Barbarella
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The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. — Thomas Babington Macaulay

We suspected something was up. “We” being Corinne and the handful of close friends in whom she confides the details of her dating life. Corinne had been with the same guy for over a year, and for the past few months he’d been declaring his need for “space.”

“Space for what?” she’d wonder aloud over a glass of wine. “Maybe he just likes his ‘alone time,’” we’d suggest. “Maybe he can’t sleep as well with someone else in the bed.” Emboldened by alcohol, we might verbalize the unsavory: “Sounds like he’s not that into you.” But regardless of our endless hypotheses, one underlying fact was always understood and agreed upon — whatever the problem turned out to be, it’d be his fault, not hers. “You can do better” is our mantra. No man — or woman — is really ever good enough for a cherished friend.

In Corinne’s case, we thought we’d already imagined the worst — that Mike was not interested in taking things further. We worried that such a generic rejection might crush Corinne’s already fragile sense of self-worth. It would be ideal to find fault with him, thus sparing our friend the debilitating blow to her self-esteem. But though we hoped for evidence that would prove Corinne’s blamelessness, there’s no way we could have guessed the sensational truth, even if Corinne had told us the details had been revealed to her on The Jerry Springer Show.

I was responding to email one Wednesday morning when Corinne called. “Girl, you are not going to believe this,” she said. The feverish pitch of her tone compelled me to close my laptop and give my attention to her revelation, which she provided in a staccato falsetto.

I stifled the urge to tsk as Corinne explained how she “happened” upon the history tab on Mike’s computer. She told me Mike’s web-browsing history contained an overwhelming number of craigslist URLs, all of them under a category in the personals section called “Casual Encounters.”

“Oh to the Hell no,” I said. I could see where this was leading. I have a zero-tolerance policy for cheaters, even when I know their side of the story. I’m loath to admit that I need more than one hand to count the number of two-timers I’ve known. It’s not the cheating itself that bugs me so much as the perpetuation of a relationship based on lies. Say a married guy has an affair. This is nothing new — you need only look at the headlines. But once that guy finds himself in bed with someone other than his wife, he should take note of the huge red flag billowing in his face. Hmm... he should think (or should have thought before he broke a sacred trust), something is obviously lacking in my relationship or I would not be in this predicament — and for the sake of all involved, I must either find and fix the problem or end the relationship. The few men I’ve known who’ve done this — by which I mean those who brought the issue to light of their own accord (i.e., not just because they got caught) — have remained my friends.

But I slap the Despicable Coward label upon those who remain in broken relationships under false pretenses, aka “living a lie.” I find it impossible to muster respect for a man or woman who leads a double life with a lover in the workplace and a none-the-wiser spouse at home.

I was in the middle of a choice tirade denouncing Mike for his purported indiscretions when Corinne cut me off. “Oh, wait — that’s not the half of it,” she said. “All the links led to ads that specified ‘T4M.’”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Transvestite for male,” Corinne answered. “Don’t worry, I didn’t know either. I had to look it up.” This bit of info left me dumbfounded. Corinne told me she confronted Mike about her findings. She described how he deflected and then, like a cornered animal, lashed out: he hissed cruel taunts, such as, “I never found you attractive.” When she tried to keep him on point, he dismissed his web history as morbid curiosity born of too much time spent on the internet. He hurled insults at transvestites in general (“they disgust me”) and Corinne (“you’re not nearly as beautiful as my ex”).

“No way! What an asshole!” I said, rising to my feet so I could pace the room. I thought that was the end of it, that this was the part where I verbally shredded the guy and suggested an early liquid lunch as the forum for further cathartic condemnation. But there was more. Corinne told me that she went home after the fight and, that very night, placed a fake ad on “Casual Encounters.” Familiar with his taste in women, she described herself as a hot “Latina” looking for a man with all of Mike’s characteristics. Because Corinne is on the conservative side, I was impressed by her recitation of the explicit, raunchy terms she’d used in the ad.

She posted the bait at 11 p.m. and went to sleep. When she checked her inbox at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, she already had a response. It was from Mike, matching her raunchy tone and suggesting a meeting in person. I started to ask, “How do you know it was from him?” and she cut me off halfway: “He attached a picture of himself,” she said.

“So that’s why he wanted his space,” I said. “And? Did you tell him you were the one who placed the ad? That his mystery ‘hottie with naughties’ is really his girlfriend?”

