1580. Unmanageable.

It is sometimes hard to put myself in the mindset of my characters because they haven’t learned things that I have. I remember feeling like they do, and making stupid choices, arguing over ridiculous premises, or whatever, but now I feel like their being childish. I’m writing for people who are like a past version of myself. At the same time, I know I’m still doing stupid things that I’m too close to to see properly. I’m sitting here wondering what things they are. I know I’m doing them, but what I’m doing day to day seems like the right thing to do at the moment. It’s not always easy to step far enough back from your current self to objectively asses your activity.
When I was graduating from junior high they rounded us up and the principal gave a little speech. I don’t remember it anymore, but I remember the word he emphasized in it: introspection. Looking within. He advised us to try and objectively evaluate ourselves in our lives. I may well have been the only kid in that gymnasium listening. I was already familiar with the term, but I didn’t really apply it in that way until after that. That might well have been the only interaction I had with that man, but he affected my life with a handful of words. I don’t even know his name anymore. Over the years the evolution of my own introspection has led to certain things that I hold as important, like how important it is to know your own limitations and accept them. You don’t have to be bound to them, but you shouldn’t stop doing everything just because you can’t surpass your level of ability. Test your limitations and work within them until such time as you can surpass them. If you can’t ever exceed your limitations keep doing things anyway. A person who contributes nothing has no value.

I signed up for a couple of dating sites on a whim the other night. Not pay accounts. I just wanted to see how the mechanics of them worked. I only got one line in before the futility of the whole affair set in. After that I amused myself by making the most truthfully off putting profile I could. I answered the compatibility questions truthfully and no one who was suggested was higher than a 60%. 40% was the average, and the couple of women who exceeded that had deal breaking qualities. I suspected as much before I even started, but the reality made it more stark than the reality I’d crafted in my head. It was significantly more depressing than I expected. I feel like in a country with billions of people there should, statistically, be someone who is compatible with me. Perhaps an cash grab website isn’t the best place to find them. I don’t know what the alternative is though…

All I can do right now is just make this comic and draw stuff for people anyway, so there’s no point in worrying about anything else.


“I don’t know what the alternative is though…”
If you find out, please tell me.Would love to have a girlfriend like Carol, but if I really cared for her, how could I expect her to stay with me? I just need a beautiful girl with a sense of humor, no standards, and low self esteem. Is that so much to ask?

Heh, my standards are even more, how shall I say it, shallow?
– Beauty is only skin deep but scary is still scary. So can I say, please don’t terrify me?
– A sense of humor is a given if they are with me
– Standards? I would hope so but then again why would they pick me =/
– High self esteem would balance out my own apathetic lethargic levels
– Tolerance and acceptance of all the stupid foibles that make me what I am today
– Share at least some of my interests so that we have at least something to talk about

Yeah, I am doomed.

The woman with the intelligence and standards I’d be interested in would know better than to get involved with an incorrigible pervert like me.

So yeah, only by the grace of God.

I don’t know how much solace you’d get from a random commenter but I wouldn’t take too much stock on a selection of women of a dating site. There’s a saying that I like:

Everyone is crazy, the trick is finding the right kind of crazy for you.

Part of the problem is that I expect you’re a slightly introverted, quiet kind of guy. I don’t see those type of women putting themselves on dating sites too often. If you’re really looking for companionship, cast a wide net. Looking for a companion isn’t quick or easy though the end result can be very rewarding.

> Everyone is crazy, the trick is finding the right kind of crazy for you.

Exactly. If Harley Quinn were real, she’d be perfect for me! ????

Textbook case of extreme Stockholm syndrome?

Me? No, not Stockholm syndrome… I’ve merely found that the ones who embrace their particular brand of insanity have been my longer-term relationships than the ones who are “trying to recover” (but not really trying, whether due to depression, social anxiety, etc.) Of course, you have the nice girls who are trying to not be bad, too, but they bore me more than anything. At least with Harley, I’d have a little fun, perhaps even going crazy myself. ^_^

“It is sometimes hard to put myself in the mindset of my characters because they haven’t learned things that I have. I remember feeling like they do, and making stupid choices, arguing over ridiculous premises, or whatever, but now I feel like their being childish.”

AH MAN, so true! I think that’s a major block I have in my writing. I think part of it is really digging into the characters and fleshing them out first, like a map for their actions (and while I understand what you’re feeling; speaking as a reader, I don’t think of your characters as childish, so you’re doing a bang-up job even if it feels awkward to your senses). In the past I just wrote on the fly, so characters changed, but unnaturally and without focus. Back then, my friend had a knack for mapping it all out before hand (with wiggle room, of course) and that was something I have been struggling with ever since; not a complete map, but something that makes sure my characters aren’t just ME making all MY decisions. I realize these are friggin’ writing basics 101, but this happens when I don’t focus on it like I should.

