May 2008

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« Basic Instructions, Part 3 | Main | Delicious Conspiracy Theories »



Real Live Girl's comment reminded me of a thing my husband drives me mad with:
when he holds the opinion that I should brake, he makes big-truck-braking-sounds with his breath like children do, when they play - and as the ardent feminist that he is, he does it all without even knowing it ...


My wife is very "the modern model does nothing but facilitate the lie that they are what women are supposed to look like leading girls to go off the deep end trying to attain that look." So if I get caught looking at one of these women (movies, print, on the street) and sense that I am about to be caught, I have to go to the "Can you believe that she would wear something like that?" defense.
I guess that it is better for your wife to view you as a member of the Queer Eye group than a hormone driven goober.


One thing my husband does that drives me crazy... when we're out visiting friends and it's getting late he'll say "well we should probably be going" so I figure that means we're leaving so I'll stand up, and he'll stay seated and keep talking... He has to say "we should be going" at least three times before he actually stands up to leave... Yes, I've learned my lesson by now.



I think my dog has the same idea about "time to go" as you do...

It's similar to my wife and I telling the kids that bedtime is at 10pm. To us, this means "in bed, lights out, getting ready for a good night's sleep." They know this, they have known it for years, and yet they still manage to be surprised when we scold them for wanting to get something to eat, take a shower, check their MySpace, take the dog for a walk, etc. at 9:59pm. I guess they have no sense of planning for the future or deadlines, or of estimating how much time something will take.

I'm sure there's a comic in there somewhere, but it may not be right for Basic Instructions - I haven't seen any kids in the strip yet. Perhaps it can be reworked to the difference between how I go to bed (clothes off, in bed, lights out) and how my wife goes to bed (check on the kids, check that the doors are locked, set the alarm, put the dog in her crate, change into pajamas, wash face, etc.) but I think I've seen/heard that before.


One that always gets my goat but I find amusing is the scenario where you're rushing to get everything ready for some big event and their are a list of things to do. You go off and start on the major tasks that are most important (e.g. actually packing a suitcase to go away), but your wife starts on something relatively minor (e.g. deleting tracks off her MP3 player so we can take some different music with us). Of course, the MP3 player chore is _on the list_ so you can't complain about it happenning while you run aroud like a loony...


Unfortunately, while I myself appreciate the wordy format of Mr. Meyer's original comics and believe it works, I also agree with Mr. Adam's recommendation for less wordiness. Most people find it an effort to read, and if the goal is to get widespread syndication for Basic Instructions, fewer words would broaden its appeal.

My suggestion: he uses the most appropriate tool to get the specific task done in the best way (correct screwdriver fetched from the basement), she uses whatever is closest (kitchen knife).


Maybe "The Wisdom of Crowds" explains why the commenters on this blog are giving more valuable advice than the expert.


Before I throw a party, I always have a list a mile long that needs to be completed. And I usually ask my husband to help me. Since about half of the items on the list really shouldn't be done until an hour of the party, the last 90 minutes end up being pretty hectic. While I am normally laid back, sometimes I morph into what we call "Party B**ch" during that critical time, which magically disappears as soon as the first guest walks through the door. I come by it honestly, though ... there were at LEAST two generations of Party B**ches before me on my mother's side that I personally witnessed, and I'd wager that they go way back before the Civil War.

Tony Di Pietro

I'm a musician, and I've often said being in a band is like dating (or being married to) multiple people at the same time. The simple theme of you want one thing and your partner wants the opposite is multiplied by however many other people there are, and in a band situation (at least one where you are expecting to play in front of an audience,) there really is no compromise. Therefore everyone must agree, or a dominant type will have the final say. Think about how much like a relationship that is.


I think he should forget about the syndicates completely. Yes, if he can get syndicated AND make it big he'll be rich. But I saw a movie once where an "if" that size fought Godzilla.

I've seen better strips give up their syndication and go online only. Their reasoning was that newspapers are dying, the spaces are all filled with comics by dead people, and the syndicate was taking a huge chunk of what little they were getting. By striking off on their own they made more money and only had the IRS reaching in their pocket.


One of my basic rules for life is "A Ringing Phone Does Not Have To Be Picked Up."

My wife's rule is "A Ringing Phone Trumps Every Other Conversation Or Activity That May Be Happening."



It is a myth that women are better at multi-tasking than men. They are just worse at prioritizing.

My wife will often say something like "I'm just going to empty the dishwasher" or something. Two hours later, I will find her upstairs moving all the furniture so she can vacuum under it, the dishwasher still full. If I mention that she said she was 'just' going to empty the dishwasher, she says "I'm *doing* it." as though vacuuming under the upstairs furniture is quite obviously a necessary precursor to emptying the dishwasher.