“No,” Corinne said, to my surprise and disappointment. (I would have loved to hear about his reaction to her confession.) “I just went over there this morning and grabbed all my things and said it’s over.” Then, in a calmer voice than she’d been using thus far, she said, “It’s not what he’s into — to each his own. You’re gay? Fine. Straight but have a strong attraction for girls who are guys? Cool. I have no problem with that. We could have worked through it together. It’s that he lied; that he attacked me when all I wanted was for him to be honest with me.”

“He’s clearly not okay with his predilection,” I said. “Otherwise he wouldn’t have been so quick to bash the very company he seeks. Someone who hates himself that much is incapable of giving anyone the level of love a good relationship requires.”

“It’s just such a bummer,” Corinne said. “I loved him.”

“I know, babe,” I said. “But you know what? You can do better.”

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Comments

a2zresource Dec. 10, 2009 @ 8:35 a.m.

Kinda makes me wonder what kind of discussions about the Tiger that Ms. Woods is having with her support group...

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antigeekess Dec. 10, 2009 @ 9:24 a.m.

Holy smokes. In the entire history of female commiseration over cheating men, "You can do better" has never been a more legitimate response! Neither has CuddleFish's favorite cat:

I was SO hoping you were going to say that your buddy arranged a rendezvous with Mr. Wonderful and showed up to bust him in person -- preferably uglying herself up to be the most hideous Shanaynay TV that's ever swaggered the Earth in a pair of stilettos.


That's what I woulda done. But that's just me. :)

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CuddleFish Dec. 10, 2009 @ 3:02 p.m.

Girl, I love Shanaynay!!!! And my cat!!!

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Robert Hagen Dec. 10, 2009 @ 7:28 p.m.

Jeez Diva, I mean who hasn't done that?

The thing is that people get weird about sex. Oftentimes, the most well adjusted people can be the most boring when it comes to sex. Then theres the expectations of society, and frankly, the burden of expectations. We live in a sexually charged up society, where its all about women and sex, but when the moment of truth arrives, sometimes the airline lost your baggage.

What I like about this piece is that Diva said from the get go- he should have been more honest. Honesty is the best policy, but its a tricky commodity in this day and age. 'Live by the sword of honesty, die by the sword of honesty.'

Meanwhile, ten percent of the guys are getting 90% of the sex. How? Its not by being honest in a relationship, its by leaving it at that and knowing how and when. The truth is, cheap hot sex doesn't go with strong relationships, but women the world over are weaklings for it.

If you're in a relationship that fulfills you and gets you off, count yourself blessed. Nothing good comes easy, and like soccer, the goal may never come at all. It takes alot of hard work to search for the goal, and a certain amount of kismet for the stars to come into alignment. But when it does- watch out.

The contemporary thing is to play it cool, and gang up on whoever just got outed. Meanwhile, women know how it really is, but hide their feelings so they won't be labeled. Others, men and women alike, act out in secret, and play another part in public.

Ultimately, it really comes down to maturity and acceptance, whenever theres a lightning rod ocurrence. Innately, we should know that our partner is in another time and place, but we turn our heads, because when all is said and done, people want to be in relationships. Relationships make the world go around, and determine whether someone is happy or sad.

Finally, men are dogs, right? No, people are dogs. We are all tail wagging, happy, panting dogs when we're around the people we love.

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PistolPete Dec. 10, 2009 @ 10:14 p.m.

Well said, deigo. The ugly truth about this story and this situation in particular is that women are just as guilty as men when it comes to sex, lies and videotape...

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SDaniels Dec. 11, 2009 @ 1:54 a.m.

re: #5: I'm a little confused by a couple statements:

"We live in a sexually charged up society, where its all about women and sex, but when the moment of truth arrives, sometimes the airline lost your baggage."

How did you mean to relate ED to the topic here?

"The contemporary thing is to play it cool, and gang up on whoever just got outed. Meanwhile, women know how it really is, but hide their feelings so they won't be labeled. Others, men and women alike, act out in secret, and play another part in public."

What is "women know how it really is" referencing? Hide feelings about what? Homosexuality?

"Finally, men are dogs, right? No, people are dogs. We are all tail wagging, happy, panting dogs when we're around the people we love."

Well said. I get so tired of hearing the gender-related bashing. Peeps is peeps, and we are far more alike than some would admit :)

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Robert Hagen Dec. 11, 2009 @ 3:03 p.m.

Pistol Pete:

Yeah, it takes two to tango, and there are as many wronged men as wronged women. Yet a wronged woman is an object of sympathy, whereas a wronged man is often perceived as a piteous sucker.

Conversely, a promiscous woman is an object of disdain, whereas a a promiscuous man is a stud and a hero.

