Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Letting me go mad

It's clearly just that week.

I started the day with looking at two apartments, both of which were crap.
I just want it to say 'Let By'. And soon
One of them was really, really dark; why people build houses with such small windows at this day and age is beyond me.

In addition it had "extremely naff" (estate agent's own words) furniture.

The second one had been completely wrecked by its Lithuanian immigrant tenant, who evidently thought it was more important to own a Sky+ box and a fancy DVD player than to invest £1.99 in some cleaning utensils.

In other words, impossible to tell what it'll actually look like when it's been refurbished, and equally impossible to tell how long this refurbishment may take.

I saw one yesterday as well, it had carpet in the kitchen. I say no more.

All of this is just making me feel incredibly irritable. J isn't good with routines being shaken up at the best of time, and is therefore of little help. He is also way too nice, and doesn't push the estate agents to actually do some work.

It was quite amusing, though, when I'd looked at the apartment this morning (the one with the "naff" furniture) and the agent asked me what I thought my boyfriend would say about it. "Well," I said, "it's a bit dark. J likes a lot of light."

And she said, "well, when he called and I heard his voice, I thought, oh no, he's too posh, he's definitly not going to like that apartment I'm showing them."

How true.

J optimistically thinks that living out of a bag in a cramped room with me, in a house he has no key for, won't lead to us getting on each other's nerves, but I know better.

Again, if anyone knows of a nice 2-bed terraced house with large windows, access to parking and preferably some outdoor space, do let me know.

Arrgh. And double arrgh.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

That time of the month

I sometimes wish I'd thought of Mil Millington's "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About" before he did, but not so, unfortunately...

I think of this as a relationship period

At any rate, J and I don't really like to vary what we argue about. We prefer the more traditional approach of having the same argument over and over again.

Last night, for instance, we had the conversation which goes through the following stages:

  • J is a bit glum about something
  • I ask him what is wrong
  • He talks for about 10 min straight in detail about what is annoying him (usually the same things)
  • I then offer some (I admit often unsolicited) advice because I get tired of hearing him complain and because I think that when people complain, it's because they want to overcome whatever they complain about
  • He shouts at me for "telling him what to do"
  • I get upset because in my family, people don't raise their voices at each other and I find it disconcerting
  • We get into a longish discussion major relationship issues (see below)
  • There are tears on either side
  • We make up

Why, oh why do we bother, I ask.

I can list very briefly the major issues in our relationship.

  • J's low self esteem leading to him being very touchy and having an inferiority complex
  • My tendency to criticise and give unsolicited advice
  • Him claiming he doesn't love me
  • Him failing to stand up to his (awful) mother
  • Me being impatient and slightly unable to let go if I think I'm right about something

We know about this, so why we should feel the urge to spend two (!!) hours discussing it, I really have no idea.

And we don't really have proper arguments either; we don't really shout at each other, just painfully go over the same old ground. He talks mostly, I don't feel like there's much to say.

Unfortunately he couldn't stay last night as he had to get to work, so the makeup part wasn't as cuddly as it could have been.

The worst thing of all is that a few hours later, I have more or less forgotten about it.

I read somewhere today that having high levels of cortisol blocks the formation of long-term memories, and I can see no other explanation for not being put off arguing instead of

A) Me shutting up and
B) Him getting a new therapist.

But at least the monthly Big Discussion is over, so we can have a peaceful weekend trawling the local estate agents for somewhere to live.

If anyone has a space to fill, we're non-smokers and safe payers.

Arrrgh.

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Rock bottom :: HNT IX

For once, I'm right on the money of this week's HNT theme with my contribution.

Although I don't think putting on weight in general does much for my looks, I have to say that it without a doubt does wonders for my bum.
Just waiting to be admired on the beach this summer
It doesn't sag, or get cellulite (which, since I'm rapidly finishing off my 20s, I think must mean good genes), or bulge out at the sides.

It just gets... rounder. Which is nice.

I was actually wondering for how much longer I should be doing HNT; I don't think there are very many bits of me left that I'm dying to share with the general web community.

What do other people do in this situation? Do they keep posting pictures of the same parts, but get artistic? Do they relent and reveal more?

I'm just not sure the internet needs a picture of my cleavage.

