Feb 15, 2017

Zits: A Comic Strip for Anyone Dating Twinks

He's big, awkward, clumsy, and gawky, with weird tattoos and piercings.

He sleeps till noon.

He is constantly texting, tweeting, and posting on social media, but he refuses to hold a face-to-face conversation.  When you ask "How was your day?", you get a blank stare.

He leaves his clothes scattered all over the floor, dumps wet towels all over the bathroom, and God forbid he ever washes a dish.

He is physically incapable of showing up for anything on time.

He is constantly criticizing your wardrobe, musical tastes, pop culture references, and knowledge of technology.

He has pizza and ice cream for breakfast, and never gains an ounce.

He wants sex thirty time a day.

Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott's comic strip Zits depicts 15-year old Jeremy Duncan from the parents' point of view,  depicting adolescence in all of its geeky, gawky, messy, self-obsessed glory.

But if you're dating teenagers or twinks, it will ring absolutely true.

 I can see Jeremy every time I try to get a twink date or hookup to look up from his smartphone now and then, or when I order a salad while he gets the triple-bacon cheeseburger.

Jeremy has a coterie of friends, including best bud Hector, bohemian Pierce, and girlfriend Sarah, but most of the jokes involve generation-gap squabbles with Mom and Dad.

There are also jokes about being middle-aged, balding, and clueless, to give the teenagers something to laugh at.

There are only two differences between the 21-year old still snoring in my bed at 11:30 am and Jeremy Duncan:

1. Jeremy is not attractive.  Actually, there's no beefcake in the strip at all. Sometimes the cartoonist pays attention to feminine breast and curves, but the men are all stylized and nondescript, meant to be funny-looking rather than hot.

2. Jeremy is heterosexual.  Way, way, way heterosexual, in that annoying "girl-crazy" fashion.  Heterosexism is the rule in Zits: "All boys, without exception, long for girls."

And that annoying casual homophobia: the touch of another man, even your dear friend, is repugnant, as this 2014 strip tells us in emphatic terms.

A gay character named Billy appeared in a few strips in 2006, identifying himself as gay, but expressing an interest in "hot girls."  He vanished, due to Jim Borgman's squeamishness over "seeing the 6:00 news in a comic strip."  Later, Borgman backtracked, saying that he was "proud" of the continuity.

Billy appeared again, just once, in 2012.  Jeremy advises, "Give it time, dude. They're from a different generation, so it takes them time to catch up."

Sarah asks "Are Billy's parents upset that he's gay?"  No, Jeremy says, "We're talking about phone apps."

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