the line outside the velvet ropes of the wiggle room


I didn’t so much mind the velvet ropes, just the bouncers and the authority games.  Being on the list.  Even being at a place with a list.  It was annoying and not at all who I was.  And even at the time, I knew someone who put us on the list, got friends in and left.  Usually, I just went along for the ride.  I liked the cab time with the girls.  The way Alexandra had to listen to 80s music and Dulce needed to begin her lipgloss ritual, making circles with her finger over the pod, but only on red lights, for fear that the cab might suddenly jerk, causing her finger to dent her perfect pod procedure.  I liked watching my friends.

What I didn’t like was wiggling.  It’s what I hated most about dating. I layered on dates, piled them up like luncheon meat.  A quick face to face over coffee, then home to change for drinks with someone else.  And even if drinks were going well, I’d keep the next date, usually dinner–which meant it wasn’t a first date.  And if that date sucked early enough, as soon as I was home, I’d IM or email a guy and have him meet me in "How fast can you get to the upper west?"  I didn’t care so much that I’d forgotten which stories I’d already told, and I became a bit of an expert at fibbing. 

A suitor, not The Suitor, would ask me for plans on Thursday night, but I already had plans with another man.  "Sorry, my sister is in town that night, but I’d still really love to see you.  Does Sunday work?"  I’d be very specific with the lie if I really liked him.  Because I knew. 

I knew all too well what the vague "I’m busy that night" meant.  Or equally as disappointing, "I have plans" or "I’m not free, but how about…"  It never meant a poker game or a family dinner, or else he’d say as much.  It rarely even meant plans with a friend.  And if it did, and the intention was to hit some party, if he really liked me, he’d say, "I want you to come with us."  Or he’d at least reveal, "I have dinner plans with a friend, and then we’re supposed to go to some party, but I really want to spend time with you.  So can you come to the party at least, and then we will also be able to spend all of Saturday night together, too?"   I liked the guys who wore it on their sleeves. 

I was completely spun up in it all, and half-detectived my way through each communication. I was irritated by it, of course, because I was playing the same game.  I knew what vague meant because when I was vague it meant someone else, someone with whom I wasn’t ready to let go.  However, I have girlfriends who’d never think this way, who are always vague about telling men their availability, and not as a manipulation or plot.  They simply don’t care to bog him down.  They keep the mystery without ever seeing it as a strategy.  I was all about strategy and could over think myself into a pirouette.  Some of these same friends didn’t much care if the guy she liked was dating other women.  "So am I, so it’s fair."  I can’t stand level-headed people.  "You can’t win the game if you don’t play."  Who says shit like that aloud?  Seriously.  "Well, if he really likes you, all those other women will eventually be weeded out.  So until that happens, just enjoy it."  I hate you.

No, no, no.  I didn’t care how special the relationship, how extraordinary our circumstances and our magical "I feel like I’ve known you forever" cliche crap; if he wasn’t all in after those first few dates then forget it.  I couldn’t be bothered with a wiggler.  It wasn’t just that I didn’t have patience and wanted everything to happen fast (which I did).  I didn’t want to be with anyone who’d choose me second, even for a second.  Who wants prudent when it comes to the heart?  I wanted a man who’d cancel on someone else to be with me. Someone rude, I suppose, as long as it wasn’t to me. 

But a real man wouldn’t need to be rude, only honest.  A real man could say what’s hard to say.  Could phone that girl and say, "I know we had plans for Friday night, but I need to cancel because, well, to be truthful, I am developing strong feelings for someone else.  And I need to see where they go."  Then he can reassure her, use the whole, "it’s not you at all" thing.  A man who does this knows he’s burning a bridge, is going with his gut and following every impulse except for the frightened practical one urging him to hedge.  To keep one around in case it doesn’t work out with the other.  Well, padding sucks.  I spent my life padding and hedging.  Battened in safe ego-friendly layers.  Eventually we all should grow up.  We don’t all do it, but we should.

