1511 Notorious.

Having sudden, intense, feelings of attraction to someone who you aren’t physically attracted to as soon as they display exceptional intelligence is one topic I don’t need to research. It happens to me, so I know it’s a real thing. That said, there are things that can break the spell, so to speak. Tattoos of words, for example, drive me insane. I can cope with almost anything else, but words, even proper names, have to be read every time I see them and it fucking makes me mental. Although if it’s in a language I don’t understand the effect is lessened considerably. If it’s in an alphabet I don’t recognize the problem is almost non existent. The problem is I’ve learned to recognize certain common words in a lot of languages. I know it will sound ridiculous to a lot of people, but it’s just a compulsion I am aware of in myself. I’ve tried to get past it and have never managed too. I’ve known some truly wonderful women that I would’ve dated, even took a stab at it in some cases, but the problem was I wanted to take a stab at their fucking tattoo every time I saw it. As far as I know there’s no level of beauty, or intelligence that can counteract the word tattoo effect. The world being the place that it is now this has whittled my possible relationships down to almost zero. This fact will probably be the thing ultimately responsible for my eventual suicide. I wish that last line was a joke.
There is a lot of me in Reggie. Almost as much as Thomas. He’s probably closer to the real me than I want to admit. I’m always comforted when people say Reggie is their favorite character because it makes it seem like there’s hope for me. You can be full of negative traits, but ultimately be trying to do good, and people can see it. Ages ago I explained where Reggie came from, but I’ll do it again because it’s been a decade.
He doesn’t appear in the first story except a mention once at the very end because he wasn’t supposed to be part of the cast of the movie. He was created for a separate idea that I always wanted to do called “That Bastard Reggie” Basically it was a story about the antagonist friend rather than the ideal lead. It was kind of a story about the importance of people like Reggie in our lives and in fiction. That one friend that no one is sure why you’re friends with. They cause problems, complain about everything, make fun of everything you try, but are always around. If you don’t have a friend like that, then you ARE that friend. It’s not always as cut a dry as that, but someone in your circle fills that role and there’s a hierarchy of who is next in line when that person isn’t around. People will become the Reggie when one leaves. Anyway, I had all the other archetypes in the story except for him and adding him basically completed things in my mind, so he didn’t get to be the lead. If I could do it all again I’d’ve put him in the first story too. Maybe I could combine the first two stories into one, or write them slightly differently, but in retrospect I’ve always felt like he should’ve been in the first part. His shenanigans drive a lot of the story. He’s not a villain per se, but the things he does cause problems that effect everyone. His tendency to be self aggrandizing makes him easy to blame for things he’s not fully responsible for because it’s annoying. He draws ire like a magnet.
Evrina from the furry story is that group’s Reggie and when the two meet they have to have a pissing contest to decide who the king Reggie is. In that moment you feel what I think the cast would’ve felt if they had all been there. He’s a jerk, but he’s OUR jerk. That is one of those crazy things about the human heart that I’ve always been fascinated by.
Reggie’s full name is Reginald Watson Boothe. He’s named for three villains. Reggie Mantle from Archie comics, Jeff Watson from my real life, and John Wilkes Booth the presidential assassin. The first and last things are obvious enough choices. The middle name is a guy who had feelings for a girl I dated. He was my nemesis really only because of that, but that’s reason enough. In actual fact I liked him and wished we could have been friends, but as so often happened the love of a woman put us at odds. (The girl in question is the one I based Constance on by the way) He once “kidnapped” her in an elaborate plot to… You know, I don’t actually know what his endgame was, but I was supposed to follow them around town and find them or something. But of course he was her friend so it wasn’t like she was really in danger. He wasn’t a rapist and at the time I knew she was in love with me, so I never bothered to chase them. Later on she told me how annoyed he was that I wouldn’t play the game. Which I thought was absolutely hilarious. The fact that he went to the trouble to do that ridiculous thing made him stick in my mind, so I honored him by naming Reggie after him. A dubious honor perhaps, but one of the most genuine I’m capable of bestowing on another person. I don’t know what happened to the girl apart from her love for me faded and she made a life without me in it. I don’t know what happened to Jeff apart from he didn’t become the famous person I sort of thought he might. I hope he’s doing well though. I appreciate a quality nemesis.


I agree- some people don’t go for tattoos.
It’s sort of like a line from Steve Martin’s film, Roxanne: [paraphrased]- ” I see that you don’t have any tattoos. That’s just as well. I don’t think that Jackie Kennedy would have gone as far, with an anchor [tattoo] on her arm.”

