As much as I know that others will be heartbroken, I really think this was going to happen sooner or later. Better luck next time, Ethan.
DAMN YOU WILLIS!
OH DEAR, this is not good but not totally unexpected.
“Ethan, this is all your fault. Don’t try to pin any of this on me. I’m not the one witht he problem here, you are. There is nothing wrong with me. Unless you change for me, we can’t be together.”
Also, I spent the second half of your heartfelt plea thinking up my exit line, so as the witty-sounding one, I must clearly be right.
See, I’ve been looking at both sides as right and wrong in this. And then yesterday Ethan was very reasonable (“I need to curb my collecting, and I want you to help me, but it’s not a 100% all-or-nothing deal. Here, let’s meet halfway. I cut down on collecting, and you accept the presence of toys.’) And then today, Drew responded in The Bad Way. (“No, it’s all or nothing. if you want to compromise, it means you want to gety rid of me. You’re immmature for not doing everything I said.”)
Does this mean that Ethan doesn’t need to cut back? Naw, he needs to get his collecting under control. But now Drew has managed to out-wrong Ethan in this. He’s not being supportive at all – for example, he could remain supportive and yet still try to get Ethan to give up collecting. But this isn’t it. This is, “you didn’t way what I wanted to hear, so YOU ARE WRONG AND IT IS OVER RAWR!”
Unless, of course, his collecting has only grown out of control out of added stress of having to put all of his toys into storage and have his problem shoved in his face. Having your problem shoved in your face can make it much worse… Could a combination of Drew and Singularikitty have actually made his habit worse just out of stress?
My personal collecting habits have been at their lowest when I keep more in storage (small displays, rotated around), have a smaller budget, and have less time. It’s when I have room to spread out that I, like, BATHE IN TOYS.
Wait, Ethan is the one who ended that here, not Drew. Drew is being kind of a jerk, seeing as he is just trying to get in a last jab to feel better about it, but he absolutely did not just say “you didn’t way what I wanted to hear, so YOU ARE WRONG AND IT IS OVER RAWR!”
I gotta say Drew is wrong. Ethan has prepared for the worst. He knew it was coming. He asked for one small change. One sign. He was denied. Drew is somewhat abusive in a covert manner. Abusive people try to control and manipulate people in order to have a sense of power. It is always an all or nothing deal with them. The worst part is, if you do reach out with a final plea, if you ask for just a small sign that things will get better, one tiny bit of effort on their part, they do exactly what Drew did. They try and hit you with one final jab to make you crawl back after. Really, look at Drew’s suggestion as a “compromise” to Ethan’s compromise. They would have to buy a shelf anyway, assemble it, take the picture, get it framed, put a nail in the wall of his closet… as opposed to putting a tiny ikea shelf in the corner of his bedroom for a reminder of his boyfriend. Drew ordered his coffee to stay because he thought he had won the fight. Ethan ordered his coffee to go because he was afraid he’d lose.
Or Ethan ordered it to go so he didn’t have to pay sales tax. At least, that’s how it works in California. If you order food or beverages “to go” there’s no sales tax on it.
Or he ordered it to go because he likes to drink out of paper cups.
… or he hoped that his proposal would work, and then they’d be rushing back to Drew’s place for make-up sex (under Ace’s watchful eye, of course).
The flipside on this, though, is that Drew’s looking to have an issue or two at play of his own. Point of order: Not only is he not willing to put up a shelf, or a picture anywhere in view to try to save a relationship. Judging by that, the way he trailed off last issue (Suggesting that perhaps he didn’t even want to be saying that, or that he knew full well he shouldn’t be but was anyway)… Something’s just not right there. It’s too much to be nothing.
ouch ethan. jerk move. i’m glad we didn’t get to know drew better, or this could have been more painful
Somehow Dave Willis is writing my life…
Just noticed that this coffee shop’s color scheme looks like the Coffee of Doom’s.
The name on the window is “Coffeeright Theft”. Willis, you card!
Lol! That is cool.
(Thumbs up to Mr. Willis.)
MIND = BLOWN
I’M TELLING ON YOU! JEPH GONNA BE SOOOO MAD!
Knowing Jeph, he’ll give David a high-five. And then set his next QC comic in Semme.
willis has used coffee of doom, or its look-alike before. jeph has featured background characters that look like shortpacked characters before. its nothing new
I gotta say I ended up siding with Ethan on this one. He made his hobby as invisible as possible to Drew, but the fact that Ethan participates in it makes Drew uneasy, which isn’t fair. As Ethan said, he has a life, a job, a relationship, and he’s gaining ground as a stand-up comedian. His toy collecting isn’t debilitating, so why is Drew having trouble with it?
So if Ethan was a serial killer, it would be all right as long as Ethan was careful to hide the bodies?
Toy collecting is the same as serial killing, folks!
“If Ethan were Hitler, would you still side with him when he killed you?”
That’s a very bizarre question. Ethan’s toy collecting is harmless — the poster above you even pointed out that it was demonstrated to be harmless to himself outside of the context of a relationship with mismatched expectations.
How do you go from toy collecting to serial killing?
Ethan has murdered uncountable millions.
“Uncountable millions”? But how could you know unless – you counted them?
And then got bored halfway through, thus ‘uncountable’.
That wouldn’t be “uncountable”, just “mostly uncounted”.
There are about ten or twelve of them that won’t sit still and keep shifting around, so you can only guess at the exact number.
Well that’s what they get for going somewhere called Ethan Stabs You Crime Alley…
Another jew conspiracy…
Not to mention, if you’re someone who can call killing people a ‘bad habit,’ then there’s something freaking wrong there.
I dont think you can say something that expensive to maintain is “harmless”. That’s been Drew’s point all along. Ethan is a toy junkie, plain and simple, and he’s asking Drew to be an enabler.
Drew, wisely, said no.
As long as he can afford to pay for his place to live, and food… No it is not harmful. Sure it costs a lot.. but again the price doesnt interefere with his daily life.
IIRC, he doesnt pay any rent, as he’s living rent free in Robin’s house. Or did that change?
Yep. When Robin lost her congressional job, Leslie decided that everyone needed to pay rent.
I feel like this gets brought up every single time Ethan’s toy collecting is; they’ve all been paying rent for aaagesss.
Note: I am totally agreeing with you! I just get tired of seeing the same questions.
Ethan pays rent?
And he’s gay?
Joe was asked permission?
He’s not asking Drew to do jack squat except NOT judge him. Do you know what an enabler is? I don’t think you do.
Outside of Drew, there’s no actual harm. Given Ethan’s capability for control (thus, the fact that he collects toys because he wants to, not because he needs to or feels compelled to), the fact that it’s decidedly not messing up his life outside of this (which is in fact due to Drew’s issues with actually having things around, and the seeming need for emptiness which he does not appear to have control of thus far), I’d say he doesn’t really have what could be defined as a “problem. The lack of internal causation and distress from the habit/hobby itself are pretty telling in this regard. He’s not like Jacob, who cannot stop once he gets started without something to really knock some sense into him, no matter how much it may screw up his life.
If you disagree, I’d ask you for an actual incident where Ethan’s toy collecting is causing problems. Bonus points if it’s presented as beyond his control and not just flat out poor judgement. Just because somebody spends a lot of money on something doesn’t mean that they have a problem or that it’s doing them harm – it takes a lot more to establish that.
Every form of entertainment costs money, and how “harmfall” it is merely depends how much you spend on it vs how much you need for other things (now and in the future).
You know, Drew, even if you do have a point about the cups being related to Ethan’s mindset, I can’t really fault Ethan for knowing you well enough to have already assumed how this conversation was gonna go down before it even began.
It’s also possible that Ethan just likes having a lid on his coffee cup. XD
Congratulations! You have not only said something incredibly stupid, you’ve managed to also fail at analogies, and provide a clear example of the idiocy talking heads on news channels pull to make a point. A threefer!
Yeah, he might as well have gone whole hog and asked: “What if Ethan’s hobby was killing and eating babies?”
Of course, if that was the case, who could blame him? Babies are delicious.
Also, on the serial killing thing….maybe if he only killed other serial killers? Of course, that might just be my joy at a new season of Dexter coming out at last talking.
I have to admit I succeeded beyond my wildest imaginings.
Hyperbole is the best bole.
Interesting take on reality there.
…Ooooor he just liked the cup. I always prefer those cup shapes – it keeps the drink warm longer.
Plus, y’know, some complete stranger didn’t drink out of them or anything.
Hey, I’ve worked as a dishwasher. I know how clean those things get or don’t.
Hehehe. Drew and all other patrons of Coffeeright Theft get hepatitis from improperly washed coffee cups. Only one man manages to escape. Bonus points if Samuel L. Jackson tells Ethan this.
That’s what I was thinking.
It can just be a matter of taste to.
Like,I only drink ice tea,from plastic bottle or cup.I dislike the taste from metal cans.
Or he does it out of habit like most of us when we order something quick to eat/drink.
The real reason this is happening is because the drama tag was pulled, to be honest. Drew’s just being a dick for the sake of ‘character development’. Also, pretty much every webcomic in the world has the same formula. Only one or two couples get to have a (barely) healthy relationship. Everyone else gets emotionally screwed or dies.
Or he likes to walk and talk.. I know *I* do
I wasn’t even aware that you could get coffee in mugs at places like this. Every time I got a hot chocolate (I don’t really like the taste of coffee) at Starbucks or Caribou Coffee , weather or not I order to go, they hand it to me in one of those cups. So, maybe Drew special ordered while Ethan just ordered.
I pointed it out up thread, but I’ll do it here too: If you’re in California and you get your food or drinks to go, you don’t have to pay sales tax on it.
And I’m sure Drew would find a way to spin that in his favor, too.
“Well why DON’T you pay the tax? More money for your TOYS?”
Ah Drew – demanding that Ethan be the only one who changes.
While this is a good point, I have to ask:
How is not collecting something a bad habit?
“Not collecting” isn’t a bad habit (though having a home where everything is purely functional with no actual personality in it is kind of creepy). But here Drew is refusing to have something of Ethan’s in his home. It’s a small something, may not go with the decor, but it’s not asking a lot. Ethan even explains his reasons behind asking this. Drew basically says he cannot accept Ethan’s hobby. A hobby isn’t just about going to shows–it’s usually the sort of thing that you take home with you.
yeah, and even if drew refused ace because it doesn’t go with the decor, he knows ethan has a toy that goes with any possible color scheme.
It’s about refusing to allow Ethan’s life to integrate into his.
This entire conversation shows that Ethan and Drew could never live together, and if that can’t happen, one REALLY has to ask what kind of future they could have together.
This, absolutely. Also, may hint that Drew’s got some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder what with the his utterly Spartan living conditions. Didn’t Ethan point out once that Drew has NOTHING in his apartment but furniture and the bare necessities for living? Who doesn’t acquire a few photos or bric-a-brac over the years? Even hardcore military people have souvenirs from campaigns and military awards.
I think of this scene from AbFab:
Drew’s ultimate goal?
Me. All of my things serve some kind of purpose, nothing is just there because. I don’t have pictures, posted, decorations. I like my things to be nice, but I don’t get things for the purpose of looking nice…
You must be the most boring person alive. Congratulations.
Trying to avoid hyperbole, the idea of a dwelling with NOTHING for decoration is very strange to me.
You said everything you have serves a purpose – to many, MANY humans out there, “I like the way it looks on my shelf/wall/dresser” is purpose enough to keep something around. Or hell, try, “sentimental value.”
Except that you don’t have to live with a person to have a perfectly viable long-term relationship.
Ethan’s over thirty. Chances are, like most of us, he’s looking for that one, final relationship to last the rest of his life.
If you don’t think that involves living together for most people, you’d be wrong. If you don’t need that, cool. But I for one would find life pretty strange if I didn’t live with my wife…
“Not collecting” isn’t what Drew is avoiding changing, really. What I see going on here is that Drew seemed (when you read back through their relationship, from almost the very beginning, actually) to be working towards eventually getting Ethan to give up on his hobby entirely. I may be way off-base here, but I think that his endgame was something like that, consciously or unconsciously, and that’s not fair. There’s a difference between an unhealthy investment into something and a hobby you enjoy, and Drew didn’t seem to grok that.
That’s what he gets for dating someone from horrible-one-sided-compromises-in-relationships-alley!
