Well, he’s on the right track at least.


Rose: So I guess that just leaves the issue of my “experience”.
Nate: PSSHT.
Nate: Let’s just say my perspective has shifted.

Rose: Because you’re as big a slut as the rest of us now?
Nate: I don’t think “slut” is even valid. Terms lose their meaning when they apply to everyone.

Nate (off screen): It’s like back when you had to specifically say “cell phone”. Now they’re ubiquitous, so you can just say “phone”.
Nate (off screen): It’s only when you’re talking about the old-style analog phones that you have to qualify it.

Rose: So non-sluttiness is an obsolete concept only clung to by old people?
Nate: The rest of us will connect with any service in range.

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 12:00 am in Treading Ground. Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment.

68 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:


  2. Chet says:

    Love the comic :D

  3. Oh Nick, I wish your service was in range :)

  4. A Random Dewd says:

    Rose’s expression in the 2nd panel = priceless

  5. Hector says:

    I wish Aya’s service was within range, but even if it was she’d have to be really drunk for that to work.

  6. Dave says:

    So… has he forgotten that she deliberately kissed a guy in front of him just to spite him – and she still hasn’t apologized? They just say “Oops, what do you know. It’s legal after all,” and all the drama that went down has no lasting effect?

    Is sex so shallow and meaningless that the very real possibility that she’ll bone a random dude anytime they have a fight means nothing? Or is he planning to do the same thing?

    • Kramegame says:

      I am fairly certain that you just paraphrased this strip’s meaning…

    • Dirty 'n Evil says:

      THANK YOU. This is what I was worried about in this comic as a solution to Rose having yet another casual physical relationship after hurting Nate. That just because Nate was used by a manipulative girl who took advantage of his loneliness and hurt feelings to rekindle a past relationship, they were finally able to relate as peers.

      Let’s see… Rose made poor choices with sex that she sought out, Nate was used and had regretable sex. Sorry, Nick, Rose is still a slut. The only perspective Nate should have from this experience is that she’s a slut who’s nice to him.

      • Dave says:

        Exactly. Rose doesn’t get to act all smug and worldly-wise after screwing with Nate like that. That’s why it’s not a double standard to have sympathy for Nate but not Rose.

        What happened to Nate was sexual harassment, pure and simple. A superior at his workplace took advantage of her position and his emotional vulnerability to coerce him into sex. He certainly shouldn’t have done it, but he was in a very difficult position. It is actually a testament to his character that he eventually came clean to Miranda. That took balls – he knew what her reaction would be and he was right, but he did it anyway.

        Rose, on the other hand, deliberately and maliciously tongue-wrestled a guy she’d just met for no other reason than to hurt Nate. When he was already coming over to make up with her. Then, when it looked like she’d gained some awareness of how despicable and stupid that was, did she go back and apologize, or try to explain herself or TALK TO NATE AT ALL? No. Instead she went back and banged the same douchebag. Whom she didn’t like. Repeatedly.

        If these two get back together, I hope it comes with some serious self-reflection on Rose’s part, a heartfelt apology, and maybe some groveling for good measure. Without that, I won’t believe that Rose is in this for anything but her own sexual gratification, and Nate will just be a tool with no self-respect.

        • Someone says:

          well… she tried an apology here, but was interrupted by Miranda:

        • Ghost says:

          Sorry, but I disagree. You could say the same thing about Rose: By constantly rejecting her with an (in her eyes) lame reason, she was emotionally hurt and vulnerable, too. Which pushed her into the arms (or on the cock) of Mr. Douchebag.
          I know, it’s a stupid move and she is totally responsible for it, but that goes for Nate, too. He was emotionally so devastated by Rose playing a trick on him after he repeatedly pushed her away that he had nothing better to do that bone the evil bitch of his own past?

          I agree that he was hurt, but he was not that vulnerable. His wiener, his responsibility. He was not date-raped after sobbing through some booze-fest or something. He was totally aware of his situation. And for the record, he did not come clear to Miranda, he basically did nothing so it ended in a cat fight (which he could have at least tried to prevent, instead of staring…).

          In the end, Rose AND Nate acted like total idiots, more or less even similarly. So I hope their getting together comes with serious self-reflection on both parts. Which I think it does, btw. Remember that panel when Rose lay in the bed, obviously reminiscing how stupid it is to bone with Aya’s bro? That looked like some serious thinking (and regret) to me. And Nate finally managed to quit it with the store’s harlot.

