4.14 Back in The Saddle 26

May 28th, 2013, 12:01 am

User Comments:

OhDear (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 12:10 am

That Attitude
Oh Lauren...why do you insist on making this so much more painful than it needs to be. That's all I got.

Andy (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 12:49 am

You're right, Lauren. How dare Sam be a flawed human who made poor decisions while under stress? He must exhibit nothing but Vulcan-like emotional detachment when interacting with other people, or he is clearly a failure.

Crawfish (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 12:50 am

Damn, girl. Your man is trying to do right here. Ease it up some. If you hadn't led Rick along and played these silly games in the first place, it never would have escalated to this position in the first place.

violentgril (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 1:06 am

I've never commented before, but...
I feel like I gotta say, go Lauren! Don't let him come crawling back to you whenever he wants to. You have agency in your own life, girl! Speak your mind. You don't have to sit back and let him dictate how the situation is going to happen - tell him how you feel and let him know it's not okay to treat you like that! A+ comic Mr. Twist, I'm a big fan, through thick and thin.

Wuhu (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 1:38 am

Some good make up luvvin a-comin'!

TCGC (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 1:40 am

Lauren's hair...it just irks me.

Someone (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 1:57 am

Bad Hair Day?
@TCGC: So the Truth is Lauren is having a bad hair day and takes no prisoners!

Xinea, May 28th, 2013, 2:01 am

Lauren's right that Sam shouldn't be looking for excuses. But I'm confused about the 'insist' part. Has Sam been talking about art exhibit pressure before this point?

DemonicMRX11, May 28th, 2013, 2:33 am

Damn, I think Sam is sunk. Lauren seems pretty intent on running this conversation, so good luck getting equal time to talk, dude. It also seems like she is in fight mode still, which is gonna torpedo any rational sit-down regardless of who's running it.

I say it seems like she's still in fight mode because she brings up a positive he did, but applies negative reinforcement by belittling how long it took to do it. Also, hitting bottom can be very effective, but I don't think anyone outside the comic's universe truly knows if it always takes that for Sam. From what I've seen I doubt it does, but I can't be sure. I don't really know the guy.

It sounded like he was gonna say more after his excuse/reason (depending on how you look at it, they seem to be interchangeable sometimes) as well. I hope Lauren starts making some "I" statements too. A barrage of "you" statements doesn't make someone more innocent. They're both guilty, of making the other feel negatively.

It's pretty clear Sam wants to make up for this, but the way this starting out I don't think Lauren wants to work this out. She's got a funny way of showing it if she does.

Zachary (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 2:45 am

What about Sam's greevencis?
Sam had his ass handed to him when he tried to talk about his feelings. The things going through my head, where I in his shoes.

"Is that what it takes for YOU to admit to me that your friend likes you? Trust is a two way street! You really see nothing wrong with having a friendship based on giving you attention? And talking about me behind my back? Do my emotions really merit no consideration? You're right, jealousy is childish. Here, let me purge it, along with my capacity for evil! Aside from being narcissistic, you have been mean.

I have a lot to answer for, but not to you like this. Get down from that pedestal. It's hurting my neck."

Firefly (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 3:08 am

Still here?
This is your last chance Sam! Leave her! Run away! You want to put up with this every time you fuck up for the rest of your life?

Ingrid (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 3:45 am

Damn, I'm really torn here. The longer into the story we get, the more obvious it is that Sam didn't handle the situation in the best way, to put it mildly. And I support Lauren in standing up for herself and her point of view in this. I kinda agree with her last statement, seen from where she's standing. I have no problem imagining that when you're hurt and angry, what Sam's saying can easily sound like cheap excuses to trivialize his actions and behaviour.

But still. But still I find myself thinking that Lauren seems very blind to Sam's point of view here, and how he might have perceived the situation. I maintain that Rick didn't make the best first impression, or extended his hand that far at all.

But these are all my thoughts. Let's see how the story plays out!

