That Lump in Your Pants is Not My Sexual Education Opportunity

Dear [name redacted]:

I get it. Discussing the fabulous ordinary whiteness of being as portrayed in Stillman films such as Last Days of Disco and Metropolitan is really hot. He creates fantastic, witty – albeit incredibly fatuous and pretentious – characters, giving them meaningful goals and interesting things to say. And I like what you said in terms of Stillman’s ability to put aside the snark in favor of crafting a substantial, sympathetic and realistic portrayal of a generally maligned group: yuppies (though often for highly understandable reasons). Your comments echoed those of reviewer Christopher Long of DVDTown who said:

Stillman isn´t here to mock. He had every chance to do it in “Metropolitan” with his privileged, self-absorbed young socialites who obsessed over literary criticism and televised debutante balls. But Stillman loved his characters not just despite but because of their foibles, and he treats his disco-loving drifters with the same gentle sensibility.

There was a lot of what I believed was appropriate passion in your voice as you quoted your favorite lines of dialog from the LDoD. That is until I glanced away from you face and noticed you were fumbling wildly with the lump rising in your rumpled and stained khaki pants. Okay, maybe fumbling wildly is a bit of an exaggeration, given that we were in Barnes & Noble, it was reasonably well lit and there were a few other patrons in our general area. That said, we can both agree you were conjuring up the contents of your boxer in a way that felt – well – problematic.

I’ll admit my share of the blame – as limited as it might be – because I am the kind of person starved for meaningful discourse about films. I have my mom and my boyfriend and that’s about it. Most people just don’t have the desire to delve that deeply into the kind of films I enjoy viewing. Now this isn’t to suggest my tastes skew towards the obscure, the pretentious or the punishing; they don’t. But rather, I tend to regard every film I view as ripe for cultural deconstruction, even if it does happen to feature Harrison Ford in the lead role.

I will also admit my eagerness to dish film whenever I get a chance does often causes me to act against my own best interests. That said, I’m just not willing to take on the responsibility for your wayward boner. That’s what the whole, “Motherfucker, please. Go bunch your slacks on someone who gives a shit!” business was all about. Yeah, I was kind of loud and indignant about it and I’m real sorry you were asked to leave the store before you were able to find some other fool to love you.

Okay, actually I’m not really sorry about that.

Now I’m really trying to get out of the telling business, but I feel I must give you this parting piece of unsolicited advice:

In the future if you’re talking to a gal who makes you go bunchy in the dockers region, and you’d rather not get cussed out in public (I could tell you didn’t much enjoy that one bit) or watch others get the attention you worked hard to cultivate, perhaps you might save your slack bunching for the privacy of your home, car or depending on your previous criminal record – a long subway ride.

I’m not here to judge, but oh c’mon. Seriously? Where exactly did you see this train headed? If you seriously did not realize the train was going to DERAIL, then consider this your painfully humiliating wake up call. Trust me, you got off easy – well technically you didn’t get off, ew, actually let’s not even go there. But I was a lot nicer to you because I was in a good mood and you had given me 3 minutes of non Skeevy Wonder time. I guess happy endings really are alike.

Well, maybe not for you.

Sincerely,

Snarky’s Machine.

PS: Nobody leans their dirty, bunchy trousers on Snarky’s Machine.

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This entry previously appeared on Snarky’s Machine with a much longer title.

71 thoughts on “That Lump in Your Pants is Not My Sexual Education Opportunity

  1. You are much braver than I. When I’m in really awkward situations such as that (and EWW), I tend to pretend like I didn’t see it and quietly move along. You give me the courage to find my voice in those situations.

  2. And now that I’ve had a moment: OH MY GOD how appalling that he did that. OH MY GOD you’re amazing. And OH MY GOD your cussing him out caused him to be asked to leave the store rather than the staff getting on you for making a scene; that makes me so, so happy and now I want to go spend money at Barnes and Noble.

  3. Words absolutely fail me. Is there a UNIVERSE in which that kind of behavior is acceptable? What on earth makes someone think “this is a great idea!”? WTF. Just… wtf.

  4. I would say, I can’t believe someone would do that, but unfortunately I can totally believe that someone would do that. You are AWESOME for getting loud and getting him kicked out of the store.

