#1019 – bring whoever

I feel so weird about this one, that Marek volunteers so much of himself and kinda throws the new girl under the bus. In truth he probably shouldn't be dating, not seriously, if his ex is still so prominently on his mind, still motivating his choices. It's uncomfortable that sweet, kind Marek would be capable of using someone this way. But this was their breakup in essence, the wool being pulled from his eyes, a seemingly perfect world full of problems they just weren't talking about. Are they ready to talk about them now, or was the party just an excuse for one more meeting?

8 thoughts on “#1019 – bring whoever

  1. It is uncomfortable, but as someone who tries very hard to be kind and also tends to date seriously… I am uncomfortable thinking back on the instances where I dated people when I wasn't ready, and the way it hurt one of said people. I guess my point is, it feels realistic to me. But sad. Very, very sad. The good news is that even though they might both feel like they'll never escape the feeling that their former relationship hangs over their thoughts and choices, chances are that they will, someday, when they least expect it.

  2. I've always thought of it as more than just coincidence that we only regularly see Marek's eyes after the breakup…this is why.

  3. It feels really in-character for Marek to make this sort of move. I could easy see him not having the experience needed to know he might be moving along so quickly, his stated reasons for bringing someone along track, and I ONE HUNDRED PERCENT believe that he would be completely incapable of not spilling his guts to Hannah during a surprise moment of vulnerability..

  4. The Neapolitan flavor shading on Hanna's hair is nice.

  5. Do we think that Marek here is being kind or being unkind? On the one hand he is attempting to acknowledge Hanna's feelings of hurt and betrayal here, but on the other maybe she just wants him to leave! Like dude you already screwed up, please go. I am pretty torn tbh.

    1. It's kindness but out of context. The intent is good but the execution is way off.

      There's also the complication that his attempt to be kind is more about his own attachment and guilt rather than the actual situation they are in as exes.

      Whenever I see this comic, I feel a strong parallel to something my partner used to do early on in our dating relationship (please keep in mind that this was almost two decades ago and we both subsequently grew up). He was good at reading me (and people generally) but clueless situationally–we'd be out with friends, and he'd realize I was upset about something. And he'd keep asking me in full view of everyone what was bothering me and insist that he could tell that something was when I said I was fine. He'd keep at it until I finally snapped at him (usually it was about something to do with his ADHD) because I'd been trying so hard to keep a social face on and save my frustrations for a private conversation but I couldn't SAY that without just having the whole conversation. (Or I could, but it would have been equally awkward and it still wouldn't have been over.)

      The kind intent and genuine care were there. It was just the circumstances that made it a problem.

      It's trickier of course for Marek because for him it's not a question of audience and timing–this level of intimacy is boyfriend or close friend. It's boundary-blurring.

      I think it's less that Hanna wants Marek to leave and more that she DOESN'T want him to leave, and that's what makes it so painful: they still want to be together even though breaking up was a mutual decision and they aren't trying to renegotiate it.

      It's why I would snap at my then-boyfriend, because I *wanted* to talk about the thing that was bothering me, I just knew it was the wrong time and place. That's where the tension comes from. If you actually want to blow the guy off, then he's Puget Sean, and if you are me or Hanna it's easy.

  6. "the wool being pulled from his eyes"

    Ooooh. THAT'S what happened. http://www.octopuspie.com/2019-12-09/630-not-perf

  7. I just wanted to say, this is one of the pages of Octopus Pie that I think about all the damn time. Back in 2017, I remember reading this page and thinking Hanna was being unfair, both to Marek and herself. I thought it was kind of him to still care about being gentle with her feelings. He didn't have to care, but he didn't want to hurt her arbitrarily.

    But now I can recognize this kind of dependency, and I feel proud of Hanna for drawing the line, even if she's a little mean about it. There's a period of time after a serious breakup where you need to affirm that you DID mean a lot to the other person, and you weren't easily cast aside. But at a certain point, you have to accept the other person moving on, and that their thoughts of you just won't amount to so much anymore. I read this page as Marek still being eager to lick each other's wounds. He wants Hanna to know that she still really matters to him, and I think he wants to feel that in return. Hanna, meanwhile, has recognized the limits of that line of thinking, and she's eager to grow past it. Of course she and Marek still matter to each other, but there's nothing to be gained by dwelling on that, or trying to squeeze some affirmation out of it.

    I could be projecting!! I went through two very different breakups in 2017 VS 2021. But I love how this scene has stuck with me through both.

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