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💎THE RESULTS: r/RomanceClub Community Survey!💎

💎THE RESULTS: RomanceClub Community Survey!💎
First of all, thank you very much to everyone who took part in the second ever Reddit Romance Club community survey! We mods were absolutely amazed by the high number of responses, so thank you for making this such a vibrant and engaged community! You all rock.
After grinding the (many) numbers, here are the results, which we hope you will find as interesting as we did.
Just a note: this survey was opened at the end of May and closed shortly after the June release, hence its questions only barely included Legend of the Willow and did not include Dracula: a Love Story. For this reason, we have not counted the (very few) replies that have been given in the "other" boxes mentioning characters that were not yet available as Lis/known as LIs in the May release (think Leo, Vlad, Kazu etc) as this would have not been fair to those who had answered the survey before the June update.
Having said that... buckle up for the ride! Lots of interesting info ahead.
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💎Question 1: Which RC story is your favourite?

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No one will be surprised to find out that Heaven's Secret is the top story in this community right now, chosen by over 45% of the respondents. Our nostalgic heart is very happy, however, to see some old favs still make the podium - albeit trailing significantly behind. Moonborn and Shadows of Saintfour score second and third place, only separated by a handful of votes at around 11%, but newer release Chasing You is already breathing on their neck at 10.7%.
A healthy mix of new and old stories follows: Sails in the fog is in fifth place with 7.8% of the preferences, while Legend of the willow, after only a few episodes, already scores a very good sixth place, in a tie with Seduced by the rhythm at 4.3% of the votes. Queen in 30 days is seventh with 3.5% and My Hollywood Story is eighth with 1.2%.
Last place goes to Wave Patrol at 0.4%, which sadly doesn't come as a shock given the general feeling that the romantic/reputation points system was too complicated.
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💎Question 2: Who are your favourite LIs?

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HS being the most popular story unsurprisingly propels some of its main LIs onto the podium with supersonic speed.
Bad boys rule, with Lucifer taking the crown with a whopping 65.7% of the votes and Alexander (CY) taking silver at 49.3%. The nice guys are not too far behind, though, with Dino in third place at 47.4% and Max (MB) only just about missing the podium in fourth place at 45.3%. We go back to bad boys with Brandon (SBR) in fifth, but soft spoken Sam (CY) is ready to balance things out again with his sixth place.
The most surprising result on top of the rankings is Jake (WP) who makes the top ten with a very healthy seventh place. He is really hard work, but obviously we all think he's totally worth it!
Old favourites Michael (SOS) and Victor (MB) still hold onto the hearts of their fans by scoring eight and ninth place respectively. First among the women - and the only female LI to make the top 10 - is the delightfully devilish Mimi (HS).
Waves' mate Sebastian misses the top ten only by a hair, placing himself in 11th place with a healthy 20.7%. Bodyguard Adam is the most favourite LI in Q30 in 12th place, followed by a row of SOS boys, with John, Derek and Aaron scoring very similar percentages in 13th, 14th and 15th place respectively. Sweetheart Ray is no longer the most favourite LI to come out of MHS, as in this round he ends up in a tie for 16th place with none other than his almost polar opposite, rough and ready Captain Jeff.
Leonard from Q30 (17th place) ties with Cherry from SOS but at least he beats his brother Richard (20th place) in the heart of the readers - and we all know that he'd be pretty pleased with that. Claire (SBR) is the second most favourite female LI in 18th place, while mysterious Luke (SOS) completes the top 20 in 19th place.
Here are the rest of the Lis who placed lower than the top 20:
(21) Carlos (SBR) 9.2%
(22) Justin (SBR) 8.6%
(23) Benny Bart (MB) 8.4%
(24) Tarino (MHS) 8.1%
(25) Gino (MHS) tied with Stephanie (SOS) at 7.8%
(26) Dante (MB) 6.9%
(27) Andy (HS) 6.3%
(28) Mike (MHS) 6.1 %
(29) Alek (WP) tied with Dante (CY) at 5.9%
(30) Kayla (WP) 5.3 %
(31) Alex (MHS) 3.9%
(32) Chris (SIF) 3.4%
(33) Frances (MB) 3.2%
(34) William (SIF) 3.1%
(35) Trisha (MB) 2.6%
(36) Charles (SBR) 2.1%
(37) Orlando (SBR) 1.8%
(38) Chris the bodyguard (MHS) tied with Adi (HS) at 1.6%
(39) Ellen (MHS) tied with Manta (SIF) at 1.2%
(40) Masked Man (SOS) 1.1%
(41) Ellia (CY) 0.8%
(42) Mermaid (SIF) 0.6%
(43) Simon (MB) 0.4%
(44) Charles (WP) tied with Emma (Q30) and Jackie (SIF) at 0.2%.
These lower rankings include some LIs that, based on the discussions we see on the subreddit, we were not expecting to get as many votes as they did - and vice versa. Dante from CY has more votes than Orlando from SBR? And Chris the bodyguard (MHS) beat the Masked Man (SOS)? Say what... Also: Jackie (SIF) definitely deserved a lot more votes! We might have to start a hashtag or something.
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💎Question 3: Which non-LI character you’d romance in a heartbeat?

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Here are the top 15 most desired LIs in this community:
To absolutely no one's surprise, Geralt (HS) takes the top spot with 39.1% of the readers eager to unbuckle his sexy neck belts at the first occasion. Dreamy Xander from MB takes a very respectable second place with 23.2%: we will forever long for his full lips and crisp linen suit. Another MB favourite, Prince Ethan Wood completes the podium with his Matrix-style coat and intense eyes, but sassy and sexy demon Austie (HS) is not very far behind in fourth place.
Vampires Dustin Chase in fifth place and - although at quite a distance - Sophia in sixth join the ranks of the many LIs who sadly never were in MB. Cute lifeguard Zoey from WP ranks seventh, and no worries if you don't remember who she is: her screen time was about 5 minutes total - but enough to end up in a tie with angelic mentor Misselina from HS. Frenemy Candy from SOS makes eighth place, while evil stunner Monica from MB clutches ninth. To complete the top 10 is no one else but grumpy Angel Fencio (HS) - we obviously all want him to show us his collection of talismans - tied with Bean from MHS, who sadly had the audacity to get married to someone else.
In 11th place is SOS great friend Bobby, whose bravery in the face of untold horrors gave him a special place in all our hearts, in a tie with another WP lifeguard, Ryan (yeah, we have little recollection of him as well). Party-loving and OSHA nemesis Anthony Wood (MHS) is in 12th place, while scheming yet gorgeous Julia (Q30) takes 13th.
In 14th place is no one else but our dear Sailor Bobby - an option that was added as humorous but instead raked up a fairly respectable 14% of votes. As they say, if you are not handsome you should be handy, and no one is a better dress maker than Bobby! Plus, how can we forget when he disguised himself as a tribesman to save Adelaide from becoming soup? He ends up in a tie with a fan favourite, sweet angel Sammy (HS). Completing the top-15 is another HS angel, the ethereal Leeloo.
This question also had an "other" box, where people could add names that were not included in the list. For all those (quite a few!) people who wrote Dino (HS), Sam (CY) and Orlando (SBR)... we choose to believe you misread the question, but if you didn't... oh boy, have we got good news for you!
A few people also wished for Rachel (CY) and Hiro (SBR) to be LIs, so that's another happy ending there as per the latest release.
Some also wished for Diego, Baron Samedi and Jackie from SIF, and Joseph, Christian and Gustavo from SBR to be LIs, and we are happy to say that, although their routes might be a bit hidden and not all of them can be endgame LIs, you can most definitely already hookup with/romance all of them. Check the wiki for details!
A few people asked for the coffee shop owner in CY... we have the feeling that we know who at least one of them is, and truth be told, that beard is dreamy so we can see their point! More bearded LIs please!
Those who asked for Fyr... far from us to kink shame here, but let's just hope he turns out to be human at some point! We also have some Seraph Crowley (HS) and Angel Mora (MB) fans amongst us, as clear proof that no one is ever too old for love, plus WP Agent Phillips' manbun has also scored him some eager fans.
But that one person who asked for Sean from MB... we hope for your sake you are also about 12 years old because otherwise you need an old priest, a young priest and also a police officer.
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💎Question 4: Which LI do you think is overrated, and why?

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Here are the top 10 most overrated LIs in the game according to our community.
You know how they say never rest on your laurels? In a surprising (or maybe not?) twist of fate, some of the most liked LIs also topped the most overrated rankings, which goes to show that the beauty of our community is that we all have different (and sometimes opposite) opinions! So please let's not fight in the comments, haha.
The most overrated LI crown goes to Lucifer with the 21.9% of the votes, (which is almost as him winning an Oscar and a Razzie on the same evening) mostly due to his behaviour, which many identify as "toxic", "abusive" and "triggering". Many readers are "not comfortable with his choking/manhandling of MC", and his "lack of respect for personal space". "Being treated poorly in the hope to finally reach a hidden soft side does not seem worth it". Some think "he needs therapy", and wonder "why he's still behaving like a teen while he's possibly thousands of years old". A reason why many dislike him however, is also "the daily flood of fanart that features him": we might all be a little Lucifered-out here on the subreddit!
Tied in second place (pun fully intended!) are Alexander (CY) and Victor (MB) at 11.5%: the reasons given for both of them are surprisingly similar. Both boys are into BDSM but neither seem to "truly know the rules of consent" and people think that they "overstep boundaries a little too often". Both have been described as "creepy", "controlling" and "plain weird". Victor is also guilty of being "boring" ("I asked for a tea not for your life story in India!" - someone wrote). Both have been invited to "drop the Christian Grey act" and some people think "they would be arrested in real life if they acted this way". Oh boy.
Justin (SBR) completes this unflattering podium at 9.1% because of his "obnoxious outbursts" and the way he treats MC. He is "rude" and "mean" and people seem to be willing to "pay diamonds to put him in his place". Hopefully that won't be necessary!
Jake from WP is fourth at 7.8%, the main reason being that he is "too difficult to romance", "too expensive and still rude", and that "we have to solve the Da Vinci code to get him" - as someone hilariously wrote.
Bad boy Brandon (SBR) scores 6.1% of the votes landing fifth place, with the word "jerk" being the most recurrently used to describe him. He is "arrogant", a "vanishing act", and "he is never nice to MC for long". Come on, Brandon! You can do better!
Unclaimed Andy (HS) takes sixth place with 4.5% for being "jealous" and "annoying" - although we would maybe argue that he's not really that overrated, as far as we can see from the sub...
In seventh place is Max (MB) at 4.1% but we are confused by the person who mentioned "his abs being too perfect" as a reason for disliking him. Of course, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so... fair enough? Other words used are "too boring", otherwise many people voted for him but did not really give a reason why. Max needs to work on his PR clearly!
Another tie in eight place sees Adam (Q30) and Dino (HS) score 3.7% of the votes. The Royal bodyguard is described as "a barbarian" and his behaviour as "possessive" and "controlling", while the main complaints against Dino seem for the vast majority to be directed to his looks: comments range from "his eyes look disproportionally big compared to his head" to "his hair seems separated from his face" to some people calling him a "Fabio lookalike". Beauty is in the eye of the beholder indeed!
Gruff Captain Jeff (MHS) makes ninth with 3.3%, mostly because of "the dodgy power dynamic between him and MC" and his "bullying": "I like puppies is not a free get out of jail card!" someone wrote. The fact that SOS Luke "drugged MC" bags him unanimously the tenth spot with 2.8% of the votes.
Not in the top ten but voted often enough to deserve a special mention are John (SOS) because of his "murderous tendencies", Derek (SOS) because "people only likes him for his glow-up", and Leonard (Q30) as "he took Emma's spot as the third main LI in the story" and "that was a cop out!" Plus "he seems so good only because the other two are the worst", someone quipped.
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💎Question 5: Which LI do you think is underrated, and why?