  5. I’m stunned by how revelatory it is for me that it’s possible to walk away from a situation like this with the APPROPRIATE PERSON feeling shamed. Why did I not understand that the creeper is the one who’s supposed to walk away with head hung low, and that it’s within our power to maket that happen? Thanks, Snarky’s Machine.

  6. P.S. I was wrong. I have one more thing to say.

    “Motherfucker, please. Go bunch your slacks on someone who gives a shit!”

    THIS I want on a T-shirt.

  7. Oh, ugh!

    Story time along those lines: My sister and mother, up until this past week, owned an insurance office. They often had people come in at odd hours (resulting in at least one robbery) and had to deal with some of the worst people I have ever met. The worst one, aside from the robbery, was the old guy who came in with his fly down – EVERY TIME.
    He constantly was unzipped, and had his hand in at least the vague area the whole time.
    My sister and mom never said anything, not once. Until.
    Dude came in one day, to the desk where my sister sat, and LET IT OUT. ON HER DESK. PENIS. DESK.
    My sister is not a very pushy person when it comes to strangers, and she just got embarassed and made an excuse to leave. It was obvious the guy knew what was happening, she said, but she had no idea what to do. After she had walked out my mom came in to instruct him to leave, and he’d put everything away, even though he still had his hands all over himself.

    My sister was terrified. She won’t let anyone stand near her desk anymore, and eventually they terminated his account.

    Fucking disgusting. I told my sister I’d have stapled it.

    Is this NORMAL?!

  8. I am literally crying, I’m laughing so hard, Snarky. I mean EW that Creepy Boner thought it was even remotely acceptable to make pup tents in front of you, but HA-FUCKING-HA-HA-HA that you called him out, loudly, and he was asked to leave the store wearing The Cone of Shame!

    This just made my whole day.

  9. Words absolutely fail me. Is there a UNIVERSE in which that kind of behavior is acceptable? What on earth makes someone think “this is a great idea!”? WTF. Just… wtf.

    I wonder about this too. I mean seriously. People usually only engage in behaviors – even unwise ones – if there is some kind of “payoff” for doing so. I didn’t know what kind of creepy public fapper he was, so I’m not clear if he enjoys the making people feel weird, or likes the humiliation or actually thinks this is an appropriate step in the mating dance.

  10. I threw up in my mouth a little.

    Rock the fuck on, Snarky, for telling him what’s up. You’re totally my hero, too. I am learning so much from you.

  11. But how did you make it so that he was asked to leave? Did you call someone? Coincidence? I want to know how to do it, should I ever need to. Please share?

  12. I’ve had men do that, but only from across a room/store/whatever—EW! The NERVE of the man!

    I bet it is either a) he like the public-exposure ness of it or b) he just feels like hey, its my junk, its acceptable to “touch” it in public…in front of ze ladies, because, you know, they aren’t *people* or anything.

    I mean, dude. Pup tents happen. Staking your tent? Making a campsite? Digging a latrine, as it were? SO NOT COOL.

  13. “Skeevy Wonder”. Terrific. Thanks for that.

    I saw more than my share of unwanted bone-age when I was a municipal bus driver, including very overt whacking in the back of the bus and in cars alongside etc. Ew. Worst was guys coming up to the front to pay fare or get off the bus or whatever and their crotchal region is like six inches from your face and it’s right the hell there. Ew. Think about England or baseball or something already.

  14. I worked as a cashier at a grocery store for far, far too long and we had one guy who kept his folding money DOWN THE FRONT OF HIS PANTS!!!

    He’d make a point of going to the tills with the young girls, reaching down there till he was up to his elbow, and flopping the sweaty bills on the conveyor belt with a leer.

    The first (last, and *only*) time he did this to me I shouted – loudly- OH GOOD GOD MAN THAT IS GROSS GROSS GROSS! And then looked at a grocery bagger and asked them PLEASE GO GET ME SOME GLOVES FROM THE FIRST AID BOX.

    He stopped patronizing our store.

    But seriously, what is with the Penis As Performance Art thing? Yeah I get that you have one, no I don’t want to see it unless I’VE SPECIFICALLY ASKED!

  15. … and suddenly I’m a young teen in the back of the art shop in Kensington High Street and I’ve just realised that the man ogling the same dodgy Helmut Newton photograph for what seems like forever has his hands in the pockets of his raincoat and is most definitely playing pocket billiards. And the only way to get to the front of the store where the staff are is physically push past him.

