that's a "no"

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

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Postby ria on Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:37 pm

StarKruzr wrote:Mari hit it right on the head -- his response would be totally normal if it was a random stranger who came into the locker room.

I'll refer to my post again: I am in a secure long term relationship where we <3 sex, and yet "What are you DOING???" would be the reaction of either of us if our partner approached us sexually in a public place.

Now, I DO think Marshall's got some issues beyond this. Whether he is asexual, doesn't find Karen attractive, whether he thinks sex is best reserved for marriage, whether he is just trying to keep his distance due to past trouble -- a dozen other options -- but again I want to make the point that his reaction in the shower is one of a range of entirely normal reactions.
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Postby Kaymcc on Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:29 pm

To me, this arch definitely means that Marshall's attracted to women. Karen's pleased downwards glances indicates that he's got an erection, though emotionally and intellectually he's definitely not interested.
But.
Between that and the closed mouth kissing I'm gonna join the 'he's had some kind of traumatic sexual experience' camp. Which in my eyes means the relationship is doomed: boy should be getting therapy, NOT be in a relationship and definitely not with someone like Karen who's also got issues but is pro-sex. It'd seem he thinks of sexual intimacy -- of any degree -- as dangerous, whereas she thinks of it as something she needs to finally heal her selfesteem.

I think he'd be reacting like this no matter where and how and when she was making her advances. His negative reaction is just so strong, way past a 'what the.. NO! We're in public!' reasoning.
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Postby TheTeague on Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:41 pm

iRobot wrote:
TheTeague wrote:That, although Karen is in the wrong for the shower thing, BOTH of them are at fault for the misunderstanding that lead to it. "We're just kids" is a vague way to avoid actually explaining why he doens't want to when they're both 18.


[url=http://forums.keenspot.com/viewtopic.php?t=81504&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=260]They
Last edited by TheTeague on Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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forgive the sloppy art. thrown together in an hour.

Postby TheTeague on Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:42 pm

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Postby ria on Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:43 pm

There are many states in the US where the age of consent is 16 (or even lower IIRC), especially when both parties are minors -- many states have a "16 if you're under 21, 18 otherwise" sort of rule.
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Re: forgive the sloppy art. thrown together in an hour.

Postby Tarlia on Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:49 pm

TheTeague wrote:Image


Okay, I grinned a bit.



(But yeah, Karen at least is 16, not entirely sure about Marshall.),

Edit: Never mind, from the thread linked to above:

TCampbell wrote:It's her 16th. Marshall's only older by a couple of months.
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Postby Sebastian on Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:32 pm

Freemage wrote:The closest thing he's given to a reason were "We're too young," (not actually a reason, at least without more explanation) and "It's not healthy," (which is in fact outright WRONG).


Correction, the "we're too young" is the reason we have heard. Apparently they had already a discussion about it before and it is possible that Marshall went in greater details about what he meant with "we're too young". And with healty he probably didn't mean 'physically' healty (but that is another argument).
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Postby iRobot on Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:40 pm

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No, if I were really a jerk, my sig would contain lots of pictures, tired quotes, insipid "wisdom," brainless "wit," and/or lines of text art. And I would be deluded enough to somehow think that any of that was actually cool.
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Postby TheTeague on Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:21 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Freemage wrote:The closest thing he's given to a reason were "We're too young," (not actually a reason, at least without more explanation) and "It's not healthy," (which is in fact outright WRONG).


Correction, the "we're too young" is the reason we have heard. Apparently they had already a discussion about it before and it is possible that Marshall went in greater details about what he meant with "we're too young". /quote]

And by that logic, Marshall could be visiting a prostitute every week to sate his lusts so he can effectively resist Karen. Off panel of course.

The only evidence we have of anything is what we've seen.
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Postby TheTeague on Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:24 pm



Either way, we already have seen they're legal in the eyes of the law.

What criteria do they need to meet for Marshall to judge them "mature" enough for second base?
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Postby iRobot on Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:50 pm

TheTeague wrote:Either way, we already have seen they're legal in the eyes of the law.


That was never in dispute.

What criteria do they need to meet for Marshall to judge them "mature" enough for second base?


Ask Marshall. It could be something set in stone (like "at the age of 18," or "when we're done with high school") or something more mutable (like "when we're both sure that we're ready," or "when we're sure are motives aren't completely self-serving"). I don't know. Maybe Marshall doesn't even know. Ask T, he's the only one who knows for sure.

One thing's for certain: Marshall does know that he's not ready. That a good enough reason for him not to.

Note: As far as the 2nd base bit, neither of us know exactly where "Marsh" draws the line (and which side of it heavy petting is on). However, I agree that your conservative estimate of where is quite likely.
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Postby betsynoire on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:02 pm

the only thing that's hit me about Marshall through this whole conversation, and not necessarily related solely to his recent actions is...

