I TOLD you Karen + Urology = Perfect Together

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

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Postby crusaderdrake on Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:55 am

Hello folks,

First time poster here; long time lurker.

I decided to finally "break the ice" so to speak because I find this thread to be most unusual, particularly in the amount of contention the strip in question has created. We have all read the same strip, yet appear to be drawing quite diversive opinions as to what is happening. Of course, that is to be expected, as we vary in gender, age, experience, and cultural/religious backgrounds. But what is truly odd is that no one (from what I have seen) has made that distinction yet. Only T & Gisele know precisely what Karen's motivations are, why Marsh is acting the way he is, and the subtle interplay that occurred between the two in the final two panels of the strip. But reading folks' interpretations is quite an interesting study.

What also amazes me is the amount of discussion about whether Marsh is being sexually assaulted or not. I suppose by legal definition he probably is, but good luck getting that to stand up (pardon the pun) in a court of law. Is it a double standard? Certainly. But the world is full of double standards, even a politically correct one. I am forced to concur with the reader who stated that using the law to determine a question of *moral* right or wrong is a mistake. That is to say, I believe this issue of whether Karen should have pushed this issue in her relationship with Marsh is far more a moral question than a legal one.

My opinion, FWIW, is that Karen is acting out not only from a sense of trying to justify her self-image/self-worth but also because she has needs as well. I don't believe (tho I may be mistaken) that the latter point has been touched upon by anyone yet, but women are sexual creatures as well. It is interesting to note the number of readers who chastise Marsh for his spurning her advances, even going so far as to label him gay, because as a man, he *should* want sexual activity. But should we not also apply this standard to Karen as well? Is it somehow not right that she should crave sexual activity as well because she is a woman?

Methinks T & Gisele have thrown us a curveball; a reversal of the stereotypical "boy-tries-to-get-in-the-girl's-pants-while-girl-tries-to-defend-her-virtue" plotline that has been played out for centuries. We are so accustomed to gender roles when it comes to sex that it causes so much consternation when we see people acting outside of those roles.

As for Marsh's actions, perhaps he is influenced by the alluded to previous relationship, or perhaps he has religious compunctions that dictate witholding sex before marriage.

I do concur with the readers who stated that he should have tried to be more communicative, as Karen has been. Assuming, of course, that this were a real couple and not a comic strip. :wink:

Regards,
Drake

EDIT: Corrected mistakes
Last edited by crusaderdrake on Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tarlia on Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:20 am

Hi Drake. Interesting post.

Another thing I've noticed... there seems to be a general trend of the female posters defending Marshall, while many male posters are defending Karen. At least if I'm getting people's sexes right. And there's many exceptions too, but I found that sort of interesting.
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Postby crusaderdrake on Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:10 am

Tarlia wrote:Hi Drake. Interesting post.

Another thing I've noticed... there seems to be a general trend of the female posters defending Marshall, while many male posters are defending Karen. At least if I'm getting people's sexes right. And there's many exceptions too, but I found that sort of interesting.


Thank you!

And if I am correct about the gender role reversal in this plotline, that may very well explain the support for each character. Marsh is portraying the stereotypical feminine role of defending against unwanted sexual advances whereas Karen is portraying the stereotypical masculine role of pushing for sexual activity. Thus more male readers are more likely identifying with Karen while more female readers identify with Marsh.

Of course, this is just my theory and $0.02. I don't claim to be an expert by any means.

Regards,
Drake
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Postby Gisele Lagace on Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:39 am

crusaderdrake wrote:Only Gisele herself knows precisely what Karen's motivations are... // Methinks Gisele has thrown us a curveball; a reversal of the stereotypical...



T knows more than I do, really. I just make sure that when I draw it out that I'm not giving anything away ;)
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Postby Beanie on Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:56 am

Chrysee wrote:It strikes me as kind of weird how alot of people are saying they're not going to judge Karen's actions until they see how Marshall reacts. It just seems odd to me to base the right- or wrongness of an action on its consequences.