    Thanks for the trip down memory land. And euww.

  16. Do these guys’ dads not teach them about appropriateness? Maybe that’s a silly question. I’m just stuck on the idea, because I’m the mom of two little boys, and I’ve asked my husband about crotch-related stuff and how boys learn about appropriate behavior. Husband-unit said his dad told him all about unwanted boners, how they’re a fact of life, especially early in puberty, and that there are ways to deal that don’t involve OTHER PEOPLE EW.

  17. My mum used to lunge at the dog armed with a bag of frozen peas until he learnt to be a little less anti-social in the downstairs department. He only had to see frozen foods after a while and would look haunted and slightly afraid.

    If ONLY it was this simple with humans.

  18. Incidentally – it was the vet that suggested frozen peas. Strangely, we all went off them for a while.

  19. Way to be , Snarky! I just can’t believe that asshat thought that it was even remotely appropriate to do that. ICK!

  20. OMG Snarky’s! That is SO HORRIFYING. He clearly did not know who he was getting bunchy over.

    I mean, I live in a crowded place, and yes, stuff like that happens, but it is just amazing to me, just amazing to me that men think that they can get away with this sort of behavior. Or that it might even be WELCOME?? I mean, that’s what’s implied by your postscript…? And in a Barnes and Noble, of all places. It may as well have been on the megatron in a baseball stadium. M. le Redlami’s suggestion of soundtrack could not be more apt.

    @ Oriniwen – OMG!!!! SHOCK AND HORROR!!! You did that guy a favor. An Andrew Jackson codpiece, holy crow.

    When I was a new college grad, I worked for a labor lawyer as a paralegal. His specialty was sexual harassment cases. His associate’s was as well – not settling them, causing them. He used to talk a little too close, look a little too long. Then, one day, I THOUGHT I SAW…

    I gave him the old exploding eyeballs facial expression. I was fired the next day. Over… the color of rubber bands I put around discovery documents?

  21. Oh my GOSH!!! YUCK! What is wrong with people??? Good for you being loud and putting him in his true place… what a creep!

  22. I am so glad you got him thrown out, SM. I can’t tell you how often I see dudes adjusting themselves in public, even reaching down into their sweat pants to scratch their junk. I guess we women got most of the body shame because so many guys, regardless of size, shape, whatever, seem to have no problem with their bods and letting it all hang out.

    I was with my husband one time waiting in line at the Dollar Store and a male employee was talking to one of the cashiers. When he turned, his ass was hanging out of his pants. I let out a very loud scream. He lifted his shirt, which showed off more of his hairy ass, and then tugged up his pants. He was completely nonplussed by the exposure, although the rest of us in line were horrified.

  23. At first I read this post thinking it was a metaphor, and as I read on I kept thinking it was a rather elaborate metaphor and it was going way over my head. Whoa – not a metaphor! Holy shit.

    Because I am very fat and also strong (and from NY!) I can look mean enough to deter that kind of jackassery most of the time—not that it means I’m completely immune to it. Looking strong and mean also makes the Raised Eyebrow of Disdain that much more effective.

    AND DON’T SEND ME PHOTOS OF YOUR COCK, YOU FUCKING SHITHEAD! Gah, what *is* it with some men?

  24. MacNabb – I was definitely trying to illustrate that there’s not always a way of telling or behaviors that folks can choose in order to completely avoid all acts of fuckery. Sometimes, people who seem like they aren’t going to be problematic, in fact turn out to be. So often folks talk about how they can be so bad ass as to avoid any kind of exposure to assclowns, but I’m saying that despite being a real badass, even I’m not immune to these random acts of harassment and being a bad ass doesn’t prevent folks from being immune to them.

  25. And YES, this really did happen to me like three days ago at Barnes & Noble. And yes, my speaking up cause the douche to be booted out of the store and asked NOT to return.

  26. I have worked in retail–store owners and managers do NOT want dudes to be jacking off in the store. (Because, surprise surprise, it drives customers away!) We would periodically get warned by the loss prevention team to look out for a particular guy (different ones every few months or so) who would go into the lingerie section and jack off. I consider myself fortunate not to have seen any of them. One of my coworkers did.

