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Open Mouth, Remove Doubt

I'm not out of the woods, schedule wise, yet. Have more appointments and misc for the kiddos next week for check-ups and such. Everything's fine. Stop worrying. Just that time of year and the seasons are changing, which is a nightmare for asthmatic children. :D But I do have loads of these strips prepped. At least the next 25 or so. Spent a bit of time on that the last few days making sure we flow out of this date and into the next part smoothly. This current series of comics has gotten the most inquiry out of any other story I've done (second being Pumpkin's asexuality.)  Some of that is from the growing audience, but much of it is concern over Ellie getting a boyfriend. This comic covers a myriad of interpersonal situations, but nothing seems to peak more interest than when it involves romance. I've had my comic categorized in the past on many sites as a 'romance' series/story. That certainly takes the pressure off of me trying to be funny. A few emails have asked to have the whole storyline spoiled, which is super rare. Even Jessica doesn't like me to tell her what happens. So, with that, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions I get via Facebook/Twitter/Email and I plan on doing a reader mail next post. These are common comic questions I've gotten throughout the comic's run, and nothing spoiler related to what's going on right now. I'm not listing anyone's name, either. It's all anonymous, and it will also be what the title says: The most frequently asked. I'm not going to embarrass anyone who asked a really bizarre question and they'll know I'm referring to them specifically... so fear not. I'll answer the questions I get asked repeatedly over and over that are typically pretty general, and often pretty hilarious. If you'd like anything thrown in the mix, email me:  shadowfaximile@gmail.com Thanks :)

63 thoughts on “Open Mouth, Remove Doubt

  1. “…nothing seems to peak more interest than when it involves romance.”
    I believe what you meant was:
    “…nothing seems to PIQUE more interest than when it involves romance.”
    Peak and pique are homophones but with much different meanings.

  2. This is still very salvageable, as long as Ellie comes completely honest with this guy right now. He’s gun shy about girls at this point, but being honest about what she’s been hired to do and the fact that she’s genuinely enjoying herself right now (as opposed to ending the date and letting a “no future dates” message get sent) could overcome that. Dude’s not a redpiller or anything, he doesn’t think *all* women are crap (at least not from what I’ve gathered of him thus far), just that he’s had the awful luck of having nothing but terrible women come through his life thus far.

    1. I agree. In a situation like this, total honesty is probably the only possible way to salvage things.
      Something like:
      “Ugh – ok – I’ll cut to the chase. The guy who owns eSymmetry hired me to go out on dates with guys to encourage them to not give up. I’ve had a lot of rotten ‘dates’ with total losers. Afterwards the site is supposed to send out an email for me rejecting them. You are the first – and only – guy I’ve met doing this that was really fun and that I DON”T want to reject. Honestly – If we hadn’t met this way I might never have paid any attention to you, but I’m glad we actually did this. You’re fun. You’re interesting and – screw eSymmetry – I think I’d like to doing something together again!”

      He MAYstill walk away disillusioned, but if she doesn’t come completely clean, he DEFINITELY will.

    2. The fact that she felt comfortable enough to let something like that slip shows that she’s at ease around this guy. Were I in his shoes, I’d be pretty apprehensive (and possibly worried for my kidneys) at this point, but I’d at least hear her out. If nothing else, I might find humor in the fact that both sides cheated on the date details, but it would definitely take spilling the whole beans over dinner or coffee for me to trust Ellie any more deeply than her cleavage… Which, admittedly, would be pretty DDDeep.

    3. Very salvageable seems like an overstatement. Possibly salvageable I could see, and I agree that honesty about the site is her best bet right now.

      However, I don’t think complete cards on the table would be likely to get good results. He said he was used to being a meal ticket and paying a girl friend’s rent. With recently broken trust, I don’t think he’d take her financial situation too kindly just now.

  3. She’s totally not here to destroy you! Not specifically, anyway. There’s a chance you may end up collaterally damaged.

    Going to be an awkward couple of strips coming up here as Ellie frantically explains how this started off as a job but turned into something else in grandest romantic comedy fashion.