          Here’s hope they can tread some ground together in the future, but of course I’m sure they’ll face hijinks in the future, too (this is comedy, after all, not Sparta).

          • Neil says:

            You obviously remember most of the details very well, except for one: Nate admitted the “affair” with Tracy to Miranda just after he broke it off, and Miranda didn’t speak to him again until the beach party.

          • Dave says:

            I never implied that Nate is absolved of all responsibility. In fact, I specifically said, “He certainly shouldn’t have done it.” But my point is, it was sexual harassment – that is, the legal definition of the term as it applies to employment. A superior at his office used her position to influence him into sleeping with her, even to the point of changing his schedule and sabotaging his date. He has good reason to believe that if he turns her down, it will negatively impact his career. He could have reported her to management, gotten her fired, and sued the pants off her, and if I were in his position that’s just what I’d do.

            Don’t believe me? How about if Nate and Tracy’s genders were swapped and the male superior was using the same tactics to seduce the female underling? You don’t think there would be folks outraged at her being victimized?

            Nate went along with it because it was the path of least resistance. That’s his fatal flaw. It was easier to sleep with Tracy than to either say no and risk her retaliation, or to file a sexual harassment complaint which would start a whole world of workplace drama and paperwork.

            In all of this, Nate was cowardly, foolish and indecisive, but never deliberately malicious.

            Rose, on the other hand, was. Her necking with the guy in front of Nate was pure, vindictive pettiness, all the more because it not only gave him a big “fuck you” when he was ready to eat a whole lot of crow for dumping her, but also because it sabotaged her friend’s efforts to patch things up. This bears repeating: She didn’t even like this guy. He was a means to the end of rubbing Nate’s nose in his decision to break up with her, which he did for very good reasons, if a bit callously.

            Let me be clear here: The sex is not what I have a problem with. They both had meaningless sex with no emotional attachment and they both screwed up in that regard. But Rose is the one who owes the apology, because she’s the one who was mean and petty because he wouldn’t have sex with her, and she has never taken any responsibility for it. And “She’s only 17” doesn’t hold any water. If she wants to have an adult relationship, she needs to own up to her actions.

            Oy. I can’t believe I’m getting this worked up over a comedy webcomic. I guess it’s a testament to the strength of the writing and characterizations that Nick can evoke such strong reactions.

      • bookninja says:

        may i just say… you used “girl” if this was applied, as i have assumed, to Tracy, then the term doesn’t really work so well, since “girl” usually implies some sort of innocence. you might try “bitch” instead. just saying.

      • Oberon says:

        Let’s see if I understand this correctly:

        Rose kissed a boy an a really lousy attempt to make Nate jealous. And then took up with said boy once Nate made it clear that their relationship was over.

        After this event, Nate was hit on by his old flame and had multiple sexual encounters with her. Including one which was photographed, and then either witnessed or participated in (“he didn’t just watch”) by the photographer. At work. With no evidence that they mat at all after work or had anything equating to a relationship outside of sex at the office. Trevor at least took Rose to mini golf…

        Rose is the slut? This is the epitome of the “an experienced girl is a slut, and an experienced guy is totally cool” trope.

        Both Rose and Nate banged other people after their relationship was over. Why is Rose a slut for this but yet Nate had “regrettable sex?” Didn’t Rose exhibit regret over her relationship with Trevor? Why doesn’t that qualify as “regrettable sex” rather than making Rose a slut?

    • A Random Dewd says:

      Intelligent conversation? On a comedy webcomic?


  7. Kramegame says:

    So really all that’s left is location…

  8. caladors says:

    It’s so strange looking back at things and thinking how new some of this stuff is in realitive terms. I remember the 90’s well it wasn’t that long ago but now everything seems outdated, you see people in movies with top of the range mobiles and they look so large and ineffective.

    But that last line, could be darkly poetic.
    We connect with any service in range, a metaphor our ever so limited nature, we want so much but in the end we can connect to so little and if anything is willing connect with us we will.
    Also somewhat depressing.

  9. kate says:

    So the are finally becoming a couple… It’s about damn time, I say!

  10. Greenboy2004 says:

    Hurray! Metaphor for the win. I really like where the comic is going keep up the great work

  11. what? says:

    Nice Samsung Fascinate (I’m guessing?)

