"Close Your Eyes, Look at the Mountains" Broke Into My House, Secretly Watched Me Interact With My Girlfriend, and Made a Webcomic Out of It

 

Finding LGBTQ+ representation that’s just decent feels like scaling a never-ending mountain. Apparently, I would have saved a lot of time and effort if I had just closed my eyes.

 

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Last night, I watched my girlfriend unfurl a large rug from Walmart, steal the cardboard tube that they slip inside to keep the rug shaped and break it in half so they could pretend that they were wielding nunchucks. They begged me to take one of the chucks so they could see if they could break it in half with a kick (spoiler alert, they could not, and the tube flew into a shelf). They then proceeded to beset themselves onto my roommate, who had also grabbed another bit of tube, to engage in a swordfight. Romantic relationships are comprised of so many little weird, fun moments like this, something that a lot of modern media gets right when depicting them—with straight couples, at least.

 

 

 

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There’s been a blossoming (albeit small) of LGBTQ+ characters in the media, and when it comes to defining their relationships within the storyline, a lot of them fall flat in the “fun” department, if at all. See, I’m not saying that an eccentric, fun LGBTQ+ couple has never been depicted in the media, but most of the time—when you do get that—the couple’s eccentricity is a direct result of their queerness. For example, Modern Family’s Cam and Mitchell are outgoing and weird, but this is directly tied to them being gay men who care about fashion and appearance. 

 

 

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Webcomic Close Your Eyes, Look at the Mountains by Jo Abernathy isn’t published on nearly the same scale as a large ABC sitcom such as Modern Family. It isn’t found on library shelves across the United States, and it isn’t cited in queer studies papers left and right. And yet, somehow, I’d argue that this is one of the most important pieces of LGBTQ+ literature I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering - despite its official synopsis simply reading “a comic about a cat and a dog who are lesbians and in love”.

 

 

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Occasionally universe-breaking, always entertaining and absolutely head over heels for one another, Rosie (the pink “cat”) and Isabelle (the blue “dog”) exist solely in the universe of four panels, where anything from date night to the events of A Christmas Carol to crime.

 

 

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There’s a huge chain of these comics in me and my girlfriend’s respective inboxes. We send them back and forth with some variation of the phrase “us.” It feels like if there’s a vague emotion or experience the two of us share, there’s a CYELATM comic for it.

 

Like how my girlfriend loves it when I put my hands on my hips.

 

 

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Or how we both catch one another staring at the other for no good reason.

 

 

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We have some version of this conversation every time I load up a video game, and I’m not entirely convinced that the cartoonist isn’t listening to me and girlfriend hanging out.

 

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And let’s not forget my tendency to do the exact thing Isabelle is doing here on my poor girlfriend’s head.

 

 

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Actually, is the cartoonist watching my girlfriend give me back massages too? Because this is just getting freaky.

 

 

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What about the time-honored tradition of just saying completely nonsensical things over and over again?

 

 

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This comic actually did prompt me to send a sock emoji to my girlfriend, so I guess life imitates art.

 

 

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Bonus points if the comic encompasses one or both of our neuroses. 

 

 

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And some of them are just moods.

 

 

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The comics, while so simply drawn, have a sort of universality that speaks to almost every dimension of my relationship. I’m not the only one who feels CYELATM’s appeal, either. Just a single look at the tags on any given comic, and you’ll see people tagging their partners. Take a look at the tags on just one comic I pulled:

 

 

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I think a lot of us in the LGBTQ+ community are not used to seeing characters that can be related to on such a mass, near-universal scale, with our representation usually coming in the form of pure power couples or bordering on stereotypes. Rosie and Isabelle are just weird enough, just loving enough, just—enough. They are the embodiment of all the weird that comes out of love, and then some.

 

 

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If you’d like to start reading some of Jo’s comics, the CYELATM archive has practically every published comic

 

 

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