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Got some great art from Andrei. Girls enjoying some presents from granny Buckingham or some distant aunt. :P The Sisters of Shotgun Shuffle Nextsite comic and Patreon will be up today (Tuesday) sometime this afternoon. You can check out some more of his work here.

90 thoughts on “Datebait

    1. Yeah, and it wraps more and more as things progress, almost like it has a life if its own.

      No limit to the creepiness here…

    1. Ellie has a fantastic ability to discover strange new pimp-adjacent guys. Alex wanted to draw naked pictures of her, easy to imagine him trying to sell them. Barrel wanted to pay her to work….because he liked to look at her. Danny wanted to get strangers to pay him to let them spy on her. Tired Guy wants to get guys to pay him to go on dates with her.

      This is like Zeno’s pimp.

      1. Never thought of barrel being in on anything as a pimp until just now. But I don’t think of him as such because he gave up and let Ellie work a full shift. His pervyness was just basic humanity according to Dr. Sheldon Cooper in trying to ensure basic survival of the human species.

        1. I have a feeling that Barrel is the one that brought in D-bag. Barrel is deeper in this than we know. OK, we know because I just said we actually do know, because we would have to, to know that we don’t know, ya know. I mean, we don’t “have evidence” know, but we KNOW know, if you know what I mean. I’m not saying it’s Barrels all the way down, but there’s a lot of Barrel. I mean, we have established this is an international, interdimensional, intermural, intergalactic (great song), and interdepartmental conspiracy stuff. And, at it’s heart, the cold dead eyes of the true mastermind behind it all… er, well, that’s a topic for another time.

        2. No. The way that I see it, Danny boy is looking for help and lets the local area users look for him. If Barrel was Mr. Bigg, then he wouldn’t be on Caleb’s site in the first place. He would own it and everything they do.

        3. I can’t see Barrel as any more than an accessory. Ellie asked, and he answered for the intro. For pushing the site, he let himself be convinced that Danny had talked her into it because he wanted to believe it.

          @Walter – Ellie got a second chance from Barrel enjoying the view she provides, but as far as I can tell, Ellie worked for KK after that and despite Quinn mentioning KK as being bisexual in her talk with Pumpkin on the Patreon arc (comic Suzie Q), I think Ellie was a valuable employee for KK completely aside from any questions of attraction.

      1. Well, he did label himself as “Desperate” there outside the restaraunt, and eSymmetry is proud to be “your last resort”, so, yeah. Also, what’s up with the decor? The summoning chart on the wall next to the floorplan of the Pentagon. Now, a 2 of Clubs placed precisely next to the laptop??? RUN ELLIE!

  1. I could see the old Ellie from the start of the series jumping on this in a heartbeat, but the newer, more mature version?

    Tired Guy might need to be ready to calm her down quick. If he’s not ready to make it rain dollar signs in the immediate future, he might get his oxygen line cut again…

    1. Yeah, I’m with you…seems like it’s going to be a long shot for Ellie to go escort.

      It’s not just Pretty Woman: The Sad Version, it’s Pretty Woman: The Almost Illegal Version!

      1. Well, judging from recent leaks, Ashley Madison did almost the same thing, just with fake profiles rather than being an escort service on the side.

        1. It’s weirdly topical considering this story was planned three years ago. And it’s more based on what Match.com was accused of around a decade ago.

        2. I think that’s just what all of these dating sites do…especially those with their “date guarantee” payment plans.

        3. Sixty dollars for an escort date with a girl of Ellie’s… qualifications… even with sex neither included nor implied, is pretty fukken ridiculously cheap.

      2. I could see Ellie being ok with (and good at) the non-sexual escort service sort of thing. Where someone pays her to be arm candy for some kind of public event and she just has to dress appropriately for the event and be generally friendly and there are no false assumptions between her and the customer.

        I agree that I think she’s a bit too kind and sympathetic to be ok with building random guys up to go on one date so Tired Guy doesn’t lose money and then cutting them off.

        However, with Rusche saying this had been planned three years ago, it seems unlikely to be planned that far in advance if she won’t be doing it. I wonder if she’ll try it and think she’ll be ok with it or if Tired Guy will bring out the video of her and Quinn assaulting Alex as blackmail (or come up with some other kind of pressure tactic to use).

