When did they start shaving? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-20-2012, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 My 13 year old daughter is growing up so fast. One of the things we have not yet gotten to is shaving. I have been holding off on this as I think it is an annoying social expectation that isn't something the body needs. Not to mention she is Blondie and blue and so her hair is light. She has been asking about shaving though and it is bothering her so I am thinking it might be time to teach her. She wears skirts and I think is being selfconscious about her legs. I want to support her and help her thrive of course. 

 

 Any advice on how you handled this or would handle this? 


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Old 12-20-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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Wow, I'm amazed that she made it to 13! DD1 started pestering me when she was 9, granted she does have light skin and dark hair with copious amounts of obvious leg hair. And she is a gymnast so lots of time spent in a leo. I offered her different options, shaving or Nair as much as I hate the idea of the Nair chemicals. She tried shaving for a while, I talked her through how to do it, she did not want me showing her and then switched to Nair which she still uses now. 


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Old 12-20-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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DD was 13. Her leg hair was hardly noticeable but she was going to high school and that was something girls did. At 15, she's a random shaver... more in the spring and summer, lets it go in the winter "pants" months.


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Old 12-20-2012, 09:38 AM
 
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I am going to say 13 also.


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Old 12-20-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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You're holding off based on your feelings but it's her body.  It's past time to give her the info she needs/wants.  It depends on your relationship how involved with it you get, but you might just give her a sampling of razors or Nair or whatever and give her a few tips. Like... careful around the knees and ankles, experiment with holding the razor at different angles, try different soaps or shaving creams, go at a moderate pace, let the hair plump up first, rinse the razor as you go...just some ideas. 

 

I just got the impression that you knew she was bothered or self conscious but didn't want to say anything, if that's not the case- sorry.  Even then, I just feel like it's one of those things that should be talked about and planned for ahead of time.  Not that a gal needs to shave, but if you want to it's better to just feel like you're able to do it rather than feeling self conscious for any amount of time.  There's plenty of time to consider the history and theories of shaving when you're not in the middle of a self conscious moment of adolescence.

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Old 12-20-2012, 03:36 PM
 
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My dd was probably around 13 also. She is a fair skinned red head but was ready when she started having to change for gym. Now at almost 19 she's like her mom - pretty much only spring and summer. We both prefer Veet but she knows how to shave. We're both lazy.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:25 PM
 
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DD started the summer she turned 12. We had had a "let me know when you are ready" discussion about a year prior because a female classmate had teased her for not shaving yet (!).

 

We discussed gender and societal expectations, how the practice was sort of strange if you thought about it, but that she could decide when and how she wanted to participate in the mainstream beauty culture....and that no decision was permanent. She has seen me go through periods of shaving and not shaving, I wear makeup and and am pretty femme in general, so our conversations centered around feminism vs. female beauty standards and how each are not mutually exclusive.

 

When she decided she wanted to, I gave her a demo on my leg, then started her on one leg and had her finish. When I was young I shaved before I was allowed to, and used bar soap and a dull razor, not really knowing how to do it. I ended up with a lot of rashes, razor burn and cuts, so I wanted to be sure she knew how to do it carefully.
 

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Old 12-21-2012, 04:40 AM
 
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I'll admit, I thought this was an offshoot from when our sons got pubic hair. Taught him to shave, too...
 

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Old 12-21-2012, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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     While it is of course my daughters Body, this does not mean she gets to do what ever she wants with it, it is my job to protect her and help her thrive. Not that it is on the same level but just because it is her body, does not mean I would be supportive of her going out to get it pregnant right now.  (I am related to someone with a 14 year old that is supportive of her daughter going out and doing just that, I kid you not.) 

 

 My thoughts on holding off have been like this: Waiting to shave means leg hair stays lighter and there is less of it. One less thing she has to worry about. She hates taking time away from her life as is to shower. Just because everyone else does something doesn't mean she has to. Your beautiful as you are......  while these might not seem like good reasons to others as this issue has not been a battle but just a question she has brought up a few times I was going with the flow. We have a wonderful relationship and she does not deal with as much mainstream pressure as other kids her age might. Still, I noticed her annoyed with her leg hair in a shirt the other day and thought it might be good to add shaving things to her holiday sock to get her started. 

 

 I think I was kind of in hopes that someone would post some compelling reasons not to shave or some greener options than chemicals to deal with hair that I could talk to her about. It looks like the safest bet is razors and shaving cream though. My 13 year old is my oldest and I admit I am protective of her in some ways. Thankfully she is rather patient with me and knows I have worked hard to protect her childhood for her. It can be hard when kids grow up, at least for me it is. Please remember that Mothers are not perfect and need compassion too. 