There are two camps, really, when it comes down to it.  There are those who wouldn’t ever dream of online dating, fearful of the stigma, that it makes them look desperate.  It makes them feel like a loser.  That, or they’re waiting for "destiny."  For a grocery store incident.  I’m not talking about these people.  The camps: those who after a terrific date sign on to their dating site to both read email and also to see if the other person has logged on (and are relieved if they haven’t–and if they have… their shoulders drop and they question all their choices and in a way want to figure out a way to punish the other person).  And then there are those who genuinely couldn’t give a shit.  Wouldn’t even think to adjust their privacy settings to prevent others from seeing when they’ve logged on.  They don’t care, and wouldn’t bother to even look to see if the other person is signing on, etc.  I am the type to play at the first camp, Camp Psycho.  And I don’t think, even with all the confidence and perspective in the world, you stop being that type.  Because at the end of the day, that kind of person doesn’t ever want to feel like someone got something past them.  They don’t want to be outplayed, caught off guard.  They don’t want to feel dumb.  Rejection is one thing, but when it blindsides you, you begin to worry that it’s your problem or your fault for not picking up on it sooner.  And your subconscious takes the reins and vows to never let you look like such an ass again.  A psycho, yes–but not an ass.  But really, you don’t even care how you look.  You just don’t want to be betrayed, to believe in something, alone.  Because you feel like a fool.

And when we get there, to that unhealthy place of suspicion, when we’re that insecure, there’s a bigger problem going on.  Not just self-esteem and wall-talk.  And forget the whole, "well, if you behave that way, it usually happens because you drive them to it" crap.  Self-fulfilling prophecies, blah.  What sucks about it is the energy you waste, the life you waste on it.  And for what?  To be right.  Great.  Must feel great to know you were right in suspecting he was on the prowl.  Because even when your detective work is right, your life still feels wrong, and you still feel like a fool, even if you aren’t. 

I didn’t like what was quiet and unsaid because I didn’t like believing in something enough for two people.  I wanted the truth, straight up, to know where we stood, especially if he was still figuring that out himself.  We’d have an intoxicating evening, making plans already to see each other again.  We liked the same things, charmed each other, and the chemistry was intense.  We layered over each other’s sentences, so eager to share and add on things; "Remind me to tell you later about the time I==" happened all the time.  We said everything.  And then there was a good night, an end to the evening, back to our own apartments because of dogs or schedules.  And then the unsaid would come out.  I’d see that he signed onto the dating site, even though I hadn’t.  And it undid things.  Wasn’t I enough?  "But it’s just habit," I knew he’d say.  And it didn’t matter who the "he" was.  It was always the same.  "It’s window shopping, just something I do."  And then it undid more.

I did find that when I myself was man enough to deliver the truth, aloud, without sugar, guys actually did respect it, the "I’m not going to bullshit you" angle.  The truth.  All of it.  They liked not having to play detective, and even said, "If it doesn’t work out with him, I want to be your first call."  Which felt amazing and really showed me the kind of people they were.  Not angry or spiteful.  Gracious.  And it made me like them more.  If a guy I’d been crazy about did this to me, though, I’d completely respect him and definitely like him all the more for it.  But.  But I’d never let him back in because once upon our dating life ago he chose her instead of me.  And I’m not big enough to ever move past that kind of rejection.  Even if it was their mistake.  Even knowing how it looks from the other side, how much more I liked the guy when he handled it all so well.  I would handle it well, but I’d never open that door again.  I had, and still have, plenty of growing to do, but at least I know who I am.

Before I cowboyed up and became completely honest, I figured my fib would soften the blow of rejection.  No matter how specific, in the end, people can always see through it. If they want to. I’d always assume the worst simply because I myself was the worst.  I was bending the truth, was juggling and wiggling with the best of them, so I assumed everyone else was, too.  Nothing is fair in love.

I was mildly irritated with the  guy who of that Friday night party with his friend I presumed thought, "No point in bringing sand to the beach.  So I’ll see her Saturday and see who else I might meet on Friday at the party."  It wasn’t as if it was illegal to date.  I was, after all, doing the same thing.  But who cares what I’m doing?  He should just want me, to live and die for me.  I wanted this only with the ones I actually liked.  And no, the argument does not go, "Well, maybe you wanted them because they didn’t drop everything to be with you."  No.  That argument is trash talk.  It is absolutely wrong.  If he wasn’t taken and smitten up front, then he didn’t count as far as I was concerned. 