It's not that - at least not for me. It's because we only see KAREN'S face... not Marshall's. We don't know if he nodded or gave her an all clear or a "yeah go ahead, whoo!"
Grabbing him is wrong, I won't change my mind on that - it's the continuing on, the final two panels of the strip, that I can't judge on just yet.
I hope that makes sense?



And hey, cookievore! Here's a <3 just for you, because you rock!
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Postby crusaderdrake on Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:58 am

Gisele Lagace wrote:
crusaderdrake wrote:Only Gisele herself knows precisely what Karen's motivations are... // Methinks Gisele has thrown us a curveball; a reversal of the stereotypical...



T knows more than I do, really. I just make sure that when I draw it out that I'm not giving anything away ;)


Apologies offered. For some reason I mixed you and T up.

Regards,
Drake
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Postby Miyo on Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:03 am

Buggy wrote:Lets be honest here,

Karen, sure, inappropriate.

Marshall, also inappropriate. You don't get to call someone a girlfriend and prevent them from dating anyone else, as well as getting them emotionally entangled with you if you are not willing to A.) be physically intimate or B.) Tell them why you don't want to be.


This strip is telling because it shows Marshall as an insecure whining twit. My sympathy for him went from high to none.


Before it seemed as if he had had a long heart to heart talk with her about it and said he wasn't ready and she was still trying to force herself on him.

Now it turns out his version of dating, is saying they are dating and then refusing to touch her, talk to her openly, tell her why he has physical intimacy issues.

He is using her as a status symbol and a toy. If he didn't want to have a relationship with her, he shouldn't be stringing her along.


quite frankly if this douche was dating one of your friends you'd punch him in the stomach till his ears bled for screwing with your friends head.


I was confused for a moment because I thought for sure that you were talking about Karen but just forgot all of the S's in front of the he's. When I realized you really were talking about Marshall, that only confused me more. As I kept on reading, I only ended up with more and more confusion, so I have a few concerns.

Why do you HAVE to be physically intimate with someone in order to call them your girlfriend (or boyfriend)? And didn't Karen SAY SO HERSELF that she KNOWS the reason why he has cold feet?

How is Marshall the insecure whining twit? That description fits Karen more than it does Marshall, and I quote, "Pleeheeheeheease." (I'm sorry, that line still sends shivers down my back)

And I'm sorry, but I can't see where Marshall is using KAREN as a status symbol or a toy. Once again, that fits Karen much more than it does Marshall. http://www.pennyandaggie.com/d/20051220.html She shows him off and then at that same party we later find out she tries to pressure him, then tries to TRICK him into sex.

Marshall DOES want a relationship with Karen, and quite possibly an emotionally mature one versus a physical one. He talks of love, 'mating for life', things that for some are---OMG, more substantial then sex. And by no means is that 'stringing her along'.

::sigh:: I'm sorry if I came off...indignant.

On another tangent, I was wondering if someone could tell me what Karen meant by saying that Marshall had wierd arguments. The 'We're just kids' thing I know, but where does the 'stranger' and 'man-ho' part come from?
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marshall! marshall! marshall!

Postby Buggy on Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:17 am

Read the first panel of the strip, he says things, then doesn't back them up.

He doesn't want to explain his wierd arguements, its "complicated".

All those things do apply to Marshall. You say she was showing him off the party, but did you see how overt he was being "Swans mate for life" etc etc , when others are watching.

As soon as the general public wanders away "we are just kids" end of discussion, no explanation of what im talking about or why, sit down and shut up karen.


When I saw that strip the first time I assumed that he was referencing a past argument they had had (and didn't want to get into it again)

But he never told her in the first place.


Him and Karen are perfect for each other, they are self centered jerks.

Karen is pre-occupied with feeling sexy, like shes not the ugly duckling she was. She doesn't care who gets hurt in the process.

Marshall is pre-occupied with making everyone thing he's the perfect man, damned who gets hurt (which for his age could still be normal, stage three of morality development)
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Postby TheTeague on Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:21 am

I don't really like either Karen or Marshall as a person, but at least Karen is interesting as a character.
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Postby TheTeague on Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:39 am

Miyo wrote:
Buggy wrote:Lets be honest here,

Karen, sure, inappropriate.