I’ve never been to a coffee shop where the cups didn’t look the same.
Then again, I’ve only been to starbucks and coffee bean.
I have. There’s this palce I went when I lived in manhattan that was like that. if you ordered coffee or tea for here, you got a ceramic cup. To go, and you got cardboard.
Some Starbucks offer ceramic cups/plates if you’re planning on staying there. You just have to ask. I only know this since a friend works there.
I’ve never been to a coffee shop where I’d trust them to keep non-disposable dishes clean. Then again I’m not terribly huge on the coffee scene either.
Well, I certainly wouldn’t trust Faye to keep them clean.
Hanners works there.
Panel 3 – totally running the projector there. That’s Drew spilling his inner dialog IMO. He hadn’t even discussed it and that was right at hand for him.
this strip is great because its the first time i’ve felt like theyre both making good points. both of them are being reasonable here. it sucks, but at least theyre finally both being mature
I don’t think Drew is making a very good point at all. His line in panel 4 gives me the shivers: “If you don’t WANT to change, I can’t help you.”
Ethan says he wants to change, in the sense of cutting back and improving. But for the first time, I honestly think that Drew means change as in “change entirely.” For Drew, the ultimate goal of this was always to get Ethan to completely distance himself from toys. Not just get a few less, but to have none. Ever.
And the way he says that “I can’t help you” implying that he sees himself as some kind of noble healer, trying to help poor Ethan get his life together (read: leave his hobby behind for good) just makes me sick. And a little scared.
Bingo. The whole, “You have to change who you are to be with me,” attitude doesn’t come with any good points, never mind maturity. It’s controlling and creepy.
Brings me back to the thought I had that Drew has some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder with living an utterly Spartan lifestyle. No pictures, decorations or bric-a-brac, just furniture, bare necessities of living (food, soap, etc). Perhaps it’s really Drew that’s got the mental hang-up he isnt willing to deal with and not Ethan.
“Either you change because you love me, or you change because I want you to.”
Oh, hey, it didn’t thread correctly. Imagine that ¬_¬
Granted, I’ve seen To Go orders for to stay because they fill the box with more food.
No, Drew you dont get to have the high ground. Ethan was willing to compromise, and change some things, but you said no. So this is all on you.
Ethan is unphased by this statement.
As am I. Who cares how you order coffee? I prefer the cup over a mug anyway.
Don’t play Sherlock Holmes, Drew! I always order stuff to go just out of habit dangit
Wasn’t Ethan last strip basically saying “Let’s go to your place, if you will accept this toy”? Perhaps he wasn’t planning to stay and drink coffee either way.
Like being an joyless, controlling dickhead?
That’s a pretty bad habit.
Yeah, this was where Drew completely lost me. Those two words tell you everything about how Drew is “accepting” Ethan’s changes.
Having BEEN in more than a couple of relationships where I had to tone down who I am and what I like for the comfort of a partner, I almost HAVE to side with Ethan here.
So I DO!
Ethan’s bent over backwards to conform to what Drew wanted him to be, but it’s never enough for Drew. And it never WILL be. And in the long run, it would only lead to growing resentment and stress. Ethan would resent Drew and Drew would likely start loosing respect for Ethan for bending so far. It’s a loose loose situation, and I’m with Ethan here. There IS someone out there that will connect with him on more levels then Drew.
It DOES suck, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.
That said, DAMN, sir. That’s some seriously good writing and character development.
Very well put, sir. Agreed on all of it. Ethan ended up right where he should have on this one.
“…and Drew would likely start loosing respect for Ethan for bending so far. It’s a loose loose situation…”
This is an excellent point (out of many excellent points you raise) I had not considered. Very true.
lose, lose… loose,loose has far different connotations. (sorry, not usually a grammar nazi, but the thought of ethan walking weird made me laugh a little)
I always get the to go cup – I like them better! Unless Ethan never gets a container, that’s a pretty big assumption for Drew. As presented from the comic’s side, I am in Ethan’s camp! It sounds like he took a good inventory of his life, decided where could compromise and where he SHOULDN’T have to.
Good on Ethan. I really liked Drew, but he can’t expect Ethan to change himself into someone he isn’t and certainly should be HAPPY that Ethan was able to compromise for the sake of their relationship. Maybe its Drew who couldn’t handle a long term relationship?
I get to-go cups because usually you only pay sales tax if you’re dining in/. A nd also because I nurse my coffee/tea, and I’d like the option to leave with it if I take a while.
Sales taxes don’t work that way. At least, they don’t in any state I’ve been in, maybe it’s different where you live.
Still, yeah, having worked at a coffee shop, those ceramic things never get cleaned. Ever. Sure, they’ll get rinsed, but actually washed? Nooooope. I always gave people the to go cups unless they asked otherwise.
Well, that’s how it works here in Norway at least. Mostly for food, but often for drinks as well.
Ahhh. Well, yeah, but that’s an entirely different country than the one where this comic takes place. Here, in most states, sales taxes apply no matter whether stuff is to go or not. At least, in my experience.
According to someone further up, it works that way in California.
I believe they’re referring to some sort of surtax on dining in a restaurant (which touristy places like California often have as a way for the city/state to fleece the out of towners) . If you get it to go, you’re not dining in the restaurant.
Agreed on the cup. What if Ethan thought they were going to walk and drink coffee and hold their discussion elsewhere? I’ve had crossed wires before. The other day, I went for burgers with my dad and ordered mine to go; he ordered his to eat in. So I shrugged and ate out of the bag at the table because who really cares.
Not gonna comment on how ‘healthy’ the hobby is, but Drew clearly didn’t wish to compromise — not being willing to display the Ace figure in his apartment tells me he’s not of the type willing to help someone through a serious recovery period.
Sometimes compromising isn’t enough… I’m gonna go cry now
I share your pain, Romanticide.
Hey, where is your avatar from? I’ve seen it before–in a comic about religion, cyborgs, and stuff–but I can’t remember the title.
Damn your coffee metaphors!
Seriously good strip here, though.
Hey, hey, hey- I don’t want to pay for ceramic, and I don’t trust myself with them if they’re free. That is totally biased. (sarcasm font)
I’ve been on Drew’s side of this and I’m still not siding with him. All-or-nothing never works.
Does this mean “control freak” is Drew’s issue? Or does “jerk” count for that?
Does being happy about the end of a fictional relationship make me a bad person or merely weird?
Anyway…er…what’s the opposite of “Damn you Willis”?
This was answered yesterday: “Sill iwu oynmad!”
If Willis doesn’t get it together soon and start toying with us again, all these cuthulus and zombie hordes are going to start piling up.
What makes you think that’s not his plan?
hey, where can I get a batdog figure?
you can get one in 2005.
Drew, you’re being such a butt.
Drew gave me chills. :O That was poetic. Sad… but eloquent!
It wasn’t eloquent. It was a “gotcha” moment that wasn’t even a moment. Drew has officially irked my last nerve. How can anyone continue to cosign the stream of bull he’s pumping out?
He did seem to go off on a tangent, didn’t he?
I love you.
I love how you completely villified Drew with simply his choice of words.
People who are hurting often pick hurtful words to hurl back.
That said, I think Drew really did see it as something Ethan needed to grow out of.
The people that pick nasty words to use against being emotionally hurt are not any better.
Yeah. It’s really just a few of the words that take what could have been a mildly upsetting statement to a level of: “Wow, you’re a douchebag.” Subtle. And gooood.
I think what hurts the most is the way Drew looks to be rolling his eyes in panel 3 at the proposed compromise. It really does seem like he’s voicing some of his own issues there.
Also, really? The cup thing? I always get the to-go cup, unless it’s a place that serves white hot chocolate in a cup as big as a cereal bowl. Hell yeah.
But guys, you’re totally missing the point, here!
if Ethan’s hobby were slaughtering the inhabitants of third-world nations, would YOU want him to “just cut down a little bit?” Surely of course not!
But it’s not. This is harmless. In fact knowing Ethan without this hobby, he probably would be doing just that.
But of course it is! Toy collecting is the worst activity imaginable!
Depending on the nation in question, I might actually want him to kill more.
Population control you know. Too many folks on the planet as is.
what about people on certain TV shows that happen to take place near a body of water in a state adjacent to New York?
what’s wrong with Connecticut Coast?
Oh, I don’t discriminate.
Kill them all, it’s for the good of humanity as a species after all.
I’d want him to increase his activities. They have no prisons or work houses and they desperately need to reduce their surplus population.
Drew is just….wow… Maybe he lost someone he cared for by the result of toy addiction and he just views it as bad in general.
Still, he’s sorta putting their relationship on ransom, get rid of the toys, or lose me.
OK, people are on Ethan’s side, because if he were going to spend his life with someone, he shouldn’t have to give up his hobby. This is true.
However, what Ethan just told Drew was that either Drew start sharing in a hobby he doesn’t at all care for, or the relationship is over. Drew shouldn’t have to be included in the hobby either. Just because Ethan collects toys, Drew shouldn’t have to display them in his space, and that is the choice Ethan gave him. Either be part of the hobby, or go away.
If I were your significant other, and I collected some tacky, ugly shit that you absolutely did not like, and insisted that I not only have it on display in my space, but that you must also prominently display it in yours, how happy are you going to be to comply with that?
Maybe Ethan saw a future of them living together? If that were the case, should their home have none of Ethan’s toys?
Drew went to Ethan’s place and was uncomfortable, so Ethan put away every single toy in the main room to make Ethan more comfortable. Ethan is asking Drew to take a single toy, and the gesture is more symbolic than literal. Drew’s been implying that a piece of plastic is more important to Ethan than their relationship, but Drew’s the one flipping his lid over a piece of plastic.
Ethan likes having his toys out. It makes him happy and it makes his house feel like a home. I think it’s less that he’s demanding that Drew put out toys as well and more that Ethan knows that in a long-term or even permanent relationship, he’d rather be living with someone who accepts that about him happily than someone who resents it.
Yeah, this. I mean, Ethan outright says he’s looking for someone to share the rest of his life with. And someone who cannot allow one single toy into his space? That’s not someone he can do that with.
I agree fully. Now when he starts building a custom Johnston Atoll in the basement for G.I. Joes THEN I will say he has a problem.
Relationships, especially long term ones are about sharing your lives. If someone’s hobby that they love and enjoy is so offensive to you that you can’t stand to have even hints of it in your house then it is NOT a good match relationshipwise at all.
Drew has been and remains a joyless, judgemental, hollier-than-thou drudge imo. I’m happy to see him go.
Oh, wow. Seriously, Drew? (If I could smack him upside the head, I absolutely would. Just sayin’.)
I’m a tad disappointed; not at the end of Ethan and Drew, but that we didn’t get to find out more about Drew’s reverse-hoarding.
There’s something I like about this, beyond the obvious situation at hand; In a lot of shows I read that feature both gay and straight characters and relationships, it seems to me like the gay characters are not only to find somebody gay to date on the first try, but then end up spending the rest of the series rotating around that character, not experiencing any other relationships.
So I like that Ethan had trouble finding a guy to go out with and Robin had to interfere, and I like that, despite how nice as the relationship was on some levels, that Ethan’s first gay relationship didn’t end up being this lifelong commitment, and that he gets to experience the same trials and ups and downs as everyone else.
drew used to be just like ethan. he loved toys and didn’t keep it a secret. but one day, that became an unpopular thing among his peers. all the other kids at school had “outgrown” toys and made fun of his hobby. the kids would constantly make fun of him and beat him up, they made his life a living hell because he was different. so he begrudgingly changed. he threw out all his toys, those precious friends of his that never judged him, and became a cold, sterile shell of his former self.
Someone needs to punch Drew in the dick.
That’s just foreplay.
Perhaps that will happen tommorow? Drew will be walking out of the coffee place and Leslie will pop out from behind a plant and dick punch him. It’ss be all “Surprise, LESBIAN!”
No no.. Dick Punching is more Robin’s spiel, as she can really lay in those rabbit punches with her superspeed.
but it’s crucial in leslie’s healing process. it will get her to realize just how much of an impact robin has on her life and it will push her to make amends.
Oh she can heal perfectly fine by doing a number on Malaya, and not the type of number that the latter wants.
But if Robin does it we can’t use “Surprise, LESBIAN!”
You’ve got to weigh those things next to each other.
Surprise Lesbian yell vs say about 30-60 punches in the junk in half a minute.
