Jake English fucking loves booty shorts, guys. Also: Dirk Strider.
I really could not believe it when I heard some people say Jake wears booty shorts because Dirk is a Predatory Gay and made him do so, but here we are. In any case, it took me forever to realize this, so it’s worth pointing out.
Jake uses his clothes to express his inclinations more than maybe any other one of the kids. Jake himself foreshadows his future inclination towards gear that shows off his ass…ets:
Frankly, I don’t think much else needs to be said there? There’s a canonical reason Jake dresses the way he dresses, and that reason is that Jake likes tomb raiders and sexy-looking action heroines, and he wants to be a sexy action hero and look sexy doing it. That’s really all there is to it.
…Or it would be, except that unlike Jake’s relationship with fighting, Jake actually experiences struggles and complications relating to looking sexy, and becomes insecure and vulnerable due to the way people treat him as a sex object.
It’s no surprise this happens. Jake has a list of sexual/romantic voyeurs and aggressors, and his discomfort and trauma in this area is an integral part of his character.
Early on, Obviously, there’s the AR, who’s lasciviousness is so well-documented I don’t think it’s worth repeating here.
But Dirk breaks it down nicely for us. Dirk himself makes no appearance on this list, seeing as he had no control over the AR and never even remotely speaks to Jake that way when they talk to each other.
Brobot is often accused of being a sexual aggressor as well. This belief is based on two quotes from the story:
This one, from AR. The thing is, AR is known for being pretty hyperbolic and overly sexual about pretty much all situations–kind of like a 13 year kid would be, you know?
What Jake himself says about the Brobot’s actions is much more indicative of the nature of the Brobot’s actions. Specifically:
Jake describes the Brobot as tender. And Tender is a specific word with specific, almost memetic meaning in Homestuck:
A meaning that only a juvenile teenager LIKE the Auto-Responder would consider sexual. Or at least, someone similarly trapped in immaturity.
Yeah. I know fanon is really pervasive about this idea that the Brobot was on the list of sexual aggressors, but the only real implication the canon itself makes is that it was doing tame proposals and handholds like this. That’s what Jake is referring to. It becomes problematic for him, but only because of the AR’s taunting and the fact that he and Dirk can’t figure out how to talk about it.
Brain Ghost Dirk makes some comments to this effect, however–likely reflecting the way the AR has messed with Jake’s head and successfully made him conflate the way the AR sees him and the way Dirk sees him. Even after the AR stops being an active presence in Jake’s life, it still makes its impact known through BGD’s characterization.
We also have no reason to believe Dirk even knows Brain Ghost Dirk exists, let alone has any active say in what he says or how he acts, either. BGD is, after all, predominantly Jake’s brain–and thus a reflection of, at best, how he THINKS Dirk sees him.
Note how even though Jake fully expects Brain Ghost Dirk to make lascivious and leery comments to him, he never expects Brain Ghost Dirk to try to touch him in a way he doesn’t want to be touched. On top of that, In fact, Jake makes a point of noting that Dirk is more conscientious towards him than either the AR or Brain Ghost Dirk:
And then, of course Jane literally threatens Jake with sexual slavery (while corrupted by an evil supercomputer):
So yeah, Jake is pretty uncomfortable with being seen as sexy by the time Aranea gets to him. It wouldn’t be unreasonable if the idea of being seen as sexy–or even just wearing short shorts–was ruined for him completely.
It wouldn’t even be unreasonable if his image of Dirk was tarnished, even though Dirk wasn’t really responsible for what was happening any more than he was.
But different people respond to trauma differently. And once Aranea objectifies him completely and renders him a tool–literally lightning him up and making it so ALL EYES are on him right when Jake feels most exposed and vulnerable, Jake responds in a pretty peculiar way.
With his Hope powers unlocked, Jake could theoretically do anything. Send hordes of angels to attack, make himself invisible, bring Grandma back from the dead…given what Jake actually ends up doing, it doesn’t make much sense to imagine arbitrary limits on his power. Because what Jake does when he needs to feel safe is make his imaginary friend real.
Again: Making something fake real is, by definition, pretty much the hardest thing to do–both in real life, and to convey compellingly narratively.
Even Jake teleporting his grandma from the past and reviving her to come protect him would be more reasonable a storytelling move than Jake being able to create matter and a personality out of thin air. You would only need Time and Space powers to theoretically pull of that absurd feat, so it would technically be possible to accomplish.
Making your imaginary friend real, though? That’s completely impossible for everyone, everywhere. Except for Jake English.
But Jake English can do anything, which means what we actually does reflects not only what he wants, but what he wants MORE than anything else possible to him.
And what he wants is Dirk Strider, coming to his rescue and keeping him safe from his latest aggressor. Kinda like Brobot always protected Jake from feeling unsafe when he was threatened:
Brain Ghost Dirk even calls himself Jake’s boyfriend, and this is after Dirk broke up with him and he worried about not being able to love anyone:
And right before Dirk breaks them off, while Jake is in trickster form and completely uninhibited, he confesses feelings to Dirk and makes a point to note he was willing to be romantically involved with him:
And luckily, as for his relationship with his shorts, Jake had a good pal give him some advice and boost his self-confidence:
And over the course of [S] Credits, Jake apparently patches things up enough with Dirk that they’re living together and can comfortably fight for fun like he always wanted. On top of that, he’s recovered his confidence in his image enough that he can act out the sexy superhero fantasy he loved so much:
Both his relationship with Dirk and his relationship with his body are sorted out, and Jake’s now happy and comfortable with himself. How it happened, exactly? Who knows–there’s as many different ways it could’ve gone down as you can imagine. But the fact is, it did. And it was laid out this way from the beginning.
What’s the exact nature of Dirk and Jake’s arrangement? Not really relevant. What we know is that they’re living together, that Jake was always willing to have a relationship with him and that never stopped being a thing, and that Jake trusts Dirk with his safety over literally anything else.
What we know is that they’re best friends and mutually romantically interested in each other, whether or not they decide to pursue that.
We also know Jake always liked dressing sexy so long as he was safe and didn’t have to worry about people dehumanizing him. And in this new world, he can do that as much as he wants, too:
Anyway Jake English is the best character in Homestuck and he’s happy with his boyfriend Dirk canonically, and he’s also happy and comfortable with his body while doing it because that was never the issue when he was with Dirk.
Tomorrow I should be following this up with one last Jake post–this one talking about how Jake is way way smarter than everyone thinks he is. You know. Except for Dirk, who explicitly knows Jake is smart.
After that, we can move on to Roxy. If you’re interested in my writing, I’m also working on a youtube series aiming to make Homestuck understandable to a broad audience you can find here. Next episode should be dropping before the end of the weekend.
See you again soon. Keep Rising.