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Let's all cheer ourselves up with the opposite end of the spectrum! Here are the top 10 Lis that the community think deserve more love! The answers in this question were a lot more fragmented, with a lot of random characters getting very few votes, so the ranking percentages are significantly lower than in other questions.
A few people chose to write "every female LI" as this question's answer, and this is reflected in the rankings below, where way more female characters are mentioned compared to other questions. So RC, we need more screen time for badass, gorgeous, interesting female LIs!
HS still carries its weight as the most popular story, with three of its main LIs topping the rankings, all lamenting the fact that they are "unfairly overshadowed by bad boy Lucifer". Andy tops the list with 8.5% of the votes: players think he is "a really good guy", "sweet", "cute", "caring", "thoughtful". They admit "he has flaws" but he "will help if you need him" and "will stand up for those he cares about". It's nice to see him getting some love!
Devil cutie Mimi ends up as a close second with only a few votes of difference, at 8.1%. She is "cute", "badass", and "so cool". Many people wrote they don't usually romance female Lis but they chose her nonetheless because she is "a great LI in every way". Someone wishes RC would "flesh her out a little more" and "give her more screen time". Third spot is for Dino: a "sweetheart" and "the cutest man in the game".
Jake from WP nabs fourth place with the 4.9% of votes. Players thinks the focus is too much on how hard he is to pursue, while "he is totally worth it", because after the initial coldness he becomes "sweet", "kind" and "caring". His "love for his family is another big plus", and he is always "supportive", "mature", "loyal" and "intense". Someone also wrote that "his sex scenes are amazing".
Gorgeous dancer Carlos from SBR is in fifth place: he is described as "cute", "great personality", "respectful" and "the sweetest". One to watch for sure! Prince Leonard (Q30) ties with Claire (SBR) in sixth place. Leonard is "complicated", "interesting" and "clever", while Claire is "sweet", "mature" and "loyal". Seventh position is for Michael (SOS) - "cute", "affectionate", "funny" - and Kayla (WP) who's "really nice" and "one of the first female LIs that didn't seem like a complete afterthought".
Eight place goes to Sam (CY) - "wholesome", "the right amount of naughty and nice", "a sweet and likeable guy" - in a tie with Chris (SIF) - "funny", "strong", "loyal", "always has your back". Ninth place is another tie between Sebastian (SIF) - "sweet" and "supportive" - and Alex (MHS) - "amazing personality", "really helpful".
Last but not least the tenth place is a foursome: William (SIF) gets some love for being "good", "solid", "loyal" and "fun", in a tie with Charles (SBR) - described as "perfect", "romantic" and "caring", as well as "hot", "sexy" and "gentle" - Jackie (SIF) - "an under-appreciated king", "handsome" and "fun", and Frances (MB) - a "real badass" and "one of the best LIs in MB".
So, time to replay your favourite book and try out one of these Lis instead than your usual one!
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💎Question 6: If you could eat or drink one thing from the RC universe, what would you choose?

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Max (MB) might no longer hold the crown of most loved LI in the game, but his cooking skills still hold strong. A whopping 37.2% of the people in this community would eat anything he prepares. Getting drunk on Glyft at the HS Academy takes second spot with 23.1% of the preferences, while a sugar rush after a light BDSM session in CY is all what the 13.2% of us want, completing this delicious podium.
In fourth place is pizza with a bunch of MHS friends, fifth is potential death - as long as ice cream and Jake from WP are involved - and sixth is Anthony Wood's juice at one of his epic MHS parties.
Dinner at the SOS circus is seventh, chosen by a fearless 3% of the community, while canapés at a jewellery fashion show in Q30 score the eighth and last place.
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💎Question 7: If you could spend a weekend in any RC story, would you:

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An entire weekend in the RC universe! What mischief is our community planning to get up to?
It looks like HS is once again top of the list, with over 38% of players willing to test their wings and get some strange and possibly corrosive blue liquid down their unclaimed throats. But LOW's gorgeous backgrounds and atmospheric setting have convinced the 16% of us to go explore a Japanese village, and possibly meet some mysterious cutie. Adelaide and her SIF crew navigate steadily in third place: 10.7% of us would follow them over the edge of the world and beyond.
In fourth place is a spot of murder mystery fun in CY, as 10.3% of us would happily explore a British family mansion - bloodshed possible but not guaranteed. A diplomatic trip with the Q30 Sagar Royal Court appeals to the 6.1% of us, especially if a romantic sunset is on the bill. The quaint and frankly unsettling SOS woods do not scare the 5.7% of us, but as long as no one picks up a nice bouquet of flowers, we should all be ok. In seventh place is our favourite vampire popstar Benny Bart (MB) performing at the Taste of the Night, while eighth is a dance marathon in SBR, inclusive of a trip to romantic Paris. Tarino's somewhat unusual directorial skills in MHS score ninth place, while hot surfers in WP's Miami end up last.
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💎Question 8: If you could get more episodes of a series that has now ended, which one would you choose?

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It's time to go down memory lane! We loved all the stories that RC has now completed, but which one we miss the most?
Side note: SIF and WP were still ongoing when this survey was first opened hence they are not featured in this list.
Horror story SOS takes a clear lead, with over 47% of our community wishing we could get more adventures with MC and her friends. MB is second, with a healthy 34% of readers wishing to spend more time in the company of vampires and werewolves. Q30 is third, with 13.3% of readers missing its Royal Palace and all the intrigue coming with it, and last but not least is comedy MHS, which is missed by 5.4% of this community.
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And now, some questions about this community's gaming habits:
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💎Question 9: How do you usually approach LI relationships?

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This question had a fairly split response between those who date a few LIs but ultimately choose only one (48.9%) and those who are fiercely monogamous from the start (42.4%). A healthy 8.7% of the readers prefer instead to play the field and date as many LIs as the gameplay will allow. And with so many great characters to choose from, that's hardly a surprise!
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💎Question 10: Would you play a book that has a male MC?

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We all know that at the moment all RC stories are gender-locked with a female MC. But what does the community think? Would we play a book with a male MC? The majority is in favour, with 61.9% of the responders answering with a resounding YES.
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💎Question 11: Do you use the RC wiki on Fandom?

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Our amazing fan-written Romance Club wiki recently celebrated 100 pages!
It sounds like a whopping 78.8% of this community uses the wiki, while about 14.1% did not know it existed (so we hope you are using it now!) and 7.1% are true daredevils who play without any wiki help.
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💎Question 12: What genre of story do you enjoy the most?

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With new stories always coming up, we were curious to know which genres this community enjoys the most.
Despite the game being called Romance Club, the top of the genre ranking goes to Fantasy, with a striking 74.1% of preferences. But no worries: Romance is a steady second with a great 70.8% of the votes. Third place goes to Mystery with 65.7%.
Adventure comes fourth with 55.2%, followed by Horror (42.5%), Historical (35.1%), Science Fiction (29.1%) and finally Comedy (26.4%).
A very small number of people (too little to make percentage) also asked for drama, thriller, detective/crime, heist/spy, high school/teens, superheroes, zombies and time travel. All great ideas!
The community has spoken though: RC, give us elves and gnomes and medieval tales of debauchery and magic!
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💎Question 13: How long have you been playing Romance Club for?

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We were curious to know for how long we all have been playing this game we love. The survey showed a good mix of old and new readers, with a clear tendency towards long-term reading, which makes us so very happy to know we are all just equally addicted.
36% stated that they have been playing for over a year, 23.6% for more than six months, 17.8% for more than three months, 16.1% for more than one month and 6.4% for less than a month. Welcome one and all, we hope you are all going to be here for the long haul!
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💎Question 14: How did you find out about the game Romance Club?

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The main way in which our community has found out about RC is through the app store/google play store (70.9%). Another subreddit is a source for 13.5% of us (we probably have to say thank you to our friends at Lovestruck and Choices!) while a friend recommended the game to 8.7% of us.
Instagram (3%) and Facebook (1.5%) are also popular sources, but 2.4% of us arrived to the game through adverts, which is to us the most interesting data since in the mod team we haven't personally seen any adverts for this game - ever - so if anyone has screenshots, please post them in the comments, we are super curious!
Some users (too few to make percentage) also mentioned videos and memes on TikTok or Youtube, Google Search, Tumblr, Twitter, Vkontakte or even their own sister(s) as a source.
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💎Question 15: Which operating system do you play the game on?

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The majority of this community plays on Android (57.7%) while 42.3% play on iOS.
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💎Question 16: Which other story games do you play?

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Here are the top-10 story app games we play in this community, aside from RC.
Unsurprisingly, market leader Choices comes first with 53.3% of the votes. Another giant in the field, Episodes, comes second - although with quite a substantially smaller percentage of votes, clocking at 28.1%. The top-three is completed by UK TV show-inspired Love Island with the 24.6%.
Chapters is the fourth most played game at 24.2%, followed by Lovestruck and Love Sick - tied at 16.1%. Moments is sixth at 13.1%, new entry on the market Stories: Love and choices follows in seventh with 5.3%, Journeys is eighth with 4.7% and The Arcana is ninth with 2.6%. The top-ten is completed by Tabou Stories: Love Episodes in a tie with Originals - both at 1.2%.
Some also reminisced about Storyscapes (gone too soon but not forgotten!) and many other game apps were mentioned but by too few people to make up for an accountable percentage. We surely discovered some games we had never heard of before, though, including: Fictif, Heart's Choice, Everlasting Summer, Fancy Love, Romance: Stories and choices, Secrets: Game of choices, Fictions: Choose your emotions, Mystic Messenger, City of Love and many, many more... so thanks everyone for all these new suggestions!
And to that one person who selected half a dozen games and then commented with "it is a problem!" ... trust us, you are in very, very good company here!!
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And lastly, some demographics:
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💎Question 17: Where in the world are you from?

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We are a very international bunch, that's for sure! Here are the numbers:
45.5% of this community lives in Europe, 24.3% in North America, 16.9% is in Asia, 5.7% is in Central/South America, 5.3% is in Africa and 2.3% is in Australia/New Zealand. Welcome one and all! We are so happy you are here.
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💎Question 18: How old are you?

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How old are we? The survey has spoken: 44.7% is between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.1% is between 25 and 35; 21.1% is 17 or younger; 6.1 % is 36 or older.
We must admit that we did not expect so many people to be on the younger end of the spectrum! But we hope everyone - of all ages - will always find this subreddit to be a safe, welcoming and friendly place where to discuss this game we all love. We mods work hard every day to keep this the most relaxed and fun RC space on the net and we feel so lucky that you are all as awesome as you are!
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💎Question 19: What is your gender identity?

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The overwhelming majority of this community (93.5%) identifies as female, while 4.6% identifies as male, 1.3% is non-binary, 0,4% identifies as genderqueer and 0.2% marked themselves as confused.
The fact that MC is gender-locked female and that LGBTQ routes are limited in the game is certainly one of the reasons why our community is not more diverse. Hopefully RC will expand their stories to include more diverse gender choices in terms of MCs and LIs, so to allow more people to enjoy their great storytelling skills.
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💎Question 20: What is your sexual orientation?