SDaniels:

I probably need to do a little work on the baggage metaphor. My thinking on Mike- not ED, is that hes got some sort of baggage, just as I would think transvestites have some sort of issue that makes them the way they are. I don't mean to be judgmental, because I feel for transvestites- they are marginalized by society, and they are really going out on a limb to try and be happy.

Regarding women knowing how it really is, its my belief that women are extraordinarily sophisticated about men, and not the other way around. Just so, they keep their understandings to themself. Take a look at a Cosmopolitan magazine and notice the level of sophistication of its sex articles. Compare that to a mans magazine like Maxim, GQ, Esquire or what have you. The sexual content is chiefly images of women and salivation.

One other thing- What I don't like about what I read about Mike is how poorly he treated Corinne when confronted. I get the impression he dislikes women in general enough to treat Corinne that way. Maybe hes afraid to acknowledge deeper homosexual feelings.

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SDaniels Dec. 12, 2009 @ 7:42 a.m.

re: #8: "Maybe hes afraid to acknowledge deeper homosexual feelings."

I think this is the case, diego, and Barbarella's piece does hint at it, too. You are very thoughtful about these matters--very refreshing to see :)

Isn't it fascinating to think about the various ways people play out their sexual desires and preferences, often without conscious awareness? For example, "Mike's" attraction to women who have transitioned to men (btw: it's "transexuals," not transvestites, who are not necessarily homosexual, and who have not made the sexual transition) may have something to do with his ambivalence over whether or not he desires men or women, or both. In effect, for him, it means that he remains on uncertain ground, conducting no-strings one-night stands with someone who is literally in transition between gendered/sexed identities, or who has made the passage from one sex to another. Of course, this is not necessarily how every person might feel who chooses to express his or her desires this way, but it does seem clear that this is Mike's narrative. IMO, he's a psychoanalyst's dream case. ;)

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mrshaun Dec. 20, 2009 @ 2:29 p.m.

Hello. I'd like to begin by saying that I completely disapprove of this "Mike" cheating on his girl, smugly denying it when he is caught then mocking his girlfriend and the "transvestites" he is dating. But I would like to say that trans-gender is not necessarily the same as homosexuality. It is gender identity and "girls who are guys" is not always true either. I am dating a trans-gender woman who is a woman and I do not cheat on. That is not to say cross-dressers, transvestites, drag queens, etc. are bad or X, Y or Z either. They are people who deserve respect too. But I just thought this article was too general and simplistic in T4M or M4T relationships. Back to my original point, you should be RESPECTFUL to your girlfriend and monogamous if you are in a monogamous relationship. If you find the interest/love is lacking, either talk about it or leave but do not lie the way Mike did.

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mrshaun Dec. 20, 2009 @ 3:47 p.m.

BTW, Cosmopolitan is as a stupid, vapid and commercial magazine as Maxim or other men's magazines. Do you really think they give insight on society or the human experience? Their little quizzes on subjects are completely shallow and oblivious to the variety of cultures, subcultures and lives out there.They all appeal to the lowest mentality, the only difference is the emphasis on the masculine or the feminine.

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Barbarella Fokos Dec. 21, 2009 @ 11:30 a.m.

Thank you for the added insight, Mrshaun. I appreciate your comment, as many misunderstand and misappropriate when it comes to sexuality. I admit I oversimplified for the sake of this particular story, choosing to convey the "casual encounter" with "T4M" as it had been relayed to me through my friend's eyes so that I could focus on the main point, the issue of cheating. At the time of writing, I believed the T stood for "transvestite," not "transgender." I now see from a previous comment that I may have had that wrong. I have had friends who mark all points on the sexuality spectrum, and I feel they are due the same respect as any vanilla/hetero couple.

I wish you all the best for a healthy and happy continuing relationship with your partner! She is a lucky woman indeed to have a partner who respects her and loves her the way she deserves.

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LonelyGirl Aug. 26, 2010 @ 1:42 p.m.

WOW, I cannot believe that I am living this article. The same exact thing happened to me - found the history on my BF's computer. He denied almost exactly as this guy. Says he was only curious about freaks.

Thank you for sharing the article/contents. Now I have to decide what to do...I am so freaked out. I almost have to wonder if he read this article too.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 26, 2010 @ 3:08 p.m.

BTW, Cosmopolitan is as a stupid, vapid and commercial magazine as Maxim or other men's magazines.

I'm sorry, but Maxim, FHM and the like are high qaulity, journalistic publications :)

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 26, 2010 @ 3:11 p.m.