And then it got trickier.  If I got a call mid-party on Friday night, with the whole, "I couldn’t stop thinking about you, and why should we wait until tomorrow night?" thing, I could think one of two things.  1) He clearly likes me and is already smitten and eager, desperate to see me, and I love it!  2) He clearly likes me.  Um, or he just wants a woman to put her hand on his penis.  But let’s assume the hand to penis thing exists in all men, at all times.  Then my thinking would go to this place: the party sucked.  I mean, clearly he’d been drinking and all the "so we’ll talk tomorrow" promises said earlier in the sober night no longer counted.  The drunken words mattered more. Immediate gratification mattered more than the polite emails of plans and reservations.  When I say "the party sucked," I mean the girls were dogs, or too religious for his liking.  Because if the women were just completely insane or had horrible reputations or drug problems, the guy wouldn’t give a shit and wouldn’t be calling me at 12:20 am. Depending on how eager and persistent he was in making plans with me, I could feel out the rest. But that after midnight calling, or far lazier TEXTING (which is the most unmanly thing a guy can do), shit would need to stop if we were going to go anywhere.    

While I was fine to date as I pleased, to layer on the men and moments, if I suspected he was choosing to honor plans with another woman, I lost interest.  I didn’t want to be bothered with the possibility of rejection.  Then I’d spend the day squirming, wondering if I killed something before even letting it begin.  That’s how much I hated rejection.  It wasn’t about putting up some barrier, preventing someone from getting too close.  That’s shit you hear on crap television. "I want to let you close to me, but I’ve built this wall from being hurt so many times."  Please, someone hurt her once and for all.  I wouldn’t let it start because by my standards, he needed to be floored before we could take off.  Men are the gas; women are the brakes.

"I can’t do Friday" meant another woman, one he liked enough to give me a "How about Saturday instead?"  And then I’d wonder if that meant Saturday day, or night?  And I’d have to say, "Saturday during the day?"  To clarify like one of those people who had to fill up every second of her time–because I was one of those people.  Because really, if a guy likes you, and you suggest Friday, and he doesn’t respond, "Great, what time?"  And instead keeps things very vague with some "plans" bullshit, then he doesn’t like you enough.  No one, it seemed, would ever be enough for me.  It’s called needy, and it shouldn’t be permitted past the velvet ropes.



  1. Steph you are past all this bullshit dating stuff. ENJOY it!

    I dated plenty in my teens and 20's. Married at 26 with no regrets. Would not trade dating for what I have now (a husband and three kids) for anything. SO much better.

    Wondering why you are feeling the need to rehash and torture yourself..

  2. I've noticed the same thing you talk about in the sixth paragraph… how if you treat someone with complete emotional honesty and a type of respect that these days often seems outdated, you find a whole different range of emotions in people. Positive emotions, like gratiousness and understanding and empathy, even if you're rejecting them. It's one of those things that makes me optimistic about people: slight changes in attitude and demeanor can shift the whole picture, put things in all new terms. I learned the same thing from a latin boyfriend, maybe it's cultural?
    I like your introspective posts because you're always honest and really think it through, without sugar-coating or being self-deprecating either. And I'm glad to see someone else who doesn't buy all the tv/women's magazine rhetoric about building up walls and all that crap! People should figure themselves out for themselves, not think they somehow magically conform to advice based largely on gender stereotypes.

  3. I think what I love most about you is your ability to analyze WHY you feel the way you do. I obsess about a lot of the same things and while I'm able to admit that my reactions to certain things are far from normal, I'm rarely able to identify why I feel the way I do. I'm sure my husband would appreciate it if I could explain myself like you can explain yourself!

  4. LOL I am psycho logging on, don't betray me girl and proud of it! :) I feel like you have just met me and written this post about me. Spooky.

    It's just me – I can't help it. Some have fallen in love with it so there must be something there ;)

    Love this post Stephanie… I hope you are enjoying your downtime… even with twins and the bit. ;)

  5. Hi Steph
    I spent most of my late teens and early twenties dating. I could be seeing a few different guys at once, and then there were some with those types of excuses, or with whom there wasnt any connection. Im glad I did that, it was liberating. It never occurred to me that they may be dating around, it isnt exactly the culture here in Ireland, so I was the 21st century girl in my group: dating around. I am now happily with a man I adore, but I still beat myself up about the fact that I was dating another guy when we met. It feels technically like second best, but I know better deep down. The other guy was part of the layering, this guy was the real genuine article that I had been trying unsuccessfully to find in all the haze of the Dating Game. I agree though with Amy about you feeling the need to rehash. By the way, wanting the guy to be in it so deep after the first number of dates…I wanted that unrealistic thing too…the trouble is, I got it. Now its this big thing you have to contend with, that this guy was already smitten the first date and wanted to see you again. Carrying it on their sleeve is another trait of his….can be a bit unnerving to someone who became so adept at fibbing!