Marshall, also inappropriate. You don't get to call someone a girlfriend and prevent them from dating anyone else, as well as getting them emotionally entangled with you if you are not willing to A.) be physically intimate or B.) Tell them why you don't want to be.


This strip is telling because it shows Marshall as an insecure whining twit. My sympathy for him went from high to none.


Before it seemed as if he had had a long heart to heart talk with her about it and said he wasn't ready and she was still trying to force herself on him.

Now it turns out his version of dating, is saying they are dating and then refusing to touch her, talk to her openly, tell her why he has physical intimacy issues.

He is using her as a status symbol and a toy. If he didn't want to have a relationship with her, he shouldn't be stringing her along.


quite frankly if this douche was dating one of your friends you'd punch him in the stomach till his ears bled for screwing with your friends head.


I was confused for a moment because I thought for sure that you were talking about Karen but just forgot all of the S's in front of the he's. When I realized you really were talking about Marshall, that only confused me more. As I kept on reading, I only ended up with more and more confusion, so I have a few concerns.

Why do you HAVE to be physically intimate with someone in order to call them your girlfriend (or boyfriend)? And didn't Karen SAY SO HERSELF that she KNOWS the reason why he has cold feet?

How is Marshall the insecure whining twit? That description fits Karen more than it does Marshall, and I quote, "Pleeheeheeheease." (I'm sorry, that line still sends shivers down my back)

And I'm sorry, but I can't see where Marshall is using KAREN as a status symbol or a toy. Once again, that fits Karen much more than it does Marshall. http://www.pennyandaggie.com/d/20051220.html She shows him off and then at that same party we later find out she tries to pressure him, then tries to TRICK him into sex.

Marshall DOES want a relationship with Karen, and quite possibly an emotionally mature one versus a physical one. He talks of love, 'mating for life', things that for some are---OMG, more substantial then sex. And by no means is that 'stringing her along'.

::sigh:: I'm sorry if I came off...indignant.

On another tangent, I was wondering if someone could tell me what Karen meant by saying that Marshall had wierd arguments. The 'We're just kids' thing I know, but where does the 'stranger' and 'man-ho' part come from?


The problem is he TALKS of love. Love and commitment ARE more substantial and important than sex, so why is he so casual about "mating for life" but wont even consider sex because it's something he'd have to actually get involved in. All his grand gestures and behavior are just parroting some "how to be Mr. Sensitive" book. He's standing next to the deep end of the swimming pool looking down on the idea of playing in the shallow end with his girl. I still think he just wants to have a girlfriend rather than have Karen as his girlfriend.
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Postby iRobot on Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:54 am

cookievore wrote:(entire post)


*applauds*

TheTeague wrote:The problem is he TALKS of love. Love and commitment ARE more substantial and important than sex, so why is he so casual about "mating for life" but wont even consider sex because it's something he'd have to actually get involved in.


No, considering that there's apparently some past trauma (:roll:), he's probably scared witless of rushing into sex.

All his grand gestures and behavior are just parroting some "how to be Mr. Sensitive" book.


Or they coulds be entirely sincere.

He's standing next to the deep end of the swimming pool looking down on the idea of playing in the shallow end with his girl.


I'm just not seeing this "looking down" attitude. If he has some past sex-related trauma, how is it being condescending to turn down repeated and callous sexual advances? He seems to have a definite reason for being gunshy about sex, and apparently he and Karen has discussed the cause of this effect at some point in the past "off-screen."
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Postby TheTeague on Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:41 am

He's scared witless about sex, but willing to pledge the rest of his life to her?
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Postby Sebastian on Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:46 am

shekron Kaizar wrote:P.S. I don't think Marshall is the kind of person who has the will to say no to his girlfriend, or the type to cause someone hurt by rejection. :shifty:

He didn't seem to have these problems while they were in the shower.
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Postby iRobot on Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:57 am

TheTeague wrote:He's scared witless about sex...?