But I do really back the idea of it; I think bodies of all sizes and shapes should be shown off and flaunted, that nakedness (or nekkidness, as it were) is not something children should be taught to be ashamed of. It is private, but private by way of each one of us being able to decide who we want to share it with.

Rant over.

Although you could stay and read about the horrible pet deaths I was preoccupied with earlier this week.

Happy HNT, everyone!

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Music to my ears

I am going home in May for a family occasion, and I was going to travel home late on Friday night and come back Monday morning so I wouldn't have to take any extra days off.
Boys with guitars. Obey.

But then.

This morning, I came into work, and my childhood sweetheart was logging onto MSN.

This he usually does when he wants to ask all his friends if anyone knows potential buyers for his latest Porche, so I didn't really take much notice of it.

But weirdly, the link he sent me wasn't to a car sales web site. It was for Ticketmaster.

My favourite band, ever, are playing in my home town on the weekend when I'm already going home.

On the Friday evening.

I knew this. I saw a full-page ad in the local paper last time I visited, and although I wanted to go, I didn't want to take a full day off for going to a gig.

But when I knew that he was going, my stomach churned and my heart dropped to my feet. And started beating faster.

Not because I still fancy him, because although I love him, it's not like that anymore.

But because I realised I'd turned down an opportunity to stand with iron rails thrusting into my ribs, feeling 14 and carefree for a whole evening, coming out damp and deaf and then getting ridiculously drunk with my old friends (who are of course all going).

What happened along the way?

Buy me a ticket, I said. I'll change my flight.

And so I did. If I can't take the day off, I'll call in sick. It'll be worth it.

It was less than 24 hrs since I booked the original flight, so I got my money back, and because the earlier flight was cheaper, the concert kind of paid for itself as well.

He messaged me back, saying "I'll pick up your ticket on Saturday". What a honey he really is.

Which got me thinking as well, he's the boyfriend I've had who's the most like J. Strangely incommunicative, ridiculously sexy, can never finish a novel, hates horror films and although he's extremely irritating, I can never stay angry with him for more than five minutes.

Once, when we were 17, we didn't speak for a whole two weeks, but that was really stretching it and he had done something extremely bad.

Now, he's put on a little bit of weight and he drinks way too much, but he's still lovely.

Ironic that after having gone through a whole host of men who were extremely different from him, I'm now moving in with J, who's very similar but available over here.

I like to think that means that my taste in men matured early. But alternative explanations are welcomed.

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Horrible pet deaths

On a completely different note today.

I had lunch with a couple of colleagues, and we somehow got onto the subject of pet deaths.

Just like my hamster, when she was still alive and well

Pets are good for kids, I think.

They learn how to grapple with the big issues in life, such as mortality, responsibility and how to take care of something completely defenseless.

Or not, as it would seem.

For some reason, many of our pets seemed to have come to a horrible demise. I list.

Please feel free to purge your own trauma in the comments section.

Squashed hamster
She lived a happy life. She was pregnant when we got her (a result of some form of incest, I'd imagine, but best not to think about it), had babies of which she ate only one, and lived for a long time.

Until I accidentally put the wire top of her cage down in a manner which squashed her head between the wire and the plastic tray forming the bottom. Her neck broke, and it almost ruined our Christmas.

Eaten rabbit
She was forced to eat it for dinner. I say no more.

Starved rabbit
We went on holiday, leaving my grandmother to take care of it. She dutifully fed it, but seemed to ignorant of the fact that the poor animal also needed water. It was found rather shrivelled and dehydrated when we came home. She was never held to account, but I resented her for years for not apologising.

Overfed fish
My friend accidentally overfed her au-pair host family's hundreds-of-dollars worth of tropical fish. The water turned muddy and they all died. She claimed they'd died of a mysterious disease. They believed her.

Flying/fungused terrapin
While being fed dried shrimp, the terrapin latched itself onto his finger. When he withdrew it (a reflex, we can all agree), it flew in a beautiful arch across the room. It didn't die, but wisely escaped into the garden. He found it again two years later, and it died shortly after of a fungal infection.

Squashed hamster II
My colleague's hamster was very tame, and happily playing in the garden, when the neighbour's horrible fat dog attacked and mauled it. It didn't die, but was helplessly trying to crawl away despite being partly paralysed. Her friend had to step on it and sqash it to put it out of its misery.

