Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
This comic displays Cueball's fears that his attempts to strike up a conversation with Megan will only result in her rejecting him and even humiliating him in front of others for attempting to get to know her - he might even risk getting his picture on
Facebook with a warning that he is a creep to be avoided. This is because he worries that others might interpret his behavior as
sexual harassment, the exaggerated flip-side of his attempted courtship. It turns out in the fifth and last panel that the first four panels was just one large thought bubble on how Cueball fantasized an attempt to contact Megan would turn out.
Ironically, however, Megan is actually attracted to Cueball and is dismayed that he has not spoken to her. Therefore, Cueball's fears are unfounded and are even preventing the two from meeting and possibly forming a relationship. Megan could of course also have spoken to Cueball herself, but she expects him to make a move if he is interested. Thus she also prevents herself from making contact because of her own expectations and fears of rejection.
The title text is the continuation of Megan's apparent journal entry and further emphasizes the irony of the situation: in the attempt to be alluring to Cueball, Megan took out her "adorable new
netbook," the very thing Cueball stopped himself from complimenting in the first place.
This comic comments on the unsettling effects of social change, particularly with respect to the advent of
social media and to modern sensitivity toward a woman's (or any person's) right to be left alone in public. It points out that attempting to start a conversation with a stranger has become risky, and we have yet to evolve new customs and conventions to signal openness to such an approach. The risk is aggravated by social media, by which means an innocent misjudgment may subject one to public humiliation - or even worse someone might expect that you had intention of performing some
sexual crime - if that type of info is published with a picture and/or your name on Facebook or
Twitter etc. your life could be ruined without any reason. As a result, opportunities to meet other people are missed, loneliness and social isolation are increased, and one may even experience existential fears of being unattractive. Ironically, some people react to this problem by relying on the same social media to stay connected with others.
- [Two people are sitting on chairs.]
- Cueball: Hey, cute netbook.
- Megan: What.
- Cueball: Your laptop. I just—
- Megan: No, why are you talking to me.
- Megan: Who do you think you are? If I were even slightly interested, I'd have shown it.
- Megan: Hey everyone, this dude's hitting on me.
- Voice #1: Haha
- Voice #2: Creepy
- Voice #3: Let's get his picture for Facebook to warn others.
- [This panel fades into a thought bubble of Cueball.]
- [Megan is typing on her laptop.]
- Dear blog,
- Cute boy on train still ignoring me.
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Is the real-life example unwarranted? Greyson (talk) 15:26, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
- Admirably done. I like the link. In future, though, the wiki-engine doesn't know what single returns means, so if you want a paragraph break hit enter twice. lcarsos_a (talk) 16:07, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
A hint for girls, we all have the SAME fears, don't be afraid to find out who we are on the inside :) - E-inspired (talk) 04:46, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
- Uh...men typically don't have to worry about getting harassed, assaulted, or killed like women do. At least not to the same degree. Your nervousness about being turned down is not the same as the woman's fear of being attacked. 18.104.22.168 20:57, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
- Thank you for making this comment. It perfectly outlines the exact type of conceited, one sided views that are being used by tumblr feminists in their crusade for "safety" and "equality". The idea that men are all some sort of all powerful being, incapable of being abused or raped is not only factually wrong, but actually perpetuates the abuses against them as more and more men stop coming forward for fear of looking weak. You speak as if you have knowledge in this field, but that just can't be the case. If you did, you would be much better educated as to the real breakdowns of sexual violence per gender, and know just how ridiculous your claims are. 22.214.171.124 20:11, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
- 
- Men are more likely to be murdered than women. You are wrong on the internet. 126.96.36.199 18:48, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
- Quite frankly, the rates of violence against men are much lower, and almost all of it is committed by men (as you can tell by googling "literally anything about crime statistics"). Men are less harmed and less affected by these issues (see, eg, Moradi and Huang 2008); further, what you just posted is a strawman, because what was posted above does not claim that men cannot be harmed or raped, only that one fear is greater than the other.
