To F*ck or Not To F*ck: That Is The Question

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Oh, Tinder. Why must you alert me to a new match like a siren luring a sailor across rocky seas to his death?

Whenever I see men I know (or “know” wink) on a dating app, I always swipe right. You know, out of curiosity.  That’s what I did a few weeks ago when I came across J.’s profile.

J and I first matched about two years ago. Forty-four, worked in a creative field, British, and reedy, J. was my type. Early conversation went well, until I dropped the bomb.

“I’m a writer,” I said. “This is me.”

A few minutes waiting for a response stretched to half an hour. Finally, J. responded to give me the “thanks, but no thanks” speech. He was uncomfortable meeting up with me because he thought I might blog about it. “Because, like, you’re so intriguing?” I shot back.

We match again a few months later. Again we message, this time exchanging phone numbers. Because of my emotional shut-down at the time, I ended up blowing him off.

Fast forward to last night.

Bloop

My cell buzzed with a notification.

You have a new match!

By that time I’d forgotten who I’d swiped, it had been so long since I’d logged in. I disabled my OKC profile months ago, and only occasionally entertain myself with Bumble in moments of boredom or horniness. With a flick of my finger, I got to my inbox and was pleasantly surprised to see J.’s face.

“The Universe wants us to meet,” he said in his message.  I would agree. We chatted and set up a date. Cool.

And then the churning in my stomach began.

There are a number of reasons why I’ve bailed out of dating and writing a dating column, the primary one being that dating gave me agita.  The whole process of messaging  then meeting then performing like a seal with a ball on my nose for a stranger completely fills me with dread. The sense that I have is that, these days, nobody is taking dating seriously anymore. Apps are more a source of attention and entertainment for people than anything else. The only real connections made seem to be between private parts after three glasses of wine and a cheese plate.

There was a time when I loved dating. It was an excuse to go shopping and get dressed up. Now? What do you mean I have to put on a bra? Ugh. Dating is haaaarrrd. Straight up sex is pretty much all I can handle right now. It’s all I want to handle, if I’m being honest.  I don’t wish to expend any mental energy on the charade of it all. Truth be told, I find most men boring and weak. I’ve discussed before what I require in a partner – grit, resilience,  and an unshakable sense of themselves . Those are not usually qualities found in men trawling online dating apps.

So you’re from London. Interesting. What brought you to the States? Your job in fluegelbinder making? Fascinating. Pass the brie, please.

I totally have the opportunity to get laid by J., which I will probably take advantage of in the near future. Right now, dating – the act of getting to know someone – is nothing but a distraction, one I don’t need or wish to make the time for right now.  I have other things bringing me pleasure and satisfaction. I mean, no, not of the orgasm variety, at least not as regularly as I’d like. When your casual sex partner is a parent, it’s kind of hard to get them to make a pit stop by your apartment at nine o’clock because you’re climbing-the- walls horny.

J. sent me a text last night asking if we were still on for Sunday. I haven’t answered. I’m tempted to reply back and suggest we drop the pretense and that he should just come over. In fact, that’s probably what I will do. If my intuition is correct, I won’t even have to say that because he’ll have read it here first. Problem solved!

In other news…

I did my first Precision Running class since injuring my foot last fall. The schedule had it listed as lasting only 20 minutes. That worked for me because I wanted to ease back into it. When I got to the gym I learned it was a type and was actually an hour. In the spirit of my newfound “Do What Scares You” mantra, I hopped on that treadmill and stuck the whole class out. Serving as extra motivation was the instructor, an impish looking guy I found myself attracted to for a brief moment. He blew that out of the water when he made a comment about a female friend of his who was teaching in the studio behind us. “There’s my friend so-and -so,” he said. “She’s working out her best asset.”  I rolled my eyes and said, “Ok. That’s enough. Jesus.” Later,  I told him how much I enjoyed the class, but that his comments really bothered me. Like most men when confronted with their misogyny, he acted all doe-eyed innocent, blinking furiously and making incoherent gurgling noises.

“I..err…uh…I didn’t mean anything by it,” he said. “We’re friends. She’s in great shape. We always make comments like that to each other.”

“Publicly?” I asked. “In front of other people?”

“Sometimes,” he said.

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Whatever, man. I knew I wasn’t going to get through to him so I punched out of the conversation. As a woman I recently met in a yoga class said, “Once you see misogyny, you can’t unsee it.” She’s right. As soon as something misogynistic comes out of a persona’s mouth, it’s very hard to give them a second chance, because they’re letting you know with their comments how they view women.