  6. I definitely fall in the psycho camp. I tend to blog-stalk and log-on-track. Even now, I've been chatting long distance with a guy I met online and every time I see that he's logged on, my shoulders fall a little. Of course, I'm logging on too and he lives across the country and we've known each other for less than two weeks. Yeah, I know — totally unfounded and unwarranted craziness.

    I'm definitely not proud of it, but I could so be a color war captain at Camp Psycho.

  7. I wrote an article like this about online dating as well. The people who dated around but never did online dating couldn't possibly get it. When you date someone without it happening online from a dating site- you have no idea whether they're dating other people or not…with online, it's all out there.

    I know I definitely had a "ghost account"- which I passed on to my single friends to use on jdate to check up on their dates without them knowing…

    I've been in all the places you decribed. I remember a 3 month relationship where I'd think we were on a path to something real, spend the weekend together, and he was back on by monday…and his answer when it was over was-"When I started this, I just thought I'd meet people and date around. I didn't expect to meet a "you"…and I'm not ready for that". Lame. All I remember was how much it hurt everytime I'd think I had a great date with him or any of the countless others only to see them on later that night or the next day. Your whole judgement system comes into question.

    I guess I'm just surprised at your seemingly extreme insecurities about other women though. One thing I never lost was my confidence- and I had to have gone over 200 online dates in the 5 years I was single. You seem to have ended up with everything you ever wanted- yet you're still insecure about other women from a lot of your posts. What do you think it will take to get over that??!

  8. It is such a relief to hear you talk about Camp Psycho. More like Camp Normal, I like to think. I'm camping out right now, and it sucks. The sudden inconsistency, the request for forgiveness and he'll call me soon. I don't want to pursue, but I want to know. If it's done, I'll deal. Dealing is way better than wondering. Are we still going to that concert in Austin next week? Not in those words; I'll be more casual. I know it's over, but I want him to have to say it.

  9. Good grief… WELCOME to my current life on Match. Nice to know I'm not alone in my frustrations!

  10. The TEXTING and unmanly part rang a bell with me. Makes me wonder if I was happy he'd kept things safe (only texting or e-mail) for him, because I didn't want it to work out either really, deep down…Safe for him, safe for me but a big time waster for both of us. His ongoing unavailabiltiy was somehow attractive…

  11. Always refreshing to find someone who thinks (overthinks?) as much as I! As always, thanks for your honesty.

  12. I feel this way about my friends as well. (I know you did a post a while back about "breaking up" with girlfriends.) I have a friend with whom I was very close at one point, like, attached at the hip close. Now every time I try to make plans I get "I'll let you know" and it makes me want to just never call her again. I think if you care about someone, you make them a priority. You don't hold off on making plans with them to see if something better comes along. You commit, and if something else comes up you say "I'm sorry, I have plans that night." I think a person has the right to demand that kind of respect in all of their relationships, whether romantic or not. We only have so much energy, why waste it on people who don't value it?

  13. No need to assume whether the hand to penis thing exists in all men, at all times. It does.

  14. So, as a fellow resident at Camp Psycho, what do you think it would have taken, or does take, for you to feel secure knowing that someone likes you, wants you, is invested in you, etc? How did you overcome all of this to have a successful relationship? Because there is always room for doubt. I guess I am asking, how can you tell when you are justified in feeling insecure or "he's just not that into me", and how do you know if it's all in your head?

  15. After experiencing unspeakable betrayal, a broken engagement and then 6 months of Camp Psycho voracious dating, I met my Mr. Right on jdate.
    He's a "wear it on his sleve" guy, and asked me to marry him on our 6th date.
    Years later, I am still the emotionally needy person I was before. The difference is now that he whispers in my ear at night "I love how much you need me." Maybe his comment sounds nuts to some people, but I feel truly fortunate to have found someone who loves me for who I am– insecurities and all.
    I give this advice to all my single girlfriends who want to meet the right person for them: Be like Walmart– a volume strategy. You can't control if these guys are right or not right for you, or how graciously or not graciously they treat you, but you can sure expose yourself to as many of them as possible (not in an R rated way!) to give yourself the best chance possible of meeting someone who clicks.
    All my props to the single hopeful spectacular ladies who haven't given up on finding the real thing.