Marshall seems like a perfectly normal, perfectly well-adjusted, confident teenaged boy with limited self-esteem issues. Smart, sensitive, athletic, good-looking.

Teenaged boy.

There has GOT to be a catch. Doesn't there?
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Postby iRobot on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:05 pm

betsynoire wrote:the only thing that's hit me about Marshall through this whole conversation, and not necessarily related solely to his recent actions is...

Marshall seems like a perfectly normal, perfectly well-adjusted, confident teenaged boy with limited self-esteem issues. Smart, sensitive, athletic, good-looking.

Teenaged boy.

There has GOT to be a catch. Doesn't there?


Oh, of course.
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Postby catpryde on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:26 pm

Why are people acting like 6 months is such a huge time to wait? Marshall is one of the few people who seems to realize how much sex can forge a sense of false intimacy. 6 months time is the time I absolutely MUST wait for now, I was a virgin until I was 20. I'm sorry...but at what? 16? 6 months...? Gimme a break. People like to act like we're so out of control of our own bodies. We really aren't.
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Postby LeonardC on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:33 pm

StarKruzr wrote:Other people have made my points for me since I posted last, but I just want to add in iRobot's direction that the source of said societal constructs is entirely irrelevant when they're expected to be there.

It also doesn't matter that Marshall has "feminine qualities." Karen (reasonably) expects him to behave as a male typically would -- at least RESPONDING to her sexual desire instead of flat-out turning her down every time. There are other ways to enjoy the company of your partner sexually other than engaging in intercourse. Marshall doesn't even appear to be interested in those with her. At all.


Let's just think a bit about how this reasoning would work out if it were applied to something other than gender.
"You're lying, Mei Sun. I KNOW you got a better grade on the quiz than I did, because you people are so good at math."
"What the hell's the matter with you, Tyrone? You didn't like the hip-hop CD? It doesn't matter if you wear cowboy boots and a bolo tie - you're BLACK!"

Expecting the target to act as a statistical generalization typically would act. Still reasonable?

How about landlords deciding not to rent to black people because they're more likely to commit crimes? Or employers deciding not to hire a black person for the same reason? Statistically, in the United States at least, black people ARE more likely to be criminals than people of other races. But an employer who acts on that assumption is not only a racist prick, he's gonna get his sorry ass tossed in jail. And I'd say THAT is entirely reasonable.
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Postby LeonardC on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:43 pm

I believe I've said before that Karen is my favourite character in the strip, and that hasn't changed. I also think she got what she had coming.

Marshall says no at the party, in an obnoxious and patronizing way, for reasons that I don't think are particularly good. Karen feels hurt and rejected, understandably. Her best option: Explain to Marshall, calmly and reasonably, why he's making her feel so undesirable, and suggest ways to work it out - maybe foolin' around without going "all the way," or some such. Failing that, less desirable options are either to keep hanging around him like a desperate puppy, or to just dump him in favour of somebody who WILL do the thing she thinks she needs to make her feel desirable.

The WRONG option: ignore his explicitly expressed desires and try and take what she wants anyway. As countless people have said, if the genders were reversed, this would be considered attempted rape. And statistical expectations don't make a rat's ass of difference to that fact. If I am walking down a Compton street alone at night and I see young black men approach me in gang colours, I could statistically expect that they are likely to try and attack me. That doesn't mean that I am entitled to shoot them all in "self-defence" on the basis of my expectation of what they are statistically likely to do. Assault is assault, murder is murder and rape is rape, whatever your colour or your plumbing.

Karen's got a lot going for her, but she's got a hell of a lot to learn. I'm hoping that she's really learning it.
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Postby Freemage on Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:47 pm

catpryde wrote:Why are people acting like 6 months is such a huge time to wait? Marshall is one of the few people who seems to realize how much sex can forge a sense of false intimacy. 6 months time is the time I absolutely MUST wait for now, I was a virgin until I was 20. I'm sorry...but at what? 16? 6 months...? Gimme a break. People like to act like we're so out of control of our own bodies. We really aren't.


No one is objecting to 6 months of dating leading to no sex.

No one is objecting to Marshall not wanting to have sex at all.

People are objecting to the fact that Marshall does not want to have sex, yet is not being particularly clear why, which in turn feeds Karen's insecurity issues.

People are pointing out that Marshall, while taking many of the actions of a typical boyfriend, also has a very curious habit of not displaying any passion towards the individual he claims to be deeply in love with.
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Postby StarKruzr on Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:35 pm

LeonardC wrote:
StarKruzr wrote:Other people have made my points for me since I posted last, but I just want to add in iRobot's direction that the source of said societal constructs is entirely irrelevant when they're expected to be there.