Jim C

This is more kids than adults, but girls definitely play computer games differently than boys. Boys are more goal oriented - they try to "win". Girls do a lot more exploring and noticing the scenery. It makes for a unique experience when playing the games with them. :-)

An earlier post mentioned the differences between boys and girls playing soccer. I see it all the time. I also see a difference in coaching styles depending on the gender of the coach.

Cristen Caine

Seems that a few people are having trouble distinguishing between 'suggest comic themes that expose a gender difference' and 'moan about your spouse for a few sentences'.

Cathartic, I'm sure, but probably of little help to Scott(s).


Scott, I think it's worth thinking about what your comics are about. If you knew that you had to write comics ABOUT work all the time, your jokes would seem forced and there would be only so many good ones you would come up with (probably). Instead, your comic is set at a workplace, with office characters, but about anything that takes your fancy, and from there almost always to do with the difficulty of human interaction.

Similarly, Scott Meyer should, rather than writing ABOUT relationships, simply write about whatever he thinks is funny, but with a general setting of 'a relationship'. Simply having a repeating man and woman will cover this base fine. Sometimes they won't both be in the comic - that's ok; not all of your comics are set in Dilbert's office.

The best thing about Scott's comics are their recognisability. They also remind me of your two early dogbert books Clues for the Clueless and Build a Better Life by stealing office supplies - right down to the four square format.


The reverse of your "ready to leave the house example" almost always happens when my boyfriend and I are out with other people to a place that serves alcohol. After his 5th beer I think he's at least half as tired as I am and getting ready to leave. This could not be further from the truth - maybe if I am lucky 2 hrs later he notices me snoring (whilst talking to himself as everyone else has left) and "asks" me if I think it's time to leave.

Another one ... he's super interested in sport (pick any), so we go to a game. He get's so animated and shouts at the ref everytime he makes a bad call. In the meantime, I'm so embarrased I contemplate the following options 1) dig a hole through the concrete and escape underground until he turns into a normal human being again. 2) bribe the hotdog vendor for his uniform and sell hotdogs during the game 3)fake some kind of illness.


If you want to buy flowers, go see those web site...

They are wonderful for that!!!

Flowers 2 Go
Florists Online

Rock and Roll!!!!


How to Stay Awake in a (long, boring) Meeting. Coulda used that advice today.


If you want to buy flowers, go see those web site...

They are wonderful for that!!!

Flowers 2 Go
Florists Online

Rock and Roll!!!!


My wife says "should I wear the blue dress or the red dress?" I say "blue" and she says "that's dumb, I look terrible in blue" Why did she ask me to help her choose?

Calvin Spealman

When my wife tells me to clean the living room and I do not clean the living room, she is quite upset that I did not, even having telling her I would clean the living room.

Did you catch that one? She's subtle.


It's been mentioned in other posts here separately. Women can see and name millions of color and details, until it is on a car. Then it is a blue one or a green one and there are no other details.


How about something to do with the house wife being underpaid. I love those lame articles about how the house wife is a CEO, CFO, Chef, Maid, Dry cleaner, Psychologist, Day care provider, etc. NEWFLASH! Some of those people had some sort of formal training. Husbands do those things as well and they goto work too.

Woman's blatant disregard for logic in an argument. One of my favorite quotes from work: "No amount of logic is going to convince me otherwise!" (surprising from a man).

Relationship advise is always funny.

Idi Amin Dada

Actually, on one level, I disagree with your comments. The four sample strips were GREAT! I had to do my darned best from bursting out loud with laughter here in the office, in front of my staff (who are under the mistaken belief that I am hard at work).

However, when looking at years of strips, the best thing is to keep it as broad as possible, meaning to continue what he's been doing.

Yes, I've read probably 50 of the earlier strips. In agreement with you, I doubt though he'd find it easy getting published in papers / magazines due to the physical format.

I'm a Dilbert fan of many years, including the Blog. However, this is my very first post.


I prefer the 4-panel square. It provides more space to develop the theme/joke. The narrative is essential to the comic because it sets up the joke (It serves as the instruction manual...i.e. the straight man). As I read the comic, I imagine the text as a guide to the situations that we all encounter on a daily basis. The drawings reflect what really happens, what we fear will happen, what we want to happen, or what we wish would happen to someone else. As far as topics go, I think there are an unlimited number of situations that are either awkward, uncomfortable, or irritating. Most of which could become a relationship comic with addition of another person.

How to train a dog
How to wait in line...start a converstaion, read mag covers, pull out your phone?
How to go through airport security
How to sneak into your house late
How to start a fire in a fireplace
How to return a defective item to a store
How to choose a Christmas tree
How to choose a radio station with a co-worker in the car
Raw dog comedy or family friendly?
Which urinal to use-low or high?
How to deal with a telemarketer
Which toilet stall to use...Is it OK to use the handicapped stall?

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