3 Myths About Going Natural

Let me start off by saying I officially giveth not a fuck what you do with your hair. I’m not combing it, paying for it to get done, nor running my fingers through it so do you boo. What I do give a fuck about are the false prophets spreading their Natural Nazi rhetoric among the disillusioned masses willing to engage their foolishness via facebook posts, bougie conversations, and twitter rants with the hashtag #teamnatural. Some of the nonsense is just not true, so I consulted with my hairdresser – who wears and cares for natural hair as well as the relaxed – to help dispel some of the bullshit some folks kick.

Myth #1 – “Your hair will grow back thicker, healthier, and longer”

First of all, taking away a relaxer doesn’t change the rate at which your hair sprouts from the follicles. “Despite all the shampoos and other preparations we put on our heads, hair growth is ultimately limited by biological factors.” Nothing except your DNA can change this, so blame it on your bald headed mama if your hair won’t grow. What gives the illusion that your hair is longer is that if you’re not straightening it regularly, you have no clue how long your hair truly is. As far as health is concerned, relaxed hair isn’t necessarily less healthy than natural hair. Over processed hair causes damage. Dry, brittle hair causes breakage. Dying those locs blond causes damage. Basically, anything besides juices and berries can cause damage to black hair. What keeps hair healthy is maintaining a regimen established by a licensed cosmetologist; not your girl, not the chick at the bank, not a girl you follow on the twitter. Unless a PROFESSIONAL has been in your head, the advice you receive from a girl whose hair you think is fly can do more harm than goodh. I get my hair done professionally every few weeks, my mother does her own natural thing. My hair is WAY healthier. I cut my hair damn near bald on one side in November of 2010. My mother has been wearing her natural since 2004. I’m draping again and well, hers is about where it was in 2004. As far as thickness is concerned, my hair is from the Motherland and no amount of relaxer will change that. If your advice is coming from anyone other than a licensed hair stylist, they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

Myth #2 “This isn’t a fad.”

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Really, boo? A fad is a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group, in this case, a group of black women. Perhaps you will be wearing your hair natural til the end of time, perhaps not, but to pretend as though the sudden influx of women making the Big Chop isn’t a fad is ridiculous. Remember back in the 70s when all of our mamas were wearing big Diana Ross afros and wigs? Remember the 80s when everyone wore their hair like Salt n Pepa? Remember the 90s when everyone wore Janet Jackson Poetic Justice braids? Remember the 00s when everyone wore cornrows a la Alicia Keys? Right. I get that more and more women are going natural for really good reasons, but seriously, y’all not gone sit up here and act like Black women aren’t more comfortable wearing their hair in natural styles (not just chemically untreated) because other women are doing it too. It’s not just about not using a relaxer and still wearing your hair straight. Black women change our hairstyles like we change our draws, often and with a vengeance and the self-righteous “For me, this is more than a fad” is just that, self-righteous.

Myth #3 “Black women who still relax their hair have a Eurocentric sense of beauty and aren’t comfortable with what they look like naturally.”

I have thick black girl lips, a wide black girl nose, a large black girl forehead, and a round black girl booty. As a matter of fact, the lightness of my skin is the only thing about me that ain’t from the West Coast of Africa. I think Black women are the most beautiful creatures on this planet and I’ll be damned if someone is gonna judge me because I like wearing my hair in a bob, a hairstyle I’ve been wearing the late 90s. Most of the white women I think are pretty have darker skin and ethnic *read not Aryan* features. I think blond hair is kinda scary and pale skin just a tad bit scarier. And on another note, many women who relax their hair do so not because they don’t think they’ll be attractive with their kinky hair, some of us just don’t feel like dealing with that shit everyday. It takes me approximately 28 seconds to shake out my wrapped hair and fluff it to the right shape. Every once in a while, I’ll flat iron a little bend into it. AND I still don’t see the correlation between natural hair and a sense of Africanness… Ain’t shit natural about make up, tweezed eyebrows, and push up bras. We all do things to enhance our beauty, so if you really wanna go au naturale, don’t shave those hairy ass legs this summer and tell me how natural you really are. By the way, dying those locs blond and training your hair to get that perfect curl ain’t natural, either. If you’re doing more than letting your hair grow straight out of your scalp, you’re altering your “natural beauty.”