I must admit I’ve always found tattoos (any kind – not just word tattoos) to be a bit detrimental to anyone’s appearance. I always associate them with trailer-park trash culture – like exposed plumbers butt cracks, the ubiquitous exposed bra-straps that seem to be a popular and flaunted fashion right now with so many women and the low-hung baggy pants exposing underwear that are (fortunately) becoming passe now with young guys. To my benefit, I’ve discovered that if I ignore outward appearances for a moment, I meet some truly fascinating people. One guy I know who I really enjoyed getting to know is EXTENSIVELY tattooed but because I first saw him as a person I made a great friend who incidentally had tattoos.

I too am very attracted to exceptional intelligence. When I was dating, I met a lot of attractive girls who became unattractive once I tried to engage them in intellectual conversation and found them unable to hold up their end of the conversation. I also started dating a few different girls who were initially not that attractive but who became much more so when I was able to talk to them and found great intellectual and emotional depth to them.

I agree, especially with the second paragraph. I have mentioned it before — perhaps even here — that once a woman opens her mouth, there are no more secrets. If she hasn’t a wit about her (or has bad teeth), all will be known once she speaks. I’m sure the same is true about men.

Until that point, physical attraction rules the day with me. I feel bad about that, but I can’t help it. I comfort myself that it’s only the first I even know about anyone. But a body can’t hold my interest is there’s no mind there. And the right mind can get my attention.

Both…oh man. That’s the stuff of dreams.

Congratulations. You’re Human!

(Or an approximation thereof.)

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I am not sure if I qualify as a “normal” in the statistics definition thereof but more of an outlier human, outside of biochemistry, but I cosplay one every day. I think I may have gotten most everyone I interact with fooled by now.

My standard comment on tattoos and piercings is that self-mutilation is not my idea of fun, and I’ll get a tattoo when they drag me off to the camps and put the number on me.

Everyone’s entitled to their own craziness, of course.

In a camp I’d wager branding would be far more probable – faster, cheaper, harder to get rid of then a tattoo.

In this day and age a tattoo could be automated so easily using modern industrial printing techniques and I am still surprised at the archaic needles through skin technique. Especially when you can get needle free vaccinations.

But truth be told they are going to chip us like we do pets but with an extra surprise package for those who try and remove them afterwards.
Easy to give unique IDs and also include all sorts of data about us so as to limit the congestion on the central NSA servers.

Ah intelligence, one of the many traits that I most enjoy about women in general. If you’re intelligent you pretty much are a shoe in for me. (Although a pretty face doesn’t hurt as well.)

Even Nina is not immune to foot in mouth disease.

Indeed. And that’s the look of a person who is horrified at their own shallowness – or at least, at the thought *other* people have seen the side of them they hate.
Not that I’m an expert on that, or anything.

Hey Jackie I know my opinion means nothing because I’m a stranger in a sea of strangers to you, but please don’t kill yourself. I enjoy reading your comic and I enjoy your insightful commentary. Who knows, we might’ve been friends if I ever spoke with you in person. Anyway, I wish you luck with your daily battle with what I assume to be depression, if I’m wrong feel free to tell me to fuck off.

No worries. That was more of a musing about my life in another 20 years than a declaration of depression. I tend to extrapolate future events in a desolate way.

Rest assured, we’re hoping for pleasantness in your future.

The optimistic Pessimist

Either we are right and everything swirls down the toilet OR we got it wrong and something pleasant happens.
Win – Win?

Winning is depressing.
Loosing is depressing.

I once again realize I am that character in some angsty Gothic art house film where nothing really happens.

I wish you well, I really do. But sometimes I wonder if your creativity isn’t a side effect of the things you feel are missing from your life.(Not saying your complaints aren’t real or well founded.) Starving artist and all. We really appreciate this little world you’ve created, and I hope it can survive a huge improvement in your life and well-being. If not, we’ll miss it, but will still wish you the best.

I’m tattoo free. We’re rare, but we’re not non-existent. I’m also big and some people tell me I’m intelligent in conversation, though lacking a secondary education. Strangely, your comic gives me some hope there are people who’d be attracted to me without focusing on the package, despite how badly and empty my 20s were.

If you’re a man, then I can safely say to you that most women care far less about appearance then you’d think – at least the ones that want a long-lasting relationship with potential for marriage. They value other qualities more – intellect and success, charm and passion, etc.