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Old 12-21-2012, 11:36 AM
 
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Just remember that kids go in phases. A little insecurity now about leg hair, a little concern over fitting in does NOT mean they'll be a slave to public opinion all their lives. Most middle schoolers get concerned about things like hair in the socially wrong places and may want some name brand clothing and such. It's the height of their insecurity and doing these things can make this awkward time a little less stressful. Most outgrow it. By high school, half the girls don't even wear make-up anymore lol.


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Old 12-21-2012, 07:29 PM
 
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My dd has been shaving her underarms since age nine and can shave her legs when she's ready to. They are on her body and she is the one who will deal with her peers in them so it is really her call.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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Dd is 12 and isn't shaving or doing any other hair removal method.

I talked to her about it a couple of years ago and demonstrated what I do, etc. and she still doesn't want to shave under her arms or her legs. She has darker hair and it does not bother her when she wears shorts or a skirt. No one has said anything to her to my knowledge.

 

I was very self conscious about my leg hair and refused to wear shorts in public as a girl until I could shave. It was hot and uncomfortable but it was a choice as well.

 

If your dd is asking then I would let her know that different people choose different things and discuss options and allow her to choose to shave or not. Shaving is one hair removal option that is pretty easy and inexpensive. If she finds it too much of a bother she can stop.

It doesn't make more hair grow or cause hair to grow back thicker or darker if she shaves.

http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/hairgrow.asp

http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/E/9273/35323/534333.html?d=dmtHMSContent

 

 

She could choose not to remove hair and wear long pants, long skirts or leggings/tights if she doesn't want people seeing her unshaved legs.


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Old 12-21-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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DD is only a month old so this isn't an issue yet, but I would "let" her start shaving whenever she was expressing a desire. I would probably do what Neaera mentioned here:

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Originally Posted by Neaera View Post
We discussed gender and societal expectations, how the practice was sort of strange if you thought about it, but that she could decide when and how she wanted to participate in the mainstream beauty culture....and that no decision was permanent. 

but wouldn't tell her that she wasn't allowed to yet. It's her body and that's a decision she can make.

 

Also, I started shaving at 11. I didn't ask permission, my mom found out at least a year later, maybe more like two, when she finally asked if I did. I knew if I had asked she would either say no or try to talk me out of it, and I didn't want either of those things to happen, so I just started doing it.


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Old 12-22-2012, 04:49 PM
 
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I'm firmly in favour of going with what your daughter is comfortable with.  It's hard enough to be a teenager without adding feeling more uncomfortable about your body.  If it helps her feel confident, then OK.  I don't think going by age works because we all physically and socially mature at different rates.  My 11 year old (she's growing fast) doesn't shave legs but does armpits because she finds the hair a nuisance for sports.  At least she's active.  I can't go by her age because the armpit hair is bugging her now.
 


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Old 12-24-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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  My thoughts on holding off have been like this: Waiting to shave means leg hair stays lighter and there is less of it. One less thing she has to worry about. 

misconception: so not true.

 

 I think I was kind of in hopes that someone would post some compelling reasons not to shave or some greener options than chemicals to deal with hair that I could talk to her about. It looks like the safest bet is razors and shaving cream though.

yup shaving is the easiest option

 

My 13 year old is my oldest and I admit I am protective of her in some ways. Thankfully she is rather patient with me and knows I have worked hard to protect her childhood for her. It can be hard when kids grow up, at least for me it is. Please remember that Mothers are not perfect and need compassion too. 

mama i posted this exact question a few months back. i realised i had a lot of misconceptions about shaving. 

 

i also realised i was way overthinking things. my dd was turning into a prepreteen and i wasnt developing along with her. 

 

i am sorry you dont feel supported. in many of my queries i felt the same way too. till i realised it wasnt them. it was me. it made me realise how super important it was to learn to be supportive of my dd by letting go. it has been incredibly hard for me. i find myself worrying over matters that dont even matter. i find myself trying to stop my dd from making a mistake when i have to. i can no longer give her the answers. she has to find them herself. 

 

i have grown incredibly as a parent these last few months. a lot of mama's here helped me with that. sometimes it took a few harsh words to help me see the light. while i didnt like them - they finally did bring the point home to me. 

 

dd and i are incredibly close. yet dd is also v. independent. i have had to let go a lot of things and start learning to think like a teen. 

 

the first step was to hand dd a razor at 10 so she could get her underarm hair. 


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Old 12-26-2012, 04:35 PM
 
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Usually the social pressure gets to you by the time you're 12.  I would go ahead and let her if she expresses a desire to do so.  (She may change her mind when she gets older).

