The Horrors of Romanticizing Abuse and The Psychology of Harley Quinn

So… This is your idea romance, eh?
Source: BJA007 on Imgur

I’m going to try hammer this one out quickly on the grounds that, while it clearly needs to be said, it’s not something I enjoy talking about.

So, with the release (and subsequent lukewarm reception) of Suicide Squad, it seems that DC Fans have started clamoring about a topic that never fails to infuriate me whenever people start talking about it; the relationship between well-known Batman villains Harley Quinn and The Joker.

Nearly everyone I know has, at one point, said that they want a romance like these two. But here’s the rub – they often say this without realizing or even in spite of the fact that The Joker is an abusive and manipulative sociopath and Harley is most likely suffering from deep mental scars that extend far beyond even the damage he’s done.

For those not familiar with her backstory, Harley – real name; Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel (yes, the bubble-headed, bleach blonde, jester girl has a PhD) – was a graduate of Gotham State University where she excelled in Gymnastics and Psychology. After finally getting a job at Arkham Asylum and eager to start analyzing their most notorious super-criminals, she found herself locked in a battle of wits and egos with The Joker that ended with him seducing her to aid his escape on multiple occasions and eventually to join up as his most frequent collaborator.

But here’s the thing, The Joker is largely incapable of returning that love. If he has any love in his heart, it’s for the pain and chaos he causes. The closest he can be said to have come to loving a human being is his obsession with Batman. And that love for inflicting pain and disregard for human life is shown in the way he routinely scolds and beats Harley. For god’s sake, he threw her out of a 3-story window!

What’s more, Harley’s behavior is supported by psychology. There are the obvious implications of Stockholm Syndrome, but even her slowly growing to believe she could identify with Joker is supported by science. While working in Arkham, she clearly spent enough time with him for Emotional Contagion – the tendency for humans to subconsciously imitate the emotions of others – to set in. With enough time under her skin, it was only a matter of time before Shared Psychotic Disorder (also known as Folie à deux or ‘madness of two’) took hold and she started emulating his Anti-Social Personality Disorder under the delusion of romance.

So, are we clear here? Harley and Joker are not romantic; they are sick. Harley needs counseling to deal with her years of abuse and Joker needs to be placed in solitary confinement. When you say you want a love like theirs, you aren’t being Bonnie with Clyde (which would be bad enough) – you’re being one of those weirdos that send love letters to serial killers.

Seriously, the best thing that Injustice: Gods Among Us ever did was give us the moment that the comics took forever to do; having Harley figuratively nail Chuckles the Ass-Clown to the F***ING wall.

The Question of The Year: The Agent’s Answer to The ‘Giraffe Riddle’


If you get the riddle wrong, might I suggest doing this just to screw with people?

Let’s have some fun and analyze a silly gag on the Internet. Most people are at least aware of the Facebook Giraffe Riddle. They may also be aware of the controversy – silly as though it may be – surrounding it’s answer.

But I honestly feel I have an irrefutable answer that no one could disagree with (though I hope that doesn’t stop people from trying to debate it). But first we have to inform those that might not have heard of it.

The Riddle

Although its Facebook origins are unknown, the riddle officially known as ‘The Great Giraffe Challenge’ was offered up on YouTube by Andrew Strugnell. In the first two days of its upload on October 26th of 2013, the video gained over 55,000 views and its fan page on Facebook got more than 40,500 likes in two days time.

The riddle reads as follows:

“3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread, and cheese. What is the first thing you open?”

Anyone who fails to answer the riddle correctly must change the photo on their Facebook profile to that of a giraffe to publicly display their ignorance.

The Debate

There have been some creative answers to this riddle. I seem to recall one person saying the wine is the correct choice because he would need alcohol to deal with guests that early in the morning (Disclaimer: The Awkward Agent does not condone the use of alcohol early in the morning or as a stress relief tool; please drink responsibly).

The two most common answers that are seen are your eyes and the door. The argument is that you have to open your eyes in order to wake up, but the structure of the question suggests that you are already awake because you can identify the sound of the doorbell. On the other hand, you have to open the door to let your parents into the house, but the riddle’s structure fails us again because it seems to suggest you’ve already opened the door to see and recognize your parents.

I have heard so many people arguing about this in public – which, without the right context, makes people sound insane as the yell at one another about eyes, doors, giraffes and breakfast foods.

There is another answer though that I’m surprised I’ve not heard yet.

My answer

Before you open any of the food stuffs on the table to serve breakfast…

Before you open the door to let your parents into the house…

Before you open your eyes to rise from your bed…

You must first ready yourself to greet your guest, whoever they be, and let them know that they are welcome in your presence

Before you open anything else…

You must first open your heart to the guest.

Call it ‘sappy.’

Call it ‘hopelessly romantic.’

I call it ‘lateral thinking with soul.’