Hopefully, Ethan will be strong enough to walk away from Drew, and not give in out of desperation. Often people get sucked back into abusive relationships since they don’t want to be alone. Ethan doesn’t seem the type, but …
Ethan just broke up with Drew, right now.
Ethan is being considerate to the dish washer and gets psychoanalyzed over it. Drew is not a nice person.
Wow. Some of these comments are just… wow, folks.
Consider, if you will, Ethan’s hobby as “harmless”. It’s expensive. It seems to command an overwhelming amount of his free time. Guys, that’s not a hobby. That’s an obsession. And as I pointed out to a poster above, Drew is quite right to be put in the position of enabler for Ethan’s toy-dependency.
Maybe this is the kind of tough love Ethan needs to realize just what all that stuff is doing to him and those he loves. It’s one thing to appreciate these little pieces of plastic. It’s quite another when they consume your life as much as they apparently do his.
Loved the last line, Willis. Very good.
No.. its harmless. Doesnt hurt anybody. Sure he loves them a little too much.. but still doesnt hurt anybody let alone him.
And Drew is in the wrong. Ethan wanted to compromise, but Drew said no. And then acted high and mighty. Which makes him a douche in this situation.;
Demanding that Drew actively be part of the hobby, or the relationship is over, is not a compromise
Bullshit. If you’re going to be in a long-term, committed relationship with someone who has a hobby, you have to get involved, at least a little bit, in the hobby. If the hobby is Soccer, you’re going to see a few games. If that hobby is acting, you’re going to see some plays. If that hobby is painting, you’d better find some wallspace to hang a painting on. Otherwise you’re just not involved.
Bullshit to your bullshit! My parents, married for 30 years, my Dad watches 4-5 soccer matches a week on the TV, he can’t get enough of the game. My Mum hasn’t watched one in 27 years, it bores the shit out of her.
Her complete disregard of my Dad’s main hobby is not a problem, they are grown up enough to know that there’s more to a loving relationship than sharing a hobby.
she must have watched at some point to know the game bores her
But he’s allowed to watch soccer in the house. She doesn’t tell him that his soccer is unhealthy and he should give it up completely. Drew has practically stated that he will NEVER allow toys into his space, regardless of whether or not that’s Ethan’s space, too. So bullshit to your bullshitting on her bullshiting. You cannot be COMPLETELY intolerant of someone’s hobby and make it work.
But Drew’s not intolerant of his hobby. He goes with Ethan to Botcon, and shopping for toys.
The thing he said is that it was getting to really scary levels.
No, the guy who greets his adult boyfriend by going into disapproving dad mode and scolding him for buying a $16 toy isn’t intolerant at all. Not even a little bit.
And Ethan is allowed to have his things in his house; Drew just doesn’t want them in his own house. If they got to the point of living together, I would assume that such a situation would require Drew having space set aside where he could do his thing without Ethan’s toys everywhere.
But they are not living together, and Ethan is demanding that his toy occupy a very central part of Drew’s space.
Maybe one of the things Ethan is trying to find out is if he and Drew *could* possibly live together. They’ve been dating for over a year now, and Ethan is looking for a long-term relationship; it’s not an unreasonable idea. He’s asking to know if Drew can accept one thing–just one thing–that’s important to Ethan into Drew’s space, and Drew’s response is an unequivocal no. I don’t blame Ethan for seeing that as a deal-breaker.
She’s also not telling him not to watch soccer.
Did your Mom ever say no soccer in my house? Ethan never said that Drew had to actively participate just allow a toy in his house.
To be fair “No soccer in my house” is a perfectly reasonable request when he doesn’t live in your house, and is presumably at your house to be with you, not to continue his hobby.
My parents were only married twenty years, and while Dad was a gamer and mom held no interest in it, there were at least two occasions where she briefly joined him in his everquest escapades just to take an interest in his interests.
Ultimately fruitless, and in the long run it did little to slow down the everpresent feud over his hobby. Still, I don’t think it’s that outlandish to put in a token effort to try and understand what your significant other does. Less of an issue when there’s no conflict over it, but when you’re both always at eachother’s throats over this it’s certainly a method of trying to bridge the gap.
Though you certainly have a point in that a healthy relationship can probably manage to not make such a big deal over an interest that isn’t shared. Would that such were the situation here.
Have you seen the state of the ecomony? Ethan is a goddamn job creator.
Ethan’s a single guy with no family to support; he’s got a lot of extra money to spend. He’s not starving or sick or homeless because he’s spending all his food or medical or rent money on toys; he’s spending extra cash on toys. He may even have a toys as a part of his monthly budget, though obviously he surpasses that because of impulse buys.
Ethan’s collecting was never out of control. If it had been, he’d have been Jacob. But Ethan, while having a lot of toys from the start, kept his collections neat, and after Drew objected to the amount of toys Ethan had, Ethan started paring down on toys and getting rid of some and putting more into storage.
Ethan really tried for Drew, he really did. If Ethan was obsessed, or if Ethan was a hoarder, he would never have been able to do any of that. He wouldn’t have cared what Drew said, because that’s what obsessed people do.
That sounds a lot more like Drew to me.
Ethan changed his lifestyle tremendously for Drew, but Drew wasn’t willing to reciprocate. Drew couldn’t put one ONE SINGLE TOY just to appease Ethan. He doesn’t have a single picture or decoration out in his house.
That sounds to me like Drew’s the one with the obsession, an obsession on having his home spotless and empty at all times.
Even if he’s not “obsessed”, Drew definitely wasn’t compromising at a time where he should have if he cared about Ethan’s feelings at all. The most important parts of making a relationship work are communication and compromise; I think Drew’s got the first part down, but he sucks ass at the second.
If Ethan was as obsessed as you said, he’d never have been able to make the changes he did for Drew. And he certainly has the right to find someone more willing to compromise.
I’m not even saying that Ethan has to find someone who’s comfortable with having fifty thousand toys out at once. We can see that Ethan is willing to compromise, but he needs to find someone who will do the same. Someone who will meet in the middle. Drew wanted Ethan to do all the work while he did nothing, and that’s not fair or healthy.
“Putting the toys in storage” meant putting them in storage bins that sit literally all over the house because there was not sufficient storage space for them, and even then he still had extensive displays.
It isn’t negatively impacting his life yet, but Drew is absolutely correct that that was a worrying state of affairs.
Consider Michael Jackson. He had a -nearly- infinite amount of money, and thanks to the infinite amount of money, a LOT of space.
He was still a hoarder. The pics of the inside of his house are terribly creepy. They speak of a mind that’s obsessed about things. A mind that is, like Drew said, becoming engulfed.
To be honest, I feel for Ethan, because when you’re inside the obssession frankly you don’t see what’s the big deal about it. But I also feel for Drew. It would have been easier just to say nothing, simply put the caped dog wherever, and hide it in the closet when Ethan’s not there. It would have been a lot easier just to not give a crap if Ethan needs an intervention or not.
Ethan took the first steps to compromise by clearing away into storage his collection, unfortunatly it seems from the very tiny amount of information Willis is giving us on Drew’s home life that he wasn’t prepared to take a few steps towards a little clutter for the sake of the relationship.
From the comments people seem to think that either Ethan should have done more to compromise, or shouldn’t have compromised at all both of which are absolute nonsense. A relationship is all about compromise, but it has to come from both sides of the relationship.
Um. Most hobbies are expensive. Painting, fishing, woodcraft, knitting (frick, knitting is so expensive), comics, racing, sailing, sports… Hobbies are expensive. They also tend to eat up a lot of your free time. In fact, that’s what a lot of people with their free time–they engage in hobbies! They are that thing you do with your extra time and income as a luxury, because you enjoy them and they give you a certain level of satisfaction.
Suppose it’s not toys he collects. Suppose it’s books. I’ve had friends with book collecting problems (usually improves the first time they have to move)–it gets to the point where you own a boatload of stuff that you’ve never read, never will read, never will read again, or just plain don’t want. Some people do just buy books because “Ooh, look! It was a *insert addition or author here* and on sale!”
So Ethan needs to cut back on his buying and weed out his current collection. But this is like if Drew had no books at all in his house, refuses to put a single book of Ethan’s in his house, and then more or less says that Ethan will never be “fixed” until he no longer owns or buys any books.
Ethan’s toys aren’t hurting “those he loves.” They apparently upset Drew, but no one else in his life is bothered by them. They’re not “doing” anything to him.
“Expensive” is relative. I have friends who’ll spend $5K-$10K on a machine gun several times a year, never mind the cost of ammunition when they go to a firing range. I have other friends who collect cars that range from $60k-$120K and still others who’ll drop more in one night at a bar than I spend on my hobbies in two or three months. As long as you can afford your collecting hobby, it’s inherently harmless. It certainly doesn’t require an overly controlling significant other who feels compelled to save you from yourself.
Let’s entirely walk around the subject of whether or not Ethan collecting hobby is healthy. Let’s just look at what’s being said in the strip.
Ethan uses “I” — “I believe there are other adult relationships where I can be accepted”, “If I’m going to spend my life with someone…”. He’s standing up for what he needs in a relationship. At no point does he accuse or attack Drew, or make it solely about Drew’s actions, which is a big step up from their last conversation. Moreover, in the previous strip, he admitted to collecting in excess, that he is willing and choosing to cut back on it, and that all he needed at this point was a sign that Drew is willing to accommodate his need for, and his idea of, comfort.
Drew uses “you” — “getting rid of me is easier for you than having to change”, “if you don’t want to change…”, “you already made your decision”. He is not honestly and openly expressing his needs; he’s attacking and accusing Ethan. He’s not accounting for his own actions; he’s making it all about Ethan’s actions. He’s making Ethan the bad guy and a coward for wanting to walk away from a relationship that doesn’t satisfy his needs.
The way Drew is treating Ethan is controlling and disrespectful REGARDLESS of Ethan’s actual hobby. Even if Ethan was an utter, unrepentant hoarder who slept on piles of boxed Masterpiece Hot Rods and had to wear the same clothes for days on end because he couldn’t find his closet behind the mountain of Catman and Movieverse Transformer figures, Drew’s behavior would STILL be controlling.
Drew has every right to say “I’m not comfortable being in a relationship with someone who collects to this degree”, or “I’m not willing to enable your collecting by displaying toys in my home”, or “I don’t want to deal with a constant struggle against clutter”, or “I worry about the future financial impact of your toy collecting if we become long term”. And of course, he has the right to walk away if Ethan isn’t willing to discuss, accommodate, or work with these issues. He doesn’t have the right to demand that Ethan change, to set himself up as Ethan’s savior, or to attack Ethan for not changing to the degree Drew wants.
And Drew will never be expanded on. Sorry Drew. Though you were hot in costume.
The way Leslie was never expanded on once she broke up with Robin?
The difference there is that Leslie connected with other members of the cast by that point. The most we saw of Drew doing the same was one conversation with Leslie.
No kidding. We were never meant to like Drew because he was a disposable ‘character development’ activity for Ethan. But, on the upside, maybe Ethan will come out of this on top and it will temper his collecting habit a bit, and hopefully not the exact opposite due to the crushing despair.
if Ethans hobby was being into sports, going to games, and buying merchandise for his favorite team would Drew still end the relationship like this? is it just because its not a standard male hobby or do you think Drew would still demand Ethan drop an important and fun part of his life just because he can’t handle it?
I suspect if it were just watching games, he’d have no problem, but the people who’ve commented elsewhere may have the right of the real root of Drew’s issue – it’s that there’s things laying about, so purchasing memorabilia, or keeping tickets, or catching balls at the game, that would be problematic.
I believe they’re both making good points. I think Drew’s right in the sense that Ethan’s behaviour is getting a bit compulsive and might be damaging. But at the same time, Ethan’s right to ask Drew to accept him and embrace him entirely, without wanting to change him.
What I find most interesting about this storyline is that, somehow, it’s made me wonder about the line between our healthy behaviour, as quaint or “different” as it may be, and what can be unhealthy and harmful to ourselves and our beloved ones. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about whether Ethan really needs help or not, but I just don’t know. I’m stuck, I’m afraid, as a reader, the break-up might be the right choice, not because of “Drew is a jerk!!” or “Ethan’s fucked up” reasons, but because neither of them seems to have the answer? Or maybe I’m just looking too much into things and getting confused and making no freaking sense.