Insert "rushing into" between "about" and "sex."
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Postby Buggy on Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:59 am

The problem is, he will SAY he "pledges his love"

but then when the pledging comes...he acts like its not there.


Not feeling comfortable with sex is fine, stop harping on that. But there is no excuse for not being open and telling her WHY is he not comfortable with sex.

If he was truthfully and not feeding a line of bull when he made his pledge then he would live up to it and you know, trust her enough to be open about his issues.

You can't pledge your love to someone and then not trust them enough to talk to them about your problems.
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Postby Sebastian on Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:13 pm

cookievore wrote:
Um, I don't think that's what's happening here, because pysical intimacy really doesn't have to mean 'teh penis in teh vagina'. But I'm not obsessive enough to go through the comics where there was cuddling and crap.


Well, I'm obsessive enough and I found nothing. They don't cuddle, they don't hug, the nearest thing to a kiss show in the comic looks a lot like a peek on the cheeck, but it could be just the angle. I could be wrong but I think they don't even hold hands.
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Postby sordideuphemism on Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:26 pm

MRodriguez wrote:Ummm... okay. Go ahead, mock the person who has had real life experience with ACTUAL RAPE. Yeah. You're so smart and clever because you KNOW everything is defined by a book written by dowdy old men locked up in a room, and anything that happens in reality doesn't matter unless it's written out in a book.

There's more than one person on this thread who has been victimized by rape, friend. Some of us, however, prefer to argue the matter rather than pledge authority on the topic because of what has happened to us in the past.
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Postby Trollroot on Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:30 pm

Meanwhile, in the real world:

shekron Kaizar wrote:A man says to another man, "I am going to hit you on the head with a mallet". The other man says 'please no', but the attacker hits him with mallet anyway. Having no power or will to act against the beating, the victim can only whimper and plead for the beating to stop.


The reasoning is good, but the analogy is faulty. Mashall has all the physical power, which I believe is the opposite of the example.

While the two does seem to have a communications problem, I can't help but feel that is more due to Marshall than her. They have both been honest about what they want.
But they haven't spoken about why they want those things. And that is more Marshalls responsibility, becuse his reasons are deeper than hers, and his wants are more contrary to expectations.

Obviously, he has been hurt or even traumtized, but if he is honestly contemplating her as a life mate, he should at least be able to explain why he keeps her at a distance, physically.
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Postby iRobot on Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:12 pm

Buggy wrote:The problem is, he will SAY he "pledges his love"

but then when the pledging comes...he acts like its not there.


Having sex isn't pledging. Standing up, in front of a crowd, proclaiming his admiration for Karen is closer to the mark.

Not feeling comfortable with sex is fine, stop harping on that. But there is no excuse for not being open and telling her WHY is he not comfortable with sex.


If you've been reading the comic, apparently he has said something to Karen abouy why he is reticent about making the beast with two backs.
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Postby Freemage on Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:18 pm

shekron Kaizar wrote:P.S. I don't think Marshall is the kind of person who has the will to say no to his girlfriend, or the type to cause someone hurt by rejection. :shifty:


Except that he's been saying no to his girlfriend all along, and she's been hurt by that rejection repeatedly.
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Postby RentACop on Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:26 pm

Weak guy: "I am going to punch you."

Strong guy: "I insist that you do not."

*Weak guy strikes strong guy, who does nothing about it.*

Strong guy: "I am now going to contact the local law enforcement agency, or perhaps commit a similar deed against your person."

Weak guy: "As I am physically weaker than you, you could have stopped me. That you didn't implies that you wanted me to punch you."

Strong guy: "The steely grip of your logic has rendered me incapable of retaliatory action."

...........Though I don't think guys punching each other can really be used as an analogy for sexual happenings. I'm not even sure if analogy was the right word to use there. Whatever I'm gonna go play some Warhammer.
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Postby Tsarevna_Erin on Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:50 pm

LeonardC wrote:
Erin, legally at least, when someone says no and the other person keeps going, that's rape. What that means is that there are very different types of rape, some far worse than others.