It also doesn't matter that Marshall has "feminine qualities." Karen (reasonably) expects him to behave as a male typically would -- at least RESPONDING to her sexual desire instead of flat-out turning her down every time. There are other ways to enjoy the company of your partner sexually other than engaging in intercourse. Marshall doesn't even appear to be interested in those with her. At all.


Let's just think a bit about how this reasoning would work out if it were applied to something other than gender.


But it ISN'T something other than gender. Gender is something with actual biological effects.

Look, no one is suggesting that Marshall is "not allowed" to vary from male gender norms. That would be plain stupid. It's the way he's leading Karen on and refusing to actually TALK about why he's acting the way he's acting that is the actual problem. The lack of apparent sexual interest is only puzzling, not "bad."
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Postby JK9000 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:00 pm

Freemage wrote:People are objecting to the fact that Marshall does not want to have sex, yet is not being particularly clear why, which in turn feeds Karen's insecurity issues.


I agree in the most part-- Marshall could do with a better explanation for a girlfriend of over 4 months-- but I think it bears mentioning that Karen hasn't shown any particular interest in why Marshall is resisting sex, beyond that he is indeed resisting it. (or, she didn't up until the point where she was nigh-violently denied and left sobbing and naked on a shower room floor)

In her own words, Karen wants Marshall to "not think twice; not think at all." (rough quote) Marshall's exact reservations never mattered to her, since the whole point was to be hawt enough for Marshall to discard said reservations; thus proving her little "pretty people do what they want" mantra. Her insecurities, at this point, spring almost entirely from "pretty people do what they want" not shaping up as she had hoped. Karen isn't even aware of this, choosing rather to believe that she simply isn't pretty enough to reach the shining height of absolute power she thinks lays at the end of the path she's chosen.

In short, she's frustrated becuase she's not getting exactly, perfectly what she wants. That's not a dilemma I can sympathize with, and I'm not entirely sure what Marshall could do to resolve it beyond tossing all principals outside the window and giving her whatever she desires. The sort of suggestions offered on this board-- naked time without intercourse, heavy petting, etc.-- would all be fine for a reasonable person, but I honestly can't see Karen settling for anything less than full-blown wild sex.

I'd be alot more agreeable to the "Marshall's done his fair share to hinder the relationship" camp if Karen had ever shown any inclination towards compromise or the like for her selfish wishes.

Fair being fair, I'm obligated to conceed that, while I firmly believe any such attempts would have been utterly fruitless, Marshall really could have tried harder to connect with Karen's position on this. Then again; not to excuse him, but he's always been on the record for having problems connecting with people.

And again, I have to say that Karen, at last, seems to be more receptive in this strip, and it'd be the perfect chance for Marshall to go into greater detail about his concerns. If he passes it up, I'd think less of him.

Ah, and I still disagree with your point as regards Marshall's passion, but we've already had that conversation.

StarKruzr wrote:But it ISN'T something other than gender. Gender is something with actual biological effects.


It's less biological then you seem to think. In fact, near all of the "male" traits people are citing as absent from Marshall have absoultly nothing to do with genetics or testosterone or what-have-you.

There are people who would argue that all of Leonard's examples are biological in origin as well. Black people are more likely to be criminals because of thier "black" genes. (as if such a thing exsisted) The assertation that the biological mechanics of being male affect mannerisms or personality is no less ignorant. Leonard's example fits perfectly.

Also, "leading Karen on"? Where the hell did this happen? I've since allowed that he could do with better communication, but 'leading on' is jut rediculous.

betsynoire wrote:the only thing that's hit me about Marshall through this whole conversation, and not necessarily related solely to his recent actions is...

Marshall seems like a perfectly normal, perfectly well-adjusted, confident teenaged boy with limited self-esteem issues. Smart, sensitive, athletic, good-looking.

Teenaged boy.

There has GOT to be a catch. Doesn't there?


Marshall's twin soliloquies regarding weights at the begining and end of the same-titled story arc reveal that Marshall's self-esteem issues are far from limited. Confident? No sir.
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Postby StarKruzr on Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:41 pm

JK9000 wrote:It's less biological then you seem to think. In fact, near all of the "male" traits people are citing as absent from Marshall have absoultly nothing to do with genetics or testosterone or what-have-you.

There are people who would argue that all of Leonard's examples are biological in origin as well. Black people are more likely to be criminals because of thier "black" genes. (as if such a thing exsisted) The assertation that the biological mechanics of being male affect mannerisms or personality is no less ignorant. Leonard's example fits perfectly.


1) Flat-out false. Men have orders of magnitude more testosterone in their systems than women do. Testosterone is provably, scientifically linked to sex drive.
2) Yes, and these people are demonstrably wrong.