If you’re a girl then I can speak from personal experience that there will be those that will be attracted to you not in spite, but because of your weight. Never mind how much intellect adds to overall hotness levels (studies and personal preference tell me it’s a whole damn lot).
You see, some of us men actually PREFER bigger women in bed – I myself find them rather sexy if they’re not morbidly obese (some will go for those specifically, but I’m sticking to personal experience here). Women look – in my opinion – better with a few pounds extra as long as they don’t get a double-chin (probably because saggy skin is automatically associated with advanced age, hence unattractive from a purely procreation-oriented view – something our brains usually think about when determining attraction). How much weight you can gain without slipping into unattractiveness depends on how your body is built and varies greatly, but as mentioned above I believe the cut-off point is when facial fat constantly overlaps on one’s neck – or when the chin is visibly bloated and doesn’t adhere to the rest of the facial contours.

I have to disagree that -everyone- has such a friend-role as Reggie, mainly because some of us do not have groups of friends to begin with – at least I don’t.
I have 4 (5? He’s been gone for years now, but we do talk every other year-ish.) best friends that loosely know each other, but only though me (one exception, but their relationship degraded to simply acquaintances at this point) and about 5 girls that I’ve befriended along the way through them. Also 3 ex-girlfriends that I want to count among my best friends, but sadly they tend to break off contact for extended periods of time, so in practice though I’d love to count them, they simply aren’t around enough to include in this ‘diagram’.

None come even close to Reggie’s type. It simply might be that I’m very picky about choosing friends and don’t tend to associate with any of my friend’s friends unless I really do like them (hence the 5 girls).

Note: Plenty of old friends that I haven’t seen in a long time, but this was more about friends you associate with on a regular (or semi-regular) basis (at least that was the impression I got), so I won’t include my old high-school friends here, for example. Heck, even among those there isn’t a Reggie.

Of course, I could perhaps fit the bill of being Reggie-like, but I’m too kind to be a bastard about it – even if I make it a point to be brutally honest to everyone and everything, I don’t complain nor do I make fun of people, and certainly no one of sound mind has ever viewed me as a jerk (people with an agenda, especially online, do not count as they typically view anyone not supporting their point as such and detractors doubly so).

Hmm… let’s see this side-by-side:
Reggie: brutally honest, mostly fair, sharp-witted, verbally slaps people for their own stupidity, mean-spirited a lot of times, pessimist, gloomy most of the time, slight superiority complex, capable, romantic, complains and whines, causes problems, has honor.
DarkVeghetta: brutally honest, always fair (and quite anal about it), sharp-witted, verbally slaps people for their own stupidity, kind most times but harsh when necessary, optimist, jovial most of the time, slight superiority complex, capable, romantic, almost enjoys enduring hardship, avoids causing others problems at any cost, has honor.

We have 7 out of 13 identified major traits in common. Conclusion: I do not fill the same friend-role as Reggie, but I do see eye to eye with him on many key points.

PS: I’ve been reading betweenfailures for about half a year now – a lot to like here and I do enjoy your musings. Heck, I’ve grown fond of you as a person, even if we differ on opinion regarding a few points here and there – but we’d probably get along splendidly in real life.
I suppose my point is something along these lines: More people like you then you expect and many of us think you’re being too harsh on yourself – which would be fine except the self-destructive aspect isn’t something those fond of you can abide without critiquing it in the hopes you ease up on it a smidge. Fair winds to thee, Jackie of house Wohlen.
– Dark

Yeah – to be the Reggie in your circle of friends, you have to have a circle of friends. I’m something of a loner. I seem to get along well with the people at work – to the point of being friendly, but none of them are my friends. I don’t see any of them outside of work except when we cross paths in the grocery store or the mall.
I’ve been mostly that way ever since high school – when you are the odd intellectual with much different interests than the rest of the herd, you tend to learn to work alone a lot and develop interests where you entertain yourself without requiring the participation of others – reading, running, backpacking, computer gaming, bicycling, going to museums, taking university classes…
Come to think of it, that last one was kind of a problem because I do things alone. I nearly always worked on homework and studied alone – and about killed myself when I could have gotten a lot of help by working with other people. It took me quite a while to learn to even think about working with other folks since I was used to doing it all by myself.

If I recall correctly, I believe part of what Nina’s going through is less actual attraction and more of a shock to routine. Reggie pestering and/or flirting with her has become rote and even the most dynamic people tend to settle into some kind of routine, even if it is by necessity (such as working a really crappy minwage job) and something that suddenly jolts out of place, especially in what appears to be a highly uncharacteristic way, can cause conflicting emotions for varying lengths of time…

At least, this presumes I’ve got my half-remembered psych lessons right. I could be wholly wrong.