Heart attack rabbit
Another dog story. The rabbit escaped from its hutch, but before being able to enjoy its newfound freedom, found itself chased by the neighbour's dog. In the end it had a heart attack from exhaustion, and was found with its eyes splayed open in fear and all four limbs stretched out as if in full stride.

So should children really be allowed pets? I'd say yes.

Apart from my squashing of the hamster with the cage, I think we can agree that while possibly reckless, none of the other deaths were a result of gross negligence at the hands of a child.

In fact, the only case of negligence, you'll notice, was at the hands of an adult, ie. my gran, bless her soul.

After all, if living in the wild, hamsters would probably constantly find themselves eaten by offspring, with nobody to squash them should they survive in a paralysed state, which would mean days of painful dehydration or starvation before death.

Ask my rabbit and it would tell you that's not a nice way to go.

In other words, life is cruel. The only reason why we end up thinking of the deaths of our pets as cruel (which they inevitably seem to be), is that death is, like life, also generally cruel.

Starving to death or being eaten isn't nice.

The fact that we witness it just makes it seem worse.

So what are you waiting for?

Your kids want a cat?

Get one for them now, and you'll never have to explain awkward things like the concept of death, nor the facts of life, they'll work it out on their own when the kitty grows up, is humped by the blind old tomcat living down the road, and gives birth to a litter of kittens you'll spend weeks trying to get rid of.

Personally I can't wait to have kids. With pets, I mean.

Monday, 20 March 2006

Big news

J has relented.

We were in bed on Saturday morning, or at least almost still morning as we both slept like a log until 1130.

For a small review of our cohabitation history, se here,here and here

"I wanted to talk about something," he said.

"I've decided I want us to live together. If you still want to."

Of course I still want to. I've been wanting to for months.

But for some strange reason I wasn't feeling ecstatic at the announcement.

And lo and behold, the moderating comment followed hot on the heels: "It doesn't mean I feel as confident about our relationship as you do," he said.

Strangely, I've heard that so many times now that I didn't even get a slightly sinking feeling. I don't know if this is a good sign.

"But," he continued, "I do think what we have is so good I should try to take care of it."

I felt a bit gloomy after that, and he apologised (as usual) for not being able to be more categorically positive.

The lease on his flat is coming up for renewal, and his therapist, although not explicitly saying so, appears to be my biggest fan, which is funny since we've never actually met. If only she was my mother-in-law...

We spent Saturday morning at the V&A, he was browsing Art Deco posters for the new flat we haven't found yet, and almost throughout the day my mood was rising on a steady curve.

He let me go to all the bits I wanted to see, and we got 9/10 on the interactive Jacobean quiz. Did you know that 3-D decorations were a feature of the Jacobean period? Me neither.

And we fit well together. I remember pointless features (the Renaissance in the UK featured Roman-inspired roundels and aquatic motifs) and he remembers numbers (what years did Henry VII reign? I have no idea).

For some reason I think we both felt then that moving in together is the right thing to do. In a way it almost feels like we have a home together in both the flats we live in at the moment. It's a nice feeling.

Of course there'll be arguments, but as J said, "I think it'll be fun."

So the top five things I think we'll argue about:

  1. Bedroom temperature (I like it freezing, J likes to keep the heating on all night)
  2. Bedtime (I like early nights, J likes sitting up)
  3. Me being bossy / telling him how to do stuff
  4. Him being anal
  5. Him having too much stuff and refusing to get rid of old copies of magazines

To be reviewed in a few months when we've actually made the move.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Another day, another tummy :: HNT VIII

I did the quaterly pregnancy test yesterday, and if you have one look at this week's HNT picture, you might worry that it came out positive and that J by now has had a nervous breakdown.
Inflated!!
But t'is not so.

The bloat, sadly, is merely due to lack of exercise and the excessive amount of French cheese, crusty bread and lush Spanish ham consumed by yours truly last night in good company with flatmate who brought the cheese back from holiday.

Yet, there's always that incredibly tense moment while the test strip (this time submerged in an empty, rinsed-out Actimel carton; very handy they are) is slowly being saturated with liquid, where the paper turns grey across one blue line, and then another, or not, depending on what kind of test it is.