    2. You can’t cut his new oxygen line, it’s made by jobe the greatest devsior ever. It has a simple mind that communicates telepathically with tried guy doing what tried wants. Plus the tube is made from mithral to look like plastic so can’t be cut by normal means :D If anyone is a fan of the Whateley universe you will get the reference. :D.

    1. (Raises hand, and looks around.)

      Oh, that was a rhetorical question. I don’t hate it, for the record. It’s just kinda meh.

    2. I love love love love love hark a vagrant. Seriously some of the funniest stuff out there and also historically informative. I’ve started looking up so much history since reading the comics. Seriously one of the best out there. Woohoo!

  2. Ah, I see Tired Guy is planning to 1-up Ashley Madison’s fakery.

    *rubs hands together “Good. Goooood…”

    1. No. Ashley Madison seems to have at least some true infidelity in the larger metropolitan areas. This seems to be something akin to the more heavily advertised dating websites. Like I heart someone in the distance from my front door.

      1. You mean you haven’t heard the news about how the site had basically no active profiles from female members and was lying and stringing along the people paying to use it?

        1. I hadn’t, but it’s really not that surprising.

          It’s still newsworthy, not because of how many women are (or are not) signed up but because of who some of the men are…

        2. Apparently not.

          I believe the last number was something like 5.5 million fake female accounts … out of about 5.5 million female accounts. The article from Gizmodo is called ‘Almost None of the Women in the Ashely Madison Database Ever Used the Site’. It’s hilarious. I’m guessing the estimated 12,000 active female profiles were really gay dudes fishing for dicpics.

          If a woman wants to have sex, they usually don’t have to pay for it.

        3. It really depends on how “active” profile is being used. If it’s just profiles that sent messages, a lot of them might be website staff stringing people along. I thought there were some allegations that they paid women to date members too, so some of those women would’ve had profiles as well.

      2. Looks like Mechwarrior and I have read the same news articles. So yeah, it may well have been worse than Match dot com. If memory serves me correctly, the breakdown was something like this:

        Men: 20,000,000 active profiles
        Women: 1,400 active profiles

        I’d consider 1 woman for every 14,000 men to be indicative of fraud, fakery, etc.

  3. So she’s the backup plan for the 182nd day.
    First find out the amount of people on the site, then find out pay and benefits.

  4. There’s a risk to Tired Guy’s plan, though, I figure.

    How many guys are going to see through this? It says you have to have a date to not qualify for the refund. If Ellie shows up on Day 179 or whatever, how many guys are going to end up thinking “It’s a trap!” and not take the bait?

    Oh, sure, there won’t be that many astute souls in the face of Ellie’s sheer Ellieness. And then, I suppose even one save is one save, but I can’t help but wonder if this would be a net loss for eSymmetry.

    1. I think you are over estimating people’s attachment to 60 bucks. Most people wouldn’t go for the refund even if they did nothing, just because people don’t go for refunds (that is pretty much the point of refunds). Once you add in Ellie, its just not going to be a significant loss.

      Call it the Conspirator’s Shield. You can do anything that no one can accuse you of without sounding like a lunatic. Imagine someone blowing the lid on this scheme. “They are a dating site, see….and right when it looks like you’d be entitled to your money back they pay a blonde to date you! Then they get to keep the 60 buck membership!!”

      1. Yeah, and for the guys who are actually being more of a problem for the site, do the date ASAP and then have Nena tear into them after it with various fake other accounts to drive them off.

        But also Walter’s right that a lot of people just don’t bother with refunds regardless.

  5. Hey, I’d just like to officially propose that everyone in the comments refer to this dating site as eSimian from now on. Just because.

  6. I’d like to propose an alternate use of Ellie here. The site promised you get 1 date in 6 months. If the site is huge it’s simply infeasible for Ellie to be a designated date. HOWEVER! What if the site just used Ellie’s pics as a stand-in for any number of escorts and/or just whitewashing a real (but dateless) girl’s profile?
    The site doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get to go out with who/what you see, after all.

    1. Well, that or a fake-but-real profile linked from the main page who never actually dates anyone from the site.

      1. No, then they could be accused of a “bait-and-switch” scheme. Tired Guy seems to be a bit more business savy then that.

        Oh snap, he’s got some of those other apartments set up for dates.

        1. Well yeah, except how do you prove he was behind the girl you wind up with stealing pics from another girl, when all you have to go on is a date that doesn’t arrive as she advertised herself? People have been putting up fake pics forever at this point.