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Here's the sexual orientation of our community:
70.1% identifies as Straight/Heterosexual
22.5% identifies as Bisexual
1.9% identifies as Lesbian/WLW
1.7% identifies as Pansexual
1.5% identifies as Gay/MLM
0.4% identifies as Aromantic
0.3% identifies as Aromantic/Bisexual
0.3% identifies as Asexual
0.3% identifies as Demisexual
0.2% identifies as Asexual/Biromantic
0.2% identifies as Asexual/Heterosexual
Once again, we hope that future plots featuring more diverse MC/LIs will attract more diverse players to our community.
----
That's all folks! We hope you found these results interesting and we look forward to a new survey once we hit 5000 users! Until then... happy gaming and thanks for making this awesome community as great as it is! :)
💎 RomanceClub mods 💎
💎u/LauraVi 💎u/swankytutu 💎u/directormmn
💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎
submitted by LauraVi to RomanceClub [link] [comments]

Subreddit Survey Results

Greetings, exchristian!
The subreddit survey closed on 10 June. Since then, I have been combing through the results, and pulling everything together to publish here. 805 of you responded, which is a small proportion of our 66k members, but probably a good portion of the subscribers who are actually active on the subreddit, and not bad for a first try. I appreciate every one of you who took the time to fill out the survey, who contributed questions, and who provided feedback in the comments of the original post. All advice has been taken on board, and if I do this again in the future, I will change the survey accordingly. But you're here for the stats, so let's get into them!

Part 1: Demographics

Q1: What age group are you in?

Age Number of Responses Percentage
10 or under 0 0%
11-15 40 5%
16-19 136 16.9%
20-24 206 25.7%
25-29 182 22.7%
30-34 121 15.1%
35-39 56 7%
40-44 21 2.6%
45-50 13 1.6%
50+ 28 3.5%
exchristian mostly aligns with Reddit's user base in the age question, with most respondents in the 16-35 range. There are some under 16, which may just be normal for Reddit, but could also be people seeking support with living as a non-Christian in a Christian home in an already difficult part of their lives. Overall, though, this question throws up no surprises.

Q2: What Denomination(s) were you part of?

Denomination Number of Responses Percentage
Non-Denominational 250 31.2%
Baptist 231 28.8%
Catholic 119 14.9%
Other Evangelical 98 12.2%
Pentecostal 97 12.1%
Calvinist/Presbyterian/ Reformed 82 10.2%
Lutheran 47 5.9%
Methodist 39 4.9%
Anglican/Episcopalian 34 4.2%
Church of Christ 31 3.9%
Orthodox 20 2.5%
Seventh-Day Adventist 14 1.9%
Mormon 10 1.2%
Anabaptist (Amish/Mennonite) 8 1%
Plymouth Brethren 7 0.8%
Jehovah's Witnesses 2 0.2%
Other 61 6.1%
A lot of denominations came up here, and I mean a lot. The largest groups are Baptist and non-denominational, which probably reflects the US-centric nature of the subreddit, which we will see in the next question. The sub also leans ex-Protestant, with only 14.9% ex-Catholics and 2.5% ex-Orthodox. The quantity and variety of the self-filled answers made it easier to just group them under 'Other'. A substantial portion of those answers came from offshoots of Methodism, notably the Nazarene (6 responses) and Wesleyan (4) groups. Others included IFB (4), and Assemblies of God (4 - one of a number of Pentecostal-ish groups represented in those answers).
A few peripheral thoughts on this question: I was surprised by the lack of JWs in the sub, but they probably gravitate towards exJW rather than the umbrella sub here, with the same theme applying to the slightly larger Mormon group. I am also intrigued by our Amish/Mennonite contingent. If any of you would be willing to share your experiences with those groups, I'd be very interested to hear.

Q3: Where do you live?

Location Number of Responses Percentage
United States South 220 27.5%
United States Midwest 169 21.1%
United States West 132 16.4%
United States Northeast 93 11.6%
Canada 56 7%
United Kingdom 28 3.5%
Australia 20 2.5%
New Zealand 6 0.7%
Singapore 6 0.7%
The Netherlands 6 0.7%
Germany 5 0.6%
South Africa 5 0.6%
Brazil 3 0.4%
Ireland 3 0.4%
Malaysia 3 0.4%
Romania 3 0.4%
The Philippines 3 0.4%
Czech Republic/Czechia 2 0.3%
Dominican Republic 2 0.3%
France 2 0.3%
Italy 2 0.3%
Mexico 2 0.3%
Norway 2 0.3%
Poland 2 0.3%
In addition to these, there was 1 answer each for: Alaska, 'American living abroad', Austria, China, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, 'Jamaica/UAE', Japan, Latvia, Nagaland, Namibia, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Portugal, The Caribbean, The Nordics, 'USA and Philippines', and Zambia.
The overall picture here is that this sub is overwhelmingly American. 77% of you live in some part of the United States, with another 7% from Canada adding to the North American group. Unsurprisingly, most are from English-speaking countries, although there are more from continental Europe than I expected. By location, we are spread far and wide, but it will surprise nobody who has spent any time on this subreddit that a vast majority of users are American.

Q4: What is your ethnicity?

Ethnicity Number of Responses Percentage
White/Caucasian 643 80.3%
Asian 55 6.9%
Black/African-American 40 5%
Latino/Hispanic 33 4.1%
Mixed Race 20 2.5%
Indigenous North American 5 0.6%
Pacific Islander 2 0.3%
Indigenous Australian 1 0.1%
North African 1 0.1%
I received some criticism for this question, which was fair. It was poorly thought out and poorly worded. If nothing else, I should have made Mixed Race an option to be picked and not left that to the 'Other' field - a very embarrassing oversight. But the results do tell us something. The main thing they tell us is that our subreddit is overwhelmingly white, which also correlates with earlier answers which show American ex-Evangelicals as by far the largest group. I don't know exactly why ethnic minorities are so poorly represented here - my best guess is that it is a reflection of Reddit demographics generally. If others have insights on this, I'd be interested to hear them.

Q5: What gender do you identify as?

Gender Number of Responses Percentage
Male 404 50.3%
Female 341 42.5%
Non-Binary 41 5.1%
Prefer not to say 12 1.5%
Genderfluid 2 0.2%
Agender 1 0.1%
Transmale 1 0.1%
These were interesting answers. A quick google search tells me that Reddit overall is over 70% male. But in exchristian, while a small majority of users are men, over 40% are women. As a man, I may be pontificating about something I don't understand, but I wonder if this is connected to the sexism inherent in much of Christianity and Christian teaching. Women may be more likely to leave Christianity than men, because they are more likely to feel unwelcome in a sexist environment. The 5%+ operating outside of the traditional genders may be feeling a similar thing. Trans, Non-Binary, and Genderfluid people probably struggle to find a place in Christianity and Christian doctrine unless they suppress their authentic self. Again, I may be talking out of my arse here, and those with actual experience of this can hopefully provide more insights in the comments.

Q6: What best describes your sexual orientation?

Sexuality Number of Responses Percentage
Heterosexual 469 58.7%
Bisexual 185 23.1%
Homosexual 67 8.4%
Asexual 44 5.5%
Pansexual 15 1.9%
Demisexual 3 0.4%
Queer 3 0.4%
Other 13 1.6%
Of the 'Other' group, most expressed some measure of confusion, with 2 particularly mentioning purity culture as a factor in that. Single answers included Gynesexual, Panromantic, and Sapphic Asexual.
I think we are seeing a similar phenomenon here as with the last question. The larger than average LGBTQ+ representation might be a demographic feature, but it could also be because a lot of Christian doctrine is extremely homophobic, and LGBTQ+ people probably feel unwelcome in Christianity, and have more reason than heterosexuals to doubt aspects of Christian teaching. Again, though, I would welcome further insights from LGBTQ+ people on this issue.

Q7: Which of these options best describes your political opinions?

Political Position Number of Responses Percentage
Left/Liberal 544 68.4%
Centrist/Moderate 225 28.3%
Right/Conservative 26 3.3%
The framing of that question was slightly over-simplified, but it's not a surprise to see that very few people here see themselves as right-wing or conservative politically, both given Reddit's demographics, and given the closeness of large sections of Christianity (especially in the US) with right-wing and socially conservative politics.

Part 2: Education

Q8: What is your current level of education?

Education Level Number of Responses Percentage
College/University Graduate 395 49.2%
Currently at College/University 180 22.4%
Currently in School 110 13.7%
High School Graduate 94 11.7%
PhD/Professorship 20 2.5%
No Formal Qualifications 4 0.5%
A majority of us are either in College/University, or are Graduates. That, again, may just reflect Reddit's demographics, but it is no coincidence that the more someone learns, the less likely they are to remain religious. I have certainly found that in my own experience.

Q9: What type of school were you educated in?

School Number of Responses Percentage
Public/State School 605 75.3%
Religious School 286 35.6%
I was Home-Schooled 122 15.2%
Secular Private School 61 7.6%


Q10: If you went to a religious school, do you believe it contributed towards your deconversion?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 197 38.2%
No 190 38.6%
Not Sure 129 25%

Q11: If you went to a secular school, do you believe it contributed towards your deconversion?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 247 37%
No 290 43.5%
Not Sure 130 19.5%
The answers to Q10 could be unreliable, as more people answered it than answered 'Religious School' to Q9. But it does show that a reasonable percentage of both people who went to religious schools and to secular schools felt that that contributed towards their deconversions. Those will probably be for different reasons, and I think school experiences would be an interesting thing to dig further in to, either in the comments here or in a separate post.

Part 3: Beliefs and Deconversion Experience

Q12: At what age did you stop being a christian?

Age Number of Responses Percentage
10 or under 15 1.9%
11-15 139 17.3%
16-19 211 26.3%
20-24 224 27.9%
25-29 122 15.2%
30-34 54 6.7%
35-39 15 1.9%
40-44 6 0.7%
45-49 10 1.2%
50+ 6 0.7%
Most of us lost our belief between the ages of 16 and 25, and I don't think that's a coincidence. It's the time when you're beginning to strike out on your own in the world, forge your own path, and cast off your parents' preconceptions. It's also the time when you start to think more critically about things, and for many of us thinking critically about Christianity was what drove us to leave it.

Q13: How would you describe your current belief system?

Belief Number of Responses Percentage
Atheist 317 39.7%
Agnostic 238 29.9%
Anti-theist 47 5.9%
Humanist 45 5.6%
Apatheist 26 3.3%
Pagan/Wiccan 17 2.1%
Deist 15 1.9%
Pantheist 13 1.6%
Buddhist 11 1.4%
Unsure 10 1.2%
Agnostic Atheist 6 0.7%
Ignostic 5 0.6%
Satanist 5 0.6%
Spiritual 5 0.6%
Misotheist 3 0.4%
Universalist 2 0.3%
Other 32 4%
Most of the 'Other' answers represented mixed philosophies - a few people have pointed out to me that I should have made this question multiple choice. Single answers included Hindu, Ietsist, Irreligious, Jewish, Left Hand Path, Longhouse Religion, Muslim, Nihilist, Occultist, Panendeist, and Panentheist.
It won't surprise any of us to see that this subreddit is mostly Atheist/Agnostic. However, there are some more spiritually-minded people here, and although they are not a large group they are a noticeable segment.