I wish there was a way for them to work it out, because I really like them together! But well. Such is life–DAMN YOU, WILLIS!!
It think the real problem is that these are two people who want to change the other person but at unwilling to change themselves. Drew is unwilling to even consider displaying Ethan’s toy and – while Ethan SAID he’d tone down his collecting – Ethan continues to hide/justify his habit.
If you have 1000 toys and overnight you have 800, it has been toned down.
Ethan did seem to demonstrate repeatedly that he was hiding his collecting, that he had been making excuses to buy more toys, and that he only wanted to hide his hobby rather than change it. It makes sense for Drew to be suspicious of Ethan’s willingness to change.
I think others have nailed it that Drew wants Ethan to completely ditch his hobby and habits. Ethan has made an offer to compromise enormously, but Drew isn’t distrusting Ethan so much as saying that Ethan is not willing to change enough.
Ethan is the one saying, ‘if you can’t accept me for who I am. If you have to fundamentally change me, we can’t work.’ Ethan is pointing out, rightly, the level of incompatibility there. Drew has decided not to back down or compromise an inch and is just throwing the blame back at Ethan.
Of course Ethan is being far more level headed here. Relationships need compromise and you aren’t going to fundamentally change what your partner is passionate about. If Drew isn’t willing to compromise or love Ethan for who he is… well he’s the one standing up to walk away from Ethan after doing nothing to keep them together.
The bad thing about it is, I think Drew is right.
Suppose they marry and live together or whatever. Surely there will be a conflict because they like different styles of environments. There’s nothing wrong with Drew liking minimalism: for a lot of people, clutter causes them a LOT of stress. I’m not exactly sure why Ethan REQUIRES Drew to keep a toy in his environment. “Yes, but you never take home any of them,” he says. But why does he have to RIGHT NOW? If Ethan thinks Drew has some sort of claustrophobia regarding to things, he should COMPLETELY separate that from his own issues. As in “Drew, your apartment is lifeless and boring. Maybe you should pick up a decoration or two, a plant or something.” And then help him decide on that. Not just try to impose a toy (of Ethan’s choice, btw) on him.
The THING is… I do think Ethan has a problem here. He and Drew will break up, but that doesn’t make the problem go away. I do disagree with the notion Ethan’s level of collecting is harmless. Yes, he does keep his job, yes he has money on the bank, yes he pays his bills. So what?
I’ve been there. Although I’m not a collector or any kind of hoarder, I have kind of an obssessive personality. I don’t often fall for things, but when I do, I fall HARD for them. They start taking more and more mental real space. Ethan’s endless storage/shelving problems, and the fact he fills every surface available with toys is like looking inside of his brain. Initially Drew wasn’t OMG, I hate your toys, stop buying them altogether… he was more like “Ethan, I’m getting worried about you. This is getting to worrying levels” because ANY kind of obssession is bad. Ethan says “I have too much crap and I obssess too much about it, but I have been trying to curb it.” Dude, that’s not true. Picking three expensive toys in the same day is NOT in any way “curbing it”.
Jacob even went to say: look at me, this is where you’re going. And Ethan chooses to see it as “Man, it’s awesome! I’m not as bad as I thought!”
Drew’s going away but Ethan’s problem is not.
it must be nice to live in a simple world where everything is black and white… but then it must be hard to imagine humanity with all of its very human flaws not being perfect. this comic reflects these very human flaws which you seem to have trouble grasping. its ok i understand… you won’t compromise ether you are the voice of right and everyone else is silly and weak.
Why does Ethan have to remove toys from his apartment to suit Drew then?
“Yes, he does keep his job, yes he has money on the bank, yes he pays his bills. So what?”
So…what is the problem with his hobby then? If he keeps his job, his friends, has money in the bank and pays his bills, what’s wrong with his hobby?
Seriously, I think people underestimate how expensive a lot of hobbies can be. Even normal ones.
Tell me about it. I keep fish. Everyone who comes to where I work to pick up on the hobby thinks it will be cheep till I start selling them things they NEED and they suddenly have $100+ of merchandise just to get a 10-20 gallon tank up and running. that doesn’t even include fish or the fact that you always need more fish food, cleaning supplies, filter media, test kits, chemical balance kits, ect…
my latest tank is a 55 gallon that hasn’t even been started yet and has already cost me more than $300 just for stand, filter, heaters (2), decorations, and substrates. and about $20 to reseal it.
I don’t see it man. What if Ethan was obsessively writing songs all the time instead of collecting toys? What if he spent all his free time drawing? What if he spent a ton of time thinking about sports? I don’t think any of those would be considered bad, keeping the same factors as present in the toy example (job, friends, romance, etc). It seems like because the hobby is “worthless” in some people’s eyes, that automatically makes it bad, whereas a more socially acceptable hobby wouldn’t be seen as a problem, even if he took it farther.
It’d be just as bad. It’s as bad as being a workaholic, or spending all your waking time on the internet, or being absolutely triple obssesed about -insert fandom here-.
Remember we’re talking about degrees. Here is the start of the whole problem:
Drew’s message is very clear “I’m getting worried”. Ethan himself recognizes it’s an addiction. Addictions are never good. Ethan has gone from having a toy hobby to having a toy problem. He highly distresses himself over the hunting, he can’t get rid of a toy or two without it becoming a huge deal, he spends a huge amount of money (for a person of his level of salary) and the toys he keeps hoarding take a humongous amount of space.
At core, an addiction is a rat pulling a lever to receive an electrical impulse that stimulates a part of the brain that gives them pleasure. The problem I see here is that it can escalate oh-so-very-quickly. You don’t even notice until suddenly you go “what the Hell did I did yesterday/last week” and then you realize you spent every minute of your available time playing a certain videogame or whatever.
And when you spend every waking minute thinking about a certain thing it’s often the only thing you can talk about. It’s somewhat normal during the teenage years, but you grow out of it. There’s also the matter of how you appear before society… it’s one thing to have every star trek dvd ever made, to start wearing spock ears out of cons, or have your living room remodeled after the enterprise ship deck.
I think Ethan allowed himself to be convinced he had a problem
This! Right here! THANK YOU. The only thing that comes to my mind every single time a reader states “Ethan even admitted he had a problem!” is that he’s a Unreliable Narrator. Ethan admitting he has a problem does not equal Ethan actually having a problem, it equals Ethan being convinced he has one.
His words were “I know I’m addicted, but Drew thinks it’s a sickness.”
The American Society of Addiction Medicine begins their definition of addiction by describing it as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”
So an addiction IS a sickness.
Let’s also not forget that it’s Ethan who dumped Drew here. He basically gave Drew an ultimatum, and when Drew didn’t budge he started with the “other relationships” stuff.
My point though is that all we’re capable of doing from our standpoint waaaay out here past the fourth-wall is armchair diagnose. To the best of my knowledge, no trained mental health professionals, either in strip, or out have looked at Ethan’s behavior and started clucking their tongue at him.
Here’s another analogy since the comments section is fond of them today – I’m like to claim that I’m addicted to chapstick. I honestly feel that I can feel each cell of my lips drying up one by one if I don’t regularly apply it. ::takes a moment to do so::
Is this something I should go get help for? Do I *really* have a problem?
I think this is a lot more valid an analogy to Ethan’s situation than the other analogies to alcoholism or smoking because collecting is not inherently destructive. And the truth is we only see a very slim section of Ethan’s life, and we lack the tools to make an accurate, objective judgment of Ethan’s mental health. I see a lot of comments about how Ethan is heading right down Jacob’s path except. . .we don’t know that for sure.
Quite frankly, if he has enough self control to work in a toy store for as many years as he has now, and he’s not in Jacob’s situation yet? I think he’s earned a little faith on our parts that he’s still in hobby territory and not in addiction territory yet.
I think you’re absolutely right. Ethan can’t get diagnosed by Drew, that’s true. However, there are warning signs. They’re definitely there. He should go to a psychologist or something to get that checked.
So then he’d have a valid argument against the “you have a toy problem”.
The APA’s main requisite to consider that something is ‘unhealthy’ is that it has clinical significance. As others have pointed out before, Ethan’s collecting doesn’t interfere with his work, relationships or finances and doesn’t cause him physical harm or undue distress.
It could be argued that he spends way too much time on it, but even so, that’s not enough to consider it a clinical problem. I’d say he has the *potential* to become a hoarder, but he’s also been improving his life and making an effort to get out of the bad place he used to be in.
So in conclusion, my totally unprofessional opinion as a fifth year psychology major is that he needs to keep an eye on the toy collecting thing, but that it’s not at unhealthy levels *as of know*. In the past it has been (For example, when he got fired he ended up in a situation much like Jacob’s) but right now he’s in the right track.
And also to hell with everything, l’ll try to diagnose characters if I want ;D
If he is doing anything obsessively, then yeah I think it is a problem. At least something that Ethan should look at seriously and see whether, beyond his relationship with Drew, it’s impacting his life. Not just ‘I pay my bills and keep money in the bank’, but is there stuff he is missing out on, what WOULD be enough and is he ok if he never gets there…
I do agree that Drew shouldn’t have pushed so hard to change him. It is OK to point it out, to talk about it – but after that it was up to Ethan to decide whether to change or not.
(Personally, I lean more towards Drew view of collecting. I do not get it at all and I could probably never live with a serious collector. I do have obsessive hobbies though – just not ‘completion’ hobbies if you see what I mean.)
Y’know, people keep saying “three toys in one day” as if it were a rate, as if it meant 21 toys a week. It’s simply not the case. Those three toys may be the only three toys he buys that week, or even that month. Does .5 toys a day seem just as scary to you as what you’ve been saying.
Three toys a day is almost certainly not an “everyday” occurrence. Toy collecting simply doesn’t work that way (and I’m fairly certain Willis knows that). Let’s not forget how many times we’ve seen Ethan engaging in unsuccessful toy hunts. Toy collecting is very “boom or bust” and assuming the strip takes place in some semblance of real-time, this time of the year is pretty much a “boom” period as the stores start stocking up for Christmas.
I don’t think the non-collectors who approve of Drew’s controlling behavior are ever going to grasp that. They’ll cling to, “OMG THREE TOYZ N 1 DAY!!!” I received a box from BBTS with sixteen toys a few weeks ago. Never mind that this was a few months worth of orders I had shipped all at once. No, I got 16 WHOLE TOYZ N 1 DAY!!! A padded room and antipsychotics are clearly necessary.
“I’ve been there. Although I’m not a collector or any kind of hoarder, I have kind of an obssessive personality.”
Then you really haven’t been there. You’re just projecting your own psychological issues anywhere you believe they’ll fit. I collect toys, comics, trading cards, jerseys, and other items. I still have plenty of time for my girlfriend, my dog, friends, family, photography, and writing. Your inability to handle having an interest in something doesn’t mean no one else can have healthy interests and hobbies.
Well, I do have an ability to deal with it. It’s the hability of seeing myself from the outside and going WHOA, okay, this is getting a little out of hand. Then backing away to safer waters. And I do recognize the situation is about to become a problem when it becomes painfully difficult to stop. If I keep going at it, I’m unable to stop. I try and try and try for months and I’m unable to stop. I am still functional, but I become a rat pulling a lever, I recognize I’m a rat pulling a lever, and I’m unable to stop pulling that lever until an external force intervenes somehow.
im diagnosed with a couple mental issues but i have never gotten to the point where collecting or rather not collecting becomes painful.. for the last 2 and a half years i have collected ds games, i don’t know why but the thrill of the hunt is always there but i try to make sure it stays as just one part of my personality. i learn about all sorts of things and craft all sorts of things.. because i am human im never just one thing, ive never meant anyone who is. some days i get lucky and the local game stores have two or 3 good, hard to find, or obscure games. most of the time i come back empty handed. i walk or ride a bike so i don’t mind its just somewhere to go im my town that doesn’t have much else going on and some exercise. sometimes i’ll pick them up on a trip but i never put them before more important things.
to live a life without passion and joy for something is sad. constantly being afraid of yourself and what you want is obsession in itself.
i kinda teared up a bit…
Toy collecting in and of itself is not wrong. Excessive toy collecting is, as it usually harms you and your relationship with others. just being able to pay your bils doesn’t mean it’s not bad -a functional alcoholic is still an alcoholic, after all.
however, toy collecting is not alcoholism. The way to keep it under control isn’t the same as the “never have another drink” factor in recovering alcoholics – your brain does not have the same type of chemical dependancy, despite the endorphin issue.