The Boots ones have one line to show the test is finished and one to show you're not pregnant, which I always thought was a bit odd.

It must scare the living daylights out of people all the time who are used to tests that show that extra line if you are pregnant.

But as I said, of course I'm not pregnant this time either. My GP thinks I might have polycystic ovarian syndrome, but since I'm neither hairy nor spotty, I'm not so sure. Being on the progestone only pill can at any rate cause ovarian cysts.

Although I'll be really annoyed if I find in a few years that I've been on contraceptives for a decade whilst really there was no need.

Happy HNT, everyone!

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Summertime...

I could almost smell summer outside today for the first time!

What could be better.
When I first met J, I told him my dream was to spend the summer with him.

And now we're coming up for our second one; it's more than I really dared to hoped for back then, although I didn't admit that even to myself.

He's seeing his therapist today, who will most likely tell him that he's an idiot for not moving in with me yet (although in a therapeutic way, of course).

Maybe by next year I'll have my vegetable garden. And he can have his piano, although financially that's maybe a bit less feasible.

But summer. It's so wrong how the English summer is always described, as wet and grey, when in actual fact it's hot, dry and long, leaving fields burnt and aching for rain (The Thames Water hosepipe ban goes to prove that the UK isn't as wet as we'd like to think it is).

I am looking forward to spending short nights in bed, sticky and only covered with a cotton sheet, all protruding parts of mine sticking to the appropriate equivalents of J.

I am looking forward to making love in the dark, then opening the curtains at four in the morning and seeing that it's almost light outside.

And long, wet kisses where J's skin tastes of salt and sea water.

And wearing short skirts, with no underwear. Except to work, of course...

So today I'm going home to have cheese and wine with my flat mate, we'll sit inside and pretend it's warm outside, and we'll talk of dry grass and neverending evenings.

And then maybe a quick call to J, who will be at work, telling him exactly what he'll be missing if we don't last through till September.

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Signs

During an unprecedented attack of kind feelings towards J's mother, I suggested to J that we spend the last day of our long weekend visiting her. Maybe I was inspired by the Mother's Day ads everywhere, or maybe I really am a good person at heart.
I'm not superstitious, but that woman really does know how to sting
We arrived late in the morning at her house, and the realisation that she'd given up forcing J to do the spring tidy of her garden (unpaid of course) immediately lifted our spirits.

She was also quite a lot less aggressive than is usually the case, most likely because she was still reeling from the news that her perfectly well adjustable son (J's brother) has been left by his partner.

In fact, she spent quite a lot of time detailing what a financial disaster this would be for the (no-longer-a) couple and their children, completely ignorant of the fact that she during her narrative disclosed that a) he is extremely bad with money because he's been spoilt rotten by his mother and b) that she is 100 per cent in denial about this.

J, already having tired of hearing this story being repeated ad nauseum over the phone over the past couple of weeks, quickly changed the subject (I was impressed by the skill with which he did this) on to his mother's imminent holiday abroad, and somehow the conversation turned to horoscopes.

Now, they're both Scorpios.

J's mother asked me what sign I was, and when I told her she put on a very grave expression and said "oh my, you know that this sign is the least compatible with the Scorpio."

Backed by my vast knowledge of Linda Goodman's 'Starsigns', I said I wasn't entirely sure that was the case.

"Oh yes," she said. "We are a water sign. You are a fire sign. They are not compatible."

!! If this had been preceeded by nice fuzzy complements like "I'm so glad J's met a girl like you, you seem like a really good couple", then fine.

But of course it wasn't.

Her first ever acknowledgement of our relationship was "your signs are incompatible".

I know she doesn't like me. I've never been to an opera (yet I find the strength to live on) and know nothing about ballet, around which her world revolves. I despise Maggie Thatcher (her hero) and speak better English than her, despite her having spent about three times as long in this country. On top of it all it seems I get on better with her son than she does. Of course she doesn't like me.

So when I dared to oppose her authority on astrology, she immediately rushed to her bookshelf and pulled out an illustrated hardback on the topic (not Linda, but probably not far from it) as 'proof'.

Which is when I put my foot down and said "you know what, I think that's mean."

She made a very wide-eyed face and said "what's mean?"

And I said that I thought saying that our signs were completely incompatible was a bit hurtful and not very supportive.