Like I said, I could care less what you do to your hair. I’m actually proud of some of y’all for doing something different with your hair…although it’s not really different if everyone is doing it, now is it? Women with relaxers don’t sit around bashing women for going natural as often as the converse occurs. We don’t go around yelling Team Perm and Team Flat Iron. We don’t exclude y’all the way some of y’all exclude us. We’re not about that divisive nonsense Willie Lynch keeps throwing into the mix. Most of us don’t give a shit and we’re not making a big fuss about the hair style choices of others. I will continue to carry my happy little ass to the beauty shop every six weeks to take care of my new growth…and I have a lot of it. I will continue to appreciate the beauty of the Black Woman without bashing women who opt to make different hairstyle choices than my own. I will continue to ignore the Natural Nazis who go online and belittle women who opt not to wear their hair any other way but relaxed. Y’all do y’all but I am telling you, I’m not going.

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None of My Business

When did it become okay for Black women to become sperm dumps? What single event set the wheels in motion for all six members of a Black woman’s immediate family to have a different last name? Who made it cool to become a mother before being able to vote and a mother of two before being able to drink? When did our collective self-worth become so low that it’s acceptable to be a mother before a wife, or at least a long term partner, and proudly proclaim our resistance to marriage, cuz that’s for white folks. Please spare me your exception to the rule, because while I love some of my teen mother/unmarried successful coparents to death, you are not the norm and you know it! No part of your experience mimics the teenage mother who fails to get a GED because it’s too difficult to study with two babies crying. I understand your relationship with your child’s father is still going strong while my marriage was over shortly after the baby was born. I get it, I really do. But at the end of the day, the success of a teenage mother diminishes with each new baby she creates with a different man who could give a damn about her or the life they’ve created.

Yesterday, a young woman came into the office to apply for energy assistance for her grandmother. She handed me seven social security cards, one was hers, her brother’s and her grandmother’s and the remaining four were her children. I usually try to mind my own business, but after entering three unique last names and finding out that she was only 24 years old, I almost cried. What on earth could have happened in her life that would cause her to believe that she was only worth being three different men’s sperm dumpsters? I asked whether she’d finished high school. She hadn’t. I asked whether the father’s took care of the children. They don’t. I asked was she done having babies. She told me they wouldn’t tie her tubes. I almost cried. Birth control or abstinence weren’t even an option to her. I refused to mind my business. Not this time. I think I made her cry. I didn’t give a shit. Someone needed to tell her she owed herself more than the title of Baby Mama. Someone needed to tell her that she would be nothing in life unless she changed her direction. Someone needed to tell her that her children deserved better than the losers she chose to be their fathers. Someone needed to tell her this, because she didn’t know. She had no clue that she didn’t have to prove her love to a man by carrying a child he didn’t want. She had no clue that the example she was setting for her children was a very poor one and that they are destined to repeat her mistakes if she never recognizes her life choices to be a detriment to her future. She had no clue that the path that her life was on would never lead to anything more than more children and more poverty. She had no clue what hope really was.

I’ll never know what it feels like to be one of these girls who lost their youth before it ever began. I’ll never know how it feels to be a perpetual baby mama who have no clue what aspirations are. I’ll never get it because this life comes from a mentality that I’ve never had. I’m not claiming my body is a temple – I have a Chicago Bears tattoo in my future plans. I’m not claiming to have made the best life decisions. I’m not claiming to be exactly where I want to be in life. But the one thing that I can claim is that I believe I am deserving of anything that my heart desires, and far too many young women yearn for something they have no clue how to achieve. They want to be loved. They want to be cherished. They want to be adored. That’s all their heart desires and they have no clue that they deserve it.

Dear Ms. Black Woman

Dear Ms. Black Woman,

I do not have HIV. I do not have AIDS. I am 100% STD free and for that, I am 100% lucky. I won’t even sit here and lie to you and say I’ve never had unprotected sex before, because I have. It was never a random encounter, always with a long term partner, but nonetheless, I didn’t use protection on more than one occasion in my life. I’ve done some really stupid shit in my life and not using a condom each and every time I had sex is the stupidest shit I’ve ever done. Heat of the moment and all that good shit but very, very stupid. I will never do it again. I can say that under no uncertain terms will I ever have unprotected sex with a man who is not my husband. Wanna know how I know this? Because I am in control of my body. I choose who I have consensual sex with and so do you. I choose who I allow to enter my body and so do you.