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Old 12-27-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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Like almost everything else, shaving was up to them as they became teens.  When each of my girls reached 13, I told them that when/if they wanted to shave and wanted advice just to let me know.  I bought a pack of razors and shave cream for everyone to use.  If they wanted something else, they paid for it, including creams or wax, etc.  I'm an occasional shaver.  I shave my legs when it becomes uncomfortable under jeans or the feel of the sheets at night.  I rarely shave my armpits.  My oldest shaved everything during swim season, including her arms for 6 years starting in 9th grade.  My second shaved her legs and armpits during high school.  What the 2 older girls do now I have no idea and it's none of my business.  For a while, my youngest was shaving everything (at least everything visible that I could see) but she finally got tired of it and now doesn't shave at all. 
 

When/if my son wants to start shaving (realistically, he probably won't need to until his 20s like his dad), dh will talk him through it.


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Old 12-27-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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I started shaving in 5th grade, so I was about 10/11.. I asked, my parents let me. I'm glad they let me, I was self-conscious about it(even though my hair was very, very light), and lets face it--kids are mean! However, 12 years later I dread ever starting ROTFLMAO.gifSuch a PITA!


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Old 12-27-2012, 11:11 AM
 
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While I personally don't shave, I will/would let my DD whenever she's ready. I don't judge people who would rather their daughter not shave, but I, personally, would at least let her know how, and tell them I would rather she not start yet, but that if she wants to, it's her choice. As for other ideas, more green/less chemical, I'm similarly interested, but I don't know of anything myself.


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Old 12-28-2012, 06:06 AM
 
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I was 13 and I was blonde as anything, but i got to an age where the sun would shine off it, and it was noticeable, and I felt insecure about it. Once I started shaving though, I felt better about myself, knowing that my legs weren't spiky. Not only that, it felt more comfortable with smooth legs than hairy legs. So although I agree with those that don't shave, it's really up to her and whether she's ready/wanting. I definitely wouldn't allow my daughter (if I had one) to be shaving before 11 really, unless she had dark hair and it was noticeable, and she felt insecure about it. If she's fine with her hair, then why should you push it. But I understand why you would want to hold it off, until she was ready.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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If you have a really close relationship, I think you'll find plenty of opportunity to let her know your feelings on shaving and beauty.  She may already know those feelings and might feel bad about going against what you want so she's only bringing it up now as a possibility.  I wanted to shave for ages but when I would casually mention it my mom would dismiss it by saying I didn't need to.  I didn't feel close enough to her to say 'Hey mom, this is really important to me' though. I think a lot of the angst in our relationship is because it was hard for her to let go as I got older and not just make my own decisions, but respect them as my own.  So... shaving brings up a pretty wide variety of parenting issues for me. 

 

OP, you mentioned possibly putting some razors and shaving cream in her holiday sock... Did you wind up doing that or talking to her about it more?  I think the stocking stuffer idea was a good one. 

 

If you start shaving, you can always stop.  There might be a while of awkward spikiness, but eventually you'll wind up with your same old hair back.  It also avoids the chemical issue in other products.  I've never used those myself.  I would let my kid shave as soon as they were able to safely use a razor.

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Old 12-28-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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I'm of the opinion that children should be encouraged to reject peer pressure.  Women being expected to be hair free is sexist and there are other things her friends will expect her to do that she needs to have the strength to reject - like smoking, drinking, other drugs, inappropriate boyfriends, under-age sex, but also not obviously 'harmful' things like having to wear the 'right' clothes, spending too much money on expensive trainers or designer clothes and so on and so on.

 

Being able to reject peer pressure is one of the most important skills she can learn and that's exactly what wanting to shave is - it's a cultural, social expectation based on unrealistic and sexist ideals of what women 'should' be like.

 

Shaving, waxing etc, how much, how often and where on her body, if at all, are decisions she needs to learn to make for herself and whereas fitting in is important to teenagers, so is being able to say 'stuff it - I'm me!'

 

If she wants to do it because she thinks it's expected of her, I wouldn't stop her, but I would make her aware of the problems of changing how she looks just to 'fit in'

 

So most of my preparations for this would be based on discussions about peer pressure, expectations and working out what she wants compared to what other people expect of her.  Sure, that means letting her have the stuff for if she wants it, and showing her how to use it safely, but that is only a small part of what's really going on here.

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Old 12-28-2012, 12:05 PM
 
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yeahthat.gif  I don't want my support of shaving when desired to be seen as contradictory to the advice to talk about peer pressure in general.  But I'd like to add that, for me, the hard part wasn't knowing myself and what I believed, what has been more difficult is learning to fit in.  I think it's a matter of personal experience which way you lean more heavily towards with regard to what you want to teach your children. 

 

Having the background knowledge brought about by talks of history, ethics, feminism, peer pressure etc. is great.  I also like the idea of being able to make a conscious decision on what to do with that information.  Crafting an image for yourself is a skill that I think is important.  For me, high school was a good place to experiment with that, and I would have liked more guidance in it so that I would have been able to experiment with standard social conventions as well as more alternative ones.