She of course turned this around at me by implying that my accusation was the hurtful thing, and of course I apologised (she flatly ignored the apology but to her credit it could be because she doesn't understand a word I say most of the time).

Her excuse was that it was only a joke, that she puts "no emphasis on such superstitions".

Fifteen minutes later she proceeded to force J to buy for 5p kitchen knife she wanted to hand him, because "really, it's bad luck to give someone a knife as a gift."

In other words, she is a very superstitious person. In her world, such things as black cats crossing the roads and tea leaves at the bottom of the mug and, most likely, astrology, actually does have a real place and significance.

J said afterwards that he was quite sure that she meant it as a joke, although he conceeded that bringing out the book was a bit "over the top".

And maybe she didn't mean it in a bad way. Still, it's not a very nice thing to say to someone.

But I feel I made my point. If she oversteps my boundaries, I will stand up for myself.

I don't care if she's a 70 year old woman, there is no need to be mean and controlling just because you've been to lazy to integrate yourself into a country in which you've spent the last 40 years, and therefore rendered yourself very emotionally dependent on your very small and dysfunctional family. Her children are still entitled to see whomever they want, and to screw up their relationships in turn.

As for our signs' compatibility, I guess she has gone a long way to prove her theory right in the case of me and her.

However, Yahoo horoscopes state that a romantic union between our signs "can be the kind of relationship where they both wonder how they ever managed apart. Both Signs love power and they can achieve just about anything."

So there.

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Spring has finally arrived :: HNT VII

It looks like spring has finally arrived! OK, so not so much flowers and birds as pouring rain and slippery football pitches, but nonetheless.

Torso and Light From Cheap Ikea Lamp (inspired by D Flavin)
And at least the temperature has finally risen above 0, hopefully for good.

Not much else to report today, except I've completely given up on yesterday's vaguely feminist antics (see below) and posted a picture of my torso.

Taken on a day where I was still hovering next to the radiator in my room in order to stay warm.

Other reason for celebration: J has a new bed in his room, and a new kitchen in his flat.

With all my needs potentially catered for, I am really looking forward to this weekend!

Happy HNT everyone!

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Congratulations, fellow sisters

It's International Women's day today.

I don't actually see myself as a feminist. I live under the happy illusion that women should be recognised because they do well and work hard, not because they just so happen to be women.

I would never send my child to a single-sex school, as I think that just breeds misunderstanding and potential social awkwardness.

I have friends who never realised men are people too until they went to university, and by then it was too late to learn that men and women can be great friends as well as sexual partners.

I don't think the sexes are completely equal; men's football is more fun to watch because they run faster and have nicer legs. If you don't believe me, just compare the brushing speed of male vs. female curling teams.

However, I realise the reason I never felt the need to be especially feminist is because I grew up in a relatively egalitarian environment, where all my male friends cooked better food than I did, and girls didn't shriek when they played football.

A while ago I was working with a central Asian man, who was staging a party at his flat. To his credit he did do all the cooking himself, but on the day of the party he approached my (male) friend and lamented in all earnestness that he really "needed a girl to lay the tables".

This, of course, is only a very mild and even almost humorous indication of what some societies still think of women.

My Pakistani friend was married for the second time to a man from her parents' native country; he came over, put her in debt, tried to beat her up and cheated on her while she was pregnant, then claimed she couldn't throw him out of the house she owned because he was her husband.

I'm not saying that a Western man wouldn't have done the same, but I don't think a Western family would have expected the woman to put up with it in the same way.

And that happened here in Britain.

Here in Britain, where parental leave can still not be divided between the parents at will. Why should the mother have more leave than the father, especially here where so many women choose not to breastfeed? It beats me.

So maybe on just this one day a year we should look around and refuse to clean up after the men in the office who leave their dirty dishes in the tea kitchen sink.

We shouldn't go home from work and immediately start tidying, whilst our partners get to sit down and read the paper.

I'm not saying to go on strike, but maybe we should just sit down, think about the situation of women close to us as well as further away, and what little things we can do to improve their situation.

Whilst eating a whole tub of Hagen-Dazs all on our own, of course.

Monday, 6 March 2006

Just a nice weekend

Q - What is the advantage of someone burning down your boyfriend's kitchen?