“A person who contributes nothing has no value. ”

So you’re saying that people have no intrinsic value? That they don’t deserve at least a modicum of respect — or at least a right to life — just by being “at the top of the food chain,” as it were?

That is essentially correct. You are as valuable as what you can potentially contribute. Rights are a social construct. The world owes you nothing. Good people get cancer, bad people get rich, and the only justice is the justice we create.

A medical problem or disability doesn’t exclude you from bein useful. That said, taking care of the sick, disabled, and homeless, is not something a lot of people want to do. At least they don’t act that way when it comes time for paying for it. Google, for example, has tried several arguments to avoid taxes in England. Even I have had to pay tax to them because as a single person I don’t have the army of lawyers it takes to weasel out of paying.

As far as retirement goes, in America at least, you are expected to save money so you can be taken care of in your old age. The social programs are not constructed to take care of everyone the way they expect them to. In many cases if you haven’t saved up your whole life, or have relatives to help, the golden years end up being anything but.

That’s all as may be. The point is that the world doesn’t care if we live or die, or take care of the sick, or anything. People choose to do that because they think it’s right, but when everything falls apart, the food is running out, and there’s not enough to go around, all our “rights” go out the window. The world is only as moral as the largest number of people choose to make it.

When I got sick people donated money to help me because I don’t have enough to pay for my medical bills on my own. They did that because what I do is valuable to them. If I had never done the comic, if I was just a guy on the internet, I would never have gotten that help. Someone would have had to picked up that slack. I doubt I would have been left to die, but after all is said and done someone has to pay. I have spent all that time since getting sick only being able to work because I have a job that allows me to stay essentially still while I do it. If my job had been retail I would have been unemployed from the time I went in the hospital the first time until now. I would have been crushed by debt. Even with the insurance I have I had to pay so much that it was financially crippling. That is the terrifying reality that many people have to experience.

Your value is what you can produce. Plain and simple.

I’ve seen the “How about a nice, steaming cup of STFU?” tee shirt, but MYOFB would be fun, too.

‘A person who contributes nothing has no value.”

Words to live by. I’ve always thought that a person should have to pass an entrance examination to get past age 21. You should prove that you’ve accomplished something, anything, to make your continued existence useful. Working your @$$ off and doing the best you can to get by, by itself, is commendable. Just making babies nobody wants should earn you a free trip to the nearest Spay and Neuter clinic. Relying on the taxes or handouts from others should put you right into the Soylent Green hopper.

Nah, just feed em to the Vervoids.

Not being an ardent follower of The Doctor, I’d never heard of Vervoids, but there they are (thanks, Google). A little like the love child of John Wyndham’s Triffids and Roger Corman’s Audrey.

I’ve never commented here, and probably won’t again. But Jackie, hey, I’m an avid reader and deeply respect your wisdom and the decency of your heart that this strip has revealed; over and over again.

So Re: dating sites. They’re all about systems that the people who made them set up; they’re inherently reflective of the biases about relationships and compatibility that the creators hold, either consciously or unconsciously. When you put that together with “making the most truthfully off putting profile” you could, you’re going to get exactly the results you got. Seriously: it means NOTHING about your potential for love. NOTHING.

I say this with great affection and respect, even admiration: whether you know if or not, you’re too wise to use that kind of experience as confirmation of some untrue and counter-productive voice in your head, one that says you’re unlovable and worthless. If one of your characters did this and came to that conclusion, I’m pretty sure we’d get the chance to see where they were indulging in self-delusion at some point. The core of what you write is that everyone, no matter who they are, has worth and value, and something about them to admire and love. I’m suggesting that you apply that to yourself, and see where it goes.

The only real use for them is to increase the pool of people to meet. I “kissed” a million “frogs” before I found a princess; it took two years and a whole lot of one-time “coffee dates”, and most of those “frogs” looked at least decently possible according to the dating site I was using; they knew NOTHING. Again, don’t let their stupidity convince you of something that’s really not true.

Maybe try this: make a profile of your best qualities, without lying or exaggerating anything, and then at least pretend to believe in it. Resist the urge to put yourself down. Ignore the voice in your head that says you HAVE to include that. Let one of the “best qualities” be the fact that you see the love-ability in everyone, flaws and all, including yourself. Just as an exercise, you know, without any expectation of any kind of result. What do you have to lose? Seriously; what?