  16. "Because even when your detective work is right, your life still feels wrong, and you still feel like a fool, even if you aren't."

    This whole paragraph sums up my entire relationship. We just decided to end things. He still lives with me. We have a lease together for another 5 months. I kill myself with worry about what he will be doing when he is not at home. I feel like I am constantly living in Camp Psycho. I can't wait to get out. I can't wait to not feel sick to my stomach for the first time in 3 years. I know that these will be the hardest months of my life, but I also know that I have a real chance once I get through this. If I stayed, I'd have no chance. Blogs like this keep me motivated…when nothing else will, when I feel like my life is ending. It helps knowing that other people survived it, that other people picked themselves up out of bed or off of the bathroom floor and changed their lives. I can't wait until I get there.

  17. This makes me glad I'm married now.

    It's a double standard and so wrong but no other way feels right. Sure it looks great to appear easy going and unconcerned if you find out someone you're interested in is still shopping- but how does it feel? Most women I know
    are members of Camp Psycho as I was while dating.

    I remember what is still one of the best dates ever. It started off a bland drinks/dinner affair and progressed to collecting strangers as new friends, crashing a party (sans plastic red cups and hand stamps), shared neuroses and music & driving across state lines to get to the perfect breakfast joint. Then prince charming made a miscalculation: he got too cozy too soon. He assumed I was so 'cool' and spontaneous and unlike any other woman he had met. He confessed that he had stood up someone he was seeing (for around 3 weeks, right before we met) just to make plans with me. He admitted the date went well with her the night before and they had plans for the next evening but he decided to 'take a chance' and see me earlier than our standing date.

    Take a !@#!# chance?

    Given he dropped this bomb when I was in another state and a passenger (and had a fear of hitch hiking from Lifetime movies) I smiled and nodded. Then I never called the bastard back.

    It does bear mentioning that I met my husband while dating a guy for 2 months maintaining long distance communication with him while dating the nice guy who adored me and lived in the same state. I could be a lifer at Camp Psycho.

  18. God Stephanie.. and I thought it was just me or Milan or the bloody metrosexuals around… I react to dates exactly the same way you used to.. And I hate it, just hate it.
    I feel like I can't be myself, there is constantly a game to play and it's a game I don't like. Looks like a contest, if you win it, you'll get Mr. Right… god I hate it.

    Un Bacio… it's really a pleasure reading you!

  19. Dear Rachel C. –

    Thank you for what you wrote. It means a lot to me. Your advice is smart. I hope it reaches people out there…

  20. This post so hit home tonight..I have been very "down" lately about my divorced status these past 4 years (separated 3 years before)-My ex remarried one year ago and his wife is expecting next month. It is so hard to meet a normal-guy who doesn't bs and is a straight shooter-so I still cruise "jdate" hoping to meet someone who is into just seeing me and not serial dating-but it's true what you write-guys keep everything inside and don't verbalize as much as women do…so i continue to search hoping that one day i will meet a mensch who treats me right!! Unfortunately, it's slim pickings in CT :(

  21. This was great, incl. the comments and the link back to "morning rant". I needed that this week. So much I'd like to comment on, except I don't want to end up doing the hog-a-blog thing, so let's just say, thank you everyone.

  22. Back when I was dating more than seven years ago, I couldn't do more than one date a day. Doing otherwise was just way too stressful. And I was always afraid that if I was worrying about getting to the next date that I wouldn't be able to focus on someone great who was right there in front of me.

    Nonetheless, I would schedule four or five dates a week with different guys. But the night I met my husband, I just knew. I canceled all my other dates for later that week and never looked back.

  23. Its amazing what a little perspective can do. I love your posts about dating written while you were single. This one seems overhought, overwrought, distant and confusing. You are too far from this world now, I think, to speak compellingly about it. Enjoy where you are. Its a far better read.

  24. Men dont just respect and like that no bullshit approach, they fuckin love it. And most fall in love with it. Most see their future wife as one who doesnt play games.

    If you get a chance, would love to see new pics of the bumpies.