Q14: If you do not consider yourself an Atheist/Agnostic/etc, how free do you feel to discuss your spiritual views in exchristian?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
1 (Not at all Free) 5 1.4%
2 23 6.4%
3 87 24.2%
4 69 19.2%
5 (Completely Free) 176 48.9%
This seems to have faced a similar problem to Q10, in that many people answered it who should not have. They represent all but one of the '1' answers, and fairly even portions of the others. The answers of spiritually-minded people seem to come out at around the same proportionally as the overall responses. Reassuringly, that means that most do feel free to share their views here, although it also means that there is a minority who do not. While I cannot speak for that minority, one of the answers to the previous question provided a small paragraph on it (side note: try not to do this in surveys, folks. Short and to the point is best). That person said "I don't like to talk about this openly on the sub because I feel like people will see me as spacey and illogical, but that might be because I watch too many hardcore Youtube skeptics".
I think that answer makes sense as a reason some people don't feel entirely free to share their views here. This sub clearly has an atheist majority, and the stereotype of atheists is that we are hostile to any and all spiritual beliefs. It's not a problem with the subreddit, which I've always found to be extremely friendly and open, but one of perception and self-consciousness. But as always, if you feel like I'm grasping at the wrong end of the stick here, feel free to say so - in PMs if you don't want to do it publicly.
Following on from all of that, I'd genuinely be interested to hear more about the beliefs of our more spiritual members - the more niche the better. I'm not that way inclined myself, but the previous question has sparked an academic curiosity.

Q15: Are you 'out of the closet' as an ex-christian?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes, to everyone I know 79 9.9%
Yes, to most people I know 203 25.3%
Yes, to some people I know 387 48.3%
No 133 16.6%
Very few of us have told everyone in our lives that we're no longer christian, but most of us have told at least some people. I imagine that that mostly manifests as people keeping it a secret from family or church friends, or a christian workplace, but being open about it among non-church friends or in a secular workplace.

Q16: If you are 'out of the closet', do your christian family and/or friends accept your decision?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 113 18.9%
No 152 25.4%
Some 333 55.7%
Less than 20% of people's christian circles fully accept them leaving christianity. Christians hate apostates, what a surprise! That a majority have had at least some acceptance is good to see, though, and I am glad for those of you who have experienced that.

Q17: If you are not 'out of the closet', do you plan to come out in the near future?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 86 16.3%
No 163 30.9%
Not Sure 279 52.8%
Most closet-dwellers are unsure if they'll come out or not, with a fairly large minority having decided to keep it a secret, at least for now. A majority for the undecideds is not a surprise. It's a very difficult decision, and you have to weigh up your freedom with the damage you might do to your personal relationships. Not an easy choice.

Q18: Are there any non-christians or ex-christians in your immediate or extended family?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 425 53.3%
No 373 46.7%

Q19: Outside of your family, do you know any ex-christians in your real life?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 505 63.1%
No 295 36.9%

Q20: Do you live in a place where you feel socially at risk if you admit you are no longer a christian?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 158 19.8%
No 258 32.3%
Sometimes (i.e. among family but not among colleagues) 384 48%

Q21: If you do feel socially at risk, how important has exchristian been in giving you a safe space to speak freely?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
1 (Not at all important) 22 3.7%
2 34 5.7%
3 137 23%
4 202 33.9%
5 (Very Important) 200 33.6%
This group of questions shows quite a stark difference. While a majority of us do have other non-christians or ex-christians in our lives, a substantial minority seem to be surrounded by christians, most of them probably in the American south where, from what I read on this subreddit, Christianity is everywhere. That makes exchristian very important as a support subreddit, which I've seen others say here and have felt myself. This community is a very important resource for many people.

Q22: When you were a christian, did you participate in church community activities (i.e. youth groups)?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 716 89.3%
No 86 10.7%

Q23: Do you miss christianity's sense of community?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 257 32.1%
No 420 52.4%
Not Sure 124 15.5%

Q24: Do you feel isolated since deconverting?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Frequently 109 13.7%
Sometimes 287 36.1%
I have in the past 200 25.1%
Never 200 25.1%

Q25: If you have felt isolated, has exchristian helped to reduce that isolation?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 450 70.1%
No 51 7.9%
Not Sure 141 22%

Q26: Outside of exchristian, have you found anything in a secular space to replace the church community?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 353 45.1%
No 429 54.9%

Q27: On the whole, how important has the exchristian community been in helping you through your deconversion?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
1 (Not at all Important) 104 13.8%
2 96 12.8%
3 189 25.2%
4 189 25.2%
5 (Very Important) 173 23%
This is another group of questions which really show how important this community is. Most of us were quite involved in our churches, and although most say they do not miss christianity, a majority have felt isolated at some point, and a large majority of those say exchristian was important to reducing that isolation. The answers to question 27 reflect that again. I think it's really important that this sub exists to help alleviate some of these problems.

Q28: Do you experience rapture and/or tribulation anxiety?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Frequently 59 7.4%
Sometimes 147 18.4%
I have in the past 270 33.8%
Never 322 40.4%
A majority of us have, at some point, experienced rapture or tribulation anxiety. That's hardly surprising, given how strong the 'left behind' motif is in christian preaching and culture. More encouragingly, a majority of those who have experienced this say that they do not experience it now. As someone who has suffered from this in the past, I can reassure you that it does get better. The more distance you put between yourself and your christian past, the easier it becomes to move past that anxiety.

Q29: Have you been diagnosed with a mental illness or illnesses?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 348 43.6%
No 451 56.4%

Q30: Do you believe that christianity has had a negative impact on your mental health?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Yes 667 83.3%
No 58 7.2%
Not Sure 76 9.5%
While a majority of us have not received an official mental health diagnosis, a substantial minority have, a testament to how much of a toll christianity and the process of tearing yourself away from it takes on your mental health. An overwhelming majority also think that it has had a negative impact on their mental health, which will surprise nobody who has spent any time reading the posts on this sub.

Q31: On the whole, has your loss of belief made your life easier or more difficult, or has it had no impact?

Answer Number of Responses Percentage
Easier 481 60%
More Difficult 105 13.1%
No Impact 54 6.7%
Not Sure 161 20.1%
I have realised since writing the survey that this question was too simplistic and doesn't reflect the variety of people's experiences. Nevertheless, a clear majority do consider their deconversion to have made their life easier, and in the light of the mental health questions that is hardly surprising.

Conclusion/TL;DR
So, what has this survey told us? In demographics, a clear majority in this subreddit are white American protestants, with most between the ages of 16 and 35. In both gender and sexuality, it is more diverse than reddit overall, and most are well-educated. A clear majority are either atheist or agnostic, but there is a diverse (if small) group holding alternative beliefs. With most of us only halfway 'out' as ex-christians and with a clear majority identifying christianity as causing mental health troubles, the survey also shows the importance of exchristian as a place on the internet where people in our situation can come together and share experiences. I'm grateful to all of you for being here and for making this sub the place that it is.
And that's a wrap. Well done for making it this far, I guess, and thanks to all of you who responded to the survey. Pulling the data together for this post has been intense, but fun in its own way, and I have enjoyed finding out a bit more about who we are as a community. As I've said throughout, comments, questions, and criticism are all welcome if you have any to share, and I'm very interested to see what the community thinks of the data.
submitted by acuriousoddity to exchristian [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Breaking Bad, Part 3