  27. @Snarky: I agree completely and I apologize if that came off as “bad-assier than thou”. I suspect that even just thinking about this stuff sends me into bad-ass mode and I’m “displaying” as a way to feel safe(r). I know from personal experience that it’s also possible to be caught so completely off-guard by an incident that it’s impossible (for me, anyway) to produce any kind of composed reaction. Been there!

  28. @ Krishji

    Complete aside but I read “Andrew Jackson Codpiece” and was like – the guy who directed Lord of the Rings? Was he known for keeping money down his pants?

    Not From Round Here lol!

  29. Holy hell, Snarky! I hadn’t realize there was anything you could do to make me stand *even more* in awe of your badassery. But then…this happend. You are freakin’ amazing.

  30. Oh, say, I’m not jumping on anyone by saying this, but re: the questions about how/why they thinking this is appropriate…

    I tend to think that these fellas (the public wankers-off, that is, not any old man who finds himself unexpectedly bebonered) are ENTIRELY aware that it’s not appropriate, that it’s interpersonally violating, that it shocks people, that it’s as inappropriate as casually pulling down your pants and taking a dump in public in full view of everyone… and that that’s part of the power play that they exactly seek.

  31. A Sarah, that makes sense. Sometimes I really want to believe folks don’t realize it’s not okay to rub your lump in public, but again, it’s probably one of things like wearing white shoes before Memorial Day that’s universally frowned upon. :)

  32. I’ll admit my share of the blame – as limited as it might be – because I am the kind of person starved for meaningful discourse about films.

    Please tell me that you seriously do not for a second mean this literally. How can you accept even an iota of the blame for some guy playing pocket jockey because you were, OMG, talking to him about films?!

  33. Further to the above…regardless of the subject of conversation and the location in question, PUBLIC WANKERY is not acceptable.

    Kudos to you for the well-deserved cussing and the staff backing you up. One asshat down, a gazillion more to go.

  34. @A Sarah, I think you’re right (I knew the answer to my own “Whyyy?” question was “because, duh.”) It is a total power move, this public wankery and exposure. Even if they get the Barnes & Noble treatment, they still achieved the goal of shocking and disgusting some random stranger (and why is it often a woman? GEE I WONDER), which in many cases is probably a big part of the kicks.

    Ew.

  35. Iam sorry that happened to you.
    You are my new role model, poise and snark in balance. My other “person to emulate” is my friend’s mom, who reacted to a flasher on a dark rainy night with “Young man, you are going to catch your death of cold. Go home and put some clothes on!” But seeing as I don’t have the british accent I doubt I could pull it off, In reality I’d just squeek and flee.

  36. I wish I could be surprised at this level of fuckupedness, but no… I’m just sorry you had to deal with it! And what an awesome way you delt with it indeed! I know I would’ve just went “OMG! Exucuse me..” and left him there. Your way was much better! Obviously here is a man who has spent waaayyyy too much time watching “Puppetry of the Penis”!

  37. Oh. My. GOD. Ewwwewwwewww. Why do they think that’s ok? I just…yuck. There was this guy in my orchestra who would sit there the whole time with his hands in his pants, and some days it looked like he was masturbating while staring at some of the girls. The teacher never said anything because she was buddies with his parents, who were prominent in the community. Gotta love small town politics! I was just really glad he played the cello and I was up in the opposite corner of the room with my oboe, let me tell you. I was too shy to do anything about it then, (I wouldn’t be now!) but it skeeved me out hardcore.

    Your response heartens me, though- you kicked ass and took names. I’m so reminded of the time my great aunt was at home alone, heard a knock on the door and went to open it. There was a guy there who opened his trenchcoat and flashed her. She calmly looked at him and said, “For this much of a production, I’d have expected it to not be the size of a pin.” And promptly shut the door in his face. Did I mention she was 78 years old at the time? She’s a badass. I want to be like her, and like you, SM, when I grow up.

  38. Sometimes I want to ask one of these folks to walk me through their thought process. Like, for example – rational or not – I believe in the “magic pen”. I believe there is a pen somewhere in the world that will be the vessel enabling me to write like the wind. I am always on the look out for this pen.

    Is that the thinking about rubbing one’s crotch lump in public. I mean I totally get that for some folks the whole point is the reaction – preferably a feisty one. What do they do if someone goes, “Oh, yes. Let’s finish this someplace more conducive to your boner needs.”