A - He can't cook in it for ages, and therefore jumps at the chance of culinary expression in your kitchen.

J is male, and a bit darker, but there are a lot of similarities, like hairiness

After the trauma on Friday, we had a surprisingly uplifting weekend.

On Friday evening we went to see a couple of mutual friends for dinner; we played board games once the food was gone, and much fun was had at J's somewhat alcoholically inspired miming impression of the word 'sauna'.

Our team won, but our celebrations were thwarted by our third team mate admitting she had cheated at the beginning of the game.

There is something really lovely about having dinner with friends and then rolling home by foot, slightly drunkenly.

Saturday we managed to get up relatively early and drove to Oxford for the day.

Our first proper 'date' ever was at Oxford, so called because J has told me it was the first time he ever had an erection in my presence.

We replicated our previous success with a Burger King meal and The Constant Gardner in the Ultimate Picture House, which is indeed no sauna but might well be the coldest cinema in Britain. Fortunately I was wedged in between J and quite a fat man wrapped in several layers, so managed to stay reasonably warm.

Afterwards we drove home and ended the evening with Match of the Day, since J had to sacrifice Liverpool for the movie earlier, and some Buffy to round off our viewing experiences.

And with so little trauma and no major arguments for the whole weekend, there's little else to tell.

Except we watched Planet Earth last night; apparently the camera crew waited for eight (!!) weeks outside the polar bear cave to secure the scenes of the cubs coming out for the first time.

I wanted to say I've been extremely patient waiting for J to make his mind up for over a year, but honestly, spending eight weeks straight surrounded by ice in what I presume must have been a small tent, puts the whole 'patience' issue into perspective.

Be there or be square next Sunday at 2100.

Friday, 3 March 2006

Family emergency

J called me at work today and asked if I could "call him back from somewhere private".

He proceeded to say that "it was nothing I should be worried about", which obviously meant I managed to imagine all kinds of things in my head before reaching "somewhere private".
I am not keen to be next
It turns out his brother's girlfriend is leaving him.

Which doesn't sound like a big deal, except they've been together for about 15 years and have three children; they just never got around to get married.

I would be lying if I said it was a shock; he's a lovey man but probably quite difficult to live with. Still, I'd kind of got the impression she'd resigned to it being that way, at least until the kids were out of the house.

Where J is introverted and shy, his brother acted out against his strict parents and spent a considerable amount of time living in Camden playing "Whitnail & I".

He never talks about his feelings, and doesn't really relate to people very well. I know they went to see a Relate councellor a few years ago, but that obviously didn't do much.

On top of it all he commutes and lives somewhere else during the week. I never think it's a good sign when you end up sharing the bed with your children more often than with your partner.

And in addition there are probably tons of things we don't know.

It's funny how these things happen. She is, as far as she can be counted as a member of J's family, the only sane member of it, and now she won't be there anymore to tell his mother to shut up and sit down.

I have never had to deal with divorce (which in effect is what this is) in my family. My parents are still relatively peacefully, if not happily, married, and the only one who did get divorced was my aunt, which is not difficult to understand if you know her (spoilt brat just about covers it).

I feel with J in his worry for his brother, whom he can't get a hold of, considering the above mentioned W&I past and present tendencies to drink to much (by my standards). J's mother claims she is feeling OK about it, which is I suspect because she never liked her 'daughter in law' anyway; she is too strongheaded and not afraid to speak her mind.

I have a feeling J's mother may be one factor contributing to the break; a couple of months ago she told the girlfriend that she is an awful parent (for not raising her children to be at J's mum's beck and call) and I am quite certain J's brother will not have stood up for his partner.

Although they both realise their mother is unreasonable, she's kind of brain washed them into thinking they owe her something because she's lonely and she's their mother, and this involves never criticising her. Which I guess could be pretty hard to bear after 15 years of having to receive abuse without anyone ever defending you.

But I am also wondering how this will impact on our relationship. Their mother will remain the same, for as long as she's alive (in fact, I'm ashamed to say that when J said on the phone this morning that he had some bad news, my first flippant reply was "what, your mum died?").

But more importantly J comes from the same background, he has the same problems in closely relating to other people.

If his brother's girlfriend, who is an emotionally intelligent and stable woman, couldn't break it, who's to say I can?

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