My eyes are up here.

The teenage years. Friendships, crushes, growth... and hating. Lots of hating.

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Guys, if you were in this situation with Karen, you would....

Act the exact same way.
14
35%
Consider it, but decide against doing anything rash.
14
35%
Consider it, and let her seduce me.
6
15%
Like Karen said...Lose control and GO FOR IT!
6
15%
 
Total votes : 40

Postby Papuasblya on Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:05 pm

Sebastian wrote:Well, at least we knows he is not indifferent to her. :wink:


Or that he was thinking about Duane before she came in.
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Postby ARETH on Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:17 pm

The "My eyes are up here" is a weird line, if only because it seems like there are so many appropriate things he could say, and when girls use that phrase it's generally in reference to guys who pretend they're interested in their company. Here Karen is obviously not, but even if she was, I'd think he'd say something more like "stop" or "get out".

I really like the way Karen is drawn throughout this strip, but Marshall seems to suffer a bit. He looks quite calm, agitated, only mildly embarrassed, and then frustrated. Compounded with the dialogue I'm not sure what exactly is going through his head. The words make it sound as though he's getting increasingly frantic, while the art gives me the impression that he's swinging back and forth between being irritated and genuinely angry. In this circumstance I figure a good shove wouldn't count as excessive force, although possibly a bit uncharacteristic in light of how gentle he's been in the past. I feel like Marshall's character has been led in several different directions, not all of which are totally reconcilable, which is why we're so confused about his behavior here.

The pacing of this arc is much, much better than "Second Looks". It's making the strip a lot more fun.
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Postby oddtail on Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:31 pm

I honestly think Marshal is trying to make a point saying the line "my eyes are up here". Just like some people have said in this thread.

As for the poll - I was pondering the first answer, but I went for the second. Then again, I'd probably act less mature than Marshal - I'd get angry/panicked, scream something angrily and (as gently as possible) shove the girl in question out of the shower.

Or, I would just stand there, not knowing what to do. I don't know the limits of my self-control, haven't had to test it that way yet.
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Postby angelkatie9 on Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:38 pm

Certainly, the poll is pretty narrow when it comes to being realistic. I'm sure there's plenty of answers that aren't included - and everyone acts a little different.

Personal experience does affect our choices - I think, like oddtail mentioned about possibly not knowing how to react at all.

Hence why I wonder if Marshall's attitude is partially influenced by things he's dealt with before.
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Postby Maritza Campos on Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:03 pm

Marshall seems to me the kind of guy who feels really guilty for missing his standard session at the gym, even if he has serious motives for it.

We know Marshall is not gay, or at least that's what we have seen, when we look at him checking out Karen's butt while jogging some strips ago. There are several reasons for his behaviour here. First, exercise is a way to control libido. Some decades ago masturbation was labeled as bad for your health and your morals, and a recommended way to keep libido under control was exercising. This is one of the reasons he hasn't lost his head and simply caved in to Karen's insistence and his normal sex drive.

Obviously it has not come up, but I'm willing to guess Marshall doesn't masturbate, at least not without feeling really guilty. This guilt is not necesarilly moral or religious. Succumbing to your inner desires is weakness: a lack of discipline.

People like Marshall really like discipline. They like having goals and focus on them. They don't indulge, ever. If they do, they despise themselves. It seems to me Marshall has decided they are not supposed to have sex yet.

Marshall looks more annoyed than anything, in the same vein he would if his best friend brought a bottle of liquor to a grade school party. You're not supposed to do that, and in Marshall's eyes, it's unacceptable.

Which means simply that Marshall is not comfortable with breaking the rules.

As for Karen's, she's doing this because she's insecure yes, but also as a way to dominate Marshall. She wants to prove to herself she has the lead in the relationship, and also that he's wrapped around her little finger.
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Postby missMagdalena on Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:00 pm

Whoa. What's with the baseless assumptions?

Regarding "My eyes are up here", I personally read that as T trying to get a point across (though I agree that it could be Marshall trying to emphasize the same point). What Karen is doing is just as bad as if it were a man pressuring a woman into sex. I think the parallel is very fair; Karen is only interested in the sexual aspects of him, and "My eyes are up here" is a way of implying that Marshall doesn't think Karen's listening to him, which she isn't.