The_Hankerchief, May 28th, 2013, 5:02 am

What Sam just did, namely, trying to explain himself in response of Lauren's question, is something I learned not to do in basic training. When the MTIs (the Air Force's version of a drill sergeant, military training instructor) asked you a yes or no question, then you damn well respond with a yes or no. Anything else was construed as backtalk and you were immediately put on your face (i.e. do pushups until you either puke or they feel you learned your lesson.). This exchange sort of reminded me of that.

All lessons learned, Sam, should have answered her question directly, because it looks like she's about to put you on your face.

Bealtaine (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 5:14 am

On one hand I can see where Lauren is coming from. Sam should not have taken his stress about the exhibit out on her.He should be taking responsibility for his actions.On the other hand he is human and we all fuck up from time to time. He seems genuinely sorry so I think she should be a little less harsh.

Chris C. (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 5:42 am

I never comment on this comic, I barely ever read the comics, but to all the "Look how unfair she's being to poor emotional Sam!" folks, Lauren also has emotions. Feeling some pressure about his photography doesn't give him much of a right to beat up his girlfriend's new friend just for being kind of a dick. He had no show of faith, she was defensive about it. This isn't a particularly one-sided issue in any sense.

Storn (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 6:26 am

It's familiar
I went through exactly this when I was about the age of the kids in this strip. Instead of hitting the guy, I broke up with the girl. Who couldn't see what was wrong with putting me in situations where I was very uncomfortable. And yes, we did talk about it. Just like here, she knew how I felt. Sorry, I just can't buy into this, given that she knew exactly how Sam felt about her friend. Lauren has a bad problem with blind spots. How did she ever not see this coming?

yayness (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 6:42 am

And the Lauren-bashing restarts!

Yes, Lauren could hide all her feelings and irritation and anger and give Sam a cookie for doing something decent. What would that solve?

People wanted her to have an honest conversation. Well she's having one. It may result in them breaking up, or them staying together. But the point is, it's /honest/. And it deals with the issue she feels very strongly about, namely that Sam accused her of cheating and punched her friend.

Jeffko, May 28th, 2013, 8:19 am

I admit that I was at first irked that Lauren was still on Sam's case, but by the 4th panel I knew there was still lots of talking to do. Sam's still hanging on to that exhibit as the core reason why he flew off the handle, which isn't the full reality of it, IMO.

Stressing out about his exhibit may have put him on edge, but I think one thing that this whole story arc has shown is that Sam's capacity for being jealous, paranoid and aggressive was always there, deep down, and not because he's a man. These feelings can be inside anyone to various degrees, and he just found out what it takes to bring them out: the misguided words of a friend (Christo), inaction or very limited action when face-to-face with the source of his frustration (curt talk with Rick when first introduced) and his misinterpretation of genuine friendship with deeper interests or simple naivete (Lauren).

As Lauren implicitly pointed out in the last panel, Sam hasn't really come to terms with what he's capable of feeling. Blaming it on the exhibit is an easy way out, but admitting that a jealous man lurks inside him seems too difficult for Sam, despite the obviousness of it. Thing is, Sam actually opened up about that to Rick when he apologized to him, but then said that it was really unlike him. Perhaps he thought this because he didn't really know himself and what he was capable of. This is what Lauren wants to see/hear: not just that Sam is sorry, but that he knows WHY his actions came about. As Rick said in his convo with Sam, apologies don't mean anything if you can't back them up. I know that people still have their reservations about him (hell, I had my own, at some point), but seeing him interact with Peter, a guy who approached him as a normal person, with zero knee-jerk douchebaggery, brought home the extent at which a first impression can make all the difference.

While I still feel that Lauren and Rick had their own part to play in this fustercluck, it was ultimately Sam who lost control of himself. That's on him. He needs to be as honest about himself toward Lauren, his own girlfriend, as he was with Rick; moreso, even.