Continuing
“Hello and good day, gentlemen”, I say. “I am Doctor Rocknocker. You may and will refer to me as ‘Rock’. OK? None of this ‘Doctor’ or ‘Sir’ guff. We green here?”
There was a buzz of voices but no direct answers.
“OK. Let’s get a few things down right here and now.
(1.) Call me Rock.
(b.) Answer me loudly. I will need to hear you loud and clear. Best get used to that now.
(iii.) “We green?” means “Are we in agreement?” It’s a form of shorthand I use here and in the field.
(⍾.) “You diggin’ me, Beaumont? means you’ve really done gone and pissed me off; you’ve done something untoward. Pray you never hear that phrase, and,
(∞.) I’m the boss. The top dog. The hookin’ bull. The Maharaja here. I possess the first, final and only words you’re going to listen to for the next couple of weeks. What I say, goes. Any problem, please let me know now so we can replace you most quickly.”
A gentle buzz, but no replies.
“Gentlemen. Do we agree?” I ask.
“Yes, Rock.” Was the reply.
OK, there might be some form of a societal prohibition against making loud noises. That’s the first thing that has to go.
“Gentlemen, we will be working in the great outdoors where there are wind, rain, waves, and other environmental nonsense making all sorts of unrequited noise. We need clear and proper lines of communication. I need to hear you clearly and vice-versa. When speaking, you will speak slowly, clearly, and loudly. “
DO WE AGREE!?!” I yell, rather deafeningly.
“YES, ROCK!” came the eventual reply.
“Outstanding”. I ponder.
Continuing…
“Mr. Sanjay is my de facto second in command. If I’m out having a smoke, taking a piss, or having a snort, he’s in charge. Listen to him as if I suddenly lost 150 pounds, shaved my beard, and inexplicably become Indian.” I chuckled.
They seemed to enjoy that. I actually elicited a few chuckles.
“Mr. Sanjay will now distribute to you your locker boxes. You will wait until he hands you yours. Do not get up and mill around the room. We green?” I ask.
“Green! Doctor Rock.” Came the noisy reply.
“Progress. Marvelous.”, I reflect.
“I’ll be right back. Mr. Sanjay, the room is yours.” I note. I might need to cut back on the coffee.
I slope off to the loo and it’s just as horrible as you can imagine an outdoor communal shithouse in sunny India attended by 30,000 Indian gentlemen could be.
Fuck COVID-19. I’m thinking hot and cold running dysentery, dengue, and death here. Ick.
Glad I have a highly functioning immune system.
I retrieve a shiny aluminum Halliburton™ case from Headquarters and ease off to an unused office space to change.
I went from my usual field garb to full PPEs. It was quite a sight.
I’ll be telling you about it in mere moments. Contain the excitement.
I’m walking back to Outbuilding #2 and damned if my get-up didn’t elicit a few gasps, shielded guffaws, and a salute or two. I have to admit, to the uninitiated, I was a sight right out of Area 52, the more secret one, west by northeast of Roswell, New Mexico.
I get back to the outbuilding and enter. Everyone was looking through their locker boxes, chuckling about their good fortune and wondering with Joker-like glee what the hell all these wonderful gizmos were and where did I get them? They all stopped dead in their tracks when I walked in.
Their silence was palpable.
“Gentlemen”, I said, “Here’s how you are going to look at work tomorrow. Revel in its utility, comfort, and extreme fashion sense.” I did a quick spin like I used to on the runway.
At O’Hare when we were doing field geostatic tests. Whatever were you thinking?
Anyways…
I was wearing a pair of size 66-XTall NFPA 70E blaze orange Carhartt Nomex coveralls. I had on a Dax carbon-fiber blaze orange “Coal Scuttle” hardhat with swing-away hearing protection keyed into your personal communications module, and a gold-anodized, pull-down full face shield. The helmet was designed to drain away falling water down over one’s back and not down one’s neck.
I had a pair of ‘wet’ gloves under the snap retainer on my left shoulder, a pair of ‘dry’ gloves on my right. I was wearing an orange CMC Safety 9-point safety and rescue harness, good to well over 1,500 pounds. Over both shoulders, around the crotch, up the front, and around the back, X-style. This popular harness features multiple D-ring attachment points and the patented JackBack removable padding with breathable D-3 cloth, which keeps shoulder straps separated and makes donning and doffing a breeze. It had several catch-points where one could easily and readily attach to the snap carabiners and get bodily dragged out of a nasty situation by rope or chain. The front waist D-ring allows a comfortable, stable sitting position for rappels and the sternum D-ring works well for helicopter or crane-assist hoists. Gear loops offer easy access to equipment, and quick-connect-disconnect shoulder straps and leg loops make the harness quick to don or doff. It could be used for impromptu spelunking on days off.
I had on Size 16 EEE Gear Box 8088 Men's 8 inch Black Leather intrinsically-safe hard-toed lace-up black turned-heel leather work boots with the new self-cleaning, oil-and chemical resistant Vibram soles.
They couldn’t see, but I was also wearing a cotton-Nomex blend wifebeater and boxers as well. Nomex tends to chafe. Best be safe.
I had a powerful Maglite flashlight clipped to my rescue harness, as well as my mini Air Horn; a blaster’s must. I also had a mobile VHF-Commslink™ radio in a pocket on the back of my coveralls on the left shoulder. I had the microphone for it Velcro-ed to my rescue harness within easy reach. Very cop like. Very cool. Very necessary.
I had a traditional Zippo and Bic Butane lighters in my right-hand chest pocket and a brace of cigars, though these were optional, in my left pocket. I carried a bespoke constructed Swiss Army Knife on a lanyard in my right front pocket and had a custom Bears Paw Leatherman hanging on the left of my rescue harness.
Also clipped to the harness was a Silva orienteering compass. There was a selection of NASA write anywhere pens, Sharpies, and oil-writing chalk pencils in my other front pockets. I had an oil industry tally book in my other front pocket.
Why blaze orange? Well, Red Adair already co-opted bright red, and fluorescent green wasn’t available in my size.
So, we’re now ready to plant explosives in West India or go deer hunting in the Northwoods of Baja Canada.
“Questions, Gentlemen?” I asked.
I explained that in their locker boxes were purchase orders, POs, for every bit of kit I was wearing. They were to take these POs to the Company Store and get, well, kitted out in their own sizes and preferences. I wanted to see everyone back here tomorrow at 1300 hours looking as I do now. Well, maybe skip the cigar and be not quite so large.
I sat down on the table in front of the crowd and had Sanjay bring over the demo locker box.
“OK, gents,” I said, “This locker box is yours and is numbered as such. They will be stored here in Outbuilding #2. Each of you will receive a key for this building as it is now your headquarters. We’ll get back to locker boxes in a minute. Anyone need a break for a few minutes?” I asked.
No one dared answer at this magical juncture in the narrative.
“Well, I do”, I said, “Meet back here in twenty minutes. Sanjay?”
The class wandered out and I conversed with Sanjay. We found the maps I had ordered.
They were an aerial view of the breaking yard and it was split into 6 zones, all a different color. There was one master for the wall and 28 copies for the guys. I also had a log-in/log-out board made. Vertically numbered 1 to 28. There were also 7 vertical bars labeled Zone 1 through Zone 6, and one for ‘in dispose’; i.e., in Latrin-e Land. This was so I’d know where my guys were at all times.
There was a hook for each one of these areas to log in, and to let anyone know where a certain person was during the day or night. You’re number 10? And you’re going to be wielding a torch over in Zone 5? Your brass tag goes right there. You’re going to skip over to Zone 3? Get your ass back here and swap it over to where you’re going. There is no excuse for being where you haven’t said you were, short of active accident or dismemberment.
Everyone shuffles back in and I explain the tote board.
“Notice there’s no spot to leave your brass chit if you’ve gone off the reservation?” I asked. “Why do you suppose that is?”
Confused looks all around.
“Because you keep that brass token with you when you’re not on the job. Lose it, lose your job. Sounds harsh, but so is getting your fucking hands blown off. Think of it as an exercise in discipline.”
There was a very little rebuttal.
“When you are on location, your brass token will reflect where you are. You are off-site, put the brass token in your wallet next to your lucky ‘circular impression’.
There were several knowing grins in my cadets.
Wear it around your neck on a chain. Keep it on your keyring. You can wrap it up in ribbons, you can slip it in your sock; I don’t care. Thing is, it is your ticket to this job. Hold on to it, there will be no replacements. We green?”
“Green, Doctor!”
“Outstanding.”
“Now, locker boxes. Gentlemen”, I continued. “These are your personal boxes that will be archived here. They will contain everything that you will need to carry out the job initially and help you with training the next crew that comes through after I leave. Keep them neat and tidy. I like to pull unannounced locker box inspections, gentlemen. Be forewarned.”
The sound of active scribbling is music to my tinny ears.
“Now, as such”, I continue, “Each locker box, at this point, is identical. Please follow along with me as we do inventory: Each gets locker box will contain (as I pull out the item for identification):
• 1- set Purchase Orders (POs) for PPEs
• 1- Galvanometer
• 2- Blaster’s pliers
• 1- Custom Leatherman
• 1- Metal clipboard
• Various Pens, pencils, paper, etc.
• 5- Sharpies
• 1 copy: Blasters Protocols Handbook, 15th Edition
• 1 copy: Blasting and explosives safety training manual by the IEE.
• 1 copy: Theory and practice of blasting, by Hino (A classic)
• 1 copy: Blasters Handbook, 17th Edition
• Various Explosives catalogs
• 1- Custom Swiss Army Knife
• Several Butane lighters
“Are we in agreement, gentlemen?” I ask. “Please check to be certain you have what the manifest states.”
“As long as we’re going over locker boxes, let’s look at our set of PPE purchase orders. Each locker box will contain POs for:
• 1 pair Orange Nomex coveralls, in your size
• 1 Dax carbon-fibre blaze orange hardhat with ear protection, gold face shield
• 1- CMC Safety 9-point extraction harness with carabiners
• 2- pairs Safety Glasses
• 2- pairs of gloves –wet & dry
• 1- pair Gear Box 8088 hard-toed intrinsically safe 8” work boots
• 1- Silva Orienteering Compass
• 3- pairs of cotton WaterWick socks
• 1- CommsLink™ VHF radio with microphone
• 1- Maglight power flashlight
• 1- Rain suit – also Nomex, bibs and outer shell
• 1- Mini Air Horn Power Tootler
• 1- Pair cotton/Nomex blende underwear – anti-chafe, wifebeateboxer: 3 sets.
• 1- 16-ounce container ‘Babies Bottom’ Talcum powder. Nomex chafes.
“Well, that’s a lot of gear; you best become real familiar with it as soon as you can. You are responsible for your PPEs. Lose them and replace them at your own cost. Wear them out? No problem. We will replace them. Get caught on location without your proper PPEs? Alavida. Goodbye. There is no second try. Fuck up once, and you’re gone. I am here for a limited time to try and teach you characters how to blast boats. I am not here to be your wet-nurse or mother. We green?” I ask.
“YES! Green! Rock!”
“Outstanding!”
We spend about an hour going over the various contents of the locker boxes and I answer general questions about blasting and explosives.
“We will use Primacord by the mile and tons of C-4 primarily. I might introduce you to binary explosives if there’s time. We might also get into PETN and RDX. Dynamite for training. But that’s about it.”
“We will use demolition wire and electrically fired blasting caps and boosters. We might have some time to look at set-pull-forget mechanicochemical fuses. But you’ll all learn some basic electrical wiring and how to design a circuit.”
“Tomorrow, given it doesn’t rain and the creek don’t rise.”
“Time, gentlemen!” I said. It’s been a long day and I’m a bit jet-lagged knackered. Besides, I wanted to give that Jacuzzi a spin.
“OK, remember: get your PPEs tomorrow morning at the Company Store. I expect to see each and every one of you here tomorrow, kitted out and ready to go, at 1300 sharp. That’s it. See you tomorrow. Susandhya. [Good evening.]” I said.
Locker boxes are locked and stowed in an orderly fashion. Each and everyone one of my 24 acolytes come to me before he leaves work to thank me personally and shake my hand.
“This might just work out”, I say to no one in particular.
Sanjay and I head back to the Raj for the night. I’m really tired, finally feeling the jet travel hit, and not the least bit hungry.
However, I do ring up the 214 cigar dude and relieve him of a selection of fine smokes. I drop by the bar for a couple of barley-pops before I retire to my capacious room for the night.
“Sanjay”, I say, “I’m knackered. If anyone wants me, head them off until tomorrow. It can wait. I’m going to get some kip and don’t want to be disturbed. No maids, no Majordomo, no butler. I just want to get unconscious for a while.”
“No problem, Rock”, Sanjay assures me, “I’ll tell them you’ve gone bush and haven’t left a forwarding address.”
“Good man”, I say, patting him on the shoulder. Hell, I must be getting old. Shit like teaching a band of newbies and whooping a little ass would have never as much as caused me a short breath. Then again, it’s probably not the years, it’s really the mileage…
After a quick light breakfast come morning, Sanjay and I are back on location. I’m being given a tour of the place by the day-shift foreman, one Mr. Vikramaditya Shrivastava.
“Yikes”, I say to Sanjay, “You characters really go for your 11-syllable names.”
“Call him ‘Vik’, Rock”, Sanjay smiles, “Good thing you’ve never asked about my last name.”
“Probably is”, I snicker back. I’m not getting roped into this little tussle.
Vik speaks fairly passable English, but I’m still glad Sanjay is here. The first order of business is to see the explosives bunker I sent plans for and how that’s coming along. They tell me it’s almost finished and ready to be stocked with what I’ve ordered.
“Outstanding, let’s have a look,” I say.
Into the Citation Golf Cart, we go. None of this plebian walking shit. We’re MIPs, Monstrously Important People.
Plebes walk, we ride.
We drive around the piles of rusty scrap, huge hunks of bulkhead, and disconcertingly quickly through polychromatic puddles of who-knows-what to slide to a stop in front of a large canvas tent.
Think M *A *S *H-type mess tent.
“What’s this?” I ask, “Commissary? First Aid?”
“No, Dr. Rock”, Vik explains, “Here are your explosives.”
My eyes grow large.
“What do you mean?” I ask. What the fuck do you mean? I mean.
“Building of your bunker is taking more time than we expected what with your design imperatives. But your order was filled most expediently. We are storing it here until the bunker is complete.” He smiles in that inimitable Indian manner that is so irritating when they don’t realize the major fuck-up they’ve just committed.
“OK. Simmer down, Rock.” I say to myself. “Sanjay, ask him again what’s in that tent. That bottomless tent that’s just a sheet of tarpaulin held up by metal poles.”
“He says that’s your explosives order, Rock,” Sanjay says. His demeanor went from perky and helpful to terrified as he saw me turn several shades of crimson and begin to emit wisps of steam.
“Sanjay”, I said in calm, calculated terms. “You are telling me there are over 9 tons of high explosives, blasting caps, boosters, demo wire, and ANFO sitting on wet sand in this heat under a sheet of fucking tarpaulin?”
“Yes?” he stammered, with a squeak.
“OK.”, I said. “We need to keep very calm and not go completely apeshit; and I’m telling you, right now, that’s taking Augean-level effort. We have a situation here, Mr. Sanjay. A very, very dangerous and very deadly situation. Let’s above all, remain calm.”
“Right, Rock”, he replies.
I turn to Vik and say in a calm and collected tone, “YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
“Calm and collected, right, Rock?” Sanjay smirks and Mr. Vik withers under my verbal assault.
“Sorry, I had to get that one out.”, I apologized, “Mr. Vik. You have created a real blockbuster here. Quite literally. I figured, erroneously it seems, that you would not take delivery of over 9 TONS of high explosives before you had a very safe and secure place to store such.”
“It arrived sooner than we thought. We got a good price on it,” he explained.
You did? Fucking great! Holy mothering fuck!
Now I was even more worried. One does not get discounts or bargain-basement deals on quality high explosives.
“Pray, Mr. Vik”, I entreated, “From where did you source these detonic components?”
“From Best Blast and Supply Llc of Hong Kong Enterprises.” He replied, “Bulk discount quantities, quick delivery bonus. Saved crore rupee.”
No. I was wrong, it could get worse.
Not only 9 tons of high explosives, 9 tons of counterfeit, knock-off, and non-regulated manufacturer explosives.
“OK”, I said, “Let’s take stock here. My bunker isn’t finished yet? Correct? So you and the company meatheads ordered 9 tons of knock-off explosives from some shady and cheesy Chinese dealer and you stored them on wet beach sand, in this heat, under a tarp? Have I got all that right?”
“Oh, yes Doctor Rock.”, he smiled.
“Sanjay”, I said in a low, firm tone, “We have a…situation. We need to cordon this area off and build an exclusion zone as far as we can around it. No one, and I mean no one, gets within what, 10 kilometers? of the tent. This thing goes off, it’s going to leave a much larger than that cone of devastation. Then we need to visit with the management of this place and have a few thousand well-chosen four-letter words. Then I can think about what the fuck we’re going to do about this situation. I’m struggling to remain calm so everyone else will, but this is just a wee bit tetchy. Find me some red flags and start planting them around the tent, working our way out. Let’s go. Calmly, collectively, and with purpose.”
We find a source of 2-meter poles with red pennants. Sanjay also finds a few miles of yellow “Danger: Stay The Fuck Away” tape. We gather then and head back to the tent. We start to spiral out from it planting flags and running tape.
We did the best we could, but we were disrupting daily business activities. Good. Let the head idiots in charge know they’ve fucked up and grandly.