I have worked with a lot of Reggies over the years, but I’ve never been a friend to any of them. Maybe it’s because I was the target of so much bullying my first ten years of school (and my older brothers aren’t blameless, either, but I had to live with them). I won’t tolerate people who are abrasive, antagonistic or abusive;

I am body-art free and women — especially attractive ones — who find it necessary to decorate themselves with ink are trying to cover something up. I feel the same way about piercings. I suppose they want to be different — just like everyone else. When I was a Junior in High School, I started working part-time at a hospital. I saw a lot of folks — mostly older men, some of them WWI veterans — with ancient tattoos. Make a note, folks: at eighty, sagging skin with fading ink will not be attractive.

In that wise, about fifteen years ago, we had a young woman come to work for us. She had a number of tattoos, and for a woman who was only in her late twenties, they were oddly crude and faded. My first guess was they were gang ink, but the more I got to know her, the more convinced I was that they were prison tattoos. We had to pass a background check to work there (it was an insurance company), and if she had done time she never would have been hired. I put a bug in the boss’ ear, and he had a conversation with her and told her he was restarting her background check. She broke down and told him she had stolen the identity of a girl she went to High School with. After that, every new hire had to be fingerprinted. Now that’s some ink that’s hard to remove!

Hmm. I guess I am Reggie.

Or we like tattoos. We aren’t hiding anything, now do we want to be “different.” We just happen to have liked something enough to put it on our bodies, or have chosen to remember someone with body art. Same with piercings. You don’t need to like them, but you shouldn’t be rude about it.
And at 80, nothing is attractive.

Personally, when I do get mine they will be a expression of who I am and what I stand for. Each and every one I intend to get has meaning and symbolism attached that will not be apparent to the casual observer, but for those who know me well might make a lot of sense in context.

Now my tongue-split I intent to get (or, rather, create by myself) after a frenectomy and a large-gauge piercing is put into place has more to do with a show of willpower and endurance in the face of overwhelming month-long pain. A test of my fortitude if you will. I anticipate it with great glee. Sadly I have more down-to-earth problems to deal with first before I can afford to spend money and time on such extravagances, but their time shall come.

..did you just tell a story of you getting someone fired who probably was trying to get their life back together, albeit through dubious means, just because you had suspicions over their appearance?

You’re gonna need to elaborate on that, because without additional context that makes you look like a REAL fucking scumbag.

Another larger, inkless woman (and I like to think of myself as intelligent, certainly). We do exist!

You might consider Jewish girls, maybe of the Reform persuasion – not so batshit religious as Orthodox Jews but definitely unlikely to get ink.

I would like to add my little weight to this as well. Jackie, you are one of the precious few artists I support on Patreon, because you draw life. These may not be the comic strips that you see on all the cubicle walls, or the ones that look like paintings with speech bubbles, but this is the most “real” comic that I have every seen.

Not only do you depict events that every one of us can identify with, but you do so in a way to make us feel every moment of them, even the ones we never experienced ourselves. You have brought the characters to life by putting your life in them, and made me wish that I could know them as I wish I could know you. Keep on living, Jackie. You have made something amazing through your life, something worth living for.

Not to be a troll or rude, as you certainly draw much better than I do, but Reggie’s right arm in the last panel looks hilariously off-kilter. It’s considerably thicker than his left arm, and the fingers of his hand also look clunky. Since I’m bringing it up, you also left out an s in assure, same panel. Anyways, I do enjoy the comic, but nobody else had mentioned it, so I thought I might as well.

Alexandria. Library. I’m embarrassed I didn’t notice the pun until now.


Totally unrelated, the burning of the library at Alexandria probably set the world back a hundred years.

That’s a number people like to throw around, but it’s utterly arbitrary. Never mind so few people knew how to read back when it happened. Could have ‘set us back’ a few dozen, hundreds, or none at all. It’s quite literally impossible to tell and we won’t ever know, but it was a tragedy to be sure.

We cannot help what attracts us to others, or what turns us off. I have tattoos, 5 to be exact. They each mean something very important to me. That is the important thing–what they mean to me. I’ve always thought it quite silly when people get offended when someone has a negative view of tattoos, or in your case, a certain type of tattoo. We don’t get tattoos to please others. Well, I’m sure some do, but generally people get them for their own happiness. Or to mark lessons we learn along the way and want to be sure to never forget. I personally am turned off by piercings, although I have respect for self-expression. Make yourself happy and fulfilled, for we really are all in this together. Thanks for this comic, btw. :) Over the past few months it has earned a spot in my web comic line-up, and I look forward to each update. Best regards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.