If you decide that you will rid yourself of an enemy by slitting his throat instantaneously in his sleep, it is far better than torturing him to death slowly. But both are still murder. It's not an insult to the torture victim to say that the throat-slitting is murder too.

I mean, I dunno, maybe the law should be changed so that it's only called "rape" if physical force is involved, and other kinds of nonconsensual sex are just classed as "sexual assault" or the like. And we don't *have* to accept the law's definition, either. But if you're angry and insulted and offended that people are calling this rape - well, you've just got angry at the accepted, codified official definition of the term in most countries that I know of (not counting those where marital rape is legal, or the like...) There are reasons why nonconsensual sex is generally classed as rape. Are they good ones? Maybe not... but they're certainly not there to belittle the suffering of people who have been physically forced into sex.
[/i]



I don't know that we're disagreeing here. Mentally challenged people and people under a certain age are said to have been raped if sex is forced upon them (or even if it isn't, "technically.") That precludes any sort of "physical" force, and yes, it is rape.

I think the main issue I have is that we have literally two different Marshalls - the very forceful Marshall who was able to articulate his displeasure with events while in the shower and this Marshall who is ... not doing anything. Might he be in a state of shock, allowing Karen to take advantage? YES. But I don't know that - all I see is that he is not trying to physically get away from her as he was doing in the shower. Again, this does not mean that he is digging what is going on. It's very sketch, frankly, and I am on pins and needles waiting for the resolution to this. But I find it odd that he was vociferous in the shower, and now he's saying nothing. Also, he had means of egress. Karen hasn't locked the doors. Marshall could have simply left the minute he got out of the shower. He stuck around with this person who was quite clear on what she wanted. And now she has her hands on his goods, and TO OUR KNOWLEDGE, is not pushing her away.

I'm fine with people's different interpretations of rape. I give my opinion as someone with experience in that sphere, but I'm not so self-centered or naive as to assume that I'm the only rape victim on this forum. I simply commented on my own reaction to Karen being called a rapist and her actions being equated with rape. To me, a person who feels threatened does anything he or she can to get away from the danger. Marshall is still there. Doesn't mean that Karen was right in grabbing the goods, but I think it's not an outrageous thing to reserve judgment on whether she is "assaulting" him until this arc plays out.
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Postby isobel on Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:08 pm

iRobot wrote:
Buggy wrote:The problem is, he will SAY he "pledges his love"

but then when the pledging comes...he acts like its not there.


Having sex isn't pledging. Standing up, in front of a crowd, proclaiming his admiration for Karen is closer to the mark.

Not feeling comfortable with sex is fine, stop harping on that. But there is no excuse for not being open and telling her WHY is he not comfortable with sex.


If you've been reading the comic, apparently he has said something to Karen about why he is reticent about making the beast with two backs.

I have to second this. Also, while physical intimacy, of the sexual kind specifically, is associated with loving and caring for someone, I can't help but feel all of us have lost a little perspective here on the ways people can show affection, myself included. I can't imagine being in a romantic relationship without some physical/sexual contact, but I've had friends who were religious and didn't want much physicality at all. Some of them felt they needed to know they connected to the person on all the non-physical levels, sort of to see if they were "spiritually compatible," and felt they could wait until marriage to consummate it. I'm not saying Marshall is religious, necessarily, but that it is perfectly possible to love someone without wanting to jump into bed with them right away. I asked myself as I was typing this if I think these religious or otherwise reticent people love their partners any less than sexually active couples, and I was sort of mortified I even had to ask. You can love someone romantically without wanting to rush into sex-- especially if you've been burned by it before-- and I'm not convinced it's only the cold and uncaring who feel like that. Is it weird in a teenage male? Yes! I can't deny that. But I've known enough untraumatized guys who take sex and physical intimacy slowly to know it can happen. So there's my micro-essay on, "whoops, I got a little too caught up in my own view of a successful relationship to think there were other ways to go about dating and love."
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Postby missMagdalena on Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:09 pm

RentACop wrote:Weak guy: "I am going to punch you."