People have suggested I switch gyms, but that’s not the answer. Do you know why? Because it’s not the culture of Equinox that is the problem. It’s the culture, period, that’s the problem. No matter where I went to work out, I’d have to deal with this. At this point, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do about it, and that’s really depressing.

Thoughts?

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38 comments

  1. Part of the reason why dating sucks is because a lot of people turn it into some kind of weird job interview. When I was dating, I had limited time. I’d invite dates to events/things that I wanted to do, so it didn’t feel like a drag! (I live in NYC too) I didn’t end up with all of the guys that I dated, but we all had a good time at exhibits, plays, improv, whatever.

    GO do something fun. Have an experience. You’ll have something to talk about. I think part of the problem is that you have an expectations (rejection). Go out without any expectation except having a good time and sharing that time with someone.

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    1. I totally agree. Meeting for drinks or food can be very pressure filled and not super fun. If you want to dress up a bit and have cocktails or wine, maybe an art opening or other cultural event? A book reading can be fun, or checking out live music. Touring landmarks or houses, or going to fairs/food trucks, etc.
      Something to do and something to talk about in the moment. Also brings a spark of newness and enjoyment.
      Just say “Hey, there’s a new comedy show at 8 on Saturday, any interest?” or “Instead of a fancy cocktail joint, what do you think about Sam’s Dive Bar? We can have a few drinks and shoot some pool.” (This could also easily lead to…ahem….what you mentioned you really wanted out of it.)

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  2. The internet bloggers/commenters really need to reacquaint themselves with the definition of misogyny. Don’t believe the definition covers hearing a comment that could be best described as uncouth and worst rude and inappropriate.

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    1. Misogyny can be applied to an attitude by a man that a woman’s “worth” is solely in her looks/body. It dehumanizes and belittles women to discuss their body parts in public to another party in a sexual way, *even if it’s a compliment*. If the compliment revolves around how much he/other men find that woman attractive sexually, it’s…not much of a compliment, at best.
      Misogyny is a pervasive cultural attitude that takes many forms. It can be outright disgust and hatred for women, or it can be a dismissal of their rights, thoughts, desires, and autonomy, little by little and day by day.

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      1. No that’s what you would like to define it because it furthers your argument. You are describing sexism and chauvinism. Not the hatred of women. Not arguing the behavior in question is acceptable, just don’t call something X when it’s Y because X is more inflammatory. It lessens the term. So when there is a real case of misogyny, and there are many, you run the risk of people tuning out with the “cries wolf” mindset.

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        1. This may surprise you, but I somewhat agree. Maybe the word “misogyny” is going a step too far. I do feel like there’s a shade of contempt in the phrase/words transcribed that veers from just sexism to outright misogyny but of course compared to the rape/death threats on Twitter or the virulent disgust and hatred on some MRA sites, yeah, “she’s working on her biggest asset” isn’t…terrible.
          I don’t like when people use inflammatory terms to inflate their arguments, so you have me there. I guess I misunderstood that you were arguing this isn’t sexist *either* and using the term the same way Moxie is: sexism that veers towards contempt for women.

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  3. This guy sounds right up your alley. Overcome your fear. Quit sabotaging yourself. Put on a great outfit that YOU love, go on the date and … relax.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Please, if that guy complimented you on your assets, you wouldn’t complain a bit. You would pretend to be offended, but deep down so flattered that someone said those things to you. I’m pretty sure you don’t get complimented a lot, so I’m 100% positive that you would write something in your blog about how some guy “offended” you so much over a misogynistic comment, come on, who are you kidding

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    1. That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s one thing to say that to someone you know well and who knows your sense of humor, and something entirely different to be such a dickwad with a stranger. It’s not flattering to anyone.

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    2. Not that Moxie can’t defend herself here, but about 5 posts ago, she posted a detailed discussion about how rattled and upset she was by a clear, and *unwelcome* come-on/ compliment from a young, attractive gym employee. It’s not jealousy. In this and the other blog she has posted over and over about how direct, overly sexual come-on’s about her body or face are very unwelcome and make her feel devalued and shaken.

      She’s not “offended” either. She’s angry over how, for some men, making undisguised sexual remarks about other women right in front of her seems like no big deal. Reducing women to body parts, talking about them sexually in public, just another day, ho hum. She’s not stumbling off to her fainting couch. She’s PISSED. (Well, that’s my take on it, I could be wrong.)