By the way, a girl in Marshall's place might have exactly the same physical reaction; it's just that in our case, you can't see it.

Why does Marshall have to be gay to not want sex? Why does he have to have some sort of previous traumatic experience or complicated issues? Why does he have to be obsessed with discipline? (I'm sorry, Maritza, but the suggestion that he wants to deny himself pleasure seems ridiculous to me, frankly. We have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that. Maybe he just goes to the gym because he thinks exercise feels good; we know he likes working with weights.)

This is the exact kind of attitude that leads to people saying women can't rape men.
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Postby atristain on Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:00 pm

angelkatie9 wrote:I can see Karen suffering a bout of self-esteem questioning, though. Since she had low self-esteem to begin with and has done everything to boost her self-image and basically "drown" her old self - having her boyfriend deny her now could be a big slap in the face.

But who knows - maybe she'll be smart and realize that it isn't a lack of interest and just a warning that she really needs to slow down for Marshall.

I'll have to answer that with a big "HA HA" since Karen's new confidence is based completely in her new looks, and she thinks that she can get away with anything she wants since she's attractive now. Alas, she thinks that's everything that counts, ever since she was less good-looking.

I now how it is to push the issue when a person doesn't want to go there. One of the reasons my 1st GF decided to end our relation was that I was insisting so much on the issue, and she was not prepared to give in to me, (even when it was 1+ year relation and I was 25 and she 20, at the time) or anyone else.

I understand what this will do to Karen's self-steem since it took me 6+ years to recover from this girl, even when I dated some girls after her. (one even agreed to go to bed with after 3 weeks)

Marshall has principles and he's defending them, even against his GF. I agree that the he's wrong in the way to handle the issue, but it's quite unfair to call him 'gay' for refusing to give in.

Papuasblya wrote:
Sebastian wrote:Well, at least we knows he is not indifferent to her. :wink:


Or that he was thinking about Duane before she came in.

Or Rich :evilgrin:
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Postby Freemage on Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:00 pm

I'd like to applaud Ms. Campos for arguably the most balanced analysis I've seen of this couple so far.

Personally, I don't think Marshall's gay, or has an outright trauma lurking in his past. But I DO think he's built up some issues, with some possibilities having been listed before this:

1: If Charisma is his mom, he could be reacting negatively to her overly sexual attitude.

2: I can easily see him having been burned by previous relationships. Part of me is wondering if he's actually a virgin--some girls DO 'use' guys just as badly as the more typical reversed scenario.

3: We know he has trust issues, from the 'weights' story arc. And yes, Karen's doing everything wrong from that perspective, much as his own attempts to retain self-control are increasing her level of desperation.
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Postby kokutan on Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:03 pm

When I saw the strip it made me wonder what any guy at my school would do if their girlfriend walked into the shower with him naked, and I came up with two options:

A: *screams* "AAAAAAAAAAH what are you doing?!?!"

B: *pounces*

It seems to me that Marshall's reaction is an angrier version of Option A. He's already fed up with her advances, and this is just pushing it over the top.

And I think calling him gay is totally unfounded. Just because he has impeccable self-control doesn't mean he doesn't like girls. I'm not saying he can't end up gay, but him pushing Karen away is certainly not proof.
Well, it made sense in my head.
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Postby JackFairy on Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:24 pm

The first part of the comic totally makes sense. She is making him uncomfortable, she's pushing their relationship to somewhere he said he doesn't want to go yet and ignoring his protests--of course he's going to feel upset and not in the mood to have sex with her, even if she does arouse him.