“All the links led to ads that specified ‘T4M.’”

Is there a special Clorox for your eyes. I didn't need to see that.

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LonelyGirl Aug. 27, 2010 @ 10:34 a.m.

MrShaun (and Barbarella) - I am very new to this and I don't understand the difference between transgender, transexual, etc. In your comment above, this line grabbed my attention: "But I would like to say that trans-gender is not necessarily the same as homosexuality."

If my boyfriend wants to be with someone who has a penis (and breasts) isn't that leaning toward homosexuality? I could understand if it was a transexual who had an operation and now has "a vagina" but why would he want to be with someone who has a penis if he is either not gay or at least bi-curious?

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Barbarella Fokos Aug. 28, 2010 @ 10:27 a.m.

@LonelyGirl, let me answer as I best understand it, but please be aware that I am not an expert. One's sexual orientation (who one is attracted to) is separate from one's gender identity (whether one feels more natural as a man or a woman). Sexuality is not black or white. Many people can't be categorized as easily as gay, straight, or bi. Thanks for your question, I hope I was able to clarify.

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Radical Uterus Aug. 28, 2010 @ 9:32 p.m.

Mindy, the equipment needs are easily fulfilled at the local adult toy store.

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David Dodd Aug. 29, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

Gender identity is a lot more complicated and there are so many degrees to it, I think that to even begin to remotely understand it one needs to look at it much differently than just in terms of what turns someone on.

Some men enjoy cross-dressing (some women as well), and they do so to entirely different degrees. Some are content to play dress-up at home while others prefer to go out in public. This doesn't necessarily arouse them. It could simply make them feel more comfortable with who they are, or perhaps, complete them in some way. That depends on the person.

Others are not satisfied with simply cross-dressing, they reach a point where they are driven to make changes to their bodies.

A simplistic example in similar behavior might be in exercise. Most people don't do anything past taking a walk or maybe a jog. Others join gyms and lift weights. A smaller fraction become seemingly driven to become muscle-bound (talk to one of those people about it and they will tell you that it's like having an addiction). Still others aren't happy unless they are competing in Iron Man competitions.

Yes, the psychologies are somewhat different in that one is about sexuality and the other isn't necessarily so; but the behavior is similar.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 31, 2010 @ 7:43 p.m.

Thank you so much for the enlightment. Like I didn't know about such things. I used to live in Hollywood, mind you, and spent lots of time in San Francisco.

LOL........

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mrshaun Oct. 26, 2010 @ 8:57 a.m.

LonelyGirl, Hi. To answer your question, that does not make him gay or necessarily bisexual(although he could be bisexual). A transsexual woman or transwoman, whether post-, pre- or non-op( meaning after, before or without GRS, respectively), is a woman. If your boyfriend expressed interest in transsexual women, then that is not the same as expressing interest in other guys(gay, bisexual or bi curious). Homosexuality is attraction to members of your own sex, not the same genitals. A guy could also be attracted to a transwoman who is pre-op, and not be fond of touching or seeing her genitals which is what I was like when I met my first transsexual girlfriend(although I admit that anxiety is gone and does not bother me). I hope this helps a bit of understanding trans-attracted men who date or just find transwomen attractive. PS: When I said "trans-gender is not necessarily the same as homosexuality," I was actually referring to the sexual orientation of transgender individuals. A transgender woman(or transgender man, FtM) could be straight, bisexual, lesbian/gay, pansexual, celibate or asexual.

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mrshaun Oct. 26, 2010 @ 9:10 a.m.

haha, don't get me wrong those guy magazines are moronic and women certainly have their wisdom, I'm just saying Cosmopolitan is not the best example of such wisdom, psychology, or sociology. It is juvenile.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 26, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

A transsexual woman or transwoman, whether post-, pre- or non-op( meaning after, before or without GRS, respectively), is a woman

Im sorry, but you're wrong, a man is a man whether or not he has had the operation or not.

And I find it really to hard to believe that anyone who thinks a man who is hooking up with a "trangendered" individual is not gay or bisexual.

Don't get me wrong, what someone does in their bedroom is their business, and as long as what they do does not harm others I say more power to them-but what you have described is not hetro-it is bisexual or homosexual.

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a2zresource Oct. 26, 2010 @ 2:13 p.m.

Never in my wildest toad-lickings could I have imagined that as a young datamason in the early 1970s, the silly computer dating programs we were working on then would one day end up becoming a motivation for you writing "T4M". All we were trying to do was sort stacks of hole-punched computer cards into even more, smaller stacks of computer cards. That's about as un-sexy as one could get, I would think... and the height of computer porn back then was "Sex Life of an Electron."

