I bet those big foam arms give good hugs, tho.

News: Posted April 8th, 2019 by Alina

^ 21 Comments to “RIPTOOTH WANT HUG!!”

  1. Grayson Says:

    I love Dustin! He’s almost always trying to make light of tough situations. 😀
    Once Mark cools down, I think Abby will be dragging him to that coffee shop…

    Posted April 8th, 2019 at 1:51 am
  2. fromtheothersideofthefence Says:

    Perhaps Dustin needs to rethink his situation too.
    Things might hurt because of “lashing out”, but if it where just aimless words they woudn´t have gotten to him.
    See, the way I see it, the “gang” has a tendency to be… well… avoidant of issues in their own lives.
    indeed, it seems they live a life with as few changes to their life as they can. They often talk about gaming and hobbies, and at first I thought that was the focus of the comic, so I thought it was normal. But then I saw the autor trying to express progressively more complex narratives, specilly in the outside game relationship between the characters. It stoped being simply a gaming comic, to add elements of drama.
    But even as it tries to grapple with these issues, i get the feeling that when faced, they are easily dissmissed with a simple show of afection, and a call to self regulation.
    So what if Dustin might be wrong? what if in his particular case, his acceptance of a secondary role, might result in a reexamination of his own self image, and an exploration of what he considers to be self esteem?
    What if Mark is right? what if he can be a primary too? Is his aceptance of the secondary role a reflection of high or low self esteem?
    I think this are valid questions that can be explored deeply.

    Posted April 8th, 2019 at 5:11 am
  3. fromtheothersideofthefence Says:

    Perhaps Dustin needs to rethink his situation too.
    Things might hurt because of “lashing out”, but if it where just aimless words they woudn´t have gotten to him.
    See, the way I see it, the “gang” has a tendency to be… well… avoidant of issues in their own lives.

    Posted April 8th, 2019 at 5:11 am
  4. Jeor Says:

    Dustin is the friend we all wish we had. Well, at least he’s the friend I want to have 🙂

    Posted April 8th, 2019 at 6:47 am
  5. Hfar Says:

    Everybody, endevour to find a Dustin in your life. And if you are a Dustin, find people who appreciate you.

    Posted April 8th, 2019 at 1:12 pm
  6. PiLS Says:

    Despite my quite long stint in Northern America, I feel I still don’t quite understand the “soft yet hard-shelled yet soft yet tough yet sappy”, “I don’t care but I still care but I still won’t tell you that I care, but you should know that I care, and it hurts that you don’t, but I don’t care, GOTO10 ” thing that you guys are revelling into. That seems very very complicated.
    I mean, I got used to it, and I do abide to it, but it still feels weird.

    Posted April 8th, 2019 at 5:30 pm
  7. AtWork Says:

    Yes I was thinking the same thing. Plus when I was Mark and was seeing this, I’d be heartbroken.

    “So all of you guys flock to Dustin to comfort HIM? When it’s ME who is hurting right now? Okay, I get it, have fun by yourselves.”

    That might be an exxageration, but we’re talking about emotions here. And I… I don’t really get the group hug here. I just… don’t. It looks as if Dustin was the one conflicted and in emotional distress, but it’s Mark, not him.

    Posted April 9th, 2019 at 1:34 am
  8. Will Says:

    Responding to fromtheothersideofthefence, words can still hurt when said by a friend even if you don’t believe they’re true. So I don’t really think Dustin needs to rethink any of the shit Mark threw at him. Because Mark was projecting, heavily, and Mark’s issues are not Dustin’s issues.

    I really do think he needs to rethink his own sense of self worth though and work on that (the dude does not ever need to be second best and I realize he doesn’t think that way of poly, but I believe from what has been written he thinks of himself as a consolation in a lot of ways and lucky in others that I don’t think are fair to him), but that wasn’t what Mark was on about.

    Mark’s… kinda not astute enough in a lot of ways to pick up the emotional ammunition he’d need to fire back in a way that you were talking about thankfully or that could have gone a lot worse.

    But I think that’s an arc we’re seeing unfold in a lot of ways -because- the author is bringing them to light. This is kind of one of Dustin’s overarching plot arcs.

    Posted April 9th, 2019 at 12:57 pm
  9. Eva Says:

    It’s sweet that the friends have Dustin’s back and are trying to have Mark’s (even if that didn’t work out quite so well). I expect we aren’t done with drama for the night, but hopefully the damage control will be able to keep the actual harm to only what Mark brings upon himself. 🙁

    Posted April 9th, 2019 at 9:06 pm
  10. Tryskel Says:

    Meh… Dunno. I have a dreaded feeling that Mark will ruin the whole night and some relationships he has, especially with Ravenia… it’s quite definitely over with her, but he might make her hate him.
    I know too well that emotional distress and the damage it can be done in this state… (and the causes of it too. Dustin is totally right about it.)