The second part? ...Not at all.

a) It seems to stipulate that Karen's never seen an erection on Marshall before. If so, then man... their relationship really has been uncommonly sexless. It's not necessary for a naked girl to come up to you in the shower to get aroused--usually some making out would do the trick, and it doesn't even have to be incredibly heavy making out at that.

b) I am worried that Marshall seems that put out by Karen looking at him. Yea, he doesn't want to go there yet, but is he really so uncomfortable with her as a person (not just in this situation, but generally) that he minds her looking? I would hope that by the time a couple has been dating as long as they have, they would feel secure enough with each other to have that be okay.
Last edited by JackFairy on Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hmm

Postby Khan Jackal Moreau on Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:33 pm

I do think that it's interesting, the double standard.

Gender politics are kind of a joke, and this is a great example.

Switch the genders of the people involved. A guy is very interested in sex, his girlfriend is not. He constantly brings it up. And then he follows her into the girls locker room, walks into the shower with her, and expects sex. Expects HER, who has shown no interest, to be ready to go.

And when she shoves, NO, I checked, HOLDS him back from touching her, who here says "She has no right to lay hands on him"?

No guy in that situation would have sex with her. It's gross. It's a public shower. For all they know, there are dudes standing right outside. He's probably scared, freaked out, heart pounding in a bad way, and angry.

You CAN put a guy out of the mood, and I this situation ranks around "death in the family" and "loss of a career" in terms of not-in-the-mood.

A guy doing what she is doing, people would be saying she is evil, and muttering attempted rape.

HOWEVER, even here, because she is a girl, and he is a guy, it's cute, and funny, and some people think he should just lighten up.

That becuase he doesn't want to have sex in a public shower, he's repressed. Something has to "explain" why he doesn't want to. What his "problem" is.

He's not the one with the problem.



But yeah. Situation like this happened to me once, and it got out, and everybody thought it was the funniest thing that ever happened. Girl hit me, and it still feels stupid to complain about it. It hurt. I'm small. Whatever.
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Postby LeonardC on Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:06 pm

It all makes good sense to me. If I were Marshall, I'd have had sex with my extremely hot girlfriend long before this. But I'm not; he's SAID no, and she is not respecting that at all. And that is creepy of her. I like it when women come on strong, and wish it would happen a lot more often. But coming on strong is one thing, forcing yourself on someone is quite another.
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Postby somechick_73 on Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:41 pm

Haha, I think that's ironically funny because more often then not you'd hear the girl saying that because a guys lookin at her b(oYo)bies.
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Postby Sheenaj on Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:37 am

missMagdalena wrote:Whoa. What's with the baseless assumptions?

Why does Marshall have to be gay to not want sex? Why does he have to have some sort of previous traumatic experience or complicated issues? Why does he have to be obsessed with discipline? (I'm sorry, Maritza, but the suggestion that he wants to deny himself pleasure seems ridiculous to me, frankly. We have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that. Maybe he just goes to the gym because he thinks exercise feels good; we know he likes working with weights.)

This is the exact kind of attitude that leads to people saying women can't rape men.


Amen.
I don't think it's coming from the perspective of Marshall liking discipline for the sake of itself, it has to revolve more around his relationship with Karen. I think he doesn't want to break the 'rules' he's set for himself in a relationship, especially when thinking of trust. It seems like he values the integrity of the relationship beyond that of a sexual basis (whereas most of his peers prize sex as a relationship component, or place a large emphasis on it). It's not the defining moment to affirm the relationship.

But for Karen, it is. I think she's pressuring him using sex to prove to herself Marshall truly cares. It's just the ... wrong way to do that.

I don't think Marshall is an oddball here - lots of guys would have his reaction (regardless of time & place - a public shower versus house party would elicit the same response) if that's not what they want. The general opinion seems to be that guys would jump at the chance, but I don't think that's entirely truthful or fair. :grumble:
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Re: hmm

Postby atristain on Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:14 am

Khan Jackal Moreau wrote:Switch the genders of the people involved. A guy is very interested in sex, his girlfriend is not. He constantly brings it up. And then he follows her into the girls locker room, walks into the shower with her, and expects sex...
---Snip---
...That becuase he doesn't want to have sex in a public shower, he's repressed. Something has to "explain" why he doesn't want to. What his "problem" is.

For starters, I doubt a guy walking into a public girls locker room filled with naked girls would get as far as Karen did.

Much less, they would find it funny and even hang a sign out of peer simpathy.