Ethan needs to curb his toy habit. Yes, yes, he does. He needs to keep it from ballooning more,a nd he needs to cut back on the spending. If three toys a day is normal, this i sbad. if it was a rare special day when he found stuff and normally he buys much less, then cool. but he does need to cut back.
He does not need to quit everything cold turkey, burn his toys, and start kicking Mattel execs in the junk (they need to be kicked, but not for that reason). If he goes cold turkey for Drew, he’s just asking for a super hoarding relapse. He offered something good to Drew. He will have to curb it more, definitely, and he wanted help in doing so, but he’s not just eliminating it from his life. Drew, however, said no. Ethan must stop all toy collecting, or no more hanky-panky. And that is where Drew went overboard.
Wow, Shiny’s grief must be really inspiring
It’s kind of hard to see whether I am replying to somebody because of my camoflague gravatar.
Interesting, Ethan made the effort, Drew Rejected it, I understand how toys make people uneasy-yet it depends the person, in the long run – really as a person, I would go with Ethan , He accepts someone can embrace him as who he is, but is willing to accommodate some of his nastier habits, for a person he loves, the same everyone would do if given the chance. This is Drew turning his back on Ethan saying I can meet half way, and Drew refusing, Its for the best in the long run, because, any good relationship should be willing to compromise.
also on my coffeehouse I order to go because I don trust myself with ceramics, also they serve more of my drink of choice,
also loophole on Drew logic, he was expecting Drew to accept and go home with him almost immediately. not his I ordered for here. and you to go thing
I know I’m going to be hated, but while both are at fault, Ethan has slightly more share of the blame. Drew is right. Toy collecting for Ethan is no longer a habit. It’s an obsession. So Drew is trying to help Ethan; although, he didn’t go about it in the best way
Ethan DID have more share of the blame.. But now that Drew refused his comprimise, Drew has more of it. He was willing to compromise, and then when Drew turned it down because even 1 toy is too many, he gave up the right to be the more wronged party.
What Drew refused was to have a toy in his apartment. He didn’t say Ethan couldn’t have just one toy. Also, it was much earlier established that particular toy is the one Drew dislikes the most, so he very well may have had a different reaction to that if had been any of Ethan’s other toys
I don’t really want to engage in a serious conversation about the relationships of a bunch of self-destructive 20/30-somethings because it hits a little close to home.
Instead I’ll just speculate on how long it’ll take Robin to try to hire Ethan a prostate and what the awkward twist is. I’m figuring next Wednesday at the latest for the date and either “undercover cop” or “long lost gay brother of Amber and Faz” for the twist. Hey, I wonder if Amber in Faz have any relatives in law enforcement.
I, of course, meant to type “prostitute”
They’re both kinda the same thing anyway. You weren’t too far off.
Well, either way, they both apply to the same general area
…same genital area…
*whistles* Wow, I want to smack Drew just for that last line. That was a crap move on his part, picking at something that has no real meaning just to try and make himself out to be the victim. People choose their cups for a variety of reasons, and it’s rarely something as meaningful as wanting to stay or leave a relationship. His intention with that line was to make Ethan feel bad, like he was in the wrong, and that was a horrible thing for him to do.
He didn’t even TRY to compromise with Ethan, it was his way or the highway. Frankly I’m very glad that Ethan and he are no longer together, because I think Ethan would have ended up very unhappy in the end. Here’s hoping Ethan will be able to find someone a lot better for him (who CAN help him curb his collecting a bit but is also still supportive of him and it). And goodbye to a bad relationship!
I’ve always found Drew completely unlikable, so hopefully good riddance.
Kind of makes me wonder… what DID this relationship have going for it besides sex? I don’t recall them ever really sharing hobbies, liking to spend time with one-another or the like. Honestly, I’m not even sure if it was sex as there was zero sign of chemistry that I can recall. What was this besides just solidifying “Ethan is gay!”?
They had a couple of cutesy moments. Plus, there was that one time they were role playing.
Now Ethan and Robin go out and click.
Do… do we have to direct you to the “Ethan is gay” post?
It’s still around somewhere, I’m sure.
No, that’s the Dumb universe. We don’t know if Ethan is gay or not here!
But seriously, I could see Ethan and Robin going out for the night as the now miserable single people.
You know what, I kind of miss the “Robin pursues Ethan” stories
I do hope Drew sticks around in the comic, he’s a cool character.
Re: everybody saying “how can he make that assumption based on what coffee he’s drinking?”- they have been dating, long enough for him to know what kind of spaghetti he likes to have picked up for him. He probably has observed what kind of cups Ethan usually gets.
As it is, the line strikes me as a tad heavy-handed, but it makes its point while giving the sad comic a punchline- and far better than FBOFW or FunkyWB would do in this circumstance.
FBOFW: “But we have to be together anyway, so now we’re married.”
FW: “You have toy cancer.”
not cool, man. my super trooper gi joe DIED of toy cancer.
You make a good point about the coffee cup. (In which case, aw, it’s sweet and a subtle note that their relationship had legs for a good long while.)
But it seems just as likely that Ethan was expecting them to maybe be heading over to Drew’s house sooner rather than later?
Reading this again, I have to say.
Fuck Drew. And not in the good way.
Drew, you’re an asshole.
I know it’s not exactly the same, but if Ethan were a smoker and Drew was trying to help him stop, Ethan telling him he has to smoke a little to stay together isn’t really a compromise. It seems to me like he was looking for a way to break up with Drew. I think they’re both better off.
Also, a bit presumptuous that they’d spend the rest of their lives together after so long. But that’s typical thinking for a first relationship.
We all keep trying analogies. Problem with the smoking one is that smoking (especially in excess) is bad for you, it smells bad, gets in your clothes, makes your house smell stale and gross, to the point that people don’t want to visit because they know it means they’ll reek of smoke the next day. (Also, it makes librarians hate you because all the books you return smell like an ashtray).
Nothing that’s physically unhealthy works as an analogue because this hobby literally is harming no one. Ethan has his life in hand and is pretty satisfied with it while still trying to improve himself. His friends don’t mind it. The only person who dislikes it is Drew.
I dunno, I said above, it’s more like if he collected books. And Drew refused to have even one in his house and wanted Ethan to get rid of all his books and never buy another one again.
because drew is a book-burning nazi.
Yeah that analogy is kind of terrible to be honest. That’s not even nearly the same thing. Drew should be compromising if he wants to keep Ethan.
Incidentally, my stepmother smoked when she and my dad first got together. He didn’t like smoking, but he NEVER asked her to quit or suggested that she cut back. He stated up front that smoking wouldn’t be allowed inside his house or vehicles and asked her to brush her teeth if they were going to kiss, because he didn’t like the taste. After a couple years together, she decided to quit on her own.
My sister is also a non-smoker with a smoker husband. He, too, isn’t allowed to smoke inside the house or the car and she doesn’t hang around him when he’s smoking, but she’s never asked him to quit.
I’m sure all four of them talked about the health and expense factors, but their entire relationship doesn’t hinge on it. They make space for each other.
If we’re really going to run with the smoking analogy, what Drew has been saying is: “I’ll hang with you when you smoke in public, but you have to cut back on it, a lot, and not only are you not allowed to smoke in my place, you aren’t allowed to smoke in your place if you want me around and you have to scrub the walls and wash the curtains to get rid of the smoke smell. If you smoke too much around me — and by the way, *I* decide how much is too much — I’m going to scold you about it. I’m also going to explain how all of this is for your own good, that it’s wrong for you to treat your body like this, and if you aren’t willing to do it my way, it’s because you don’t want to change enough.”
I was figuring this was coming from the very first time we saw Drew’s reaction to Ethan’s collection. I have to give him props for managing to hold out for so long in the face of the inevitable.
Though I also have to take back all those props for how he’s handling the breakup.
Maybe Ethan was expecting to be taking Bat-Ace home with you, setting it up, having a little snuggle in front of the TV, talking things out…. Arg!
I’ve totally watched this breakup happen with friends before. Gay Geeks and Gay Not-As-Geeky-As-They-Thought-They-Were spark lots of drama.
I’m pretty sure that’s not a uniquely homosexual problem.
Would buy those last two panels.
But… it doesn’t seem like either of them were really “wrong” here. I mean, sometimes things don’t work out. They had a great relationship, were in love, are in love, but Ethan’s collecting is smothering Drew and Drew’s unwillingness to embrace the things Ethan is passionate about is hurting Ethan. Ethan tried to prioritize Drew over toys and failed; Drew tried to overlook what he saw as a borderline pathological obsession and failed. They feel the need to throw in the towel before things get worse between them. Sometimes people don’t do anything wrong or mean or intentionally hurtful and still can’t support a relationship between them.
That said- they were fuckin’ adorable together and French Batman and… and… bawl. >= Do not like do not like do not like.
Damn, why do I keep on thinking the place is Coffee of Doom?
Also the coffee thing is just a metaphor. What Drew’s saying here is that Ethan was already in the mindset of letting the relationship go.
I’m with Ethan on this one. Ethan recognized he had something of a problem, and he made genuine efforts to improve. But Drew’s made it clear he won’t be happy until Ethan stops collecting toys completely, and that’s an unfair demand to make. Both sides have to compromise in a relationship, and so far, Ethan’s been the only one doing so. Yes, it’s just a silly hobby, but how would you feel if your SO told you that you had to give up your favorite hobby? No more writing/sports/video games/mountain biking/etc? If you acquiesce to that, what else will you submit to? It’s a shame, but both parties (Ethan especially) will be happier in the long run because of it.
(And yes, people, asking for one toy to appear in Drew’s place was a reasonable request. Eventually, people in a relationship share a single space – if that single space is going to be continually fought over, better to know before it begins. Plus, the whole “no compromise makes for a shitty relationship” thing again.)
That third panel. I had to read it twice before I could read on. Drew… that line hurt. Ethan is trying to compromise. It seems like he really is trying to make this work, but he is also addressing an issue here.
Relationships aren’t about changing someone to conform to a specific ideal. That’s what it seems like Drew is doing. Yes, Ethan packed all his toys away, but every time he bought a new toy and Drew found out about it, he would sound all disappointed in Ethan. Putting his toys in storage was prolly the worse thing to do.
I had my own toys packed away for YEARS, and sometimes I even forgot I had them. It wasn’t until I got my own room that I finally took them out and was marveled by the fact that I still had them. I don’t even remember where I got some of them.
Hiding his toys was like Ethan was hiding himself. Hiding oneself isn’t fun. Especially if you’re in a relationship where the other person insists you change for them. I don’t see Drew trying to change for Ethan. Put the damn dog on top of your TV.
And wtf, man. I work at a coffee place, most drinks are put into plastic cups. It’s the norm unless they ask for a mug. And so far that has only happened ONCE the entire time I’ve worked there.
So in other words, Drew was sticking Ethan back into the closet.
I think I can taste my sad. It doesn’t taste good.
Is Ethan’s collecting going to get worse after this breakup and prove Drew right?
Or will Ethan meet that cute guy from the comedy club again?
Why does any of it have to be about who was “wrong” and who was “right”? These two people have fundamental differences in their perceptions about what is and isn’t important in life, about what constitutes as compromise and about to what degree one gives up independence whilst in a relationship.
Those kind of fundamental differences in worldview mean that the relationship was always going to face all kinds of difficulties. It was only going to get worse, not better. So neither of them is “wrong” — they are both right in that they both recognise that this is a good place to end it.
One of them can only be wrong if you think that this relationship should continue, come what may.
The way Drew’s handling the issue sneaks into the realm of “wrong”, but you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with them having different ideas of what they want out of life/relationships and not being able to reconcile them.
Willis, may I just say–you are a fucking GENIUS.
well, you obviously already knew that, but to think up, set up, and execute this kind of plot where even your readers can’t agree who is in the right and who is in the wrong….
you rock (harder than usual), man!
And now we find out Ethan is a mean drunk.
Fuck off, Drew.
Row 1 = Go Ethan
Row 2 = Boo, Drew >(
Row 3 = Aww Drew
I think that this “conversation” was over at “in the closet” and this is all just clean up. It was a bad choice of words on Drew’s part because of the contained implications with the two of them being gay men, but also because it contains the implication that Drew wishes to deny this aspect of Ethan’s life at all costs, despite the fact that it’s inseparably tied to the aspect that he claims to love about Ethan.