Back at headquarters, I’m fuming. I’m damn mad. I’m loud and being all extremely American about all this.
“You fucking idiots! 9 tons of cheap-shit high explosives? From China? Stored on wet sand in this heat? Under a benchod tarp? Why the flying fuck do you think I sent such detailed plans for a storage bunker? Do you assholes even think?” I railed on like this for at least half an hour, going all Gene Wilder in ‘Young Frankenstein’.
“Yes, Doctor”, one Mr. Karam Kanungo, the local boss and company president said, “That is all true and steps will be taken to redress the situation. But that doesn’t address the issue at hand. What do you suggest?”
“I suggest you are all taken out and given hot coffee high colonics to clear out your thinking processes”, I spit, “But that still leaves us with a nine-ton headache out there waiting to bloom into something even more aggravating.”
The entire assembled board agreed.
I calm down a bit and have a think. Fuck your boardroom, I’m having a cigar.
“You need a licensed, certified, master blaster to go and sort that out. Do you happen to have one handy?” I asked, sweeter than clover honey.
“Ah, yes, you are…oh.”, was the collective realization.
“Yeah, I know. It’s me. I’m the only one that can sort this shit out. We can’t even wait until we find someone from the world to assist. We are sitting on a literal time bomb, gentlemen.” I reply.
They all agreed and were relieved I was going to take on the challenge.
What else could I do? That stuff lights off and we’re talking easily hundreds if not thousands of fatalities and countless injuries. Fuck that. Not on my watch.
I tells ya’ what. The fucking Karma Fairy better shower me with gifts and accolades, blowjobs and candy corn after all this.
In a metaphorical sense, of course.
“OK, Mr. Sanjay, you’re with me.” I say, “Now look, Herr Macs”, I address the collective board, “Before I had carte blanche. Now, if I even think we might need something, it appears. We’ll sort out our honoraria and bonuses for this after we get back.”
Everyone present agreed most hastily. Handshakes all around and apologies from the board cemented the issue.
“OK, Sanjay. I need a bus. At least 24-seater. With a driver than knows how, when, and where to stop. OK?” I ask.
“24, Rock?”, Sanjay asks, “You’re not thinking of including the recruits now, are you?”
“Yes I am, Mr. Sanjay.”, I replied sternly, “On the job training. Meet me at outbuilding #2 at 1300 as per plan. Order a bus and arrange the largest forklift that can manage beach sand, about 100 wooden pallets, plastic wrap, and sandbags. Lots and lots of sandbags. Have them stockpiled away from the tent in a muster area. OK. You got all that?”
“Yes, Rock”, he said, “I’ll be there in a couple of hours. It will only take a few phone calls.”
“Marvelous.”
Not even 1000 in the fucking morning and I’m facing life and death decisions once again. I dig an emergency flask out of my field vest. If this doesn’t qualify as an emergency, what the fuck does?
A tot or two later, I change into my PPEs, and light a cigar. I catch a tap-tap to the region of the tent. I need to reconnoiter the area and figure out what sort of dragon I have to slay and the best way of going about slaughtering the sumbitch.
I’m standing alone, about 250 meters from the tent of death.
I’m puzzling and puzzling; but I can’t allow for my puzzler to go sore. Not this early, anyway.
“OK, me ol’ mucker”, I sigh, “It’s me or thee. Pucker up, Buckwheat. Here I come.”
A blast suit like the ones bomb disposal dudes wear wouldn’t help in the least. All it would do is hold the mashed body parts together to make for easier disposal. I’m anywhere within a kilometer or so of this pile of Chinese counterfeit boom-makers and it decides to let go; I’m lunchmeat. That’s it. Alive one second; kerpow, splat, instantaneously zonked into component particles the next. That’s the long and short of it. No ‘thank you’s. No ‘good bye’s. Just existing here one minute and in an alternate dimension the next.
Doesn't that just take the biscuit? Funny old thing, life.
I trod onwards.
For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.
I was walking up to the tent, clearing a path for the forklift. No fucking way I’m schlepping nine tons of dodgy explosives out of here, over wet beach sand, by hand and hoof.
Sand. I’m with young Anakin on this one. I hate sand. I hate walking in dry sand, hiking in wet sand. It makes for a wonderful oil reservoir and I love its porosity and permeability at depth. But at the surface, forget it. Yow! Let me tell you about the time I was out in the Rub al-Khali desert. The great Sand Erg. Wind blowing a force 9 gale! Seif dunes 1,000 meters high…
Yeah. I know. I’m stalling.
I’m approaching the tent. Carefully. I pause to light a new cigar. You might think that daft, but it’s really not. None of the stuff inside is heat-sensitive; let me clarify. None of the stuff is going to go off if hit by errant ash or even a sustained flame. But sitting out in the 30C+ heat? OK, that makes it twitchier. Cigars do the opposite for me. Give me something to concentrate upon and it calms me down.
I need calm now. By the bucketful. Where’s a monsoon when you really need one?
OK, I made it. I’m at the tent. Got to hand it to the workers around here, they respect authority and don’t come anywhere near the tent. They also don’t apparently give a shit as there no crowd gathered filming me with their iPhones to post to You Tube© if the tent decides to go all detonic.
Good. I couldn’t yell anything at them they’d understand to clear out anyway.
I open the hole in the side of the tent and pause. I’m hit with a wave of hot air. And the heady redolence of onions, sewer gas, and dog farts.
Sorry, that’s just me. Weird midnight snack last night. Frozen durian. What a treat.
Anyways.
I smell kerosene. Old wood pulp, like musty magazines. And an undercurrent of almonds.
“Oh, treble fuck me,” I say to no one within 100 square kilometers.
Kerosene is sweaty C-4. Old wood pulp is dynamite. Almonds? My old friend, nitroglycerine.
Things, if possible, went from real to super-uber major-league holy-fuck real.
“OK”, I say, as I dig out my phone and begin to snap pictures at a frantic rate.
Luckily, all the ordnance was piled like-with-like. Blasting caps? All over here. C-4, all along this ‘wall’. Dynamite? All over here. Non-explosives? Right over here.
I was mentally running like a squadron of overclocked Crays, wondering what I need to do to sort out this little situation. I’m so deep in thought, someone would need to throw me a rope to get my attention.
Or, just tap me on the shoulder.
Once I returned from low earth orbit, I turn to see a little wisp of an Indian feller, who had to be at least 27 years Methuselah’s senior.
“What? THE? Actual? Fuck? Are? You? DOING? Here?” I screamed.
“A thousand pardons, Sahib.”, the ancient one said, “I saw you working alone. Salim wonders if you need some help? Salim is good helper. Salim will help you good.”
“Yes, Salim. Oh, hello by the way.”, I said, calming a bit, forcing myself to smile so I didn’t kill him on the spot, “I do need your help. I need you to go, very slowly, out of this tent and to where the flags begin. Stand there and allow access to no one. OK. We green?”
Salim smiles broadly revealing both teeth. I slowly usher him out and remind myself to order a few new pairs of boxers before the day is out.
Back to the problem at hand. There are some salvageable items here. But the most the C-4, all the dynamite and every sack of ANFO has to go. And by ‘go’, I mean be disposed of. How?
By blowing it up, how else?
An idea creeps into my skull. I puff and puff while it grows and finally, I’ve a plan of attack.
I close the tent and slowly walk away. I hand Salim 1000 rupees and tell him that no one, I don’t care if it was Mahatma Gandhi reincarnate, goes anywhere near that tent.
“You savvy?” I ask.
“Oh, Sahib! I savvy! Thank you! Salaam! I savvy!” he is beside himself with joy, 13 bucks, and a task.
I look at my watch. It’s just gone noon. Good. I need a sandwich, some fluid replacement, as I’ve probably literally sweated off 5 kilos in the last hour and a half, and some time to jot down my plans.
I catch a tap-tap, geez, these things are everywhere around here. They form an unsanctioned, but necessary, sort of intradepartmental transport system here. I tip a couple of hundred rupees for every trip. They see blaze orange and they have this Pavlovian reaction. I sometimes need to break up fist-fights over which driver arrived first.
“Commissary”, I say, sit down, let the tap-tap, which is really nothing more than a glorified golf cart, adjust to my Western bulk and away we zip.
Salim is waving to me as we depart.
I shudder to think if I hadn’t had a tot or two and was a bit jumpier from the morning’s caffeine. Here's to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
At the commissary, I grab a tall iced, fruit cocktail juice; a slurry of mixed dragon fruit, kiwi, carambola, blood orange, green apple, watermelon, bitter melon, sweet melon, & bailan melon fruity essence. I’m incredibly thirsty and I need some calories, but not in bulk and not from onion bhajis, mutton kabobs, or something claiming to be grilled chicken on a stick.
The last thing I need today is a case of the trots or even sharp gas pains in the next few hours. I add about 5 fingers of Old Fornicator Vodka to the juice and sip it slowly as my biometric rhythms return from the ionosphere and back to more normal levels.
Remember, I’m EtOh-based. I need to control my various fluid levels very carefully.
The blasting muse is upon me. In less than 30 minutes, I have a plan. Both a written out procedure and a map of what needs to be done.
I finish off another tall, icy glass of potato and various fruit juices, venture outside feeling almost like I’ve once again regained the illusion of control of the situation and my life.
I fire up a heater and decide to walk the approximately 1100 meters to outbuilding #2. I’m thinking as I sashay along; figuring this and calculating that.
I round the corner and see Outbuilding #2 and a bus parked next to it.
The bus looks like a refugee from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The movie and album.
I go into Outbuilding #2 and see about half the class has arrived, and they are all kitted out in their new, stiff, and scratchy PPEs.
I nod hello to all and see Sanjay over across the room.
“Mr. Sanjay”, I say, “Nice bus. What’s the story?”
“Only one I could find that was a 24 seater, not actively falling apart, and with an English speaking driver. Rock. Mr. Maha, owneoperator.” He replied.
“Mr. Maha”, I said, shaking his hand. “Love the bus. Some sort of passion project?”
Mr. Maha laughs. “I was city bus driver for 39 years. I retire and go nuts. I buy old bus and fix up mechanicals. Runs all like excellently. Looks like dung heap. I begin to paint and never quite knew when to stop.”
“I like it. Adds a sense of surrealism to the day, as if it really needs more.” I reply, “However, I do hope you know how to stop. I mean that sincerely. We have a literal bomb to defuse. Does that bother you?”
“No, Doctor”, he says, “Nothing much bothers me anymore. I know. You are here. You are to make safe. I feel safe that you’re here. Let us go to work.”
“Outstanding”. I say.
I tell him that a fat bonus will be his when this is all over if all goes to plan.
“Unnecessary.”, he replies, “Mr. Sanjay has already paid me.”
“Paid? Perhaps”, I reply, “You are going to get danger money whether you like it or not.”
“I guess I will like it, Doctor.” He smiles.
“Marvelous.”
I look at the clock, it’s 1256. Almost showtime.
1300 on the spot. I pick up the microphone and address the assembled 24.
“Gentlemen”, I say, “Very good. You all look like late October in the United States. Very festive.” as all are kitted out in their respective PPEs.
“We have a little matter to handle. One that has just cropped up and one you’re certainly not ready for, but I have no other choice. Does that bother anyone here?” I ask.
Head shakes and questions arise.
“OK, class”, I say, “For your first training exercise, we’re going to defuse a 9-ton bomb. Let’s go.”
The collective gasp drew my cigar smoke in another direction, right towards them.
“Doctor…Ah, Rock. Really?” one brave soul asked for the crowd.
“Yes”, I said, “seems your company officials got a ‘real deal’ on some dodgy Chinese explosives. They didn’t wait until they finished the storage bunker I had designed, so they simply set the stuff on the beach and covered it with a canvas tent.”
There were more gasps.
“Indeed”, I said, “We need to neutralize this threat. Sanjay is passing out copies of my plan and designs on just how to do this. Read them over and let me know what you think. You have 5 minutes. We’re out of here at 1330 on the nose.”
They read quickly, cogitated over the plans and as I had assumed, didn’t find any flaws within.
“OK”, I say after an inch of cigar had passed, “You follow my directions, directly and without question, there’s no reason you can’t come out of this alive and happy, free to pursue a life of religious fulfillment.”
There was a chuckle or two at that last line. ‘Airplane’ is such a classic movie.
“Now I know”, I continued, “That this is pretty scary shit. Especially for you guys, being tossed in the deep end like this. I know because I’m scared to death.”
“Oh, Doctor Rock”, one of my acolytes said, “We do not believe this is so.”
“I stay alive by being scared to death”, I replied. “You will learn this as well.”
Sanjay checks out everyone’s PPE and all appear in good order. They are happy to have such nice, new equipment.
And that’s a problem. People used to ragged and ratty shit with which to work will go to extraordinary lengths to not filthy-up brand new working gear. This is one little bugaboo I’m going to settle here and now.
“One thing, gentlemen”, I note, “You all have nice, clean, and new PPEs. You look great. You come back to Outbuilding #2 looking as pristine, you’re gone. Keeping clean is not a part of your training. You’re going to sweat and stink. You keep to clean and it tells me you’re goldbricking, that is, not doing your job.” I say as I surreptitiously unscrew the top of my travel mug, ‘accidentally’ trip and shower the front row with Greenland coffee, lukewarm.
“See?”, I saw, “They were totally protected. That’s what PPEs are all about. We green?”
“Somewhat brown, Rock”, a couple of the guys in the front row reply without a hint of irony.
“Outstanding.”
“Gentlemen, it is time. Take what you think you’ll need and leave the rest in your locker box. Brass tags to Sector 4. On the bus, we leave in 5 minutes.”
I move my brass marker to Zone 4, puff a blue cloud for all to see, and head out to the bus.
We’re loaded and headed to Sector 4 in less than 5 minutes.
“OK”, I say”, I’m going to break you up into groups of 4. Tags number 1 to 4, you’re group 1. 5-8, group 2, and so on. OK?”
All respond in the affirmative.
OK. Six groups of four, Sanjay and me to lead the pack. We roll up to just outside the exclusion zone. With a squeal of brakes, we grind to a halt.
“Outside”, I command, “Assemble in your groups next to the bus. Go!”.
Like a well-oiled team, they de-bus and stand together in 6 groups. Sanjay and I walk along, inspecting the troops.
“OK”, I say, “This may seem like a shit job, but group 4. Back on the bus. To the commissary. Water, juice, and whatever else you think we’ll need to stay hydrated out there. Don’t worry, we’re going on rotation once you get back. You’ll all get a chance to do the exciting stuff. Now, move it.”
I say something to Sanjay, he jots it down in his book, certain to remind me later.
“OK, let’s see. Group 1. Storage detail. Build the temporary in-ground storage locker like it’s shown in the plan. Get help and have them source the manpower and materials. It needs to be done in the next 2 hours. Go!”
There are some explosives that can be salvaged. I need a place to store them. I’ve scouted and laid out a spot away from prying eyes where they can build an 8x8x8 hole in the ground, line it with marine plywood, and store whatever we can salvage. A plywood roof over the thing, a couple of locks, and well, Robert’s your Mother’s Sister’s Husband.
Next, I send group 3 to build a road from the tent to an area on the beach sourced as Disposal Area #1. They will take flags and tape and run a road, of sorts, from the tent to the beach; cordoning it off so we can take the forklift and its loads of dodgy high explosives to the disposal area.
The other groups are doing needful and necessary things as well. I tell Sanjay to keep a lid on things, I’m going to bring the forklift, a few pallets, sandbags and such in for the first run.
I find the forklift, and it’s a huge old Hyster 52-ton truck.
It’ll do.
The keys are in, so I drop in and fire it up. It catches on the first twirl and I pick up a half-dozen wooden pallets, a bunch of sandbags, and a few huge rolls of plastic wrapping. It’s like driving a tank, but it has plenty of power and just a low gear range.
I drive it back to Sector 4 and almost rum over Salim. He was taking my previous orders very seriously, indeed.
“All cool, Salim”, I say over the roar of the forklift, “It’s just me.”
He waves and lets me pass. He’s serious as a heart attack about keeping people out.
I drive and realize that I can’t drive ‘gingerly’ in a conveyance such as this. I can drive deliberately and with forethought, but it rumbles and shudders the ground. Best to slide in, drop the load, and shut her down while I figure out what’s next.
I do so and drop the pallets, etc., just outside the flap of the tent. I back off a few feet, drop the forks, and shut the noisy machine down for the time being.
Sanjay appears. As does Crew #5. I motion them to come over, slowly and with forethought.
We’re all standing outside the tent flap. I raise an index finger, right, of course, to get their attention.
“Gentlemen, first lesson. What says these explosives have gone bad? Answer:” and I open the tent flap.
“Take a whiff. What do you smell?” I instruct.
“Old paper?” was one answer.
“Oil? Petrol? Something petrochemical?” was the next.
“Almonds?” Sanjay says.
“Highest marks. We’ve old C-4. It sweats and smells like kerosene. Old paper or pulp? Dynamite gone wet and bad. Almonds? Bitter, bitter almonds? Nitroglycerine. Yes, guys. We’ve got rogue nitro inside. Anyone want to quit? Now’s your chance.” I ask, being deadly serious.
One looks to another; then they all look to me…eyes wide…
To be continued…
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Results of First Official /r/Chihayafuru Survey