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Re: hmm

Postby Tarlia on Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:04 am

atristain wrote:For starters, I doubt a guy walking into a public girls locker room filled with naked girls would get as far as Karen did.

Much less, they would find it funny and even hang a sign out of peer simpathy.

Ladies: Fell free to correct me.


But that's just pretty much proving/confirming that there are double standards. There are reasons why these double standards exist, but that reason isn't that every single straight teenage guy ever must want to have sex.
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Postby Maritza Campos on Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:46 am

missMagdalena wrote: (I'm sorry, Maritza, but the suggestion that he wants to deny himself pleasure seems ridiculous to me, frankly. We have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that. Maybe he just goes to the gym because he thinks exercise feels good; we know he likes working with weights.)


It was a wild guess, from what I've seen from him. I'm not saying he's denying himself any kind of pleasure, but that the same act of denying is pleasurable to him.

http://www.pennyandaggie.com/d/20060804.html

Karen: Don't you WANT to?
Marshall: Of course. But we're kids.

Karen: Birthday girl wants cake.
Marshall: Birthday girl shouldn't spoile her appetite for what's HEALTHY.

Sex isn't really that unhealthy, especially if you use a condom. But I insist this is a particular point of view of Marshall that views sex as "not right" at this particular point in his life.

(Later himself says something about how "a grown-up would know that")
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Postby Yawnitz on Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:57 am

Delurking for a moment just to make aware of something.

"Morning wood", (as it is frequently called) is caused by REM Sleep.

A guy dreams, up goes the wood. The only exception is if he has a medical condition causing impotence.

Look it up, if you need to. This is scientific, proven fact. The content of the dream is irrelevant. Also, I really can't say this has any bearing on the current strip. If it does, I'm unaware of it.
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Postby oddtail on Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:08 pm

Maritza Campos wrote:Karen: Birthday girl wants cake.
Marshall: Birthday girl shouldn't spoile her appetite for what's HEALTHY.

Sex isn't really that unhealthy, especially if you use a condom.


Well, I sorta interpreted "healthy" as in "healthy attitude", not taking the word literally.

But I insist this is a particular point of view of Marshall that views sex as "not right" at this particular point in his life.


Yes, but is that for reasons you suggested? I'm not sure.

I don't see Marshal as seeing sex as "wrong". It's just (relatively) low on his priority list. And perhaps he has an idealized mental image of sexual intercourse, and so he regards the kind of sex/situation Karen pushes to as too "down to earth".
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Postby Maritza Campos on Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:11 pm

I don't see sex for Marshall is a low priority thing. I think he disapproves strongly. Whenever sex comes up, he always looks angry or annoyed. Okay, so he doesn't want to have sex...but he doesn't even allow himself to joke about it.

No, I don't take the word literally either. This is why I wonder... when or in what situation would Marshall consider sex "healthy"? Because cake is not healthy everyday, but once in a while as dessert is nothing to frown about.

So, what's exactly the right time to have sex for Marshall? When they reach ____ age? When they marry? When they have some years dating? When?

This has not been discussed, apparently, between them. But I wonder, myself, how are they supposed to discuss sex aspects as a couple, if at the minimal mention or implication of sex he gets angry.
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Postby Beanie on Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:23 pm

Maritza Campos wrote:But I wonder, myself, how are they supposed to discuss sex aspects as a couple, if at the minimal mention or implication of sex he gets angry.

http://www.pennyandaggie.com/comics/pna20051215.gif
I submit this as evidence against getting angry at "minimal mention or implication." He doesn't seem bothered by the physical flirting and playing around at all. I think he just doesn't appreciate being groped and requested to drop his pants already plz, and THEN gets angry.


And KAREN is the one who says "I guess a grown-up would know that."
http://www.pennyandaggie.com/comics/pna20060807.gif


Sex is more than "insert penis into vagina." The act of sex may not be unhealthy (let's not even get into condoms failing, or STDs spreading even with condom use) - but the emotional part of it is way more complicated. It is not, then, always "healthy."
And this is probably what Marshall is referring to.