    It makes me think of a comedian who used to have a joke about always being the guy who gets the “come in…” when he knocks on stalls in the bathroom checking to see if they are vacant.

    I don’t know why that makes me laugh, but it always does.

  39. Exactly. When the taste of rage fades, I am left wondering what on earth was supposed to happen if that situation had gone *well* for them. Are there people who aren’t just about the shock of the moment, but are really hoping someone’s going to respond with “This is exactly what I was hoping for this morning! And since you put it–and by “it” of course I mean your dirty trouser bunch–so perfectly, I am all yours.” Ugh.

    (I had the same “How did he expect that to go down”-wondering about a date that I had given nothing but back-the-hell-off vibes to who tried to turn things around at evening’s end with this little “wtf?!” move: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30260627&id=1102734186)

  40. Sorry–link didn’t work. ..meant to send you to a rudimentary sketch I did of the time a guy slapped me on the ass as I was getting in my car in an attempt to salvage the evening. You’ll be shocked, but it didn’t work.

  41. Having worked for B&N I can attest they do get more than their fair share (IS there a fair share?!?) of creepers. I cannot tell you the number of plastic magazine wraps I’d pull out of the chairs after someone ripped off the “adult” magazines. And I am SO grateful I wasn’t a guy and have to go in after some uber-creep in the men’s room who “used” the magazines…ugh!

    In my new place of business (again, retail) I recently had a rather shocking experience. I was coming back in from my lunch and heard some rather…odd…smacking sounds coming from the men’s room. I was not sure what to do, as I didn’t have a store phone on me and there weren’t any men on staff at the time that could go in and check. As I stood indecisively outside the men’s room, trying to figure out what to do, a man comes bolting out, wearing black spandex hot pants, a black leather vest with nothing underneath, and a black spiked dog collar, carrying another leather dog collar. I was utterly shocked, and so was he. He blurted something about “trying the collar on but it was too small” and ran away as fast as he could. I was speechless. Wish I had had a Snarky comeback at the time!

  42. What the hell is wrong with that guy?! I barely allow my girlfriend to know when I’ve got one when we’re in her room, in her apartment, with the blinds closed, you don’t just do that stuff in public. And you certainly don’t do that to someone(s) who hasn’t/haven’t given their consent, because that’s just…ew.

    He reminds me of the guys who have tried to grind against me or my girlfriend at the different gay and straight clubs we’ve gone to with friends. No one wants to feel your “friend” before we meet your mother sweetheart. Ew

  43. Why do they do this? Because they are exhibitionists — they get off on exposing themselves and shocking and scandalising women.

    That said, there are other, politer ways of indulging your exhibitionistic streak.

  44. Good on ya, Snarky’s! Calling him out and humiliating him publicly was the only way to handle it. Absolutely, douchewaffles like him know EXACTLY how inappropriate they’re behaving. They get their jollies by making women feel dirty, ashamed, and nauseated.

    @BrieCS: The daughter of my Mom’s friend worked in a small grocery store. One night, a dude came in, shopped around in the store, then came up to the counter with a single can of corn. He set it down, then asked her for a pack of cigarettes. She had to turn around to grab them, and when she turned back, he had his unit lying on the counter. She promptly grabbed the can of corn and WHACKED his johnson with it. He passed out from the pain, and was still out cold when the cops showed up. *big fat grin*

  45. I’m sorry this happened to you, Snarky’s Machine. I’m also in awe of your quick thinking response.

  46. Whether it’s pure exhibitionism or crazycakes hope that finally this one will be the one to truly understand the magic of his boner, I don’t know. There are probably some of each type, and maybe some who don’t even know what type they are. And maybe there are some who just feel THAT entitled.

    In any case, I have a hard — or, er, difficult — time dealing with these assholes. Once they take aim at you (and, omg, that happened to me once for reals, in a public park in the middle of the day he took it out and jerked it off in my direction like he was trying to assault my clothing with his creep seed), what can you possibly do to handle — or, um, deal with — the situation?

    I like what you did, SM, and I hope that I can summon your spirit the next time I’m in this kind of situation. Even if a spirited reaction is what he’s looking for, obliging him in this instance can get him kicked out of — and maybe banned from — a public place, so at the very least, it will be just that bit safer.