On May 3rd, 2020, a survey was conducted on /Chihayafuru. This was the first official survey held in the community, the results of which can be found here.
A total of 173 people responded over the 10 days this survey was open.
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/Chihayafuru's Favourite Shoujo and Josei Anime/Manga
/Chihayafuru's Favourite Anime and Manga (excluding Shoujo and Josei)

Demographics

Age Demographics

Age Range Percentage (Number)
25-34 years old 38.4% (66)
20-24 years old 34.9% (60)
17-19 years old 16.9% (29)
35+ years old 5.8% (10)
12-16 years old 3.5% (6)
Under 12 years old 0.6% (1)
A total of 172 people responded to this question. The results are surprising, to say the least. The median age trends much higher than that of other anime communities with most people being in their 20's and 30's. We have a decent number of teenagers but most people here are adults.

Gender Demographics

Gender Percentage (Number)
Male 56.6% (98)
Female 41% (71)
Prefer not to say 1.2% (2)
Non-binary 0.6% (1)
Agender 0.6% (1)
All survey respondents answered this question. The male majority was expected since reddit is predominantly male. Still, the somewhat balanced demographics are refreshing to see considering most communities are far more skewed towards male (/anime is 85%+ male for instance) although our numbers may be lower.

Country Demographics

Country Percentage (Number)
United States 38.8% (64)
India 6.7% (11)
Philippines 6.1% (10)
United Kingdom 5.5% (9)
Canada 5.5% (9)
Germany 3% (5)
Brazil 3% (5)
Australia 3% (5)
France 1.8% (3)
Sweden 1.8% (3)
Norway 1.8% (3)
Malaysia 1.8% (3)
Other 21.2% (35)
165 people answered this question. There's an even split between NA and other timezones. Roughly half the community lives in NA while the other half is divided between other regions. A surprising amount of people come from SEA regions.

Chihayafuru Related

When did you first get into Chihayafuru?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Between 2013 and 2018 (before Season 3 announcement) 38.2% (66)
Between 2018 and 2019 (before Season 3 aired but after it was announced) 16.8% (29)
Around/before Season 1 started airing in 2011 12.7% (22)
While Season 3 was airing 12.1% (21)
After Season 3 had ended 12.1% (21)
Between 2011 and 2013 (before Season 2 aired) 4.6% (8)
While Season 2 was airing in 2013 3.5% (6)
All survey respondents answered this question. Considering that 72.8% of our users have been watching anime for longer than 5 years, it makes sense that many of them would get into it so early considering its status as a sleeper hit and older fans' willingness to check out less mainstream anime. Many people seem to have picked it up after the Season 3 announcement, likely owing to seasonal culture becoming more widely adopted. Overall, we seem to have quite the mix of veteran and new fans.

Which of these made you watch Chihayafuru?

Answer Number
I watched it without much outside influence 70
Fan response/discussion on /anime or other forums 33
The MyAnimeList score 31
That one ProZD Video 29
Recommendation/Gift from friends/others 25
Anime Youtubers/AniTube in general 12
Ads and Promotions on Streaming Services 7
170 people answered this question. It was the first question where you could write-in an answer. Most write-in answers were grouped together since many people mentioned various blogs/websites which were grouped into "fan response" while people who found it on their own regardless of why they were looking for it were grouped into "watched without much outside influence." As a result, that answer dominates because as Chihayafuru isn't a major topic in other online communities, many people end up discovering it on their own whether they're looking for sports, josei or romance.

How have you watched the Chihayafuru anime?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Illegal streaming/torrenting/sailing the high seas 59% (98)
Legal streaming 55.4% (92)
Physical BDs/DVDs 4.2% (7)
166 people answered this question. More than half have streamed Chihayafuru legally although many of them have pirated it on occasion. Only 7 people own the physical BDs/DVDs.

Which of these translations do you prefer for the Chihayafuru anime?

Answer Percentage (Number)
I don't favour one or the other 50.9% (83)
Official Translation 31.3% (51)
Fan translation by Commie 17.2% (28)
Other 0.6% (1)
163 people answered this question. Aside from people that don't favour either translation, it's strange that so many prefer the official translation when Commie goes above and beyond with typesetting, translating signs and karaoke. Either way, it seems like people have issues with Commie's work or they have not checked it out and prefer the translation on Crunchyroll.

Which season of Chihayafuru is your favourite?

Answer Percentage (Number)
I don't have a favourite 29.1% (50)
Season 3 27.3% (47)
Season 2 22.1% (38)
Season 1 12.2% (21)
My favourite season is still unadapted 9.3% (16)
172 people answered this question. With Chihayafuru being a single narrative that isn't traditionally divided into arcs, it's natural that a large percentage of people don't have a favourite. Season 3 appears to be the most-well liked season and there's yet a considerable number of people that are more interested in unadapted events.