If you've had a Physics course or Basic Electricity:

https://www.msu.edu/user/dynicrai/physics/esex.htm

And now?

I agree with the Surf Pup. Where's the Clorox eyewash?

The fact that people are still reading and commenting here speaks to the powerful nature of the topic you wrote of.

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mrshaun Oct. 27, 2010 @ 9:19 p.m.

Have you ever met a transgender woman, surfpup? no offense but I think it is ignorant to say that they are men. Your quotation marks around transgendered lends me to believe you think they are just gay men who wear dresses, but that is simply untrue. GRS and HRT are not cosmetics either. You may find it hard to believe, but there is a difference between sexual orientation, gender and sex. I understand that most people are unaware of this subject(transgender /trans attracted), though.

Haha, a2zresource, I failed physics in HS but got a kick out of that. Were you involved in the development of the internet? That's really cool!

Anyway, goodnight y'all. Via con dios!

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LonelyGirl Nov. 1, 2010 @ 12:03 p.m.

WOW, this really has gotten steamed up! So, a lot has happened since I confronted my BF about his computer history looking at T4M on Craigslist. I found out that he has been hooking up with men on men-seeking-men on craigslist. Now, here is the funny(?) part - no I am really not laughing... Even though he has let men perform oral sex on him only - supposedly with no reciprocation - I emphasize supposedly - because I am only going on what he says and the emails I read that indicate it was just oral sex performed on him by other men with no reciprocation...I also did some research on men seeking men on craigslist and found out that these ads are a plenty. anyway, he says that he doesn't consider himself bi-sexual because it is only oral sex. I have no proof that it is anything but that; however, he also He says he has no desire to be with a man in any other way, anal, penetration or kissing - He says that he called himself "bi" in the emails to appear to be more 'desirable' to these men offering oral sex. What I don't understand is why do men offer oral sex to other men and not want reciprocation? I think the BF is just a selfish jerk who can get a free blow job whenever he wants one. He emphasized that when he found out it was so easy to go on craigslist and find men who would perform oral sex on him for $0.00 dollars - he was game - and he is too cheap to pay for a prostitute (no offense intended). Craigslist allowing these services has destroyed our relationship. I wish they could understand that pulling the Adult Services Section was a great victory for victims of human trafficking etc., but I wish they would pull the personals section as well - although I understand there are many other ways to find hook ups.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 1, 2010 @ 2:30 p.m.

Have you ever met a transgender woman, surfpup? no offense but I think it is ignorant to say that they are men.

Yes, I have, and no, it was not meant to be offinsive at all.

From a biological POV a man has different chromosomes than a women, XX vs XY. That does not, and will, not ever change.

. . . Your quotation marks around transgendered lends me to believe you think they are just gay men who wear dresses, but that is simply untrue. =============================== Well, yes, I did think that, and if I am wrong then I hope I did not offend anyone.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 1, 2010 @ 2:34 p.m.

Recently, I saw a T.V. show about the wife of a fireman who may be deprived of his benefits because she was born a boy, married her husband as a man, and gay marriage isn't recognized in that state. But later, she had an operation and is now a woman. I think she deserves his benefits.

Yes, I saw that too! I agree with you 100%.

I also think that if the SCOTUS is able to get the Prop 8 case and rules Prop 8 invalid then that will never be a problem again, anywhere in the USA-no matter what the XX/XY biology dictates. As it stands today, that couple would be treated as a couple in CA and any other state that sits under the 9th Circuits jurisdiction.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 1, 2010 @ 2:44 p.m.

Craigslist allowing these services has destroyed our relationship. I wish they could understand that pulling the Adult Services Section was a great victory for victims of human trafficking etc., but I wish they would pull the personals section as well - although I understand there are many other ways to find hook ups.

By LonelyGirl

CL did not destroy your relationship, your BF did. And you allowed it by not dumping him.

He had/has no commitment to you, he is bi, he is not into you as much as he is into making himself happy, and he has lied repeatedly. Me personally, I see no upside in that relationship, even if the person had the best personality on the planet.

The question I would ask you or anyone else is why are you letting someone walk all over you like a doormat???? You should have tossed him out like trash, let some other person get their chain jerked (no pun intended). Me, I get plenty of brain damage from my own stupid mistakes in life, I DON'T need it from anyone else.

Plenty of wonderful people in the world, too many to get jerked around. Maybe you're caught up in $$ or Brad Pitt looks, dunno, but you have your priorities all wrong.

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