        2. They have to disprove the clients claim of not getting that date. 1)who would not remember dating Ellie. 2)facebook pics of the date as it happens would be of more benefit to the company along with the mark, dweeb or the person who paid for the account.

        3. As I mentioned in another comment, the company could go either the “sign this to-be-completely-public humiliating document about your inability to get a date” or the “print out this form, fill it out, get it notarized, send back the notarized copy” routes and easily reduce the number of people claiming refunds down to miniscule levels with no hot girl required.

    2. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Use Ellie’s charm in all aspects to string guys along and keep them subbed even without going on a date.

    1. I think that line fits perfectly with the quality of their commercials and the apparent quality of the site as a whole.

  7. It’s getting disturbing how many men Ellie encounters who not only find her attractive but find creepy ways to act on it. Danny with his “conventions” and voyeur site, Alex with his creepy intentions to “upgrade” from Quinn to Ellie (her roommate!), Tired Guy wanting to use her to deceive/rob dateless rubes, even Barrel letting her have a job just because she’s easy on the eyes. Meanwhile, the male characters (non-bit parts) that haven’t acted unethically because of her looks are her father, a blind man, Caleb… and Fatty McFatFat.

    1. Oh, and there was also the gay guy who didn’t try to lech on her… if we’re not counting how he plastered stickers on her boobs and called her “dinner plates”.

        1. Did Eagan and Ellie have any significant interaction? All I remember was their meeting briefly while Eagan was picking up Quinn. Doesn’t count unless they spend appreciable time together.

        2. Ellie remembered him from going to high school with him where Quinn did not. He was also at least polite to her in that pre-movie meeting and specifically did not try to hit on her. If he’d been set to follow the profile you’re suggesting, he would’ve invited Ellie along to either hit on her or distract James & Richard while he hit on Quinn (after all, it was a 3 to 1 gender balance). So I think Ian counts as a decent guy who’s a non-bit character.

          I don’t think Barrel let her have a job because she’s easy on the eyes. It was a fast food restaurant, he (or whoever interviewed her) let her have a job because she applied and wasn’t dragging a dead body around and screaming profanity at small children when she filled out the application (some fast food restaurants you need to do both at the same time to be disqualified). Now he did refrain from firing her once due to her being easy on the eyes, but for the physical characteristic that got her hired, I’m going to have to go with having a pulse. That along with introducing her to Danny and believing the cam site was done with her consent have me considering Barrel as more weak and foolish rather than particularly immoral (as I do the others on your list).

          I’d also add her brother-in-law William & Caz from O’Jacks. Also the actual manager (not Eustice, who interviewed her) from GetMart who came and yelled at her before she quit didn’t seem to give a damn about how she looks.

          Although I think you’re also taking an odd projection of Rusche’s characters. He specifically doesn’t write any of his characters as perfect, and you’re just taking the projection of how some of the imperfections impact Ellie sexually. Herb was described by Ellie as having lost it a long time ago, and as we saw with Pumpkin on the Patreon fishing trip (in the archives here too) he doesn’t seem to be good at keeping his daughters straight. Ellie even called Blind Guy on kinda’ stalking her a bit, which he refused to admit, but then later showed up at her apartment building and punched Tired Guy in the face, and tried to track her down at her seasonal jobs, aside from presumably eavesdropping on Pumpkin to find out things about her, so he’s definitely got a few tendencies in the “creepy” category himself. Caleb treated Ellie just fine, but he was shown to have anger problems, a tendency to verbally abuse people, and Rusche mentioned in the comments that he’s got a bit of a drinking problem.

          I also think you’re putting an over-emphasis on “characters that move the story along so get more screen time” versus “characters that don’t move the story along so are either not shown or have bit parts.”

  8. But… I mean, they’d have to pay Ellie to be willing to go on dates with guys. And they only make 60 dollars off of providing precisely one date. So just how much are they going to be paying Ellie to go on dates with these guys?

    Although, I suppose that, if they get one date, they feel hooked and then go in for another 6 month subscription, and then they don’t have to refund the experience at the end of THAT subscription, so perhaps it’s one date for 120 dollars effectively.

    Still, I can’t imagine them paying Ellie enough to make it worth her while.

    1. Well, a certain percentage would probably renew, so you’d probably figure somewhere more than $60 and less than $120, though not sure where.