Strong guy: "I insist that you do not."

*Weak guy strikes strong guy, who does nothing about it.*

Strong guy: "I am now going to contact the local law enforcement agency, or perhaps commit a similar deed against your person."

Weak guy: "As I am physically weaker than you, you could have stopped me. That you didn't implies that you wanted me to punch you."

Strong guy: "The steely grip of your logic has rendered me incapable of retaliatory action."

...........Though I don't think guys punching each other can really be used as an analogy for sexual happenings. I'm not even sure if analogy was the right word to use there. Whatever I'm gonna go play some Warhammer.


Yeah. The analogy really isn't the same.

Marshall, if he is indeed a straight male teenager and I see no reason to assume otherwise, undoubtedly wants sex on a purely physical level. I doubt that the man secretly wants to be punched. There is something else holding Marshall back, we still don't know what. Past trauma, and/or moral factors, religious factors, it could be anything. For all we know Marshall made up a story about You-Know-Who because Karen couldn't respect the fact that he just wasn't ready. So when Karen does... whatever she's doing there, he's thrust into this uncomfortable position where he really likes and enjoys what she's doing, but he still wants her to stop. (I assume. We still haven't seen his reaction yet.)

The fact that he's physically stronger doesn't mean this can't hurt him. In the analogy you gave, the strong man is not hurt, because he is the stronger of the two, but this can hurt Marshall emotionally.
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Postby Draggy on Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:56 pm

Hi. I'm a first time poster, but I've been ghosting these boards for like a year. I really don't know what good it does to post this the night before the comic is updated but... I've been reading this argument, again and again. Al the post and reading through all Karen & Marshells interactions and everyone's reactions. ANd I wanted to introduce myself.

Hi I'm "Karen".

I am that pushy girl obsessed with sex and the perfect boyfriend that ddn't want it. I did everything from tell him, cry at him, even grope him needless to try to convince him that he needed to have sex with me. At the time, he would tell me "we're too young. I'm not ready. Please knock it the hell off."

At the time we were too young. 16 & 15 (I was 16). We dated for a year. And we broke up because I couldn't stand not having sex and couldn't stand me not respectin him.

I did have selfesteme issues. I wasn't over weight. I'm actually very thin. To this day I only weigh 100lbs. But I'm not pretty. I'm very plain and zits loved me face all through high school. No guy ever wanted me. No one other than friends ever complimented me. And people riddiculed me for my appearence constantly. So when he wanted to date me I was overjoyed. I do love him. And he does love me. He said it allt he time and expressed it in romantic ways. My friends we kind of jealous, and I flaunted him. But when we were alone I was a bitch. I pushed him for something that he didn't want and he broke up with me. But we remained friends.

Over the next few years I dated guys who gave me everything I wanted physically, but never took the time to be emotional with me. And inbetween each of them it was my ex that I went to for comfort. Who would stay with me when I cried or felt insecure or unwanted. He stayed with me like that for four years.

Just recently, again after another failed relationship, he approached me and said he was tired of me hurting myself. And personally I'm tired of skipping around looking for physical needs with no regard to emotional ones.We've started dating again. I'm now 20 and he's 19. He's still not fully ready for sex. But on his own terms I let him tell me what he wanted. And he has let me do somethings with him. Truthfully, I'm happier than I ever have been and I wish I hadn't done what I did.

But at the time all I could think of was me. And I think all Karen can think of is herself. I can relate to her, and I can't stand her behavior nor can I agree with anyone who justifies it. Since I've been there, done it. It doesn't work. Even if your boyfriend's face shows happiness after you touch him against his will. If he said no politely before. The no that comes after is worse than being shot. I don't know if it classifies as rape, but I know it classifies as being a bitch. And everyone rooting for Karen - don't. Unless Marshall makes a 360 and caves, she's wrong. But I don't see someone who's been saying no for so long as suddelly going to change over a few sentual strokes.

Getting sex from Marsall or anyone won't make Karen feel any better. It won't make Marshell any better. It will only get worse.
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Draggy
Junior Keenspotter
 
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