so cocooned here in the U.S., I think most of us have difficulty looking beyond how Americans are affected by our government’s policies.

    kudos to Alison for at least having characters who can connect with the lives of people in the Middle East!

    my mind’s been masticating the relationship stuff said on the thread here, especially comments about multi adult households.

    and my thoughts are probably better placed on the next thread . . .

  203. Hannah says:

    Wew! Ww are a talkitive bunch, yes? ( which is a good thing! ) Ok…
    If I remember correctly, WAY back there, when Mo and Sydney had been together for a short while, they were going through a phase where Sydney was attracted to one of her graduate students ( this is far enough back that Syd had not gotten her tenure yet ) and Mo was feeling threatened by the possibility of Syd and the student. Sydney was also buried in her work, writing and publishing ( and for all those out there who thought this excessive of her…if Syd wanted tenure, in a publish or perish university environment, she HAD to be fanatical about publication, a point I don’t think I have ever heard anyone mention. ) and back to the earlier part of this sentance, sorry, Mo was stuck with all the housework, stopped up sink and all.
    Sydney had this epiphany and came home and said that her work was “the other woman”, not an actual other woman, and produced, romantically, a plunger to unstop the stuck kitchen sink. Later, at a dinner with Clarice and Toni, Sydney and Mo wax poetic and romantic over having a monogamous relationship and the richness of sharing a life with one person….which was hilarious, because Clarice and Toni had just decided to try having an open relationship, and could tell Mo and Sydney, because M and S had just held up Clarice and Toni’s marriage as the example to follow of romantic monogamy.
    OH YES INDEED DID SYDNEY HAVE AN AGREEMENT TO BE MONAGAMOUS WITH MO…and the last time I looked, they had never sat down and rescinded it in so many words! So…
    Now, having said that, I do have to point out that a lot of times ( tho not every time )when a person who really is polyamorous at heart makes a declaration of monagamy, watch out. Because the possibility is there that it will NOT stick, and having painted themselves into the monogamous corner too hastily, they will resume non-monogamy behind their partners back. And try to change the rules and talk their partner into polyandry…which equally does not work if the other is naturally monogamous. ( Been caught in that, it was a nightmare, never going back. ) Which seems to be what we have here with Sydney and Mo.
    So…don’t know whats going to happen with Mo and Sydney, but am interested in finding out. And I don’t hate Sydney, bless her little black heart, though I have no idea if the relationship is even salvageable. I know that it’s a fictional comic strip–making this clear so no one pops me into therapy–but on the other hand, the characters are REAL too, in that they are written realistically by Alison. faults and strengths and complexities and all.
    It is entirely possible they will stay together, simply because breaking up takes an INCREDIBLE amount of will and strength to tear up daily habits, go against the flood of inertia, face the unknown again, and yes…feel love being torn apart and ended that is still there even when a relationship is not working.
    Having said all that, 2 final comments…
    The whole shaving hair thing ( boy, do we all really need to get lives! LOL! ). When I was at the tender age of just developing duck fuzz to pale to be called hair, my wonderful stay at home classic 1950’s housewife mom, PROUDLY presented me with my ( in capital letters) VERY FIRST RAZOR *gasp!*. Now, I was an only child ( and when people see pictures of me at age 3 the comment is inevitably, “oh, look at the baby dyke!” ) who had spent my lonely childhood with my nose in a book, no other kids around to play with, no big sisters already shaving, no big brothers mooning over girls–in short NO CLUE at all regarding gender issues out in the big world.
    So here was my beaming mom proudly going “see, I got you your razor..it’s even an electic razor and now you can shave your legs!” I looked up at her over the top of my latest book, in complete shock, horror and perplexity, having believe it or not, never heard of or noticed this ritual before in my life and asked the only logical question…”Why??????”
    I will treasure til my dying day the train-wrecked look on my mom’s face! She opened her mouth to confidently give me a reason…and then suddenly realized she COULD NOT come up with a reason that was logical, reasonable or not inherently sexist or potentially damaging to her daughters self image ( such as “it’s the only way men will find you attractive dear” ). She floundered around for a bit and gave up and said that it was a custom that existed in our society and I could choose whether or not to participate…which was REALLY amazing, given that she never had a radical feminist though in her life. So 3 cheers for my mom! A woman who was honest and real, even though she never really understood a part of her butch tomboy daughter. ( or did she? She died long before I ever admitted to being gay or came out, but I also remember that shortly after the razor incident, we had the birds and the bees conversation–yes I was isolated!!!–which she did so beautifully without blushing, or blithering and was very frank and honest about. And I realized abruptly years after she passed that at the end of the conversation, her wording when she spoke of my choosing to be with one person someday was entirely gender neutral! Hats off to mom…I think maybe she knew. )
    And AT LAST….

  204. mlk says:

    Hannah, Alison addressed your question about Sydney in the Beaver Post (August 20). she was KIDDING when she stated that Sydney is pregnant. whether she rethinks the S/M drama to include a wee one remains to be seen! I expect she’ll play that one (if she picks up on it) close to her chest.

  205. CJ says:

    My first post here… I hope I’m within protocol. But here goes! I’ve lost the conversation about Samia/Ginger/Ammar, and wanted to point out that if Samia IS still married legally, and they live in a community-proerty state, and Ammar isn’t such a great guy… he could turn up to demand “his share” of the marital assets should he and Samia divorce. It could get… um… interesting.

  206. Anonymous says:

    Sydney says that she regards “I love you” as a figure of speech…right before she parrots it back to Mo. Sigh* She never looks at Mo the way she goes all goofy-eyed for even just the sound of Madeleine’s voice…so sad to watch it play out.