  25. I agree on the Fourbucks assertion. Good Lord, I am actually going on dates again. This. Is. Weird. Multiple guys, keeping them straight, navigating the game. Wondering do three half-relationships equal one full? I don't think they do. It's empty sometimes. But so much fun the rest of the time that I can't remember a moment before when I actually did not sleep in the middle of the bed, laugh as loudly as I wanted to, watched everything my cheesy little reality show loving heart desired, and ate a brownie for dinner with no dissapproval at all.

    It's good to be alone and not lonely.

  26. Re: "men dont just respect and like that no bullshit approach, they fuckin love it. And most fall in love with it."Men dont just respect and like that no bullshit approach, they fuckin love it. And most fall in love with it"

    Julie, you are a rockstar.. I miss you. Lunch? When I finally get back on track and back to work… me, I will kiss ass and take names (even when I am in the nursing home, rocking on the front porch, wondering who in the heck is going to pay the bill)…….(-;

  27. oh my gosh, i felt my stomach turn in an all too familiar way while reading this. but … it's so, *so* encouraging that others have powered through and learned to trust again.

  28. How are the kids?!

    FROM STEPHANIE: They are sugar dumplings. I cannot post photos for a while, though. See, I'm making "year in review" scrapbook albums for some family, and I don't want them to see the photos beforehand. I will post about them soon though. And of course, once I give out the gifts, I'll post the scans online.

  29. Thank you. This is EXACTLY what I needed, especially today. I'm in this hell of game-playing and feeling hiding and I HATE it . . . H-A-T-E it. I finally met a guy whom I really like and I was recently told we should "keep it casual" because he was still jaded. I don't do "casual." Ever. It's not me.

  30. I never went for less than 'head over heels'. When you are crazy about the guy, and he is crazy about you too and you make sure you spend every minute with each other kind of in love. No bullshit.

    I realize I have been very lucky to have had this kind of crazy-in-love. Not sure if I would keep this 'dating' standard if I'd be single for a long time. But it is so worth waiting for.

    I am sure though that I'd never go for a guy who would be dating another girl rather than me – I'll never degrade myself to be someone's second choice. Even if he did choose me in the end, the thought would keep haunting me.

  31. I believe in going to the opening of an envelope because you never know who you will meet, I think you should never turn anything down, go to an event even when you are tired, and that even the worst date is just one evening in your life you can put down to experience. Like in Ireland, mass dating isn't the culture here in the UK either, at least not something most people enter into knowingly.

    I also think that spending 5 nights a week on dates, some with more than one man, is a waste of a life. Stacking up dates is an experience designed to erode everyone's self esteem, and life should be lived doing at least some of the things you are interested in, as well as looking for love. Doesn't everyone just feel hunted and humiliated on a fairly regular basis otherwise?

  32. I once dated a guy who, early on, had this habit of talking to me about the other girls he was dating. He would do this in the same casual way he would tell stories about any of his friends. It was just too weird for me. Of course, I'd only just met this guy and expected him to be seeing other people. But, I didn't want to hear about it.

    I didn't say anything about it, because I didn't know what I could say without sounding like a possessive freak. He would also sometimes ask me, "So, who else are you dating?" Finally, I said, "Why do you want to know so badly?" That's when these conversations finally stopped.

    I took this one slow. About 2 months later, after we've had sex for the first time…. something that I, at least, am not doing with more than one person at a time…it caught me off-guard to find out in a round-about way that he was still very actively pursuing other women. (I found out through myspace comments – sometimes, you can find out far more than you ever wanted to know that way.) Oh, I know we never had any talk about exclusivity and assumption makes an ass out of you and me, but I couldn't get past this. Not after I'd even seen her face and her favorite movies…and more importantly, exactly what he was saying to her. So, things quickly deteriorated after that.

    I remember, though, that it felt especially strange when he would tell me about a girl who sounded like someone I probably would have liked. It made me think of "The Bachelor". I don't know how those girls managed to form friendships when they were all hoping to end up with the same guy. We're not talking casual fling here. This is someone who each of them hoped to marry. In real life, I would consider anyone that one of my friends was interested in off-limits. But, at the same time, when you're living in a house with these girls for 2 months, isolated from the rest of the world, I think it would be hard not to want to bond with them. I would never be able to deal with being in a situation like that.

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