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Old 12-29-2012, 04:44 AM
 
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 I would have liked more guidance in it so that I would have been able to experiment with standard social conventions as well as more alternative ones.

Me too.  Any guidance at all would have been helpful.  

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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So most of my preparations for this would be based on discussions about peer pressure, expectations and working out what she wants compared to what other people expect of her.  Sure, that means letting her have the stuff for if she wants it, and showing her how to use it safely, but that is only a small part of what's really going on here.

by the time this discussion came up in our family we were already knee deep in peer pressure talks. in a kinda indirect way. and so when dd wanted the razor - i wanted to respect her wishes - whether they were peer pressure lead or not. in this case it may have been peer pressure lead, however she has stood her ground on many other bigger issues in school and therefore i did not want to go on and on about peer pressure. she knows the options - not because i talk about them, but mainly coz i live them. she has learnt to stand up and discovered that when she did it wasnt as bad as she thought it would be.


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Old 01-04-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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I find myself in the opposite place of most of you.  My daughter is 14 and has noticeably hairy legs.  She has no interest in shaving them.  It is her choice and I respect that she can buck social convention with confidence.  However, in the quiet of my own mind, I worry about the response from peers.  It would be easier to just fit in.  There is a cost to treading your own path.  She is handling it well and has friends who don't seem to hassle her too much about it.   She won't wear makeup, fusses minimally with her hair and clothes, and just doesn't care in the slightest about fitting in to current social conventions.  Sigh, I love that she is so strong and independent in her thinking.  Then I worry about the social cost.  LOL  

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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I find myself in the opposite place of most of you.  My daughter is 14 and has noticeably hairy legs.  She has no interest in shaving them.  It is her choice and I respect that she can buck social convention with confidence.  However, in the quiet of my own mind, I worry about the response from peers.  It would be easier to just fit in.  There is a cost to treading your own path.  She is handling it well and has friends who don't seem to hassle her too much about it.   She won't wear makeup, fusses minimally with her hair and clothes, and just doesn't care in the slightest about fitting in to current social conventions.  Sigh, I love that she is so strong and independent in her thinking.  Then I worry about the social cost.  LOL  

 

I preface by saying this isn't about your DD. I'm speaking generally here.

 

One can be controlled by social norms without participating in them. Not shaving your legs just because that's the social norm is not any different from shaving them because it is. Whether you shave or not should be a personal choice... because you like it, or dislike it. I love the feel and look of my legs shaved. I'm just too lazy to do it regularly lol.

 

I went to college in a very liberal area, very girl power. Peer-pressure goes both ways. I was regularly amazed at these women who went all-natural everything and harassed women who didn't claiming they were being controlled by "the man." Being controlled by "the women" who tell you what you should and shouldn't do isn't much different in my book. Basically, an act of rebellion isn't always about independence and free-thinking. Sometimes it's just conforming to a different peer group.

 

My eldest is one that bucks popular conventions.... sometimes because it's what she wants but sometimes it's because she doesn't know how to reconcile wanting some popular things and not wanting to be a pop queen.


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Old 01-04-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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Whatsnextmom - yes I know exactly what you are talking about.  I had friends in high school and college who were very counter culture as a statement.  My dd just doesn't care to bother. LOL  All of her friends wear makeup and shave, and she is fine with that.  She just has things she would rather do.  She'd rather work on her art, get school stuff done so she can work on her art, or hang out with friends and work on art together.  At least she likes to go outside and do things as well, otherwise I think she would just draw or write 12 hours a day. :-)  She has about a 15 minute attention span for shopping, and getting ready for the day gets 2 minutes tops.  She does shower without reminding, and get her clothes on right side out now.  In fact she has actually thought about clothes as outfits, to some extent, on occasion.  smile.gif

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Old 01-05-2013, 01:12 AM
 
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I think there are some good points here.

 

I really tried to convey to my dd that this is just hair. I told her some females in our culture remove leg and underarm hair and others do not. She can do what feels right and good for her. I will help her and support her choice. She doesn't have to think deeply about making a statement either way.

I shave because I prefer the feel of it. So far dd chooses not to and it just doesn't phase her at all.

If she feels embarrased and wants to shave to fit in that is also up to her. I won't feel any different about her for choosing that path.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 01-05-2013, 04:33 PM
 
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So far this is a non-issue for us, but I don't anticipate it being a big issue for us down the road, either. We live in a crunchy granola type town where there are a lot of hairy men and hairy women, so while the norm is non-hairy, there's enough hair around that I don't think either of my girls will feel like they HAVE to shave to fit in. There are plenty of role models for not shaving if they don't want to. I'm happy for them to do it when they have some body hair to shave and they want to, but neither one of them is there yet.


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