“In 2009, black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. Most (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.”
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/)

Celibacy is the only way to prevent sexually transmitted disease. THE ONLY! I’m not about to sit here and advocate celibacy, because A) I like having sex and B) I believe sex is a natural expression of desire. Ain’t nothing wrong with fucking. We have been shamed into believing that expressing our sexuality is wrong, therefore, we take unnecessary risks with our lives because we don’t want nobody thinking we’re hoes. In my safety bag are tampons, Advil, a toothbrush, and some condoms. I am not ashamed to be carrying three Magnums in my purse every single day. I would be ashamed to carry a disease I could have prevented. We spend so much time getting preachy and high horse about natural hair and light skin yet utter nary a peep about US being infected at 15 times the rate of out white counterparts. Instead of concerning ourselves so much with protecting our hair, let’s do more to protect our bodies.

Love,

Jen

Dear Mr. Black Man

Dear Mr. Black Man,

This is getting a little ridiculous. Maybe I’m just not making myself clear. Maybe you just don’t get it. Society has led some of you to believe that women are the ones who are miserable being alone and will do anything to get/keep a man, when it’s become quite apparent to me that some men are the ones who fear being alone. I’ve come to the conclusion that all of the resistance to growing up and settling down arrives from your worry that the woman you finally commit to will hurt you. This is where the JayKay tough love comes in: GROW THE FUCK UP AND GET SOME THERAPY!!!! I’ve encountered way more damaged men than I have women simply because women are more willing to admit that certain happenstances in their lives have left them unfit for human interaction and they seek help: from friends, clergy, or an actual licensed therapist. Black men (as a broad generalization) tend to chalk up their fatal character flaws to “yeah, that’s just the way I am” or even worse, not even recognize their issues as flaws at all. I’m not one of those chicks that like to point out what’s fucked up with black men and offer the solution of dating Others. I’m that type of girl who offers constructive criticism (not that you’re gonna listen, you stubborn bastard).

Bait and Switch

Recently, a man offered to purchase us Bears tickets for what would have been our second date. As a matter of fact, he offered to take me to a Bears game for our first date. I was obviously skeptical, not because I don’t believe I’m worth a $400 date, I just didn’t think he’d come through. Sure enough, he didn’t. Instead of admitting his mistake, he ignored the fact that he’d made a specific offer and informed me that there were more games left in the season THEN asked me out to dinner THEN failed to understand what me declining his offer had to do with his failure to procure tickets AND acknowledge said failure.

This may not seem like a fatal flaw to many, and some would have gone out to dinner with him but me? Nah, I’m good, son. This dude is damaged goods. The bait and switch comes in all forms, but the perpetrators usually make all types of promises upon meeting a woman and then treats those promises as “game.”. Fuck yo game, nigga, I’ve been going to Bears games all season long. I didn’t need that gentleman to make me any promises he couldn’t fulfill and I resent the fact that he wasn’t man enough to own up to his bullshit. If I tolerate that, there’s no telling what other shit he’ll switcharoo on me. These promises aren’t always in the form of tangible goods. There’s Mr. I’m Looking For Something Long Term who’s actually just dipping his dick in whoever let’s him or Mr. I’m Single…when my girl isn’t standing right next to me. Look, you ain’t gosta lie, Craig. While you may believe you’re spitting game, unless you plan on fulfilling all that game you’re spitting, you’re nothing but a liar who needs to grow up and be honest. The best game is no game at all. You don’t have to impress me with shit you’re not even remotely capable of fulfilling.