    …actually, that might make a good romantic comedy. Kind of a gender-inverted Hitch. Shame I neither know no one in Hollywood nor can write a romantic comedy.

  4. She doesn’t have to tell him the whole truth. Something as simple as “I wasn’t expecting this to go so well and had another date lined up for when this went bad”.

    Accurate and honest. She couldntack on a comment at the end alluding to other reasons that she doesn’t feel comfortable telling him yet to avoid a lie of omission.

    1. That was my first thought too, but thinking about it a little more from his view, I don’t think a lie of omission will be taken well either. He mentioned being a meal ticket to previous gfs and paying their rent and whatnot. He also wants to retire at 45 and is still on track to do that at 38 despite said gfs. He definitely doesn’t trust women in general. So he could easily afford to hire a PI to look into Ellie, and if he was planning to give her a chance, I suspect he would. So I think she needs to tell him something that’ll generally match up what the PI would find out.

      1. You make it sound like a PI is necessary. Spend 3 or 4 hours tracking down threads of information over the internet and you can get a pretty good idea of who you are dealing with. Not to mention google reverse image searching will lead – probably – directly to her 250,000+ shares facespace page.

        1. Depends on his luck in search terms and how much was cropped out and/or otherwise altered for the site. I’ve found Google to be great at finding identical pictures or resized versions, and ok with small cropping. I’ve seen it fail to find even the original when I cropped out a face and tried searching just on the face (was a pic of a person standing from waist up against a whitish background as I recall).

          Sure, he might be able to find the info on his own, the thing is that even if he can’t, he could afford to hire someone else to do so.

        2. That was me as Anon up there. Forgot to log in on my laptop.

          A few hours with a search engine can produce incredible results. For more than a decade my family tried in vain to replace a complete set of Hammersley tea cups. Only we didn’t know they were Hammersley so the search was never specific enough.
          One day after listening to someone being interviewed on the BBC as to how she gave up her international business career to sell tea, tea accessories and so on in England I had a brain wave. In less than 30 minutes I finally had an image I could back track to a website where I dropped some serious coin but finally was able to give my Mom back the tea set that was lost or destroyed when my parents had moved in 1989.
          I will readily grant you there are ton of blondes in blue bikinis on the web, but that’s a task that is as rewarding during the search as it is at the conclusion.

        3. Rewarding, perhaps. Distracting, definitely. Attacks on your willpower and attention span like that can be extremely powerful for hiding something.

  5. So, she IS telling him company secrets!

    Just to point it out, they are both using fake profiles, made up by other people, and matched for reasons that had nothing to do with said profiles. The system works!

  6. COME FUCKING CLEAN. Absolute honesty is the only way to salvage this now! Either that our Vamp for the save, but realistically honesty is the way to go.

    I seriously hope this doesn’t go completely south, I’m really enjoy their chemistry. Ship ship ship!

    1. This makes me want to see Durkin jump kick He Who Has Not Been Named off the pier and then abscond with Ellie.

  7. Online dating. Really all she has to say. If this guy didn’t turn out to be good, move on to the next. Keep on going, just like she had been saying to him before, only it’s her using the advice as well. :p All she really has to say.

  8. Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

    We have flooding from the portside! She’s going down fast – all hands, abandon ship! Abandon ship!

  9. Quick Ellie, make something up! The only way out when caught in a lie is to tell more lies!

    Tell him… tell him you promised a… an associate… that you’d go on a quick date with this guy they know but you didn’t really want to and you were just doing it as a favor to the other person.

    Actually… that’s not *technically* a lie…

    Just make sure you leave out the parts where your associate is your employer, the guy they know is their customer, and “as a favor” includes you getting paid.

    1. Better ‘you getting paid’ than ‘you getting lai-‘

      No. No.

      Better ’emotional resuscitation support personnel’ than ‘feelings whor-‘.

      Um. Darn.

      Better a ‘series of consecutive engagements’ than ‘triple booked six days a wee-‘

      Damn, none of this spin seems to be taking.