Ethan meanwhile has all along been too tied up in other things to do what he needs to have done ages ago and ask Drew why he feels the way he does about this. Relationships take a lot of give and take, and that give and take requires communication of why those borders that require it are there. There is obviously a dark background to Drew with collecting, and with toys in particular, that I’m sure Mr. Willis, being quite a good author, has at least some idea of and likely the rest of us won’t ever know. I rather hope that it comes up later that Ethan never bothered to ask what Drew’s damage was on this topic and it does bite him on the ass in some way.
Drew is a big boy, and could offer up any particular reasons for his extreme aversion to have even one toy of Ethan’s in his apartment.
He shares all culpability here.
Drew wants the “All Or Nothing” compromise. Ethan’s tackling the relationship far more healthy. Drew seems to have made up his mind that Ethan’s “The One” but he has to change his seemingly bad habits to do it, while Ethan understands that not all relationships are going to work out.
“…and I live your nerdy passion.”
Being left with only secondary evidence to use in determining how much of a problem Ethan’s toy collecting is, I’m not sure how I feel about this break up. On the one hand, Ethan has tried to change. On the other hand the fight that started this was about Ethan making two pricey toy purchases followed by purchasing a Catman all in the same day.
Ethan thinks his hobby is harmless, Drew thinks his hobby isn’t harmless and I can’t tell. I suppose we will see.
As mean as this may sound, Drew *did* agree to a compromise. He suggested taking a picture of the toy and hanging it in the apartment (in a closet.) For someone who has a house as empty as this series of comics portrays, that’s a big deal. I think the problem is that Ethan wants the relationship to work and Drew wants the relationship to work, but neither of them want to work on the relationship.
Relationships *are* about compromise, but they are also about trust. Ethan had said in a previous strip that he would limit his toy collecting, Drew *trusted* that he would. And it doesn’t look like Ethan has held up his end of the bargain. Ethan is trying to change Drew just as much as Drew is trying to change Ethan, but that’s acceptable in a stable, long-term relationship … not-so-much in a “I’m trying to find the right person” relationship.
When you move in with your significant-other, you expect to move your stuff into their place or vice versa. I don’t see Drew allowing Ethan to move any toys into his place and I really expect that Drew would demand that Ethan get rid of all of his toy collection before *he* would consider moving in with Ethan. Of course, since Drew has his own place and Ethan is staying with others and paying rent, I think Ethan would prefer to move in with Drew.
Also, as has been stated, hobbies are expensive. Period.
It’s the “in a closet” part that negates the whole thing. That might as well not be in his apartment, it isn’t visible. That isn’t a compromise, it’s not even an effort towards a compromise.
What Ethan is after is just a small, visible sign that Drew wants to share his life with Ethan.
What Drew is doing is trying to keep Ethan (and apparently everyone and everything else) out of his personal life completely, or as much as possible. It’s not a healthy way to engage in a relationship – it sends a signal: I don’t want you close, I don’t want you in my life, you’re just entertainment.
You don’t share your life with entertainment.
Now, being married, I understand the idea that people need their personal space, but any relationship that is going to last a reasonable amount of time will inevitably see some merging of personal space as the two become closer and begin to share more than just sexual attraction. If it doesn’t, it isn’t going to work at all.
We have our private spots but most of the stuff in our apartment is our stuff, not mine or hers; yet, even my little hidey hole in the back bedroom has a few special gifts she gave me, and her private spot has things I gave her.
That’s what Ethan is after. A sign that Drew is willing to let him into his life, and Drew isn’t giving it. All he wants to do is invade Ethan’s life and take it over. I can understand his perspective (he wants to help Ethan out of what he sees as a huge psychological problem) but he’s not helping by demanding all the change is in one direction. I’d tell him, if he wants to get help people out of a bog, he’d better be prepared to get dirty. He doesn’t want to get dirty, he isn’t going to help.
“What Drew is doing is trying to keep Ethan (and apparently everyone and everything else) out of his personal life completely, or as much as possible. It’s not a healthy way to engage in a relationship – it sends a signal: I don’t want you close, I don’t want you in my life, you’re just entertainment.
You don’t share your life with entertainment.”
When I read this, I remembered the strip a few weeks ago.
“But now we’re branching out and starting families. Finding our place in the world.”
And then he walks away with a somber face.
In retrospect, I think he is upset because he has realized that Drew might not want to really live with him and be a real couple. A real family. I think that is way he is laying it all on the line. He can’t waste time with someone who can’t make a smaller compromise then he himself has made.
And I think Ethan is making the right decision. The hard decision. I respect the character growth here.
I hope tomorrow’s strip starts with Ethan standing up yelling ” I was planning on going to your apartment to display Ace, jackass!” to Drew’s retreating back
I must thank you Mr Willis for incorporating gay characters in your web comics, and in turn be referred to other works like Mr. Woolfson’s ‘Artifice’! Noticed that ad up there since this story developed, like two days ago
Not all habits can be accepted. Drinking to excess is self destructive, especially if done on a regular basis. And while Ethan’s habit isn’t nearly as self destructive, he is just hiding the toys in tubs, kinda like an alcoholic does with booze.
In my own case, I just don’t get that many toys. I just never can display them well or find a place to put them. I love to read the reviews & look at pictures, but that is generally where I leave things, because I know my limits.
Ethan hasn’t found his yet, and doesn’t want to even consider it. If it wasn’t for the pink monster Nyan pop tart cat (who’s name I can’t recall), he’d even have more of an issue.
Harmless habit or not, Ethan might want to set boundaries & figure how much is too much.
Not that I think Drew was entirely right either, since he wanted Ethan to conform completely cold turkey, and wouldn’t compromise with a shelf’s worth of toys.
But I will admit, I won’t miss his 5 O’clock shadow. It’s kinda disturbing for some reason.
Aaaaaand another failed analogy.
Ethan’s hobby isn’t self-destructive. He doesn’t have money problems, he does pay rent, and his toys all had a place before Drew demanded that they all be shoved in closets.
Comparing it to alcoholism is unfair to Ethan, and frankly unfair to actual alcoholics as well. Cause they have to see themselves hurt not only their own bodies, but hurt the people they love. Ethan doesn’t do either of those with his hobby. Drew’s just being uncompromising, so he is a dick.
He said it wasn’t nearly as destructive and, yes, it can be destructive. There are people who spend themselves near to broke and live in spaces piled with boxes of things and if they’ve got a spouse and kids, it can be damaging to their lives as well. Pretty much anything taken too far can be destructive.
More of less what Madd said. Ethan keeps buying more & more stuff. He doesn’t sell on eBay & the comic has presented him as obsessive about it. Tubs can be useful, if you plan to cycle things in & out, and that’s all.
If you’re using them to just hide stuff, well that’s when we start to border on problem teritory. What Ethan is doing isn’t nearly as bad as Alchoholism. I’m just saying its become something of an addiction, that could use boundaries & limits.
I see what you’re saying, and yeah, he is obsessive with his toy collecting. But the thing is, he didn’t hide his collection in tubs until Drew asked him to. Before that, he had no problems with space, unless I’m mistaken. Hell, as far as we know, he did cycle stuff in and out. He may have just kept his collection at a size that he could have always been surrounded by about the same number of toys.
It’s only since Drew started fussing about it that it’s seemed to be more and more of a problem.
I SERIOUSLY want to go into the comic and PUNCH DREW IN THE FACE!
No, Drew. You don’t love his nerdy passion. You love his nerdy qualities but his passion upsets you and breaking up with him is easier than sticking it out for a slow change in helping him curb his habits. Screw you, Drew. It doesn’t get any easier with anyone else who has baggage or issues. So, good luck and all. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
Argh. The more I think about this the more annoyed I get. Thanks for making your stories relate-able to real life, Willis. :p
This kind of break up sucks. Drew did a good job of breaking up with Ethan and making it seem like it was all Ethan’s idea the whole time. I think Drew made his choice before he came to the coffee shop. It doesn’t take that long to drink a mug of coffee. Grrr.
I think your post really hits the nail on the head, the nail that other posts had been holding in place. It’s not about Ethan’s obsessive ‘nerdy passion’, it’s about Drew’s in ability to allow change into his life/personal space. Ethan could dump every toy he owned and never buy one again, but Drew would still find a reason to push him out. There’s some sort of damage going on here that the backstory hasn’t been told for.
People with disposable income tend to have hobbies. It’s amazing how many people are going and saying that Ethan should drop a hobby that seems like it’s at least a decade old.
Yeah, Drew has a point, it’s a little overwhelming. But when someone spends ten years doing something and you step into that, it’s going to be a little overwhelming.
For some reason the first thing I thought of after reading your post was this article.
Maybe Drew should have googled Ethan and saved some time
I thought Ethan was on a road to ruin, but he has really pulled it together in these last few strips. I am very impressed with how Ethan handled this.
I honestly do not think there is a better way he could have approached all of these issues.
Now Drew, on the other hand. Wow. I’m morbidly curious what the heck he’s problem is. I can’t figure it out. Perhaps it is a form of OCD?
I would like to note that this is really good writing.
I’m also of the opinion that I don’t want to punch Drew in the face, but I do want to dope slap him upside the head. Perhaps add something apropos like “Get over yourself.”
this would have worked out better if they had both made an effort, I think. Ethan, though he was working on the toy thing, was still well on his way to becoming a hoarder, and what should have been a wake up call he took as “Well, it doesn’t really matter that much…”. on the other hand, Drew, as Ethan said, spent FAR too much time trying to change ethen, and didn’t notice that he wasn’t perfect either. As ethan pointed out, somewhere out there there was a happy medium, but neither wanted to look for it. sucks.
I don’t know. If I’m reading the previous comic right, Ethan said he needed help with his excess and was willing to accept it, but he needed Drew to show he was willing to except something of Ethan’s in Drew’s apartment.
I’m guessing he wants to see if Drew will work out long term with Drew’s profound aversion to have anything non-functional (or anything of Ethan’s) in his living space. That’s a hurdle Drew would not budge on.
It’s very sad that Drew claims in this comic that Ethan does not want help when he clearly said he did and was wanted to stop his excess. I’m not sure how much more Ethan could have given.
Does Drew enjoy turning everything around and make the other party look like “the bad guy,” or is it compulsive?
Either way, I just don’t see how anyone can have a long term relationship with Drew. He’s just not mature enough for it, though it looks like he has deluded himself with his ‘turn about’ argumentative nature and ‘clean/space-freak’ mindset into thinking otherwise.
Saying you want help and actually wanting help are two different things. Also, Drew has no like for Ace the batdog. He was weirded out from him from the beginning. Personally, I love dogs and I like batman, but Ace weirds me out too. He could have asked Drew to pick something he actually liked rather than picking something he had an aversion to from the beginning.
Interesting point. Perhaps a Riddler would have been better received.
Drew is an adult and could have asked to hang a different toy. Instead the alternative he suggested was a bit insulting.
That was his call.
WTB more Batman / Transformer jokes, or at least some zany store antics.
I know based on the comments here I’m in the minority, but I definitely much prefer Shortpacked as a light-hearted web-comic =P
How much would you be willing to pay? Sounds like an opportunity for a bidding war to me.
Wait, but if you don’t order coffee to go, how are you going to carry it around with you sipping it while you do stuff and shoot the shit for the next two hours? I can’t imagine those places let you take their mugs out with you.
Plus, most coffee shops I’ve been to just give me my coffee to go by default.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Goodbye, Drew, please hook up with Malaya and drag her to some foreign locale by bus trip on the way out.
In a perfect world, that bus would drive off a cliff with just them in it.
Not a big fan of Mayala either, but then, every group has to have a nare-do-well to make the other characters more lovable.
Ethan, you made the right choice. You need to find someone who loves you for who you are and helps you be a better person, not someone who tries to force you to be who they think you should be.
Collecting anything is never a bad thing. My mom collects vintage barbies, former step-father collected antique fishing lures, I love Legos and play too much Star Craft.
I think it ended because of the night time cosplay that went on between those two behind closed doors… (LOL)
so next time we see drew, he’ll be teaming up with sydney yus, right? we’re slowly giving the shortpacked! cast a legion of doom, correct?
