Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
The title is a double reference. Firstly, the lines in Rob and Emily's IM conversation for a while have exactly the same length. Secondly, they use a fixed-width, or monospaced, font. (It could be Courier.)
That Rob feels forced to change what he wants to type to continue the pattern could be a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder.
Because of the monospaced font, any reply with 19 characters (including space) would have continued the pattern, in particular "definitely for real", the other alternative given by Emily.
The title text is a reference to the line "I wish I knew how to quit you" from the movie Brokeback Mountain.
[A man, Rob, is sitting at a computer. The text is an IRC-style transcript of a conversation, in a fixed-width font. He is text-messaging a girl he slept with named Emily; their messages read as follows:]
<emily> hey you
<rob> last night was nice
<emily> the best i've had
<rob> yeah it was AMAZING
<emily> ok, i have to ask
<emily> is this for real?
<emily> or is it just sex
<rob> definitely just sex
<emily> holy shit
<emily> are you serious?
<emily> you don't know how much that made
my stomach hurt
<emily> i want to cry
<rob> i'm sorry
<rob> i wanted to type 'i love you'
<rob> but our line lengths were syncing up
<rob> and it would have broken the pattern
* emily has disconnected
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All these statements would have been aligned, too:
No this is for real
I love you so much!
I really love you!!
It’s the real thing
You can believe it!
I love you!!!!!!!!!
I love you. Really.
Definitely for real
This is an odd one, because Emily presented two alternatives, both of the same length. Both choices would have retained the pattern.--22.214.171.124 09:21, 3 September 2012 (UTC)madd
- No it isn't - 'rob' is two characters shorter than 'emily', so his answers have two be two characters longer. So Emily's answers won't do. Kaa-ching (talk) 09:49, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
- Nope. 'for real' and 'just sex' (assuming the use of a monospace font, which appears to be the case) are the same length. As 'definitely just sex' allows the lines to match up, 'definitely for real' should also. -- 22:50, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
- This is because 'for real' and 'just sex' are both being said by Rob to complete his 19-character message. All of Emily's messages are 17 characters long, because her name is two shorter. 126.96.36.199 17:02, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
- ...other alternatives:
Just sex? No way!!!
This isn't just sex
This is for serious
I want to marry you
This is not for sex
- Greyson (talk) 21:01, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand this statement: "Rob then attempts to justify what he said which, possibly by design, is the normal text alignment for making text being even on both the left and right sides of a page." Does it need clarifying, or am I just confused? St.nerol (talk) 22:18, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
- He's referring to the implied pun on the word "justified", which can mean "done for a good or legitimate reason" or "having been adjusted so that print forms a straight line on one or both margins." I'll clarify it. - jerodast (talk) 13:33, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
The "alternative replies" suggested above are hilarious because they betray that their suggesters probably can't relate to compulsions well. To begin with, they begin with capital letters, while the comic lines don't! This is inconsistency. And then, they include trailing punctuation, repeated punctuation, spacing mistakes... 188.8.131.52
18:50, 26 February 2014 (UTC)