        1. Hmmmmmm, what kind of lies might start to seem like a good idea but then go horribly, horribly, horribly wrong in comedic fashion?

          The next date was some guy from high school. He always seemed nice, but she wasn’t interested. He was just diagnosed with terminal cancer with two weeks to live, and she felt to bad to say no again this time, and it wasn’t a big time commitment or anything.

          The next date was to get out of a speeding ticket.

          Her mother started getting concerned that she wasn’t bringing any guys home, so she got fixed up with a girl and couldn’t find a good way to talk her way out of it, and that’s the next date.

          She volunteers at a mental health clinic and some of the patients there call her spending time with them dates.

  10. I’m 50-50 he’ll either be completely understanding, or he’ll end the date. Really hoping he considers option 1, or feigning option 1….I mean, he has functioning eyes, at least.

    1. Yeah, but he’s probably out several grand from moochers, a fair amount of heartache, and even a few physical injuries likely from previous women. Her being easy on the eyes doesn’t actually help with any of that, and the more he’s concerned about it, the more he might want to get away before his libido manages to talk his good sense into seeing how comfy the back seat is.

      1. while I did originally point out her looks, let’s not forget that she’s also a master of the art of pouting. All she has to do is give that exact expression while explaining that she was simply scheduling her dates to avoid the awkwardness involved with timing conflicts, and some reason as to why she can’t back out of the next one, but that she would like a second with him. that, of course, would likely cost her her job. however, given all the crap that happened on her previous dates, i’m guessing her paycheck will last a while.

        1. All I’m saying is I’ve definitely had times where talking face-to-face with an ex was a mistake and I’d agree to do something I really didn’t want to do when I was standing there looking at her face as the conversation happened. I tended to consider discretion the better part of valor in those situations and tried to use phone or e-mail for all communications to avoid such dangers.

          I’m just extrapolating that this guy might have had a similar experience or two and be wary of a repeat.

  11. Maybe it makes me petty, but there is something satisfying about seeing the turnabout of a hot girl put her foot in her mouth around some random guy that wouldn’t generally be considered to have a chance with her.

    Also, date guy’s pessimism. No longer cautious.

  12. Your excuse is that you planned for as any dates as possible in a short period of time so you wouldn’t have to pay for membership.

  13. Easy, just tell him she set up multiple dates just in case one or three of them went wrong, nothing wrong with having a back up plan, finding love after all isn’t picking the first person willing to go out with you and clinging to them.
    I’ve dated girls who let it slip they were planning on goin with other guys, and me and this guy seem to have a lot in common, so maybe he might freak for a second, but get his cool in a couple of seconds.

  14. I feel like doing some idle speculation.

    I can’t help but think that the fact that we haven’t been give this guy’s name has some sort of plot relevance. I don’t know what that relevance might be other than as a red herring we’re supposed to think might be David which I don’t think is likely since he seems too mundane to be David.

    I don’t think this guy’s account is the one Tired Guy and Nena are discussing in ‘Date Swag’ since that profile had no picture and this guy’s did.

    I’m leaning toward that profile belonging to Blind Guy and either Ellie’s next date is with him or Tired Guy is going to send Rebecca to meet with him.

    I’m leaning toward Blind Guy being David since David was probably Tarra’s tutor and a tutor becoming a teacher seems logical to me from a narrative perspective. Plus if Blind Guy has a history with Tarra it provides additional incentive for him to avoid becoming romantically involved with Ellie while also wanting to ensure her well being and that she’s living up to her potential.

    If Blind Guy is David I think Tired Guy’s interest in him is due to his connection to Dheu rather than for revenge.

      1. That’s not necessarily something we can reason from. Rusche said there would be several panels like the main cast image (I think 4 for some reason, as I think it’s 3 but that it mismatched the 3 major arcs) and mentioned KK would be in a later one. Also Barrel didn’t show up as an O’Jack’s manager but only later as an unemployed guy.

        So a character we’re introduced to could easily show up later and wouldn’t have to fit into the only unclaimed slot on the current cast panel.