    Posted April 10th, 2019 at 10:05 am
  11. fromtheothersideofthefence, I like that word “avoidant” and agree that it fits the gang in general.

    AtWork, I agree with you about the dynamics of the group hug and related.

    I hope Mark does not get blown off by the group however inadvertant it might be.

    Posted April 10th, 2019 at 7:48 pm
  12. Ducky Says:

    AtWork: They tried to flock to Mark, they were all ready to be there for him. But Mark shouted Dustin out of the room. Were they supposed to tackle him with that group hug?

    Posted April 11th, 2019 at 11:45 am
  13. A group hug is pretty easy when it is hardly needed. Dustin did not do well: he aggravated the situation and so no wonder Mark blew him off.

    Posted April 12th, 2019 at 11:44 am
  14. PaperCrystals Says:

    So what hurtful things did Mark say? I’m not reading him as lashing out, just as him reacting to Dustin trying to be helpful and instead invalidating Mark’s feelings. It’s not helpful to tell someone who’s upset to calm down. It’s not helpful to tell someone who is upset that it’s all on them. Dustin would have been better off just listening and acknowledging that Mark was hurt.

    To me, I can see that Dustin had good intentions, but the way he expressed himself was condescending to Mark and pretty blamey.

    The situation as it was set up was bound to fail. As someone who’s gamed (but not larped) while non-gamers watched, it’s disconcerting even when you know that the people giggling about the play-acting aren’t judging you harshly. If your whole life experience has been being judged for nerdy things, it would set off bad feelings. Ravenia, as a fellow gamer, should have know better.

    Posted April 13th, 2019 at 12:15 am
  15. AtWork Says:

    @Ducky: No. But it doesn’t change that the picture will seem very one-sided for Mark.

    Posted April 15th, 2019 at 11:01 am
  16. zathael Says:

    Okay. Poly person needs to but in for a sec.

    Mark is… very clearly having some issues here that probably aren’t resolvable. He’s probably not cut out for a poly relationship.

    But Dustin seems like he’s doing fine and I can’t escape the feeling that everyone who is suggesting that maybe he should consider leaving too might feel this way about any poly relationship and have been secretly looking for any sign he’s unhappy with her in order to think he should get out.

    As for me, I am not a fan of the whole primary/secondary dynamic but as my currently only girlfriend is about to get married, one might say I am in a similar situation to Dustin. I only have one girlfriend because that’s all I have the time and energy for at the moment. That said, I’m very happy with her. She gives me everything I need and I know I give her things her fiancee doesn’t/can’t.

    I guess all I’m saying is I haven’t seen any evidence that Dustin and Ravenia’s relationship is unhealthy in any way.

    Posted April 16th, 2019 at 11:42 am
  17. David Says:

    @Ducky: Not all of them tried to flock to Mark. He mentioned wanting to talk to Abby, and that’s part of how she identified he was distressed and told him he should take a minute. Katie(?) just took Abby’s word for it and sent him to the corner, and Sarah hasn’t even spoken to him.

    All in all, I think Mark is just at an immature point in his life where, despite knowing what he wants (to date Sarah), he jumped into a polyamory relationship immediately after learning what polyamory was, without any self-analysis on whether it would actually work for him. Rather than pursue what he wants despite the chance of rejection, he takes the no immediate risk option that Raveina offers him.

    I’m really excited to see the resolution to this situation. I’m hoping Mark wises up and excuses himself early without making a huge scene. Even if he does wise up and try to leave, I feel like Alina can’t make it too easy on him, so Raveina would notice (hopefully because Mark apologizes to Dustin and Abby, and asks Abby if she can find another ride home) and ask why he’s living… causing the huge scene.

    Posted April 16th, 2019 at 4:55 pm
  18. Scarecrow Says:

    Not everyone is on the same calendar and clock. Just because people want to ‘fix’ things for him (however kindly and lovingly) doesn’t mean he’s ready for it.

    Abby gets an A+, in my book, with more awareness than I expected from her. Dustin gets an A for effort and willingness, but a lot less for execution. He did all the talking and didn’t *listen*. The questions he asked were to confirm his own statements. Now, it didn’t appear he knew Mark was in distress. But he also too readily coached Mark on being a ‘secondary’ when Mark had no clue what that even is.

    As for Mark – this ain’t about him ‘not being ready for polyamory’. My guess is he had no clue what that actually meant other than, “Wow! I get to sleep with the hot chick who’s dating my friend and he’s totally okay with it!”. He’s shown in the past that he can be pretty sensitive, but his sense of awareness is laughably absent.

    Posted April 17th, 2019 at 5:30 am
  19. SeriousBiz Says:

    @zathael: Yes, so much this, thank you.