I love this comic; thanks for it all. You seriously rock.

Whoops; I meant to say “the only real use for “dating sites”. .. . .that’s the “them” I’m referring to. .

Jackie, bro, you’re being too hard on yourself again. You probably know that already, but it’s worth saying/hearing/reading. First off, I totally agree about people being worth as much as they contribute. I wish more people believed that, and applied it to their lives. Second, and Dunderhead touched on this, dating sites are not useful for finding relationships. They are useful for finding dates. You still have to slog through the numbers, and your only guarantee is that the person you meet online was also trying to meet someone online. If you want to slog through those numbers as fast as possible, you gotta fudge the profile. A pretty picture will get you a date, during which you get the chance to show the truth.
You’re a good guy, man. But relationships start with meeting people.
It’s maddening and I think it’s a wrong way for the sites to work, but that’s how they are.
Don’t give up though. I don’t know you other than through your work, but it’s pretty telling work. And the comments.

If you want to find someone, and you take action to do so, then it will happen. Destiny favors the bold. Besides, if you stick your neck out, and it doesn’t work, we won’t think less of you. And you won’t be worse off than now.

Another tip: I learned this from sales training, but it works all over: try for a no. If your goal is an honest no, then you can’t lose.

In closing: you’re great. I believe in you. A lot of us do. And as long as you’re honest and making an effort, we aren’t going to stop believing in you.

Your work is such an inspiration to me. Your writing is amazing.
Don’t believe you aren’t worth it.

I struggle with bad self image and low self esteem, and it’s an ongoing thing I’ve been fighting since elementary school. I don’t know how to believe in myself for more than a few days in a row, so I can’t give you advice on the how. But I know you’re worth more than you think.

Don’t give up.

Dating sites, if you are an average guy above the age of 25, are hell.

The reasons for this are fairly simple, actually, though there are a lot of little things that go into it… overall, it’s just a shopping site for sex/a relationship. Men are not the ones doing the buying; women are. Since you’ve worked in retail, hopefully you can see the parallels.

If you aren’t willing to sell yourself as a product, or you simply don’t fit the bill of “perfect man,” then your experience on a dating site is going to suck. It’s probably one of the most dehumanizing ways to meet potential partners, in my opinion.

Dating sites use algorithms and keywords, not the you of who you are. Not to mention that the age range, intention, and gender you’re likely to be seeking really isn’t the majority of who you’re encountering on a dating site. It’s likely that desperation, general apathy about dating, and other underlying issues that people collect over a lifetime of being single and seeking companionship in a society that applauds the act of pairing off would make for a poor match in any case.

I wouldn’t put too much thought into why you’re not getting good matches, since really the statement is more likely to be “you’re unlikely to interact well with the type of people who use dating sites” or “the people you would match best with don’t use dating sites” than anything truly negative about you.

My two cents, feel free to listen or ignore…

You are least likely finding love when actively looking for it. It’s a paradox, sure, but not the only one in existence, and I think I’ve figured out at least some of the reasons contributing to it.

When you are actively looking for love, you are… not desperate, that’s too strong, but starting off in that general direction. This is reflected in your stance, in your mannerisms, in everything you do in an entirely unconscious way. This is akin to slinking around out in the bush: a dinner bell for predators (a.k.a. crazy ones you don’t want to be with), and you are likely to scare off the ones you are interested in.

Going outside of your comfort zone is a good thing. However, going outside your comfort zone for the express purpose of finding a soulmate is an incongruous action. Think about it, if you are not looking for that special someone, would you normally be there? No? Then what makes you think anyone you would be compatible with be there as well? Go somewhere you think someone compatible with you might also choose to go.

I freely admit I am extremely atypical. I met my wife online. Not through any cheezy dating sites or anything skeevy, but on a webcomic forum of all places. We started trading filk (music parodies), we became the rough internet analog to ‘pen pals’, for lack of better term. We chatted online from time to time, video chat was really not a thing either of us ever did until MUCH later. We had each separately shared a pic to the forum in general (not something I would normally suggest), so we had a general idea of what each other looked like. We were friends who shared things for years before we got it into our heads to meet in person and see if there was, in fact, anything there. I’ve known her online for over fifteen years, married five, and quite happy with the result.

The key, however, is that we both have communication skills. We don’t just yell and shout at each other, we lay out the problem, propose a solution, revise plan as necessary to fit all necessary variables, and implement. Communication is key in establishing a relationship of any sort.

tl;dr version: Be a friend before you be more than a friend, don’t go looking for love, go looking for a friend and hopefully discover the love that came entailed by accident.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.