Leave the white girls out of this

This 24 year old standing in line at the club on Halloween tried to convince me of his dateability. Instead of taking my “you’re too young” and leave well enough alone, he decided to engage me in a debate on what’s wrong with women and how we turn down quality men and blah blah bullshit. He ended his nonsense with a “that’s why we fuck with white girls.” I’m 87% sure his boy held his breath as he waited on my inevitable Angry Black Woman reaction. Instead, I replied to his stupid ass, “Good, they can have you.” A random white chick standing in front of me yelled out, “We don’t want him!” and the crowd went wild. I’m only gonna say this one time: If you have such a serious problem with black women that you feel your only recourse is to date white women THEN SO BE IT! Most of us aren’t mad you about it. As a matter of fact, you’re damaged as hell and we’re glad to be rid of you. Be gone from our dating pool because a man who believes that a woman’s race defines the type of woman she is is too stupid to be worthy of dating anyone, including the white woman he has stereotyped. White women should be equally offended when a black man only dates white women because he’s been emotionally scarred enough to swear off an entire race of women. He’s DAMAGED!!! RUN!!!!!

Delusions of Grandeur

I’ve already addressed the issue men seem to have believing their mediocrity should be good enough to earn him the hand of any woman of his choosing. Those Very Smart Brothas defined the Diva Dude a year ago and were nice enough to repost it and it still isn’t getting through to some of you. Black women aren’t single because we don’t recognize how amazing you are. Some of you just aren’t that amazing and fail to understand why women refuse to put up with your nonsense. It’s not us. It’s you! It’s all you.

Match.com story: I received an email that read subject: Don’t be shy. Body: Let’s do this. His profile:

She can wear a romper (pants or shorts) and heels to the NBA game, but could beat most chicks that will be hatin in a game of hoops. She NEVER fights, rarely curses, and seldomly raises her voice. She knows how to get whatever she wants out of me and never ALLOWS me to feel insecure. Always the perfect lady in the streets but a tough kill in the sheets. And if I bought the games tickets, she laughs at me for tryna buy the drinks. And we drink like royalty while we enjoy the game. Clearly, the woman has her own. She can wait about 3 to five years for kids, but definitely wants some. And knows she won’t have any trouble bouncing back after the rug rats are here I want a woman that’s a little concided verse a little insecure, yet has her ego in check.For this woman, I give her my all!

What in all kinds of fucks is this? I refuse to dissect this bullshit, but let me just tell you that I said no. Actually, I didn’t even say no. I just blocked his dumb ass from ever contacting me ever ever ever again. I get tired of being told that my standards are too high and that maybe I should just accept a man having 5 kids since I have a kid. It’s not the same fucking thing. Another guy said that women won’t date his average-looking friend with good credit and no kids who is also a bit of a lame (his words, not mine). What self-respecting woman wants to date someone whose own boy can’t come up with anything better to describe him as than “he pays his bills on time and wears a condom.” That shit ain’t cute and we’re not going! What if I told a guy that my girl was average-looking with good credit and no kids and was kind of a bitch? He’d look at me like I was a damn fool and that’s the same way I’m looking at you. Guess what buddy? I’m not interested in your lack of punctuation or your lame ass ugly friend and you’re not going to make me feel bad about not dating you nor hooking you up with my friends. They may not be attractive enough for you, but you’re definitely too fucking delusional for us.

This letter isn’t to all black men, because I don’t deal in absolutes. Not all black men, just like not all black women (and for that matter not all of anyone) are on the foolishness that keeps the producers of the Dateline segments employed. God, I hate Dateline. No one is buying the bullshit…actually, too many of us are buying the bullshit. Being single isn’t a disease and for most, it’s a purposeful choice. I’m pretty sure I could convince some man to marry me and take me away from this loneliness *sarcasm* but instead, I choose to focus on what’s important to me: ME (and Cinda) but mostly ME!! I’m not running to the arms of a white man because black men are such fuck ups and I’m also not settling for whatever falls before me out of fear of growing old alone. I can get dick. I can go on dates. I could probably get someone to pay my bills or whatever else some men believe women need from you. I’m not saying I’m so independent that I got this and don’t need no man for shit, but I want to need you, not need to need you. For now, I’m happy going at this alone until I find someone who isn’t perfect, just perfect for me.