      However, if you ignore the moral qualms question, this would be them paying her to accept a free meal and/or entertainment, and if they payed on a “per date” as opposed to salaried approach, they would have some flexibility to come up with something that would be workable for Ellie. After all, Ellie could still go get another job and do this on the side for extra/additional cash.

      I really thing the issue here is going to be moral qualms rather than financial.

      1. I just want to say, that if anyone were to get a date with Ellie, they’d be attempting to break Danny boy’s castle jumping record. But that would be just based on looks alone. Ellie has shown a proficiency for knowledge that belies her laziness. She’s just better able to do that not trying thing than Ian is. She does seem to be able to hold almost any type of conversation and is able to handle the perverted ones.

        Also, that Ellie should have another job lined up. For two reasons. 1) It gives her the appearance of being a normal person if someone else from the site sees her out in public. 2) It gives her the ability to get the hell away from Tired Guy.

        But right now, it seems to be any port in a storm. Or how about, deal with the devil you know.

    2. I wondered about this too, and came to the conclusion that Tired Guy might be able to claim that a half hour at a coffee shop/bar/fast food joint constitutes a date. If Ellie does half a dozen short dates in a day, she’s working about 4 or 5 hours (gotta figure in time to get from one date to the next) and saving eSymmetry $300 in lost subscription fees per day. If she gets half of that, she’s making $150 per day. Five day work week = $750 per week. 50 work weeks per year (2 off for vacation, family emergencies, etc) means $37,500 per year. That’s pretty darn good for a young adult without a college degree or marketable skills beyond making clothes look good.

      I’m kinda hoping that Ellie doesn’t decide to go that road though. Going on fake dates with no interest in the guys getting cheated out of their money seems dishonest, almost predatory. Maybe it’ll be used as a plot device to get her together with blind teacher guy though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s something Rusche wants to happen eventually.

      1. $30/date seems pretty high for Tired Guy to shell out if he’s legit about this being a business as opposed to some sort of weird front company or something. We see he has at least two other employees here, so he’s gotta pay at least two other salaries, hosting fees, and have enough cash to live on (though for his own cash he might just be supplementing a pension and/or running at least a little in the red for hosting fees or salaries).

        Though, honestly I don’t see any way that a dating site can know when members go on a date, and if they’re worried about refunds then someone trying to game the system would make sure to use offline methods to arrange a date. At that point, someone like Ellie would be more for having the occasional person have a date, the rest could be kept from claiming the refund by requiring them to sign a full page legal-ese document written to be extremely insulting affirming that they have not been capable of securing a date for the last six months which would then be prominently posted on the now permanent profile page that will not be taken down, though will helpfully have match percentages lowered by 50% by virtue of not being on the site to respond any more and boosted in the search rankings for women he seems to match.

        Alternately if not wanting to be as much of a dick about it, take the insurance company approach and send them a PDF affirming not being able to get a date (doesn’t have to be insulting) to print out and get notarized and sent back through USPS and you’ll have ~0.5% of the eligible refund population bother with it for $60.

  9. Breadcrumb!

    I recall Rusche mentioning that the D52 also correlated to the cards in a deck. If in order of Ace at the start, Nina’s spot correlates with a 2 and today we see her with a two of clubs next to her computer.

    Tired Guy would be King of a suit with Dheu as an 8 of the same. Durkin is in the place of the ace of the second suit, with Wilf as his 4. No one in the third suit. Looks like Merrick is the King of Clubs and Kimberly is the Nine of Clubs.

    I’m going to guess first suit is spades. If Durkin is playing the same role Ellie’s being interviewed for or becomes Ellie’s boyfriend, then I’m going to guess second suit is hearts.

  10. He was probably just absentmindedly pacing circles around her while he talked but the metaphor is still hilarious.

  11. And there is the O2 mask for the man…made it thru the filming with just enough to get by before having to really suck down some O2. Awesome.

  12. Upside = Being paid to eat and may possibly include small shopping excursions.

    Downside = The potential for a whole lot of serial dates that will include FML moments.

    1. Your comment makes me realize that a stainless steel (or better yet titanium) F5 replacement key would be a good webcomic-related trophy.

      1. That would be a good webcomic trophy.

        Speaking of which, I just know Chris is going to finally update right after I go to sleep. I can feel it.

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