Fyb, May 28th, 2013, 8:37 am

What Lauren says might be right, once again. The thing is, at this point I don't feel like saying it will actually be of any help to anyone, and certainly not in that tone. She IS basically just bashing on Sam to vent, and in a very agressive manner.

However, I don't think Sam should "fight back". It would serve nothing more than put fuel on the still hot embers. I guess the best way to react would be simply to answer that she's probably right and that he needs to reflect on this, and then ask what she'd like to add. Take it like a man.

When I was a child, teachers and guardians would often repeat "it's not who started it that counts, it's who stops it". I believe this piece of schoolyard wisdom very much apply to this whole fiasco.

As for their relationship, seems to me like breaking up is the best option for both at this point. This way at least, they might be able to be friends again someday.

Edit: Well, at least I perceive Lauren to be agressive. Looking at her eyes in the last panel, it's possible her expression is more one of pleading exasperation than anger. But at least, she should make some effort to not seem like she's out for blood, so that Sam can understand her point of view entirely, and not be put of the defensive.

mcjstar (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 9:05 am

Ok, I am going to try and not join the Lauren bashing, but she does need to dial it back like 5 notches cuz she's at an 11 right now. Sam is trying to own up to his mistakes. He owned up to Rick, and rick was a little condescending, but he did make some accurate points. Sam does need to own up completely to his feelings, but the tone she's taking isn't needed or helping. A good sit down talk like he and Rick had and she and Rick had is what is needed. Also she needs to not act like she has no fault in the feelings that happened if she wants Sam to admit everything he was feeling.

Amgodtic (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 9:23 am

It feels like Lauren's dragging this out, but I think that has as much to do with the strip-a-day format as anything else; it's only actually been a day or two, and they haven't actually had THE talk yet, because Lauren went straight to bed. Emotions are still running high, and I expect that *now* is when we will actually see the tension between them detonate.

Still say he should just walk away, as much for his own immaturity as any other reason. Lauren...if she's this pissed but doesn't want to leave him...well, I mean, that's nice an' all, but it's kind of a bad sign. That spells Dysfunctional with a capital 'D'.

Jeffko, May 28th, 2013, 9:35 am

@Amgodtic: Walking away would actually be Sam's worst move right now, if he still wishes to be in this relationship.

As for Lauren being pissed while still wanting to be with him, that ain't dysfunctional, in my book. If she really didn't give a damn about him anymore, she would be gone already. The fact that all that emotion is coming out is ultimately a good thing. This way, everyone can know exactly how the other person feels and there's no longer any misunderstandings. I believe all she wants is for Sam to take ownership of the reasons why he acted the way he did and it wasn't solely because of some exhibit.

Bottom line, I think he should be as open with her as he just was with Rick.

Luci (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 10:12 am

@The_Hankerchief: I'm sure that's very good advice for the military but this is supposed to be a loving relationship not a commander/subordinate one. It can be a fine line between making excuses and explaining oneself. But if we aren't allowed to explain what happened then how can we move forward with better understanding? Lauren is allowed to be angry but I agree with others that it unfair of her to completely discount what he is saying to her or look at the part she played in escalating the situation.

Christina (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 10:26 am

Guys. Guys. Just break up already. This is ridiculous.

The_Hankerchief, May 28th, 2013, 10:42 am

@Luci: I understand trying to state your point, I just feel Sam could have responded differently.Instead of answering a "yes or no" question with a yes or no, his reply, as appears to an outsider's eye, is dodging the question. I used to respond in similar ways, so I'm sure he's not trying to,so much as he's expressing his remorse and willingness to make it right, but that's what it appears like to Lauren. He's explaining why he acted like he did, she sees it like he's trying to justify himself. A better response would have been to say no, she would have asked why he did it then, and then he could have had his day in court. The best thing Sam can do to recover at this point is take his lumps and show, not just tell her, how he's gonna make it up to her.