    1. Speculation is always appreciated.

      There’ve been comments that Rusche may have confirmed that Blind Guy is Tarra’s David, but those were all either on chat or Facebook or a Google Hangout or something else and have never been confirmed in the comic, an author post, nor do I think in any of the comments (I have probably missed a few at times).

      Rusche did say a couple of things in that direction more officially. First, he mentioned somewhere that over the whole span of the comic, Ellie would have two serious romantic relationships. Second, he mentioned Ellie would have a breakdown at some point. Third, when explaining the Tarra -> X transformation, he stated that Anise’s cutting of Tarra’s hair would be the first injury and viewed as the start of her downward spiral and that Ellie’s injury would result in the change in speech bubble colors. Fourth, the Royal Buckinghams picture is supposed to be around Pumpkin’s upcoming birthday, and Blind Guy is there standing arguably in a protective stance over Ellie and Tarra’s holding a shotgun pointed casually in the direction of his head (hard to tell what’s happenstance and significant with as subtle as some of Rusche’s breadcrumbs are). Fifth, when talking about obsession while looking up Kat regarding Pumpkin, Rosemary said “just a tutor” regarding Tarra. Sixth, from an archetype stance, Ellie is intended to be a much lazier version of Tarra.

      I think it’s reasonably likely that Blind Guy is Tarra’s David, but regardless, I suspect the emotional change for X due to Ellie will be due to Tarra’s David rejecting Tarra in favor of Ellie (whoever David happens to be). It would seem odd for Pumpkin to invite a teacher to her birthday party, but Ellie bringing him as a date is a possibility. However it could also be Ellie looking through Pumpkin’s yearbook and finding his picture identifying him for her or some other way he might not be physically present but still his character being “there” in a way. Tarra does still have her hair and boobs in the Royal Buckinghams pic, so if Ellie’s dating Blind Guy and he’s her David at the time of Pupmkin’s party, there must be more time for her transition to X before she truly believes it’s serious (or maybe she gets upset/jealous due to Ellie dumping him but he won’t come back to her, who knows).

      Good call/possibility that Dheu’s summoning diagram at the eSymmetry offices as a hint towards their interest in Dheu (though note his IS already identified as a member of D52). However, the other thing I’d point out is that there is one higher ranking card unknown in D52 than Tired Guy. The only characters we’re currently aware of that seem likely for that slot would be Tarra, David, or possibly Wandering Girl. So we don’t know that David isn’t part of D52 already.

      1. I’m confident saying there hasn’t been any Word of God confirmation that Blind Guy=David in the author posts or comment as that’s the sort of thing that I would have remembered.

        I’m unsure how much we can speculate based on Tarra becoming X since X going back in time has changed history from how she experienced it. At the very least Tarra probably won’t get cancer. Going forward I think Tarra will be mindful of the possibility of herself becoming X and take steps to avoid it. Otherwise X going back in time didn’t serve much narrative purpose other than to provide foreshadowing to the audience. Although Rusche has recently said that X would show up again which has me nervous and wondering if that means if X from the future will return (which Rusche originally said he had no plans to have happen) or if Tarra will end up becoming X to some extent.

        In regards to D52 it’s possible the Dheu will eventually become a member but isn’t currently one. Rusche said that D52 would be an antagonistic group in a later arc which I took to mean Major Arc 2 or 3 and since we’re currently in 1 it’s possible the group hasn’t formed in its entirety yet. Also, we don’t know that the D52 list is based on organizational rank and I’d find is odd for Nena to be ranked lower than Wilf and Merrick (granted that’s based more on intuition than anything factual at this point).

        I will point out that if the 52 refers to a deck of cards and the suits are organized K-A rather than A-2 then the king of spades has traditionally represented King David.

        1. I’m assuming there will be some small differences between the X we saw and future Tarra, but I’m not betting on major ones. You’d think the cancer warning would stick, and I’d think having a future version come back in time and start choking you to death would be enough to make Anise decide to pass on cutting her hair, but I’m not sure that’ll all be the case. I guess we’ll see.

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