    I’ve been praising how this comic handles geekdom, the goth lifestyle, polyamory and non-mainstream ideas in general in a way that acknowledges that most people do have hangups about what’s considered “normal”, “natural” and “desirable” (like we see with Mark nearly all the time, as that’s kind of his role as our POV character into the world of the unconventional) while avoiding making judgement calls about how anybody should live their lives. This is a balance Alina has handled very well so far, and I have no doubt things will continue in the same vein.

    I can see how Mark may not, at this vulnerable moment of his life at least, be cut out for a form of relationship that’s too unconventional, especially after the (still relatively recent in comic-time, I think?) end of a long-term relationship where he was made to feel like crap for his unusual hobbies. It’s easy to sympathize with Mark’s emotional turmoil while still acknowledging that he’s acting immaturely, even hurtfully right now. I actually like that our protagonist has a darker, emotionally selfish side that comes out during times of insecurity and self-doubt. But, like Dustin unsuccessfully tried to explain, these are feelings he would have if he was single or in a monogamous relationship as well, since they stem from him, not from an abstraction of interactions between people we call “a relationship”.

    Anyway, we have yet seen nothing that says anything remotely like that about Dustin. He’s always been a laid-back, good-natured and all-around swell guy with a strong live-and-let-live attitude, and he’s always been emotionally aware of most of his shortcomings. He’s basically the perfect geek, accepting and open to people as unique individuals with unique lives and interests as long as they treat others with the same dignity and acceptance. Sure, he has his flaws too (although the falling-out with Wayne specifically was a long time coming and not just the result of one bad call), but they are not the same kinds of flaws that Mark is displaying. Framing Dustin’s backstory – that of being bullied for not fitting in a societal ideal – not as the story of someone who had to walk the long and hard road to accepting himself in spite of society’s rejection of him (a journey which likely has something to do with him being such a warm and welcoming person in the first place), but as the story of someone who yet needs to accept himself precisely through adhering to what society deems as “normal” (in this case, an exclusive monogamous relationship), seems… pretty counter-intuitive to what Dustin’s character, and the comic itself, has always been about.

    The little of what we’ve seen of Dustin and Ravenia’s relationship so far has already shown us that 1) they enjoy each other’s company a whole lot, and 2) their relationship is unlike either of them has with anyone else (see Damien’s “what am I going to do with you two” comment). As with all relationships, they probably have their issues too, but likely nothing that stems from them being in a particular form of relationship. While likely not intentional, saying that Dustin somehow needs to rethink his relationship because of insecurities totally unrelated to his relationship with Ravenia still comes off a bit like saying “polyamory and other forms of unconventional relationships are for when you are thoughtless and immature (Ravenia) and/or have low self-esteem and lack self-respect (Dustin), but a monogamous, exclusive relationship is ultimately the only healthy kind of relationship, and that’s a fact.”

    Teal deer, the difference between Dustin and Mark right now is simply that the former acknowledges whatever insecurities he has as his own to deal with, the latter projects them on others and, in his emotional state, sees his subjective perspective as objective. Not to worry, though: Since Mark is still our protagonist, I foresee a redemption arc in the near future.

    Posted April 17th, 2019 at 6:26 am
  20. David Says:

    The world for an edit button! I meant “leaving” not “living” in the last sentence if that wasn’t clear.

    I agree entirely with @zathael. Mark would not be happy in any poly relationship. I think this is shown very clearly when he sees his ex gossiping with Ravenia. He just got out of a relationship that compromised his self-worth, because she hated all his hobbies.

    I’m also very curious to see where the relationship between Sarah and Jess goes. The last time we saw Jess, it seemed to me like she had ulterior motives in reconnecting with Mark, but I don’t feel like I know her character well enough to know what those motives are.

    Posted April 17th, 2019 at 2:17 pm
  21. Paul W Westermeyer Says:

    So, I’ve read for a long time but never commented, but this storyline rather annoys me. I admit, I’m a traditional guy, happily married to my wife for 28 years. But I don’t require other people live their life like me, if you wish to be poly, go for it, no skin off my nose.

    But this storyline seems way off. I just think Ravenia was wrong to pursue Mark the way she did without first making her poly status extremely clear. And since then, everyone in the strip seem to be putting a LOT of peer pressure on Mark to just be fine with things. If the situation were reversed, and the group was using peer preassure to insist on monogamy, how many commentators would be okay with it?

    Mark was right, Dustin’s entire point was that soemthing is broken in Mark because he doesn’t like Ravenia’s ‘primary’ or third lover. Or he is upset with the idea of a third lover. And castigating him for jealousy, a normal and even healthy (in moderation) human emotion. Instead of helping Mark decide whether or not poly is right for him, everyone seems to want to make him accept it as simply good regardless.

    Posted April 20th, 2019 at 4:22 pm