Well, that's my spiel for today, I got to go to work. See you all later.

march (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 11:09 am

hmm. I used to dislike Lauren more and my gut reaction to this strip was similarly negative. But I remembered a time when someone hounded me about something, and it was that 'last straw', so even though he had already let it go, I wanted to make sure he knew that I was really angry and what I had been angry about because I felt he didn't see where I was coming from. So I'm beginning to see Lauren's POV. That being said, still don't like her - though you may draw conclusions about how much I dislike that part of myself ;) One of those 'it's reality but I don't have to like it!' moments...

Jay (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 11:18 am

Fine, Lauren is angry. I understand that, and can agree that her words and actions are justified.
However, has everyone forgotten that SHE was the one who got angry, lost control and hit/assaulted her partner?

mouranna, May 28th, 2013, 12:02 pm

I think a thing that irks me about this page is Sam. Not Lauren, because yes, she does sound angry, but who wouldn't? The flames are still burning and the dust hasn't settled yet. It's Sam, and how he closes his eyes every time he talks. It might be because of the angle the second time he speaks that his eyes seem closed, but it's as if he can't look at her when he talks.

It's sort of a feeling of disrespect, however unintentional it may be, that he won't look at her when he speaks. It would be highly offensive to me if my partner didn't look me in the eyes when there would be an argument going on. It's like "What, you can't be man enough to even talk to me directly? Is this relationship that far gone to where simple eye contact is too much for you?"

And, at this point, even if the exhibit is a factor to what happened, it's still a factor, not an actual reason as to his actions. It's an excuse on some level, and there's a time to actually own up to ones actions, and not blame it on factors. Hopefully Lauren can do the same too, but right now Sam's on trial.

jodie (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 1:21 pm

we gonna get another talkin-to

Guest, May 28th, 2013, 1:27 pm

Jesus quit the Lauren bashing! I don't even LIKE her as a character but she's absolutely right here! Do people really not realize how scary it is for a woman to see her male partner become violent?! I'm a gay boy but if I saw my boyfriend hit some guy he was jealous of for NO REASON, I would be sure I was the one gonna get beat next! That's reality. And he NEEDS to cut out the "tortured artist" schtick because it's not cute, it's not an excuse, it's manipulative and gross. RUN LAUREN RUN.

Guest818 (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 2:26 pm

The problem, Guest, is that Lauren has been lying to Sam this entire time and fueling this since day 1, has NEVER been open to any discussion of the issue, and is still in full-on hatred mode. Sam would never have gotten violent in the first place if Rick and Lauren hadn't conspired to push him past his breaking point. She's now admitted that she knew Rick had relationship feelings for her (despite insisting to Sam that it wasn't possible), and she's shot down every attempt Sam made to talk about it BEFORE it became a major problem. It appears to me, after a reread or two of the whole arc, that Lauren decided she'd rather be with Rick instead of Sam before the arc started, and this whole thing has been her way of making Sam break up with her instead of having to pony up and tell him she's out.

What gets me is that the author seems to identify quite a bit more with Lauren when he responds to comments, so I wonder if there's not some important bit to the story that never made it out of his head and to us to help me understand... from what I can see, Lauren has been downright evil ever since Rick entered the picture.

Impressed (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 2:37 pm

@Guest818: Still amazed so many people don't understand why a woman wouldn't tell her very jealous boyfriend when another guy is into her, because of course he would calm down after that and wouldn't use it against her at all.

ct95, May 28th, 2013, 3:53 pm


Holy crap people she HIT HIM and all he got was a half hearted five word apology.

Five words and assault is all okay now.

Five words not even looking him in the eye, but delivered over her shoulder as she is walking out of the room

Sam has been at least making attempts to go out of his way to make things right, track down people, offer possible explanations, having extended conversations, etc and that's somehow worth less than five freaking words, when she gets away with HITTING HIM!??!

Where aren't people calling for Lauren to go to anger management and all that crap?

AdmiralBetas, May 28th, 2013, 4:33 pm

Jesus. Wish my comic engendered such...spirited conversation. It's probably cause this one's more relatable to the lives of the commentators. People start reading their own experiences into the story and all bets are off.