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      1. I wouldn’t say I’m pissed. I’m more fatigued by it than anything else. I have no doubt that there are some people who read these posts and roll their eyes at how often I mention being addressed in a manner that I find sexist/inappropriate. They assume I’m bragging. As I’ve said so many times I could punch myself in the face, comments like the ones I’ve written about are not compliments, and I don’t take them as such. No, I wouldn’t be flattered if that guy made a comment about my assets. He’s a) a stranger and b) an instructor. Now, when he said to me “You killed it today!” THAT I took as a compliment, because I’m there to sweat and work out.

        It’s the pervasive nature of the comments that bothers me. I expect to endure commentary like this from OKCupid or if I walk down the street. Those comments don’t faze me. The gym is a different story, especially Equinox because it’s supposed to be high-end. I don’t think certain people reading get it: Comments like “she’s showing off her best asset” are *creepy.* They make me uncomfortable *because* I have decent self-esteem. People like Sara think every woman is just desperate for compliments because *they* are.

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      2. The troubling part of some of these comments is that they demonstrate how many men and women truly believe that women are monoliths and dependent on the male gaze for self-worth. They can not wrap their brains around the idea that a woman might not find all comments about their looks or bodies to be positive.

        When a stranger makes a comment about a woman’s looks or body, he’s reducing her to a body part, and that is dehumanizing. That the instructor would draw attention to a woman’s ass – regardless of his personal relationship with her – he’s demonstrating his lack of respect for women. That’s misogyny.

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    3. I 100% agree with this comment. It’s a mix of humble bragging on one side and insecurities over compliments at the gym or mysogynistic comments because she most likely never gets complimented. She wrote another post about a 27 year old guy complimenting her at the gym, where she’s also giving detailed description of how she looked that day. She humble brags and at the same time is insecure, in fact she thought the guy was making fun of her. Women LOVE compliments and need them from time to time. When women complain, the reason at the core is lack of attention from men, feminism is just a way of releasing that frustration, that’s why supermodels and conventionally attractive women are never feminists.

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      1. Super models are never feminists? You get this information from where?

        I suggest you google “supermodel feminist” and note how many names and articles pop up. Feminists are just ugly hags angry about not being able to attract a man is the battle cry of chauvinists like Rush Limbaugh who coined the term “femenazi”.

        Dont conflate shit behavior from some men and Moxie’s internal struggles. Just because Im insecure about my looks doesnt mean I want strangers to slap my ass and tell me they would “totally hit that” for validation.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Thats rediculous. Most people dont want to hear an evaluation of their “parts” by a stranger including men.

      Flirting with your bff privately because thats how you bond is one thing, doing it publically at work in front of a group of strangers says its normal to publically sexualize women because thats what we all want. Blah. It aint rape but it does set off the ‘ole creep meter. Its chauvinistic as Bob mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The guy didn’t make the comment about Moxie, he made it about the female instructor who was in the other room. She then policed him about it, telling him he shouldn’t be making those comments, which technically was none of her business because he wasn’t talking about her! You can’t just go over to a person and say “you can’t say this and that” when it’s not even regarding you. This has nothing to do with sexist, chauvinist, body – part reducing, dehumanizing comments towards her. She even got offended when a younger male trainer said she looked nice one day. That’s an innocent enough compliment nothing sexist or dehumanizing about it, the problem was she thought he was making fun of her. Hence she’s insecure about her looks and projects onto the men that compliment her.

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        1. The trainer was talking to HER (along with other members of the class). Its completely appropriate for her to say, “You know that announcement you made? It made me uncomfortable.” Maybe your work situation is different, but I have never talked to my clients about my colleagues “parts”. Its completely inappropriate. The thing with the younger guy was a separate event. And if you recall, after the young guy said she looked nice, she got weird cat calls from the training client so…

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        2. No. She has every right to comment because he is publicly discussing another woman’s body. If any person in that room felt uncomfortable with that, they had the right to tell him. He made it her business by opening his big mouth AT HIS WORK about something that can be seen as sexual.

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  5. She wrote another post about a 27 year old guy complimenting her at the gym, where she’s also giving detailed description of how she looked that day.

    Go back and read that post. I gave a description of what I was wearing and why (I was meeting people right after the gym) for context.

    Women LOVE compliments and need them from time to time

    Smart women , women with healthy self-esteem, know the difference between a genuine compliment and a crude come on. If you need strange men to tell you’re pretty – as I suspect you do – that doesn’t mean other women need the same kind of attention.

    I get “complimented” all the time. OKCupid, Instagram, Facebook. All the creepy awkward guys come out to tell me how pretty I am and I delete/block them because THEY’RE CREEPY AND MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE.