Sincerely (and once again, I’m being SO sincere)

Me

Let It Go

We all have baggage. Some of us carry ours in a cute little bag that we hide in our underwear drawer and only take out when we’re PMSing while others lug theirs around in a Louis Vuitton Speedy 40. There are some who keep theirs in a garbage bag on the front seat of their car and others who’ve locked a laundry bag up tight in the front hall closet only to have it come spilling out anytime a guest comes over and tries to hang up their coat. No matter how loudly a woman proclaims to not have any baggage, she does. Our lives are shaped from our experiences and how we handle them and not one of us has emerged from a life-altering tribulation without a package. Some situations take a lot longer to let go of, but life can’t go on until you’ve emptied some of those huge bags, put them in a storage unit, and buy some smaller, compact bags incapable of holding much more than what you need to learn from your past.

Superficial baggage is the most common and the easiest to shed. You were poor growing up, your mother gave you a Jheri curl, and your clothes came from Kmart. Yes, I’m talking about myself. I didn’t hit my fabulous peak until college and even then I was a little sketchy. So what your body is flat in all the wrong places or someone posted and tagged bad pictures of you on facebook. Get over yourself! No one gives a rat’s ass. I used to drive a 1994 Ford Tempo…in 2000…and I STILL valeted my car WHERE EVER I went! I care very little what others think of me and I refuse to let the purse that I carry contain foolishness like the fact that I could only afford the medium patent leather handbag and not the large one my best friend bought.

Friendship baggage is almost as bad as boyfriend baggage. Women tend to hold on to mediocre friendships for the sake of sisterhood when in fact, friendships are quite similar to relationships. You wouldn’t keep a lying, deceitful, untrustworthy man around so why on earth do women hold on to other women who possess the same characteristics? I try not to tell too many personal stories (to protect the not so innocent) but I had a friend who didn’t trust me…for good reason, but I digress. She wanted to “make it work” when all I wanted her to do was keep her crazy ass away from me. Everyone isn’t meant to be friends and shouldn’t try to be. Now she hates my guts…and NOT for good reason, when all she had to do was realize our friendship, like a relationship with a guy, just wasn’t going to work. If you have a crappy girlfriend, treat her like you would a crappy boyfriend and LET HER GO!

Family baggage requires more than just a wise-cracking, smart ass with a blog and a summer’s worth of posts about random foolishness. If you hate your mother: YOU NEED THERAPY! If you’ve been sexually abused by your uncle: YOU NEED THERAPY! If you just met your father for the first time and you’re 30: YOU NEED THERAPY!!!!! Before someone gets offended, hear me out. All of these things are traumatic and potentially damaging to one’s psyche and emotional well-being. Many black women look at therapy as a sign of weakness when in fact, seeking help for a situation you can’t handle is showing great courage and strength. We could all use someone to talk to during a difficult time, and if your entire childhood was difficult, you can’t just sweep it under the rug and rock an S on your chest for Strong Black Woman. So what you read TD Jakes, Iyanla Vanzant, and Steve Harvey; they don’t have the cure for what ails you. A licensed therapist does and as long as you continue to pretend that you can handle being beaten daily as a child with a broomstick, you will always drag a very large set of luggage. Do yourself a favor, call the bellhop and let someone help you with those bags.

I’ve tried to rid myself of baggage, it’s a daily struggle and a work in progress. I’m taking baby steps to empty one bag at a time. What’s crazy about an empty bag is that someone or something always wants to try to fill it up again. Make the choice to either get rid of the bag or zip it up and put a lock on it. Let. It. Go.

WTF is a Slim Thug anyway?

Black women are pissed again. First Don Imus called us “nappy headed hoes”, then John Maker admitted he wouldn’t dip his white penis in Keyshia Cole’s black vagina even to repopulate the earth after nuclear holocaust. Now Slim Thug, Grammy…MTV…Source… (Wait, is he an award-winning rapper? No?! Oh, ok let me start over). Now Slim Thug, random media thirsty rapper, has exposed his ignorant racial stereotypes about us and we’re ready to boycott his music. (Pause…again. I think we might have already been doing that). I’m of the opinion that Slim Thug’s antiquated bias against is own is based on three things: his mother didn’t hug him enough, he was ugly in high school (Pause times three…he’s STILL ugly?! Oh!) and most importantly: HE’S A FUCKING IDIOT!!! I don’t want to focus on the random stupidity of one ignoramus. Instead, I have three pieces of advice for Black women.