Anyway, this should turn out interesting, can't wait :)

Charvale, May 28th, 2013, 4:51 pm

Good points... (warning: this will be looooooong)
Having read all of the comments, I see a lot of people getting down on Lauren for a lot of what happened, and even a few bashing Sam while the pair attempts to reconcile about everything that has transpired. Having reread each of the chapters, I agree that nobody in the entire storyline has been entirely honest, or wholly at fault.

Each of the characters have done their best to drag out the drama (to the best of their ability) where it concerned Rick, and right now they're making excuses for their actions. My hope is that, like Sam has done with Rick, they accept the responsibility for the problems in their relationship, and work through them, or just break it off and start over as friends once more.

Yes, there has been a lot of stress on Sam and very little communication between the pair ever since Rick first came on scene, but that's not the issue. Like Lauren has said, it's all about "Trust". A lot of people (mostly men) think that if you're with someone that they are yours, heart, mind, body, and soul, and the idea that another member of the opposite sex taking an interest in them drives the person nuts, because that person automatically want their significant other in bed. Christo was right in that respect as far as thought processes, and yet he was also wrong for putting Lauren in the same class as most of the women that he might have known.

I saw that all the time in the military, and it was the most annoying garbage I had to listen to during my time in service.

At first, I didn't like Rick simply because I felt that if he couldn't acknowledge Sam (even with a "Hi, Sam") after finding Lauren all those times, then I figured that he was up to no good. It's just a respect thing that I've tried to show others, regardless of how I might have felt about them.

Mostly, my problem wasn't about Sam hitting Rick, or Lauren hitting Sam. What I was having trouble with was that Sam tried to take out his frustrations physically on another person. In that respect, he was wrong, but it was also compounded by Lauren slapping him across the face.

I'm going to level with all of you.

Having been hit several times by females, I, for one, can tell you that getting slapped hurts more psychologically than physically. It's more of a wake-up call and yet I detest the double-standard for violence between couples. This is my own personal belief; If you're significant other is hitting you, do NOT let it continue. If you do, then you're letting them know that it is acceptable behavior. Striking people you love is not acceptable, for ANY reason.

Now that I'm off of my soap box.

Right now, Sam is doing the proper thing, he's letting Lauren get all of her anger, her frustration, and her disappointment out, while taking a passive role. Oh, and those eyes, they're not angry, they're hurt, and that is what's making her angry. In all respect to the characters, I don't blame her for feeling everything she's feeling. Sam was in the wrong, but he wasn't the only one, and during their conversation Lauren will have to accept some of the responsibility for her actions as well.

Well, I'm going to stop my rant, and just say this about "Pictures of You": Gibson Twist you have not only created a compelling storyline that engages everyone in caring about the characters, but also causing them to debate and talk for hours about the story you're spinning for our amusement and entertainment. My hat is off to you, and I only hope that we keep seeing more of these (already complex) characters developing further.

Luci (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 5:25 pm

@The_Hankerchief: I see what you are saying. Honestly, I read Lauren's question as a rheteorical one and a criticism not as a question to which she was expecting an answer. It was at the least a question containing a criticism and not in my opinion particularly useful. Actually, that's not completely fair either. She had a right to express how his behavior made her feel but I think it could have been expressed in less of an attacking manner. Perhaps as others have suggested she'd used more I statements and said something like, "When you behaved that way, I felt like a skank that you didn't trust..." Perhaps Sam simply answering "Yes, I could've" would have yielded a different response. I suppose we will never know.

Luci (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 5:36 pm

@Charvale: Well said.

The_Hankerchief, May 28th, 2013, 6:07 pm

@Luci: Fair enough, salesman.