I think this conversation would have gone a lot better if Ethan had not brought a toy with him.
Rightly or wrongly Drew sees the toy collecting as a major issue and likely felt that bring Ace to a meeting to talk about the relationship was another example of what he sees as Ethan’s obsession.
Perhaps it should have gone something like “Drew, I want you to come back to my place and pick one toy that you’d want to display in your apartment.”
Who knows, perhaps he would have taken one of those Rodimus’ off Ethan’s hands.
I love how Drew is the clingy, delusional one here. Reminds me of my first adult relationship. It clearly wasn’t working out, but I had to be the one to explain that it was over. Even though he was the one who was avoiding spending any time with me.
People are like dogs in that way. Sometimes you just have to grab the scruff of their necks and lead them to the door.
While I can see both sides I think Drew is being a dick and as someone mentioned just trying to get the last boot in. Ethan has curbed his habit, which was hard for him because as collectors know the only difference between toys/comics/whatever and crack is the former MIGHT not kill you (there are those pesky choking hazards of coarse).
They just don’t work together on a mental level.
I’m still waiting to have something to laugh about. PIES. PIES IN EVERYONE’S FACES.
Well this is a serious moment in their relationship, it’s a test to see if they can endure this conflict like adults, and accept one ano….
COFFEE STARING CONTEST. GO!
Ethan is obsessed with toys to a stupid, mind-boggling, unrealistic degree unmatched by any but the most compulsive individuals in real life. We all know this and have enjoyed a jolly hearty laugh at it as part of some kneeslapper of a punchline now and then. “Oh-ho! Silly Ethan, constantly going into fits of manic obsession over his constant, frenetic hunt to collect action figures intended for nine-year-olds! Ha-de-ho, he ran out of space for his vast and inscrutable squadron of collectable objects again! Many lols!”
Then someone engages this on noncomical grounds within the comic and points out that this is really not healthy or sane behaviour and would only be regarded as amusing or anything less than really alarming from the perspective of third-person fourth-wall observers.
Proper response (apparently): get super-duper grrrr angry rawr he can’t change how dare he change RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHtoyrage.
No Drew, you got the ceramic cup because you own the paper cup, and you only borrow the ceramic one. And you don’t like owning things. Pathologically.
Hi! I’m normally the one lurking and reading all the comments silently but I figured I should chime in
Seems like most people are on Ethan’s side in this, which I’m glad about. I’m a bit of a collector (though for me it’s TCG stuff more than figurines), and I tell people I’m in a relationship with that that’s who I am. Period. I’m not going to stop collecting and if they have a problem with it than I’m obviously in the wrong relationship.
Oh, and Drew? You’re being all high and mighty with the “well I got my coffee for here”, yet you’re the one storming out. Smooth move.
Oh God. Wouldn’t it be too hilarious if Ethan just sat there and finished his Coffee before quietly rolling up the rim?
I don’t know. I think Ethan has more than a hobby. I have been watching way too much hoarders, and Ethan is definately a hoarder. He’s just a young hoarder and he is very selective on what he hoards. I saw one episode where a woman collected media objects like papers, magezines, and video tapes of things she recorded. Just because it was selective does not mean it wasn’t hoarding.
Willis is essentially highlighting Ethan’s problem. I don’t know if its his intention because I am not in his head, but Ethan has a problem. Drew sees this problem. Drew cannot live with a hoarder. he likes his space free of clutter and I don’t blame him. I don’t like to decorate either (mainly becaus I have to keep said decorations clean and I hate dusting all the time).
I had a friend who was/is an alcoholic. I did everything I could to help her. I took her to the hospital, took her out so she could calm down, watched her baby, cleaned her house, talked her out of buying alcohol, but if I turned my back for two seconds and looked at her again she was drunk again. Then she started making demands of me. I like playing a game and she basically said, “If you stop playing your game I’ll stop drinking.” After that, I stopped hanging out with her. why? Because I knew she didn’t want to get better. she was just trying to control me and feel better about her addiction.
Drew has tried to *help* Ethan because Ethan doesn’t have a harmless hobby. He has a hobby that consumes his life. Sure he pays his bills, but there is a point where you realize you don’t have room for things. If you have to store stuff so you can get more stuff so you can display it… you have an issue. Ethan doesn’t think he has a problem because he can pay bills, but he’s a webcomic character that works at a toy store. How much do you think willis actually does the math to make sure Ethan has money for all the toys he buys?
Ethan’s hoarding will make any relationship he has difficult… unless he finds another toy hoarder.. and then they would just live in a home filled with toys they couldn’t even see, walking down narrow pathways.
My granny is a hoarder, and the only reason she doesn’t live like that is because my mom and uncle are always on top of it and she lives in the middle of the country with a few storage buildings. She literally has a portable storage shed filled with coats. She also has like.. 30 cats she feeds that were dumbed near her property. She finally started getting them spade and neutered becasue she realized what a problem it was and she was concerned for their health.
Ethan has a problem. Just because he can afford it doesn’t make it ok. Rich men can afford to be alcoholics, that doesn’t make it ok. Drew can see the signs. he’s willing to work with Ethan so long as Ethan is willing to work on the problem. Ethan is trying to turn it on Drew, and that isn’t fair to Drew.
So then I have a question.
How do you separate hoarders from collectors? If you’re only defining quality is that they have a lot of something, no matter how specific or well maintained, then you’re effectively calling *all* collectors hoarders.
1) These comments betray a fundamental misunderstanding of what actually constitutes compulsive hoarding. 30 cats and multiple storage buildings full of stuff that should be thrown out ≠ shelves with toys. 2) The alcoholism analogy is seriously insensitive to people who struggle with an actual illness. To be fair, you’re not the only one who’s made the comparison. It’s still both invalid and inappropriate in this situation.
I don’t think he’s a hoarder. When he put his toys up for Drew did he place them back in their original packaging? A hoarder would still have the packaging.
(mainly becaus I have to keep said decorations clean and I hate dusting all the time)
this says a lot about you doesn’t it?
there are a lot of people on this page right now that seem to think collecting things = hording, what if we turned this judgmental thought process around? you have to clean things “all the time” therefore you must be a obsessive compulsive neat freak and now i won’t hear a word to the contrary because your only lying to yourself.
I can see your point, I can understand where you’re coming from… but I don’t see how Drew actually tried to help Ethan. It takes a lot more than pointing out a problem and belittling someone over it to help them. I would have more sympathy for Drew if he’d worked with Ethan to find a counselor, organizer, psychiatrist, even went to a session with him or something. But as of right now I don’t see how he really tried to -help- Ethan.
The only places I’ve been that had different cups for staying or going were diners, and that was never for coffee. I think I’ve heard of some coffee shops letting you bring in your own mug/cup, but you still had to abide by their coffee size pricing.
Ethan is wrong. He’s basically asking Drew to share his hobby. Drew can’t. He can love Ethan, he can love the fact that ethan loves his hobby, but he can’t share it. And the fact that Ethan asks shows how inmature Ethan is. My GF can ask me to cut down on my warhammer figurines, and we can negotiate on that, but no way in hell Im gonna put a K-POP band poster on my wall and it would be very bad if she asked me “do this if you love me”
My hsuband likes warhammer, and if they weren’t so stupid expensive I wouldn’t have a problem with him buying some every now and then. Have to have the money and free time for a hobby like that. I kind of felt bad when I told my husband he couldn’t go out until 5 am every day off he had just because he was off anymore. But what was acceptable when we were childless is completely different than what is acceptable now that a baby is on the way. I am proud to say he cut back on his time going out time. i’m sad to say that he sold all his warhammer figurines so he could buy star wars online. I really don’t look forward to slowly replacing them when he wants to start playing warhammer again.
Of course, his friends didn’t take kindly when I said we could just lable some paper or wooden pieces to take the figurine’s place. I thought it was a good, economical idea to paying 300 bucks for some star ship thing.
I feel you on the warhammer thing. What gets to me is the amount of time ONE game takes, and that my husband wants to play EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND. I’d kinda like some weekends to be free for the two of us to do something, yanno? And with a baby (ours is 9.5mo right now) it often ends up that he’s going out in the evening and I’m stuck at home because I refuse to let an infant who cant even walk yet stay up until 1am or later. Yeah, it’s been an issue for us, but we’re working on it (he tries to set games up for earlier in the day so I can bring the baby and join him just to hang out).
Guh, *can’t. In my defense, my apostrophe key is fickle.
That’s not what Ethan asked at all. Ethan didn’t ask Drew to start collecting toys, he asked Drew to prove he could live with toys. It’s a very valid question if your goal is to share a living space at some point.
Pro-tip: If your girlfriend asks to hang a poster in your place, SAY YES.
It’s not about the poster. It’s a test to make sure you’re willing to make room in your life for her. She’s not asking you to like K-Pop, she’s asking you to prove you can live with what she loves.
That’s what Ethan did and Drew not only failed, he crashed and burned.
If you’re not willing to live with a poster, then you shouldn’t expect her to live with the figurines. Compromise is the key word here. JimmyFury put it very well.
Jeez, people are acting like this is the end of the world, or it’s a big fight or something.
This is an amicable breakup, folks. They’ve realized that there’s a sticking point in their relationship that’s important enough to them that it’s a major problem and that they can’t work around. They’re both sad about it, but not angry.
And they’re both kind of right. Drew is right that toy collecting is a compulsion for Ethan. And Ethan’s right that Drew hasn’t been accepting of his main hobby, and wouldn’t compromise even on a single Ace the Bathound figure (presumably Drew thinks that if he gives an inch on this Ethan will take a mile, which, given that Ethan’s boxing up and storing his figures is inevitably followed by going to the store and buying a whole bunch more to cover all available surfaces again, is not an irrational conclusion).
It’s disappointing but, you know, breakups happen, and as breakups go this one’s pretty mild (so far, Willis may turn it into a bitter shoutfest cliffhanger tomorrow). Plus, if it causes Ethan to turn some of his judging of others inward towards self-examination, it could be healthy for him.
Damn, this strip was POWERFUL. Hit me right in the gut in just a few panels.
I can easily see myself in Ethan’s shoes with my girlfriend if I had one.
If only we had Willis writing at DC or Marvel…
After two attempts to write this and it reaching tl;dr proportions, I’ll try again to summarize.
Drew should’ve given both Ethan and himself more time to acclimate to eachother’s comfort zones, but Ethan was also clearly not ready to make any substantial changes.
It is not wrong to ask someone to change something, the way they handle their hobby is certainly a reasonable request – Drew was not asking Ethan to stop collecting, but to try and do it less and in less substantial quantities, particularly as he already had more toys than he had room for. Just like it was not wrong for Ethan to ask Drew to adjust to being around toys in his living space if he wanted to be with him.
Neither side is completely wrong or right, this is a realistic situation handled with sensitivity depicting a geek’s first foray into a serious relationship. With more maturity and patience from both parties, they could have had a very enjoyable relationship together, but neither were ready to adapt to the other’s needs.
There, I’ll stop there.
I think you hit it right on the nail. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
“You ordered yours to go”
Yes, because the only reason anybody would ever get a to go cup is if they planned to leave without whoever they’re with.
It’s impossible that to go is the default and a mug is a request. That Ethan ordered first and thought they were going to walk and talk, aka to go rather than a mug. That Ethan thought Drew might accept this simple, symbolic gesture and they’d want to go to Drew’s apartment rather than just sit there and drink coffee. That Ethan just plain prefers a to go cup.
Those are all silly, it had to be a subtle, symbolic message to Drew.
Good work, Ethan. There’s no need to settle for someone who doesn’t love you for being you.
I’ll admit it’s a bit of a jerk move on Drew’s part, but considering how the other characters have been leaving hints of how bad Ethan’s obsession can be I can’t say he’s completely wrong in this. Either way, it’s sad they broke up. Hopefully, Ethan will be luckier in the future.
I’ll have to remember that coffee thing. Also, too bad for Ethan even though I saw it coming.
Wait, what’s the deal with ordering stuff to go? ALWAYS ORDER TO GO. At panda express, they give you larger portions in a larger box. At diners they give you a larger cup. At just about anywhere a to-go size container is larger than what you get when you sit down to eat.
Also a good tip at Panda to order the tofu and eggplant in garlic sauce. It doesn’t last long in the steam table so they usually make it fresh and shovel it out generously rather than watch it go mushy.