  12. chumash99 says:

    I’m a little disappointed with Nate’s “any service in range” comment; if he was hoping to make Rose his one and only (at least for now), I think he just blew it.

  13. No Name In Particular says:

    So. will you guys connect to each other’s services already???

  14. Greenwood Goat says:

    But as we’ve all seen, roaming charges can be higher than people want to pay. And the contracts can come back to bite you. >:=)>

    Terminology differs depending on where you are. Over in the UK, we tend to shorten “mobile phone” to “mobile”, and I believe that in places in the US it’s “cellphone” shortened to “cell”. As for normal phones, when distinguishing them from mobiles, the term most commonly used is “landline”.

    In some cases, differentiating terms can hang around long after they are relevant or meaningful. Originally, (and we’re going back to Saxon times, here) all the schools (where present) were run by the church, the best ones being the seminaries (i.e. where they trained the priests). It was relatively common for English gentlemen to put their sons into the seminaries to be educated, and pull them out before they were ordained. So, when members of the public started establishing schools for any members of the public who could pay, these became known as “public schools”, a term eventually adopted in the Public Schools Act of 1868 which regulated them. Which is why all the UK’s “public schools” are actually private schools, and why our actual government-run schools are known as”state schools”.

  15. Looks like someone needs to change the default wallpaper on their Galaxy phone.

  16. Ginger says:

    Interesting way to put it. Sort of like how I want to punch anyone who still says “www” in front of a web page address.

  17. John Madden says:

    That is an interesting analogy.

  18. Samael says:

    “Can you feel me now? … Good!”

  19. Walter says:

    So is he going to “hit it” or what??

  20. Jeff says:

    An Android, nice

  21. Pink Freud says:

    Here’s the part that still bugs me. Look at the expression on Nate’s face. To be perfectly honest, I see less of a “I fucked up… but now we can be happy” and more of a “I’m too tired of this shit to fight any more… if you want me, have me…I’m just too numb to care.” It was one thing back after the country fair date with Miranda when they had had their ‘sleepless night’ and it looked as if they were going to learn something. Now it’s just back to the same old cycle of self-gratification at all costs I find so detestable.

  22. Thortok2000 says:

    Hey, just found this webcomic and read it start to present. First off, love the characters, they’re individual and well defined. It’s easy to be engaged in the story. I’m eager to find out what happens next. ^_^

    For this particular comic though, after reading through the comments, it seems that the main focus has been lost, at least in my opinion. It’s sort of a cross between ‘any port in a storm’ and Nate’s idea that ‘sex is just sex.’

    Also, I disagree with many of the others that talk about Nate’s fooling with Tracy. I’m pretty sure that Nate could’ve stopped it at any time had he the will to do so, however he was powerless to his own hormones. The idea that he was pressured into that relationship by anything other than a depressed desire for sex is something I disagree with.

    Anyway, the point that I’m getting from this comic is that the younger generation considers sex to not be so strict. After all, when Tracy tried to hurt Nate’s chances with Rose by revealing their affair, that didn’t work at all. Rose didn’t really care. So what Rose is asking now is if Nate has the same attitude towards sex. As in, does Nate really care?

    What Nate is communicating is a defeatist attitude which basically works to being that he feels like he should care, but while blaming the attitude on the ‘new generation’, he’s trying to rationalize why he shouldn’t care. While also being mostly over the issue in the first place. (The issue being Rose sleeping with douchebag.)

  23. Philip says:

    I think that Nate DID feel pressured to sleep with Tracy. However, even if I’m wrong and he didn’t feel like his job was in jeopardy, having that excuse probably made it easier for him to allow himself to do it.

    • Pink Freud says:

      Nate was not pressured. There was no threat or coercion. He had an offer on the table for kinky sex by a person he detests and he took it up. To my mind that does not make him a victim. That makes him weak, and a putz. He is absolutely on the same level with Rose who took up a similar offer from a similar waste of space for no better reason then “WTF?”.

      Now that Nate has A) come down from his cloud that he is so much better then Rose, and B) now knows Rose is legally accessible, who knows what will happen.

  24. Crestlinger says:

    .ANY service? Lol, bet Rose’s mom would set him straight on that one.

  25. Maesenko says:

    Y’know, with Rose’s last comment there, that just defined me as “old.”

    Yet I’m only in my early 20’s…

  26. mikey says:

    wow that looks just like my phone

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