Well then (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 7:10 pm

@OhDear: Seriously Lauren is a major bitch, there's no nice way of putting it. I was hoping to hear a resemblance of an "I'm sorry" after reading yesterday's strip...nope

It still boggles me on how many people are so strongly on Lauren's side. Are the Lauren supporters just happen to be the ones who comment more? Are there a lot of female readers or something who "support their sista!" ? Are you all abuse victims so therefore since Sam punched someone for the first time in his life he might as well get the death sentence? Is there a much higher percentage of gay readers because there are so many prominent gay characters here who stronger prefer arguing and bitching over the traditional 'guys duking it out one moment and friends the next' way of solving problems adding to the prissiness? I have no clue.

Seriously Lauren supporters keep bringing up that hitting Rick was wrong and the exhibit was a weak excuse. It's as if Sam is 100% wrong here? You gotta be kidding me. Rick does his best douchebag Shakespeare impression prior to being punched announcing to Lauren to follow him, but you know thats totally fine. Provoking like there is no tomorrow or being passive aggressive like a mean girl is all fair game though. They are all at fault and frankly IMO Lauren and Rick are much more at fault, except oh no boo hoo physical violence happened that trumps all! But it's cute when Slugger hits someone...

Pure garbage, man up and grow a pair people. You guys have to be the wimpiest bunch of commenters ever

You are absolutely right Twist, I didn't hate this comic strip before, but I definitely do now. The storyline is annoying to me but the comments here makes it 50 times worse.

I'm out, I'm done. All the best to the rest of this. Keep your 'YES!' men commenters who will like everything no matter what you do like Apple sheep. At least there will be less negative comments which is what you wanted

Leesai (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 7:44 pm

I'm one of those people who isn't liking Lauren much right now. One, she hit her partner. You never do that, period. Yes, he hit Rick, and that wasn't cool, but.. you never hit your partner. Not in anger, not ever (unless they like it, but that's a different comic.) That alone, I don't like her. The final straw for me is, however, her reaction in this comic. He talked to Rick- good. He's admitting that he was in the wrong and was under stress- okay. He has more 'fessing up to do, but it's a good start. SHE needs to cut him SOME slack. Stress does strange things to people. A little jealousy when she's been in the wrong (stating that there were no romantic feelings when there were) is nothing in the face of domestic violence. I guess, for me, it comes down to, you don't hit your partner and then act like your poo don't stink. Boo, Lauren. I liked you before this arc.

Andy (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 10:20 pm

I wanna throw something out here that I didn't notice earlier. Lauren isn't just angry because Sam dodged her question, or is throwing up excuses, or sounds like he's throwing up excuses. She came into this mad. As soon as Sam confirmed that he spoke to Rick, she starts attacking him. She came in looking for a fight while he's trying to fix his mistakes. Hell, she didn't even go off on Christo despite him starting this whole mess.

akagenki, May 28th, 2013, 10:33 pm

Lauren is not any worse than Sam because she's making mistakes just like he did. Mistakes that are even much easier to understand and much less serious than his. She's angry with him, get over it. Why is she suddenly so horrible because she's having a hard time working through her anger at being treated as untrustworthy around other men and having her friend assaulted? She at least has a somewhat valid point, Sam never did.

RJ (Guest), May 28th, 2013, 10:36 pm

Really can't wait for this simply annoying plotline rather annoying to be over.

There is no point for Sam in continuing the relationship -- unless hypocrisy and the role of being physical and verbal punching bag are Sam's turn ons.

Harmonik (Guest), May 29th, 2013, 9:50 pm

Lauren's aggression towards Sam was a lot more founded initially ... but it a teensy hypocritical of her to be the one getting worked up after Sam is trying to make it right, and 'Why do you insist on thinking that makes a difference here?' really? Why would Lauren think that heavy stress on Sam would NOT make a difference?
Did he do the right thing? No.
Is she? No.
If she is that damn pissed and all, just walk away. Do not drag it out and prolong it. End it. Man up, and rip that band-aid off.
Besides, she hit Sam. Not spur of the moment like with Sam and Rick ... she put herself in a place to hit him. She had the time to calm down, and did not.

My thoughts?
1. Sam deserves better.
2. Peter dodged that bullet.

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