I think comic 2261 pretty much lays out Dora’s feelings for Tai before this whole thing started pretty clearly.

(From Questionable Content. Click for full-sized coaches needing coaching.)

Somewhat cleverly, Jeph Jacques had the first date between Dora and Tai result in the two of them hitting it off but with no shortage of awkward moments to confuse anyone looking for signs as to the direction of the relationship. That said, it’s by now apparent that most of those awkward moments were the result of Tai’s uneasiness about the entire notion of the relationship; she revealed in the previous strip that, even as she was asking her out, she was worried that Dora would say no. (By the way, I felt it was somewhat abrupt the way we cut to Tai and Dora starting their date from the day they decided to start a relationship, and when combined with this revelation I can’t help but wonder whether we skipped a week of strips somehow. I certainly would have loved being able to break down exactly what happened when Tai asked Dora out.)

I get the sense that Tai almost doesn’t feel worthy of a relationship with Dora. She’s constantly worried, looking for every potential portent of bad tidings, worrying that this might be too good to be true. As much as Dora’s own dating history (and the circumstances of the start of the relationship) may be hanging over her head in this relationship, just as likely to bring it down, if it does, is Tai’s own neuroses about the relationship and whether or not it’s actually real – a sort of turnabout of what ended Dora and Marten’s relationship, which would make a nice bookend to their respective starts.

It makes her decision to run to the coffee shop and wring an answer out of Dora all the more head-scratching; she was strong enough to take control of the situation and get Dora to agree to the relationship in the first place, yet doesn’t have the confidence that Dora would accept an invitation for a date when she’d already accepted the notion of a relationship? Tai’s character is turning into an interesting case study; she’s clearly a take-charge kind of person who’s enough of a leader to be Marten’s boss to begin with, and those qualities have remained at the forefront with Dora multiple times in recent memory, yet she’s a complete bundle of neuroses in terms of navigating the actual relationship. Part of that, as she reminds Marten in this strip, is her own experience, or lack thereof, of meaningful relationships, but still, I can’t help but wonder whether her pep talk to Dora might as well have been directed at herself.

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