Which Chihayafuru anime OP is your favourite? (Please consider both song and visuals)

Answer Percentage (Number)
YOUTHFUL 45.9% (79)
I don't have a favourite 20.3% (35)
COLORFUL 19.2% (33)
STAR 14.5% (25)
172 people responded to this question. YOUTHFUL seems to be the most beloved OP. It's often considered synonymous with the series and repeated quite often which is common in sports anime. A large number of people don't seem to have a favourite OP while the rest are in much closer contention with each other.

Which Chihayafuru anime ED is your favourite? (Please consider both song and visuals)

Answer Percentage (Number)
I don't have a favourite 33.3% (57)
Hitomebore 31.6% (54)
Soshite Ima 21.1% (36)
Akanezora 14% (24)
171 people responded to this question. People seem to be more indifferent towards Chihayafuru EDs compared to OPs which does make sense because a lot of anime fans do skip EDs. This could be a poll option in the future. Season 3 ED seems to be the most favoured one with Season 1 ED only just behind. No overwhelming majority for any option in this case.

Do you read the Chihayafuru manga? If so, how?

Answer Percentage (Number)
I exclusively read for free on manga aggregate sites/sail the high seas 48.8% (82)
I am an anime-only 31.5% (53)
I buy the volumes legally but read ahead of the official translation via other means 16.7% (28)
I buy the volumes but don't read scanlations 3% (5)
168 people responded to this question. We clearly have more manga readers here than anime-onlies and a considerable number of people seem to buy the volumes even though they read the scanlations.

Have you watched the Chihayafuru live action movies?

Answer Percentage (Number)
No 73.3% (126)
Yes 14.5% (25)
Only some of them 12.2% (21)
172 people answered this question. Quite an overwhelming number of people haven't seen them while a fair few haven't seen all of them. People seem to be largely indifferent about the live-action medium but the movies aren't exactly known for their quality so maybe it's better this way.

Who is your favourite Chihayafuru character?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Mashima Taichi 43.9% (75)
Ayase Chihaya 20.5% (35)
Wataya Arata 11.1% (19)
Wakamiya Shinobu 8.2% (14)
Ooe Kanade 4.7% (8)
Harada Hideo 3.5% (6)
Suo Hisashi 1.8% (3)
Sudo Akito 1.8% (3)
Nishida Yusei 1.2% (2)
Hanano Sumire 1.2% (2)
Yamashiro Rion 1.2% (2)
Sakurazawa Midori 0.6% (1)
Inokuma Haruka 0.6% (1)
Komano Tsutomu 0% (0)
Tsukuba Akihiro 0% (0)
Kinashi Hiro (Retro) 0% (0)
Other 0% (0)
171 people answered this question. Taichi seems to be the favourite for roughly half the subreddit while Chihaya and Arata seem to have a lot of support. For side characters, Shinobu and Harada perform well for their limited screentime. On the bottom, you have the unloved who received 0 votes although one of them really does deserve it.

Do you ship characters in Chihayafuru? If so, which ones?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Chihaya x Taichi 47.4% (82)
Chihaya x Arata 30.1% (52)
Kana x Tsutomu 28.9% (50)
I don't ship characters 22.1% (38)
Chihaya x Taichi x Arata 3.6% (6)
Shinobu x Arata 3% (5)
Chihaya x Shinobu 2.4% (4)
Sumire x Taichi 1.2% (2)
Chihaya x Sudo 1.2% (2)
Taichi x Shinobu 0.6% (1)
Arata x Taichi 0.6% (1)
Shinobu x Suo 0.6% (1)
Sudo x Taichi 0.6% (1)
All survey respondents answered this question. That was an absolutely clusterfuck to figure out with all the weird answers I got. All the Character x Happiness answers were grouped into I don't ship characters and most ships that made sense are listed out here. I expected more people to not ship characters but it seems that the top 3 ships are significantly more popular than staying neutral.

Which medium do you prefer for Chihayafuru?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Anime 81.4% (140)
Manga 18.6% (32)
Live Action 0% (0)
172 respondents answered this question. Anime seems to be the preferred medium for most people. This is by far the most overwhelming majority for any one response throughout the whole survey meaning people are really satisfied with Morio Asaka's work on the Chihayafuru anime. On the other hand, there isn't a single soul that prefers live action despite a considerable amount having seen those films.

Is Chihayafuru your favourite anime/manga?

Answer Percentage (Number)
It's definitely up there 72.3% (125)
Yes, it's the best 16.8% (29)
I've seen better 7.5% (13)
The anime is in my favourites (not the manga) 2.3% (4)
The manga is in my favourites (not the anime) 1.2% (2)
All survey respondents answered this question. Unlike more mainstream anime communities, there isn't an overwhelming number that has Chihayafuru as their favourite anime ever even if the vast majority has it among their favourites. It speaks more to the community's maturity as anime fans rather than a lack of dedication when you consider that Chihayafuru fans are likelier to be willing to try out a more diverse array of shows.

How would you rate Chihayafuru on a 1-5 scale?

Answer Percentage (Number)
5 65.3% (113)
4 33.5% (58)
3 1.2% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
All survey respondents answered this question. Most people seem to have it at a perfect score while a fair few rate the series closer to perfect. Pretty much expected results all around.

How much Chihayafuru merch do you own?

Answer Percentage (Number)
None 80.1% (136)
Physical manga volumes 11.8% (20)
Karuta cards 11.2% (19)
Soundtracks or OP/ED singles 4.7% (8)
BDs/DVDs 4.7% (8)
Storyboards/Lineart/Official Art 0.6% (1)
Other merch 3.6% (7)
170 people answered this question. The lack of availability for merch is quite evident but some people haven't let that stop them.

What are your opinions on the Chihayafuru fanbase?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Minor gripes aside, I love most aspects of the fanbase 49.1% (78)
It has its problems but so does every fanbase 28.9% (49)
I love the fanbase unconditionally 20.1% (32)
The fanbase is worse/more toxic than others 1.9% (3)
159 people answered this question. Most people seem to acknowledge that parts of the fanbase has problems. However, most fanbases do and they're still happy to be a part of it. Some do love it unconditionally and very few seem to think it's overly toxic. Overall, a really mature response.

Other anime and manga

How many total anime have you completed to date?

Answer Percentage (Number)
100-250 30.4% (52)
50-100 25.1% (43)
250-500 17.5% (30)
Less than 50 13.5% (23)
500-1000 7.6% (13)
1000+ 2.9% (5)
I don't know/don't watch anime 2.9% (5)
171 people responded to this question. It's a bit surprising to see that most people's numbers aren't super high considering the relatively high mean age and Chihayafuru's more niche status. Still, give it a year and a lot of these numbers could crank up during the COVID pandemic.

How many total manga have you completed to date?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Less than 50 59.1% (101)
50-100 17.5% (30)
100-250 7% (12)
250-500 7% (12)
I don't know/don't read manga 4.7% (8)
500-1000 2.9% (5)
1000+ 1.8% (3)
171 people answered this question. It's pretty evident that people read manga a lot less than they watch anime here. Still a lot of people that have read a lot despite the nature of a lot of manga to publish for many years.

How long have you been watching anime/reading manga?

Answer Percentage (Number)
10 to 20 years 34.7% (60)
5 to 10 years 31.8% (55)
2 to 4 years 22% (38)
20+ years 6.4% (11)
Only for a year 4% (7)
I only started a few months ago 1.2% (2)
All survey respondents answered this question. Most people are older anime fans despite not having very high numbers as I pointed out earlier. Very few people seem to have started watching recently. It is rather bleak prospects as a lot of newer anime fans seem to be less willing to step outside of their comfort zone and discover shows like Chihayafuru. We can only hope this changes as time passes.

Which of the following are you particular about?

Answer Percentage (Number)
I am willing to watch any anime regardless of age and popularity 79.9% (135)
I do not watch anything from the 90's or earlier 9.5% (16)
I do not watch anime from the 80's or earlier 7.7% (13)
I only watch very recent popular anime 1.2% (2)
I only watch anime seasonally 1.2% (2)
I do not watch anything made before the 2010's 0.6% (1)
169 people answered this question. As overwhelming as the response is for most people being willing to watch anything, it's still strange to see a considerable number still refuse to watch oldeless popular anime despite being fans of a less popular show that will inevitably fall off the radar of newer anime fans. Y'all need some Cardcaptor Sakura, Utena and LoGH in your lives.

Which of these mediums do you actively consume?

Answer Percentage (Number)
Anime 95.9% (164)
Manga 68.4% (117)
Live action TV/Movies 23.4% (40)
Light Novels 21.6% (37)
Visual Novels 14.6% (25)
171 people answered this question. Very high interest rates for anime and manga aside, live action TV and movies are more preferred to LNs and VNs despite both being a part of the animanga-sphere.

Do you consume shoujo and josei media?

Answer Percentage (Number)
I like a lot of shoujo classics 58.1% (97)
I like prominent josei anime 39.5% (66)
Chihayafuru is the only shoujo/josei anime I like 22.2% (37)
167 people answered this question. Over half the respondents love their shoujo classics and a fair few are into josei as well while a lot of them go out of their way to read shoujo and josei manga. Fairly nice results considering the larger anime community's indifference to media that falls under these demographics.

Do you like sports anime/manga other than Chihayafuru?

Answer Percentage (Number)
I only watch sports anime if they look good/are critically acclaimed 40% (68)
I actively consume a lot of sports anime/manga 38.8% (66)
Chihayafuru is the only sports anime/manga I like 12.4% (21)
I only like Haikyu!! and Chihayafuru 8.2% (14)
I only watch anime featuring sports I've played 0.6% (1)
170 people answered this question. Considering that sports anime are largely ignored by the larger anime community and Haikyu!! is often considered the 'exception', it's good to see that mindset isn't incredibly prevalent here (although it could be less prevalent yet). I'd kinda like to poll people on their favourite sports anime and make a recommendation wiki entry on that too at some point.

Which shoujo and josei anime/manga would you recommend to Chihayafuru fans?

We had 59 responses for this question. I have created a shoujo and josei recommendation wiki based on these responses. The cutoff was 2 votes. Some suggested entries that weren't shoujo or josei were excluded from the wiki.

Shoujo and Josei Recommendation Wiki

What are your favourite anime and manga aside from Chihayafuru?

We had 117 responses for this question. Similar to the shoujo and josei wiki, I have created a general recommendation wiki for the responses to this question. Unlike the shoujo and josei wiki, the cutoff here was 4 votes to keep the number of entries down.

General Anime/Manga Recommendation Wiki

submitted by EpicTroll27 to chihayafuru [link] [comments]

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submitted by thomlizpa to u/thomlizpa [link] [comments]

Greek & Latin are logical & sensible, not poetic & figurative. also, strong Sapir-Whorf is REAL, y'all

original link: https://reddit.com/badlinguistics/comments/ff356y/english_is_the_easiest_language_to_learn_and/fk2ihp5/
all creds to u/AlthisAraris, who did research, added citations, and made me remove 90% of the snark in the gdoc we used to rant about this. my version contained far more "ding dong you are wrong"
tl;dr: Greek/Latin were (in Western culture) the languages of science/logic, which makes those languages (and their writing systems?) inherently logical. OP does some badhistory.
Note: we use a lot of wikipedia links because a lot of this is easily searchable, public knowledge.
Arguments (Paraphrased):

submitted by ladyofthebookworms to badlinguistics [link] [comments]

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