Furthermore, we only know what we've been shown... so we don't know if they've ever had a mature, adult discussion (read: one that doesn't start with Karen groping Marshall) about their sexual needs, desires, or ideas.
You'd think if this was such a big deal in their relationship - she keeps pursuing him and he has to keep telling her to knock it off - the subject would certainly come up.
But maybe not. Who knows.
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Postby Sebastian on Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:28 pm

Beanie wrote:
Maritza Campos wrote:But I wonder, myself, how are they supposed to discuss sex aspects as a couple, if at the minimal mention or implication of sex he gets angry.

http://www.pennyandaggie.com/comics/pna20051215.gif
I submit this as evidence against getting angry at "minimal mention or implication." He doesn't seem bothered by the physical flirting and playing around at all. I think he just doesn't appreciate being groped and requested to drop his pants already plz, and THEN gets angry.


Mmh, interesting that "girls are trasparent to you" "I wish" part.
I don't think he is referring it to Karen there.
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Postby Stella Polaris on Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:37 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Beanie wrote:
Maritza Campos wrote:But I wonder, myself, how are they supposed to discuss sex aspects as a couple, if at the minimal mention or implication of sex he gets angry.

http://www.pennyandaggie.com/comics/pna20051215.gif
I submit this as evidence against getting angry at "minimal mention or implication." He doesn't seem bothered by the physical flirting and playing around at all. I think he just doesn't appreciate being groped and requested to drop his pants already plz, and THEN gets angry.


Mmh, interesting that "girls are trasparent to you" "I wish" part.
I don't think he is referring it to Karen there.


I get the vibes he's talking about Aggie.
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Postby oddtail on Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:19 am

Maritza Campos wrote:I don't see sex for Marshall is a low priority thing. I think he disapproves strongly. Whenever sex comes up, he always looks angry or annoyed. Okay, so he doesn't want to have sex...but he doesn't even allow himself to joke about it.

No, I don't take the word literally either. This is why I wonder... when or in what situation would Marshall consider sex "healthy"? Because cake is not healthy everyday, but once in a while as dessert is nothing to frown about.

So, what's exactly the right time to have sex for Marshall? When they reach ____ age? When they marry? When they have some years dating? When?

This has not been discussed, apparently, between them. But I wonder, myself, how are they supposed to discuss sex aspects as a couple, if at the minimal mention or implication of sex he gets angry.


Funny you should mention the comparison between cake and sex. As far as I am concerned, this only proves the point that for him, it's "first things first". If sex is, let's stick to the extended metaphor, "cake", then the main course would be, my first guess is, mutual understanding, affection, the "romantic" stuff about a relationship that Marshal seems to be so fond of.

As for "what is the right time"... well, I don't know what is Marshal's attitude here, but I personally think that starting one's sex life early (and "before 18-20 years of age" is early in my book) might be a bad idea for certain people, relationships and situations. So, really, in a world where High School boys and girls are so often unhappy about "still" being virgins, I wish Marshal's more slow-paced attitude was more common.

That being said, I hope nobody twists my words to "having sex before turning a certain age is EVIL, I tell you, EVIL!". Some people are ready to start their sex life at the age of, oh I don't know, 14, some people at 30. But "too late" is sometimes better than "too early" in this case. Automatically assuming that someone who wants to wait a fair chunk of time before starting disapproves of sex? I couldn't disagree more.

That being said, Marshal does seem a little (too) uptight - he doesn't seem comfortable with talking about sex, as you mentioned - but I don't see it as being outside the broadly defined norm - he's just shy and nervous about the topic, but mostly because it's (I suppose) a big deal for him. Perhaps I lack a decent cultural frame of reference, perhaps in North America it's different. Perhaps NO ONE regards sexuality as a taboo topic anymore. But I doubt it.
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Postby missMagdalena on Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:17 am

Maritza Campos wrote:So, what's exactly the right time to have sex for Marshall? When they reach ____ age? When they marry? When they have some years dating? When?


Maybe when he's emotionally ready? "We're just kids" could have to do with emotional maturity as well as actual age.
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