1. STOP MEANMUGGING INTERRACIAL COUPLES!!! I visited a friend in Minneapolis and I swear to God EVERY other Black man was with a woman who wasn’t Black. Didn’t bother me one single bit because the not Black men were AT me when we went to the club. What did bother me was a group of Black women who (while in a pretty classy sushi spot) trashed EVERY. SINGLE. WOMAN who walked by. Those broads looked at me, noticed my fly Chicago style and ill ass Westside glare, and kept their mouths shut. Then I noticed that the women they were insulting very loudly were all very fair-skinned and were probably biracial. At first I was disgusted, then I felt sorry for them. Based on what I saw, they didn’t stand a chance of dating a Black man. The women with Black men were with Black and GORGEOUS, or not Black…and well, just not Black. I won’t go into the whos, whats and whys, but with all that said, I imagined dating for Black women in Minneapolis might be very difficult.

We need to stop giving Black men with not Black women the side eye. What does it accomplish? They now know how you feel about it and as soon as they get home they’re gonna break up immediately. Sounds dumb, right? No amount of discourse with your girls at the beauty shop or evil glances you give the offending couple is going to change the dating habits of a Black man who has opted to date a non-Black woman. He may be “experimenting”, date non-Blacks exclusively, or randomly fell for a woman who isn’t Black. Stop living up to the Angry Black Woman stereotype by being an angry Black woman. We don’t roll our eyes when we see Black men with hoodrats, whores, and women in cheap shoes so kill the evil stares.

2. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS Black women may be the only group that, as a whole, only date men of their own racial/ethnic background. As a matter of fact, we’re so stuck on Black men, we routinely opt for losers who’ll never amount to much just because they are the same race. It’s the same as buying rotten fruit at the grocery store because that’s all they have left. More than likely, you’ll go to another store. Instead of complaining (on national television nonetheless) about the absence of good Black men, try dating a good non-Black man. We’ve come to believe the negative stereotypes about ourselves and think only Black men like our luscious lips, voluptuous behinds, and brown skin. We’ve accepted the untruths that we’re angry, our hair is nappy, and we’re welfare queens. If we stop listening to idiots like Slim Thug and Don Imus, we would realize that many non-Black men are willing to venture outside their race to date us. My mother-in-law is Vietnamese and father-in-law is white and their son thought I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met in his life. We shared common interests, goals, and values. One of the few and least important things we didn’t share was racial and ethnic background. The reason it didn’t work had nothing to do with race

I’m not saying to totally discount Black men; if I were, I’d be just as bad as those who subscribe to the false belief that there are no good Black men left. What I am saying is that we are limiting ourselves when we choose not to date anything but. Join Match.com or eHarmony if you’re not sure where to go. Hang out with your coworkers. Join a social group. ANYTHING!!! Stop accepting bullshit because you want little black babies. Choose a partner because of what you have in common, but let race be the least important because it really is.

And last but not least:

3. STOP BEING UNREALISTIC!!! We often want our mate to be perfect when we are nowhere close. He has to look like Michael Ealy, drive a Bentley, make six-figures, attended a top-tier law school, have a body like a god, have a big dick and on and on and ON!! Really?!?! I’m not saying lower your standards (see #2) but understand that the perfect man doesn’t exist. You’re not going to meet Prince Charming at First Friday. As a matter of fact, you’re NEVER going to meet Prince Charming. What IS going to happen is that you’re going to meet a man that may be perfect for you, but because he pulled up in a ten year old Toyota, you discount him as a potential suitor. Good things may come in very oddly wrapped packages and if you’re too busy looking at his resume instead of listening during the interview, you might miss out on a man that is absolutely perfect for you.

There are always going to be negative stereotypes about Black women. Not living up to them is the first way to combat them. Next step: IGNORE THE DUMBASSES WHO HAVE THEM! If Slim Thug had said he only dates White women, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention. But when he felt the need to disrespect Black women, he relegated himself to a group of people I have deemed unfit for human interaction. We spend far too much time concerned about who other people are dating. Date people who make you feel good, but don’t ignore the untapped world of Black women dating non-Black men. You might end up with a husband and a couple of little biracial babies.

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