800: Beautiful Dream

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Beautiful Dream
Lucky. In MY dream, all the people who grew up loving The Giving Tree paired up with all the students who had weird dreams after reading The Metamorphosis. That one was more confusing.
Title text: Lucky. In MY dream, all the people who grew up loving The Giving Tree paired up with all the students who had weird dreams after reading The Metamorphosis. That one was more confusing.


In this comic, Megan has just woken from a dream in which the girls who follow The Rules and the guys who play The Game have paired off and left everyone else alone.

"The Rules" refers to a book entitled "The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right" which the authors describe as a self-help book for women seeking a man to marry. It's often decried for being formulaic and for reducing the women who follow it and the men they seek to outdated stereotypes about gender roles. The rules themselves amount to a complicated game of "hard to get", which is not exactly a new strategy, nor is it always the best approach to take.

"The Game" refers to a series of books entitled "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists", which is a purported exposé on the pickup artist community (which is not similar to a pick-up basketball game, see 1178: Pickup Artists), and its follow-up "Rules of the Game", which describes the techniques used. Pickup artistry involves the use of psychological and emotional tricks intended to coerce women into casual sex. Practitioners of pickup are considered by many to be manipulative and creepy for reducing women to little more than objects for conquest.

It's clear that Megan has a low opinion of those who put stock in these works. The idea of removing the Rules Girls and the Game Players from social interaction by pair bonding them to each other is one that appeals to her. Cueball's response seems to indicate that he agrees with her.

The title text takes a surrealist step with Cueball's response to Megan. The Giving Tree is a children's book by Shel Silverstein about the relationship between a tree and a young boy who grows to be an old man. The Metamorphosis is a work of fiction by Franz Kafka in which a traveling salesman wakes up after having strange dreams to find that he has been turned into a nondescript giant bug. The implication could be that, in the dream, those who preferred the Giving Tree were treated as literal trees and crawled on by the ones who dreamt weirdly about the Metamorphosis acting as if they themselves were bugs - or perhaps in the logic of the dream the former became actual trees and the latter actual bugs.


[Megan with disheveled hair stretches her arms. A sunburst indicating sleepiness is above her head.]
Megan: I just woke up
[Megan continues speaking from off panel, to Cueball who's sitting at a table with a laptop and cup. He's leaned his elbow on the chair, turning to face Megan.]
Megan: from the most beautiful dream.
Cueball: Which was?
Megan: All the girls who read and follow The Rules and all the guys who swear by the techniques in The Game paired off with each other and left the rest of us alone forever.
Cueball: Mmmmmm...

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I lost the Game. 09:47, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

same here! 01:55, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm seriously surprised. I only discovered it ~4 comics ago. 11:59, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
How have you not gone start to finish by this point? Are you bogosorting the comic?? 21:31, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
https://explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/391:_Anti-Mindvirus 15:23, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
Wrong version of "The Game." 19:00, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Me too. I had been winning for several hours!
Darn, I lost it too! KirbyDude25 (talk) 19:44, 1 February 2022 (UTC)

I do not get this comic explanation at all. Can someone please clarify? What are the subtitles?? WHY DO THE NAMES OF THE BOOKS SEEM COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO ANYTHING AT ALL??? I know a little bit about what The Game is. I do not care about losing it, I just want an adequate explanation. -- 625571b7-aa66-4f98-ac5c-92464cfb4ed8 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The books and the important sentences need more details -- but wikipedia links are common.--Dgbrt (talk) 15:31, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

I added some explanation of the books, but didn't address the discussion of the alt text. 02:54, 4 April 2017 (UTC)