August 20th, 2008

OT: Brian Enjo

I can't remember where I saw the post that inspired this. It was regarding a strip in "What, Me Pregnant?" but the post is not in that thread. I can't find it anywhere else, and it was days ago by now anyway, so here I am.

It was the strip in which Carol says she's worried about Brian because he didn't seem to be interested in girls, which of course was Elly's cue to say she was worried about Mike because he was. The poster said that they'd never quite believed Lynn when she said she'd been sensing Lawrence's gayness right along, but instead thought she'd been sorting through various characters before deciding Lawrence would be the gay guy. This strip might have been a foreshadowing, or it might have been a matter of Carol, with or without Keith, being (a) helicopter parent(s)/control freak(s) and constantly measuring their kids against charts that showed normal, subnormal and above-average development.

So I wanted to expand on what that poster said, because that strip bugged, and still does.

-- First of all, Carol's remark might be amended with "...that I know of." Brian is a GUY. He was not going to sit at the kitchen table and have a heart-to-heart with his MOM about his love life or lack thereof. A lot of moms don't even know about it when their sons start having sex (with girls). There's no reason they should know about false starts and awakening interests.

-- Second, teenage guys tend to play their cards much closer to the vest than teen girls. By now, we've all seen the strips with seventh-grade Anthony pining for Liz. Now, if you take out the thought balloons, which people IRL wouldn't know about, his behavior is actually fairly typical. Just constantly lurking near the girl he likes, without making a first move. (The problem is, of course, that he never outgrew that.) Gordon, at the same age give or take a year, was much less like a guy (interestingly enough, since he was otherwise the most guy-like of the quartet) in that regard. He talked openly to anyone who would listen about his hopeless crush on Allyson, and his own feelings of inadequacy. And had those big public spasms, as someone else pointed out; very dramatic and girly when you think about it. Anyway, my point is, Brian might have had his own quiet longing for some girl or other, but was cool enough to KEEP IT TO HIMSELF.

-- Third (or perhaps this should be 2a) not dating doesn't necessarily mean he's not trying. Some guys take rejection very, very badly, and resolve not to try again for the year or so it takes them to get over it. Some guys wait for the right moment, and never feel it's arrived. Some guys, like Gordon, pine for someone unattainable, and unlike him, extrapolate that girl's indifference to all women. Or they get stuck in the Friend Zone. And so forth. And again, this is not the kind of thing he would discuss with his mom.

-- Fourth, perhaps he wasn't trying after all. From what little we knew about Brian, he seemed to be a bit of a geek in a good way. Not a dork like Anthony, but a left-brained, intense, goal-oriented intellectual. Even back in grade 5, or whenever he was introduced, he said "I'm an academic." (To which the future Delicate Genius said "Can you be cured?") Some teenagers really are aware that life is long and to everything there is a season. And for that matter, it doesn't even have to be about schoolwork. Mario Lemieux never had a girlfriend in high school, even though as a good-looking jock, he easily could have. He chose to put all his time, energy and concentration into hockey. And it paid off: he was drafted into the NHL right out of high school, and THEN he had time to get down. Some guys are like that, figuring their real life will start when they LEAVE high school.

-- Fifth, specific to this situation: It's not only white people who don't want to date outside their race. An Asian guy might well only be attracted to Asian women. And since there are few (non-zero, but few) Asians in Milbo, that might have been another reason to put off dating until uni. And even beyond that, while there may be a lid for every pot, high school is not always the right cabinet. Fifteen is not over the bloody hill.

Bottom line is, whatever his reasons for not having a VISIBLE "interest in girls," the last thing a teenager needs is to get the message that their parents think they're abnormal just because they haven't been able to produce an SO and be in the correct percentile for their age.

Actually, this brings back something from my adolescence. It wasn't my mom who said it, but it still burned. The mom of the kids I regularly babysat for asked if I had a boyfriend, and when I said no, she expressed relief. "Every time I find a babysitter I can count on, she always gets a boyfriend, and I never hear from her again." And there I'd been, feeling good about myself because I was responsible, and earning money, and her kids liked me and minded me. Then she came home and said what sounded to me like "I'm so glad your social development is stunted." Because her former babysitters ALWAYS got boyfriends, don'tchaknow. ALWAYS. They were NORMAL. (She did get let down, though. I chose the school musical over her kids. Guess what, bitch, the world does not revolve around your spawn.)

Well, that was longer than I intended! Still, it's eight hours until we find out why Liz yelled "STOP!!" so this should fill in the time.
Snarky Candiru2

Thursday, 21 August 2008

We were left with a cliffhanger yesterday as a horrified and fugly Liz yelled STOP!! in the last panel.

We do not know if this means that she's upset because

a) she realized that children act like children

b) she had a premonition that Jim was dying

c) she realized that she's getting married on what would have been Anthony's fifth anniversary

d) she's getting cold feet

or

e) she had a visit from Aunt Flo.

I'd like to think we'd see "f) she tells Francoise to knock off all this step stuff" but I know better.

It's "D": a momentary attack of cold feet combined with "A": Liz wishing children would not act so childishly. Poor Francoise, living with Elly 3.0.

Panel 1: As she exits the hoverlimo to head off to be married to a douche, she tries to calm herself down. The insensitive oaf she calls a father asks her if she's nervous because he's stooooooopid and useless.

Panel 2: We pan out and see the car surrounded by lavender silhouettes. One one them must be the Exposition Fairy because he/she/it explains that Liz, John and the bridal party are now here. A smaller one, meant to be Robin, asks when he can have the ring so he can swallow it and ensure Wacky High jinks.

Panel 3: Liz tells Eat Dirt that he can't have it until the procession starts because she doesn't want wacky hi jinks. It's safely in the pocket of John's lavender-grey tuxedo jacket. Why she decided to remind Robin that John was his grandfather is beyond me.

Panel 4: John makes a big production of screaming and fishing through his pocket as if he lost the rings.

Panel 5: He then tells the potential lynch mobcrowd he was just yanking them. Robin laughs but Liz and Dawn ain't as impressed.

Summary: John is stoooopid and useless. Film at 11. Also, Lynn doesn't know what follow-through means.