    Take your woman-hating bullshit somewhere else.

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    1. You sound more like the woman hater Moxie, and you definitely come across as a man hater. It comes out in the way you attac your readers when they disagree with you and present to you their perspective. Your aggressiveness is unjustified. Untraditional feminism only defends the rights of certain women and shows disdain towards other certain types of women, the ones that maybe have it easier. When you call me a woman hater you’re projecting your own hatred of women onto me. No I don’t think you get complimented often in real life because you wouldn’t have thought the 27 year old trainer was making fun of you. Saying to you that you looked nice that day wasn’t an offence. It wasn’t a “crude” come on, and he definitely didn’t reduce you to a body part. So I don’t know where all your rant comes from. By the way in one of your Instagram posts, you say that you “like feeling sexy at the gym” that you wear shirts with open backs, but are worried “you won’t get taken seriously” but then on here you say that you don’t want to get compliments because it’s degrading ?? If your going to the gym to workout why do you need to feel sexy? And you say you don’t want compliments? Yeah, ok… No I don’t need compliments from strangers, I was simply stating what a woman’s natural desire is and most women like compliments, one of the other commenters above explained it beautifully. I’m going to agree with another one of your readers that you are jaded and are single due to your difficult personality.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So what if she wants to feel sexy at the gym? There’s are thousands of clothing lines that make sexy work-out gear. ATWYSingle is not be alone in that preference. A woman can want to feel attractive at the gym and not want to field unwanted commentary about her appearance. Stop making blanket statements on behalf of all women because you you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        A gym instructor should not be making jokes about a woman’s ass in front of their class. I agree with Betty, how is this a debate?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Conventionally attractive women and women who actually believe that they are attractive rarely or never get offended by compliments. They already know they are desirable and attractive and a guy merely stating that fact doesn’t fase them. You seem to be insecure about your looks, and it looks like you think the guys complimenting you are screwing with you, like they don’t actually mean it, and are looking to offend you. I don’t think that they are. Men internalize that women like compliments. Most women do. That’s all there is.

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    1. Your comment cannot in any way be substantiated. This is purely YOUR opinion. If you are saying that every “conventionally attractive” (a term which is also purely subjective) woman enjoys compliments on their looks from every man, that doesn’t even make sense. They enjoy a stranger walking up and saying “nice tits?” Their boss telling her that he enjoys her “assets?” Simply by virtue of being attractive they are now invulnerable and not at all phased by creeps?

      This makes no sense.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. These are not compliments, these are example of harassment. And yes I am saying that no woman confident in her looks would be over analyzing “you look nice” or a similar compliment.

        This whole talk of “objectification” I think is kinda silly, no? Honestly I don’t care if a stranger on the street “reduced me to a body part”. He doesn’t know anything about me other than how I look! So what I am supposed to get offended that he’s not appreciative of my deep inner life? Is it EVER ok to appreciate somebody JUST for what their body looks like, just for how beautiful and sexy they are? Or is it now not politically correct anymore? I really just couldn’t care less.

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        1. I think the issue is a bit more than you’re making it out to be. This man wasn’t a stranger. He wasn’t on the street. And he didn’t “compliment” a body part to the person in question; he did it to a third party, in public.
          The reason that women don’t like being objectified is because it is *generally* a mutually exclusive deal with being appreciated, respected, and treated kindly and like a whole person. Men who have zero compunction with *saying out loud* things like “hey nice a$$” aren’t going to then invite you over to watch Goddard movies, ya know?
          It’s perfectly fine to appreciate someone for their body. In your own mind, silently, or via text to a buddy. Not out loud, in public, to a third party.
          It contributes to and creates a culture in which women are valued primarily for their beauty and sexuality. It devalues women who are older, not conventionally attractive, disabled, or otherwise “not valuable” to a man’s boner. It creates a competitive atmosphere amongst women, when we could be collaborating and creating amazing things. It sends women the message that somehow, they are responsible for men’s desire OR LACK THEROF.
          When people ask “what’s the big deal?” about objectification, I don’t even know where to start. But perhaps this article can shed some light.

          View story at Medium.com

          The other reason it’s offensive or annoying is more complex: it’s because these “compliments” aren’t really compliments. They’re a daily reminder that men are always, always, always judging you….and only on your looks. They’re a reminder that your ONLY value is your beauty. They’re a reminder that no matter what else you do—become a CEO, run a country, start your own business—you’ll always be a “set of assets” to a subset of knuckledraggers…oh, and the most powerful person in the US, whee! /s
          It’s not about being “politically correct”. That’s a label that should be applied to things like using gender neutral pronouns and the like.
          It’s about treating every woman with respect and class.