  47. Having worked for said bookstore chain in the past, I have to say I’m not actually surprised about this. It’s awful and, Snarky’s, you were AWESOME to call him out on that shit, but I worked in a store where we had a regular flasher who hid himself behind a newspaper and went into the kid’s section to masturbate. It took us a while to actually catch him at it, too. Ick. Then there was the older gentleman who would literally follow the female employees around in the evenings and watch them shelve books. And he wasn’t being discreet about it. Bookstores have this amazing ability to attract…shall we call them…deviants?

  48. Your awesomeness gives me hope when the assclowns of the world are trying to take it away.

  49. Old saw though it may be, a long time ago in response to a flasher a more streetwise friend linked arms with me and marched us past, saying calmly, “Gee, that looks like a penis, only smaller.” I’ve found it a reasonably good debonerizer. I also used it w/ a frotteur on the bus once, saying, loudly this time, “Gee that FEELS like a penis, only smaller. Could you remove that from my person, please?”

    But how sad this sort of thing happens often enough we have to prepare ourselves for how to deal with this inevitable, if hopefully occasional, occurrence, eh?

    I only hope part of the creeper mindset is not that I should consider said boners compliments. I suspect it may be, though.

  50. I’ve been flashed twice. The first time, as a 12 year old, my friend and I were at the beach when we saw a naked man standing at the top of the cliff. We just started laughing. That probably wasn’t the response he wanted.
    Years later, someone once flashed me from below the stall divider in the womens’ bathroom. I’m not good at the quick verbal responses, but I am quick to attack, so I kicked him. He ran out of the bathroom.
    Must memorize good remarks in case it happens again.

  51. I’m with everyone else…..just EEEW.
    @paintmonkey: Your frozen peas method made me laugh my ass off. I wish it was plausible to have a package handy at all times to use on this type of human behavior.

  52. Snarky- I admire your decision to call him out.

    My own story of this nature was one my finest moments as a teenager. I was 17 and working as a salesperson in an upscale-ish retail store that sold teddy bears–that’s it, just teddy bears of various sorts and sizes and outfits and accessories for said teddy bears. I’d had trouble a few times before with middle-aged men who wanted to get too close and too touchy, but that particular day something in me sort of snapped. A couple about my parents’ age had come into the store. I had greeted them with a our standard and cheesy greeting: “Please feel free to hug the teddy bears. They love the attention.” The wife was very interested in the bears. The husband had sort of wandered around and then made sure to end up where I was working. I wasn’t paying attention, and he had his hands on me before I noticed how close he was. He went in for the full ass grab. My response was pure genius. In a voice loud enough to heard throughout the store, I said, “Sir, I said please feel free to hug the teddy bears not grope the salesgirl.” His very embarassed wife all but shoved him out of the store. And my boss, who I had thought might be furious with me, actually seemed very pleased at my response.

    So, in summary, this is disturbingly common…even in teddy bear stores.

  53. Thank you, Snarky, for reminding me once again that this kind of behaviour is fucked up. Just because we spent all of five minutes talking about books does not give you the right to stick your hand down my pants, arsehole. Sure, I told him in no uncertain terms that only people I want to do that get to do that. But still, why is it so hard for me to remember that screwed up and not me?

  54. Good for you, Snarky. That took some real chutzpah.

    You know, this incident combined with the story about the coworker who used the term ‘porch monkey’ makes me want to scream WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

  55. Snarky, I thought of your “shaming people into proper behavior” post the other day after I was inappropriately touched on a bus and didn’t know how to act except to convince myself it wasn’t happening/pretend it didn’t happen until it was utterly obvious. This post reminds me of why I like you. Cuz I need to learn to act like you on a snap. It’s sad that for so many women, our instinct is to not make a scene or upset anyone–even when we are being violated–partly because we feel we’ll be the ones that look like fools. I am glad the proper person got the shame in your situation.

  56. are you, perhaps, in dallas and this man was short, slightly balding, and refused to wear an undershirt? or does this just really remind me of my former co-worker who we “fondly” nicknamed “baby-arm” because that’s what it looked like he’d shoved down his pants every day? either way, i’m so very sorry, and also perplexed as to how people are allowed out of kindergarten without learning that this is NOT okay behavior.

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