(P.S. of course there are "black genes" - they make you look black, i.e. produce more melanin, maybe have a broader nose, larger lips, certain type of hair, etc. What is laughable is that there is a connection between these traits and personality/intelligence/whatever.)
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Postby Ostracee on Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:48 pm

Um, last I checked, oestrogen is also linked to sex drive...
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Postby ria on Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:02 pm

Biology is not all-telling. It is one of many influences. Again gender roles are a construct we have built on top of those biological influences. Key words: "we have built"

A friend of mine put it this way -- "Do you really think I am genetically programmed to be better at laundry than a man?" It's a silly notion. Yes, men by large have a greater sex drive than women. This does not mean that men lust after sex at the cost of all else, or that women don't want sex at all. It does not mean that when a man is aroused he must act on it. It does not mean that when a man is aroused it overrides the use of his brain, the principles he holds to or the choices he has made formerly. Physical arousal is not the only factor that plays into desire. And desire does not dictate one's actions either; one can have plenty of desire but still decide against acting on it for any variety of legitimate reasons.

Bringing up biology and expecting it to be the end of the conversation really is silly. We were better off discussing gender roles and stereotypes.
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Postby StarKruzr on Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:25 am

Ostracee wrote:Um, last I checked, oestrogen is also linked to sex drive...


Not really, no. Testosterone is the female sex drive hormone just as it is in men. Estrogen performs other tasks.
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Postby ivy-chan on Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:42 am

On the subject of the lack of communication between the couple, I'd like to withold opinion until the next comic comes out. If it is as people are currently speculating, I agree that Marshall should have gone more in-depth if pressed further, or perhaps he should have worded his previous explanation better. Instead of saying 'we're just kids', he could have said: 'I don't feel emotionally ready for sex at this point of time.' Then again, that's assuming he has the verbal skills to put it that way. Not precisely an insult, but at that age, people may or may not have built up to vocabulary to adequately express their feelings. So, instead of saying something like that, it comes out as 'We're just kids. I don't want it.'

I don't like thinking that someone should have to explain themselves about just why they don't like to have sex. However, I agree that in a romantic relationship it's a different situation, and a couple that's been together for that long should have more knowledge of each other, and more emotional closeness than I've seen here. I can't yet say that most of it was Karen's inability to open up to Marshall, or if they had equal shares in the lack of communication. We haven't seen any conclusive evidence that this couple doesn't have long conversations, because we usually see anyone in this comic exchanging short ones. So, Marshall may be closemouthed about his thoughts and feelings, or he may just be a man of few words.

I also don't think it's quite fair to blame someone for their personality type. Marshall is not like Rich or Duane. I brought up different kind of affection earlier, Rich's aggressive passion and Duane's flowery and demonstrative puppy love go with their personalities, and are unlike Marshall's quieter, more solid affection for Karen. I understand that Karen is operating on the idea that boys want sex, that, like Penny previously said 'all you need to do is wiggle and it's like dangling a string in front of cats', but it still doesn't seem to gel with the fact that she has proof that Marshall doesn't act like that. She's been dating him for months, long enough to know how he acts when exposed to sex talk or things of that nature. I think this could just be a recent development. I don't see her pressing sex earlier into the relationship, it's probably her solution to the question she posed in 'Weights'. 'What now?', as well as an attempt to prove herself.

Either way, it's amazing how much discussion this single scene has sparked! (The scene as in Marshall and Karen's collective montages, and not one comic in particular.)
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Postby JK9000 on Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:39 am

StarKruzr wrote:1) Flat-out false. Men have orders of magnitude more testosterone in their systems than women do. Testosterone is provably, scientifically linked to sex drive.


I never said men didn't have more testosterone. All I said is that the biological aspects of gender, such as having more testosterone and thus a larger sex drive, have little impact on the overall mannerisms/personality of a given person. A man could have all the testosterone in the world pumping through his system, and it wouldn't be a clear indicator of his personality.


StarKruzr wrote:(P.S. of course there are "black genes" - they make you look black, i.e. produce more melanin, maybe have a broader nose, larger lips, certain type of hair, etc. What is laughable is that there is a connection between these traits and personality/intelligence/whatever.)



There are numerous scientific tests which show that genetical structure within a given racial group is more diverse than between different racial groups. You could take me, a typical caucasian male, and two random black guys, match up the DNA, and there's a significant chance that I might happen to be closer related, genetically, to one of the black guys than they are to each other.

Race, like much of gender, is social constuct with a fluid definition and limited biological backing. What's considered "male" or "manly" today is different from what would be considered "manly" 50 years ago. Same goes for what's considered "black" or "asian" or whatever.
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