- Given that feminism is the entire reason the legal definition of rape in america includes men - see the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazines Rape Is Rape campaign, I think you maybe want to inform yourself more. 188.8.131.52 19:47, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
- What girl wants to be with a guy who is so introspective and nervous that he can't talk to girls? A hint for guys, grow a pair. 184.108.40.206 02:29, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
It seems pretty obvious to me that the comic intends to point out the paralyzing paranoia men can have about interacting with women, and the description as it is seems to refuse to explain the comic out of sheer disagreement. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
The comments here, with the call for men to "grow a pair" combined with the (false) claim that women are at greater danger of being attacked than men (seemingly offered as justification for unreasonable female caution or hostility toward men), are a perfect illustration of why this anomie exists.18.104.22.168 03:05, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
- I think that there are younger girls who don't get a lot of male attention and are too inexperienced to be familiar with the neckbeard/fedora types. They think a "nice guy" sitting by himself is like them and just needs someone to be with. They haven't learned that all the guys who complain about lack of girls despite being surrounded are just sex hounds who claim they want a relationship. 22.214.171.124 18:48, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
...What? The claim that women are in greater danger of being attacked than men is NOT false. In 2010, Women were 21 times more likely to be the victim of sexual crimes than men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (0.1 cases per 1000 males, and 2.1 cases per 1000 females per year). Not only that, but the vast majority of cases of male sexual assault victims were assaulted by another male. Debate on the subject is fine, but let's at least get our facts straight. 126.96.36.199 03:12, 12 May 2014 (UTC)Greg
- You are right, but this comic is more about women using this fact to cover their own capabilities to talk to a "interesting" man. And because your facts are correct it must be mentioned at this explain. But this comic is also about the "strange" behave done by women to men; hard to understand by a man. And because this comic is still even more complicated this gets an incomplete tag with your mentions. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:28, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
- I agree with Greg. Let us indeed 'get our facts straight'. More men are raped in the US than women, figures on prison assaults reveal 188.8.131.52 22:50, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
- As a point of departure, The Daily Mail isn't exactly known for its sterling reporting record, and the article cited above is no exception. It cherry picks from two different sources (prison and non-prison populations) as well as two different definitions (sexual abuse and rape) in order to concoct a sensational and ultimately inaccurate headline. We are comparing two entirely different sets of populations: incarcerated vs. non-incarcerated (even ignoring the fact that it's also men in US prisons who are the bad actors). I'm surprised I even need to point out the difference. One should hope that the daily atmosphere in US society writ large is not marked by the same hyper-aggression and mental illness that exists in federal prisons. Further, according to BJS, in 2010 approximately 270,000 women experienced and reported sexual assault, compared to 17,400 men, and, yes, the 218,000 inmates in 2008 (not specified whether male or female in the Daily Mail article). I appreciate honest attempts to move a conversation forward, but please let's try to be consistent and intellectually rigorous in our arguments and rebuttals. Orazor (talk) 07:27, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
- I hope that the Daily Mail reference was a joke. That publication certainly is. Is this continuing debate the only reason the explanation is incomplete? I'm not sure it applies. What is the definition of incomplete anyway? 184.108.40.206 15:10, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
- 2.1 in a 1000? That still leaves 997.9 in a 1000. If those odds are enough to make you shun an entire half of the human population, then you might be paranoid. And those 2.1 probably tend to occur in certain situations and certain places, although I'm loathe to actually make any claims without the data to back me up. Yes, there is still misogyny in our society, Tumblr feminists, but the majority of us would never knowingly hurt anybody, females included. So while carrying mace in your purse is understandable, not speaking to a cute non-psychotic guy because you think that the moment you show any interest in him, he won't let you go until he has had your way with you, that's a bit too much. And ironically, it still ends up placing the blame on the victims of such encounters. "Oh, but you talked to him first, you shouldn't have recognized his existence. Everybody knows you don't recognize a male's existence or else you're asking for it."220.127.116.11 14:26, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
- Here's a fun statistic. Somewhere between 1 in 20 and 1 in 200 men has raped somebody, based on a simple calculation of the number of american rapes versus the number of american men. It's 1 in 20 if you assume that the average American rapist accounts for ten victims; in truth, the average american rapist accounts for only six, meaning that 1 in 20 is a lower bound. 1 in 200 is roughly the figure you get for a lower bound if you pretend that every rape is reported.
- How's that for risk?
- I feel like you also might be missing that the figure of 2.1 in 1000 is IN A WORLD WHERE WOMEN ARE HYPERCAUTIOUS ABOUT THIS. it does not work as an argument for them being less vigilant. 18.104.22.168 19:50, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
- According to the UN, its more like 333 out of 1000: "On average, at least one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime." --22.214.171.124 17:02, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
- PS: There is not a single excuse for rape and also no way to "ask for it". Except to actually ask for it (consensual non-consent); but then its not called rape anymore. --126.96.36.199 17:06, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
I think this cartoon elegantly captures the age-old challenge of dating: how to make contact with someone you find attractive, without contravening the social mores of your time - be it not talking to someone you have not been introduced to in the Victorian times, not making eye-contact in a bar unless you are "available" late last century, as well as the practice using any number of props such as witty opening lines, proclaiming a shared interest in poetry, accidentally running into each other at second hand book fairs or the joining the local skydiving club. The specific example here flags out the fears of "cyber social rejection" as another component to how we arbitrarily constrain the dynamic of "boy wants to meet girl, girl wants to meet boy" -- ZenDad (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I don't think this should be tagged as incomplete. The explanation looks pretty complete to me. 188.8.131.52 02:09, 21 June 2014 (UTC)