The More You Know! ——*
And most fast food places charge you for refills. If you’re only going to drink one drink’s worth…
What? So many places here where I live have got to free refills, I’d be hard pressed to find a dine-in place that doesn’t have free refills. They’ve pretty much realized that the mark-up on the carbonated beverages is so high, unless you can drink gallons upon gallons, they still make money hand over fist.
The refills are “unlimited” at a ton of places but take a look at your check next time you eat in or eat to go – your drink may cost a little bit of change more if you eat in or you may see a “dine in” line that’s been added. The Taco Bells in the area tack on an extra 20 cents if you dine in.
Though that was when I was in High School – I don’t really do fast food anymore, so I don’t know if that’s changed.
…Is this the same coffee shop where they met?
Yes it is. Someone provided the link in yesterday’s comments. (Sorry, mobile)
And THAT Ladies and gents, sis how you write off a character.
I wonder what Drew would think about me using to-go cups at home…
Being someone who never buys coffee I’ve got to ask. Is it possible he just ordered his coffee without specifying the cup type, and the staff gave him his usual? If he’s a regular is it possible he was asked ‘your usual’, and only said ‘yes thanks’?
Yep. happens all the time
Since they came to the coffee shop together, presumably Drew saw how Ethan actually ordered.
Yeah, I’m going to have to side with Ethan this round. Drew is the one who isn’t giving things a chance. One toy in his sparce apartment. That was all Ethan asked. For one toy (which is actually a really cute toy), and Drew won’t even give that a shot. I’m not saying Ethan doesn’t need to take it easy on his toy obsession, but Drew should be willing to meet Ethan half-way.
I know I’m late to the party, but it’s nice seeing all the comments saying Drew is more in the wrong here, because that is my impression. Any long-term relationship has have give and take. If Drew isn’t willing to accept a little bit of Ethan’s hobby in his apartment, then as Ethan said, Drew isn’t willing to accept Ethan completely for who he is. Drew needs to realize he can’t have it 100% his way.
has *to have.
“What can I say? I like to go cups.”
You guys, the point isn’t that he ordered coffee to go, it’s that Drew thinks that that means something. And as far as I can tell, Drew isn’t a crazy person, so he probably has some reason for assuming that. Past experience, a lot of time spent with Ethan, etc etc. Ok? Ok.
I kind of agree. I called the cups out yesterday and found them significant. But where Drew went wrong is seing them as definitive. He could notice them and: 1) see them as Ethan’s intent to end the relationship and thus throw in the towel, or 2) see them as a sign of a problem and be prepared to work that problem out. With any oracle from runes and tarot to coffee cups they key is not to accept as carved in stone the warnings you are given, but rather to take the warnings as a cue to prepare to handle a challenge. Deciding not to rise to the challenge was all Drew’s decision. Maybe because he wasn’t prepared to fight for Ethan in the first place.
But as many have said, the cups could have meant many other things than what Drew believed they did. One other reason why he should have talked this out instead of assuming it was over anyway.
Oh shit son.
I am amused by the amount of speculation concerning the actions of fictional characters.
You also realize willis could be separating drew and ethan for other reasons, ie something particularly evil involving one or more psychotic co-workers…
Say something involving malaya and roz winding up with ethan one night just to really mess with robin’s head, leslie going after drew in revenge and spider-car revealing her true identity just in time to stop waverider from returning to the past…
LOL. That’s all I can say. Good riddance to the guy. I don’t even really collect toys anymore, but when I did? If my girlfriend had a problem with it, take a hike. I never give my wife troubles about her hobbies and she doesn’t trouble me about mine. People need hobbies. If the dude wasn’t making rent or something, sure, it’s a problem. But he is.
And yet he’s the one getting up. I hate smug bastards like that.
I think this whole thing was handed really well by Davis. It really drew one point home for me: that, regardless of whose fault the breakup is, Drew and Ethan couldn’t continue being a couple. They want different things from their partner, things the other can’t provide.
Um… who’s Davis?
You know what? I miss Thad.
Seriously? Cup choice was the clincher?
I’m not sure why we have to pick sides. Can’t they both be wrong in different ways? This isn’t a video game, there isn’t a formula of responses that is right and wrong.
Both Drew and Ethan held their deepest fears close to heart instead of talking about them openly and then when they finally exposed them, they had grown so large they were inconsolable.
The real ‘wrong’ here is that they both should have been talking about this a LOOOOOOONG time ago.
Some videogames have a shockingly open interpretation of right and wrong, leaving both world saving and purposeless serial acts of murder as equally valid pass times.
School on the other hand. The better part of your formative years spent being asked an unending barrage of questions and explicitly told that there is only ever a single correct answer. Try and tell me the effects of that aren’t far reaching.
what if instead of toys ethan had collected porn
so he filled a room with boxes and boxes of porn and even a storage thing and now he wants drew to put one up on his tv
i mean if we’re doing analogies this works right?
(omg don’t seriously reply to this okay?)
Aww man, this sucks I was hoping this would go well for Ethan, he deserves it so much. Man, now I’m sad ;-;
I’m horribly confused. Everyone is talking like Drew is telling Ethan he has to get rid of every single toy he owns, and NEVER buy toys again. That isn’t even remotely close to what the situation is. Could someone please explain why the majority of people seem to think this is the case?
Drew seems unwilling to put up even one toy in his place for Ethan, so what happens if/when they move in together? Ethan’s toys all disappear into boxes in storage somewhere and he gets a look of disapproval every time he buys a new one? It essentially amounts to the same thing
People have been suspicious of Drew’s definition of “Acceptable Bounds” for a while, and today his wording is much less tolerant of Ethan’s practices than they’ve been thus far.
He calls Ethan’s collecting a bad habit for example. That’s not a term you generally use for something that just requires moderation. It’s kind of a broad blanket for “This thing you do is bad and should be stopped”.
Not to mention in these last two pages he’s revealed a ridiculous aversion to the toys that had barely even been hinted at so far, to the degree that he can’t even place a single toy anywhere in his own home. Even a photo of a toy could only be placed in his closet. That goes beyond just liking things tidy.
So yeah. A lot of people have be wary of his brand of tolerance for a while for various reasons, and this does kind of read like a confirmation those people’s fears in multiple ways.
I think it’s partly demographic. Ethan is a beloved character and most readers of this comic swing more to Ethan’s view of toys and nerdy things than Drew’s. So of course they’re going to be more sympathetic. Readers are seeing Ethan’s approach to toys as good fun. Drew is seeing it as an addiction. And let’s be honest, Ethan’s addiction to toys has been the punchline of this comic many times.
I like nerdy things, but I’m more towards Drew than Ethan–I’m not totally obsessed with nerdy things. If I was dating with someone totally obsessed with nerdy things, I would love watching them be passionate about those nerdy things, I would go to conventions with them, I would support them. But the support wouldn’t be unconditional. If their toys were taking over the house/apartment/whatever, they were spending all of their money on them, and it was clear they simply were not having a life outside of said toys, it would not work out. How would we build a life if all our money was going to toys? Would we never be able to plan a vacation if it coincided with the release of a particular figurine? Etc etc.
I think what Ethan doesn’t realize is that nobody, nobody can just be accepted for “all of them.” Nobody can just “be themselves.” Because frankly, when we’re born into this world we’re self-absorbed, stinky little motherfuckers. That’s “being ourselves.” So a large part of growing up, integrating into society, and forming relationships is learning to compromise that “id” of ours and take into account the thoughts, feelings, and needs of others. We change ourselves in order to interact with other human beings. I think a lot of nerdy people don’t realize this and think what is a natural and healthy attitude towards socializing is somehow anathema and means a total compromise of the self.
My problem with this is that Ethan has attempted to compromise because he’s sensitive to how Drew feels about it. He put a lot of his stuff away in bins to make Drew more comfortable. However, has there been any meaningful compromise from Drew? I believe there was a strip saying he was still uncomfortable staying over in Ethan’s place, he makes his disapproval clear every time Ethan buys a new toy, and he’s unwilling to put even one toy up in his place (a matte in the closet is not a meaningful compromise). They both have issues, but while Ethan’s at least making some effort to think of his partner’s feelings, Drew doesn’t seem to be reciprocating.
Heart. Broken. If ever Ethan becomes a real person through some sort of freak lightning storm or magic I’d TOTES have him for him.
Drew is boring. I’m glad they broke up. :/
Ethan put all his toys away in boxes for Drew, but it turned out Drew wanted more. He wanted Ethan to put his love of toys away in a box as well. So much for compromise. Better to see that now then to get even more involved and realize later they will never fully accept you.
And not for nothing, but who gets a mug at a coffee shop? The norm is disposable cup. Drew is the freak here. All smug with his mug. Jerk. Enjoy being alone, jerko.
Mannnnn…. this is at least 50% babies :-/
It’s Babies Macin-?
Robin had to pull the drama tag, didn’t she?
I wish they would get back together.
Why can’t they just learn to properly compromise.
I hope you find someone good, Ethan. Drew just was not the One for you!
Drew has shown little interest in Ethan, except when it comes to belittling Ethan’s activities.
Is it weird to say this break-up really helped me on a personal level?
I’m 23 and a girl, and one of my biggest passions in life is cartoons and toy collecting. While girls like me are a dime a dozen in the wonderful land of internet, this is NOT the case in any of my social circles (or at least, wasn’t for years). I never grew out these things, if anything age has only made me care more about the artistic qualities of animation or a good mold. Both these things make me very, very, happy. However, almost every person in my life has told me I should be ashamed of these things and I should grow the fuck up.
In my teens, I was teased a lot by ‘friends’ who preferred adult pass times like getting high or getting shit-faced, both things I didn’t enjoy myself. But when you have every person close to you laughing at you for seeing the latest cartoon movie solo or how you were excited that the Disney Store got a Ludwig Von Drake doll in stock… well, it was hard not to feel like shit. It got to the point where I would put myself down all the time. Asking myself why the hell couldn’t just like ‘adult’ things without feeling like I’m putting on a front.
For a long time I put my hobbies aside and tried to be what other people wanted me to be. This really, really, really did not work out. If anything I came down with a terrible case of being a miserable fuck. After a while I cut these ‘friends’ out of my life, but it made me really cautious to ever let anyone know that side of me. Even as I got a bit more comfortable with myself, I would still try to keep any and all toy/doll related purchases quiet.
Then you’d see movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin that would drive this point home even further. You have a guy like Andy, who’s a very nice and sweet guy. Just socially awkward. He meets Trish and he’s nothing but the best boyfriend in the world to her. Except, oh shit. He collects toys and rides a bike to work! Those aren’t qualities of an adult who deserves a relationship. Better change that noise now if you want this girl to accept you. The worst Trish had to do was accept the fact Andy hadn’t had sex. He had to give up a lifelong hobby and start changing for a woman who’s quick to belittle his lifestyle and accuse him of being a pervert/possible serial killer a little too quickly. I hated the message of their relationship, if anything it super bummed me out.
I’ve been reading Shortpacked for years and it’s hands down my favorite webcomic. When Drew started to give mention about Ethan, the character I resonate with the most, changing his habits. I was sure the comic was going to pull a 40 Year Old Virgin. The fact it ended with Ethan standing up for his hobbies floored me. I’m so used to collecting being something to be mocked or ‘fixed’. This was the first time I haven’t seen a collector be told ‘You care about toys more than a person? Are you a moron? You need to give that shit up so you can be with a person who’s willing to leave you over a harmless hobby that makes you happy’.
As silly it might sounds, this break up conversation stuck with me in a big way since it’s original posting. I would remember this every time my mother would put me down for having toys in MY apartment. But like Ethan, my collecting isn’t destructive. I have a healthy social life, a good job, and I pay all of my bills before making a purchase. I’ve gotten to the point that whenever someone wants to put me down over my hobbies, which they still do, I remind them how I can spend my money however I damn well pleased. That life can be a giant shit-fest at the best of times, and I refuse to feel guilty over one of my few pleasures in life.
So yeah, the message of tl;dr post is the very opposite of Damn you, Willis! Thanks.
This strip had one of the strongest impacts on me than most other strips. I actually said “Oh Damn!” when I read that last panel and I don’t ever verbally announce reactions unless something is really shocking. We all knew this would happen but that last panel man,that’s hurt.
That was the worst time for the shop to run out of regular cups.
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