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          1. I suppose, I understabd your point but I wholly reject it. Policing speech is a dangerous initiative which in the long run always leads to tyranny. Respect is earned, not assumed. My colleagues who know me will respect me for being a “CEO”, but to a stranger on the street or in a gym I am just a set of body parts. He doesnt know me. And I have given him no reasons to respect me. I do believe that there is a very fine line between free speech and harassment (but you may be surprised just how far towards free speech it actually lies as far as the legal system is concerned anyway), and as long as another person stays on the right side of it, he should be able to say and express whatever he wants. How it makes other people “feel” is wholly irrelevant. And yes, there will always be people more desirable and less deairable and that’s nornal. As adults we should be able to handle the realization of our true value to the world l, opposite sex included. Hey, aincient Greeks objectified bodies and the results are on display at the Met. They didn’t do it “quietly”, and neither should we.

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            1. There is a difference between respecting someone’s authority and experience, which IS earned, and respecting their rights as a human, which is assumed, or should be. I believe we are using the word “respect” differently; where you mean “admire” and I mean “acknowledge they have the same rights as me, another human”.
              The thing is, it’s not policing someone’s words to react to them. It’s a consequence, a natural social consequence. Sure, they’re “free” to shout “Hey, hot lips!” at you. And you’re free to come up to them and ask them why they think that’s okay. Or put them on blast with their gym manager, or whatever.
              Free speech means you are not prevented *by government entities* from saying politically provocative things. It doesn’t mean you are free from any consequences; up to and including losing your job, having book contracts taken from you (cough cough Milo) and so on.
              I think a lot of people confuse admiration/flattery/compliments with objectification.
              Objectification is about sexual desire regardless of your personal reciprocation or interest level. It’s aggressive. It’s crude.
              Admiration or representation, like Greek statues, has a different form.
              Like the Supreme Court said about pornography….”you know it when you see it.” Same with objectification.

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  7. The gym instructor made a comment equivalent to “nice tits/ass.” He’s supposed to be a professional. How is this a debate? Lots of trolls lately…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Embrace vulnerability. Be fierce. And keep taking care of yourself. I think for now that would include signing off online dating. I have found enormous relief not worrying about it. I’m really enjoying my life for the first time ever. I’m doing it on MY terms. That has included a crap ton of therapy and self care (I HATE the term self care, as I’ve stated before). But it’s working. I feel the best about myself than I have ever in my life. The work to get here has been excruciating, but I finally have the confidence that I have lacked for the past 38 years of my life. You can do it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so agree with you. Every single time I dip my toe back into the online dating pool, I deal with aggravation and frustration. It’s not worth it. Online dating is nothing but a headache. In the past couple of weeks I’ve met two guys while hosting some of our activity events (One is a a yoga teacher, the other a Scotsman.) I’ve also made two really cool girlfriends at the gym. People willing to put themselves out there and interact face to face are far more open than people who depend on the internet for socializing.

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      1. Your chocolate-making event looked awesome!! What a fantastic idea 🙂 As for online dating, a couple of my friends had great success with it around five years ago, but now it just sounds like a cesspool. My brother loves Tinder, but he’s a man under 30, so that’s not a surprise! There’s a lot to be said for meeting someone organically and there’s no sense in anyone opening themselves up to a bunch of annoyance and disappointment. I was always too lazy and neurotic to deal with it and, as you’re finding, no one NEEDS online dating to meet new people. Good for you for putting yourself out there!

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  9. Your comments have definitely gotten more cynical and jaded with age. I’m curious what your comments will be at 50. You need to take a ‘time out’ for a year or so from the dating scene. Your self-worth is at an all time low. You’ve completely detached the need to feel anything from sex anymore. Might as well work at the bunny ranch and get paid for your disenchantment. Even as a male, I got disenchanted by the 3 date shenanigans only to find out that quick secks does not a relationship make. I was forming too many false associations (i.e. broke women are better in the sack or rich women want richer men).

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  10. I’ve noticed that she always implies that she rejects the men but not vice versa (i.e. not having a strong sense of self).

    I suspect she gets rejected far more often then she’s letting on.

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    1. Since this blog started I’ve written about 3 guys that have rejected me or blown me off. I have no problem rejecting guys who just want to hook up, especially if I’ve already slept with them or if they appear out of nowhere and want to get together.

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