What’s so funny?

If you want to know how men really feel about women, grab a newspaper and turn to the comics page.

In Arlo & Janis, the strip about a Boomer couple entering middle age, Janis digs through a drawer stuffed to the brim with sexy lingerie. This, she declares, is enough to last a lifetime, though the same would be true even if the drawer were significantly less crowded. The next day, Janis asks Arlo if he remembers a particular item he gave her as a gift. He throws it on the floor and says, “Yes!”

In Zits, which chronicles the adventures of your average sixteen-year-old boy, a girl walks past Jeremy, the star, and his friend, Pierce, sending the dudes into paroxysms of pleasure. When they come back to Earth, Jeremy says, “You gotta love the way girls smell.”

In Mr. Boffo, a 21st century riff on The Born Loser, Nadine asks her husband, Earl, to get her lipstick, which is in her purse, “in a gold make-up case in the pouch on the inside second zipper under the notebooks and the folding chairs.”

The last one is brilliant. The purse is obviously a metaphor for the daunting, sometimes frightening, world men enter when they engage women. The purse is little, but there’s a lot in it—and he can’t explain what it all is, how it got there or even why it’s there in the first place.

Zits takes that idea one step further. Women are scary, but damn, it’s hard not to love everything about them. If the wiggle in the walk and the giggle in the talk don’t nab you, something else will. There are, after all, five senses.

The first one maybe isn’t all that deep. It’s just true. I’ve said it here before, but it bears repeating: If a guy’s buying you sexy lingerie it’s not because he thinks you have something to hide, but something he likes to see. Lingerie is the setting; the woman is the stone.

Does any of this apply to Fast Lane? I don’t want to give too much away, but Clay wants people to think he knows his way around a female. Does he? In the end, only Lara knows for sure.

Romance can be funny that way. Or, rather, it should be. If it wasn’t it would just be scary. Like the stuff you see every day on the front page.

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