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Old 07-27-2011, 02:25 PM   #1
genin
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Personal space issues

I've had some recent issues with people, specifically women, invading my personal space. This outwardly might seem silly, but the problem is that they are touching or "play hitting" me in a way that I am not comfortable with. For instance, one girl at work came up behind me and pinched the side of my face really hard out of the blue. It actually hurt and was completely uncalled for and not funny. Then the other day, I was with a 63 y/o female friend and I was facing away from her looking out into her yard. For a reason known only to her, she decides to walk behind me and slap me hard on my ribs and said "Hey Rodg!" First of all, I'm thin and I have some skeletal/back problems. When people slap me in the back when I'm not looking, it not only startles me, but it causes me pain. Maybe I'm a wimp, but I can't help that I'm one of millions of people with chronic back pain.

I've had to send some of the girls at work an official email warning them not to touch me ever again, and I'm about to have to do it to yet another girl who did something today. I really don't know what the problem is. I think it's just plain rude and disrespectful. Particularly at work, you don't put your hands on people. And just in general, you shouldn't be touching people or invading their personal space unless you know they want you to. Anyone have any similar experiences? Is there a better way to handle or pre-empt this stupidity?
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:59 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Personal space issues

Within work context, stickier....you could start with a direct, neutral tone statement (talking to her, or via email you can edit to really get it neutral and creates a record of the encounter) that personal contact made you uncomfortable and you do not wish it ever repeated or you will have to report it. And if it is repeated, report it.
In a social context, shouldn't be any big deal - a smiling Hey, Mary (or Mrs Doe, or whatever), I know you didn't mean anything by it, but I have some aches and pains and would really appreciate it if you didn't come up and slap me again!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:18 PM   #3
genin
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Within work context, stickier....you could start with a direct, neutral tone statement (talking to her, or via email you can edit to really get it neutral and creates a record of the encounter) that personal contact made you uncomfortable and you do not wish it ever repeated or you will have to report it. And if it is repeated, report it.
In a social context, shouldn't be any big deal - a smiling Hey, Mary (or Mrs Doe, or whatever), I know you didn't mean anything by it, but I have some aches and pains and would really appreciate it if you didn't come up and slap me again!
That's the problem I have. It's hard for me to politely tell a grown adult something that even a school kid should know. I recal in fifth grade the teacher always saying "Keep your hands to yourselves!" What next, are these women going to forget to look both ways when crossing the road?!

Also, yes, I can tell them after the fact not to do it again. But if it's one person after the other, telling them after they've basically already assualted me doesn't do me much good. Just ticks me off even more knowing that this is the umpteenth person I'm now having the same third grade conversation with.

The one girl who pinched me I actually lashed out at, and I grabbed her hand and sunk my nails into her flesh. You could tell it got serious for her really fast. It's amazing, when I start getting physical with people it's not as entertaining and funny.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:24 PM   #4
Marc Abrams
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
That's the problem I have. It's hard for me to politely tell a grown adult something that even a school kid should know. I recal in fifth grade the teacher always saying "Keep your hands to yourselves!" What next, are these women going to forget to look both ways when crossing the road?!

Also, yes, I can tell them after the fact not to do it again. But if it's one person after the other, telling them after they've basically already assualted me doesn't do me much good. Just ticks me off even more knowing that this is the umpteenth person I'm now having the same third grade conversation with.

The one girl who pinched me I actually lashed out at, and I grabbed her hand and sunk my nails into her flesh. You could tell it got serious for her really fast. It's amazing, when I start getting physical with people it's not as entertaining and funny.
Roger:

Have you ever heard the expression that we create our own reality? I would suggest group psychotherapy as a means of exploring the interpersonal reality that you seem to find yourself frequently in. Training in martial arts will not necessarily be the best venue to pursue change in, based on what you are describing.

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:38 PM   #5
genin
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Re: Personal space issues

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Roger:

Have you ever heard the expression that we create our own reality? I would suggest group psychotherapy as a means of exploring the interpersonal reality that you seem to find yourself frequently in. Training in martial arts will not necessarily be the best venue to pursue change in, based on what you are describing.

Marc Abrams
Yeah, and I've also heard the saying "We teach others how to treat us." Since group therapy is slightly out of my budget, then I guess I'll have to start teaching others how I wish to be treated. I think after one or two Kote Gaeshi's, people will start treating me with a little more respect.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:47 PM   #6
Marc Abrams
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Yeah, and I've also heard the saying "We teach others how to treat us." Since group therapy is slightly out of my budget, then I guess I'll have to start teaching others how I wish to be treated. I think after one or two Kote Gaeshi's, people will start treating me with a little more respect.
Roger:

Community mental health centers and a lot of therapist have affordable sliding scales. Your idea of trying to "teach" people with a kote gaeshi is dangerous to both yourself and to others. Your "plan" is likely to result in an altercation that would likely get you tossed from a dojo.

If I take your quote "We teach others how to treat us" and look at what you have been describing so far and what you propose to do, you will be a lot happier with yourself addressing these issues in a therapeutic environment. A dojo is a place to train civilly together as opposed to a place to act-out interpersonal issues.

Here is a good resource for you to start with:

http://www.agpa.org/need/index.html

If you would like, you can PM me and I can help you to find appropriate resources in your community.

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:37 PM   #7
genin
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Re: Personal space issues

Thanks Marc, but I've always beleived that therapy is for people who have more money than they do problems.

Btw, I don't train in a dojo. This stuff occurred at work and at home. What I said about putting people in wrist locks was mainly said in jest. I wouldn't actually do that to a woman over a minor problem. The point I was making is that if it came down to me having to actually physically show people what messing with me entails, bad things would happen.

I figured someone might attempt to identify why these people are doing this stuff. Like maybe the girl secretly "liked" me. Or maybe they have a habbit of doing that stuff to others and assumed it's okay to do on me too.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
Marc Abrams
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Thanks Marc, but I've always beleived that therapy is for people who have more money than they do problems.

Btw, I don't train in a dojo. This stuff occurred at work and at home. What I said about putting people in wrist locks was mainly said in jest. I wouldn't actually do that to a woman over a minor problem. The point I was making is that if it came down to me having to actually physically show people what messing with me entails, bad things would happen.

I figured someone might attempt to identify why these people are doing this stuff. Like maybe the girl secretly "liked" me. Or maybe they have a habbit of doing that stuff to others and assumed it's okay to do on me too.
Roger:

Therapy is a place where people discover the courage within them to make meaningful changes in their lives. Your beliefs about therapy are simply wrong and contribute to the societal stigmas that make people ashamed to seek the help that they need.

Your point was a disaster waiting to happen. Physical altercations do not typically end up well and can result in people being killed.

You will have more success in trying to figure out what is going on with you that creates the atmosphere for people to do what they do, rather than trying to figure out the motives of other people. It is far easier to figure out yourself and change yourself rather than figuring out other people and changing them.

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:09 PM   #9
genin
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Roger:

Therapy is a place where people discover the courage within them to make meaningful changes in their lives. Your beliefs about therapy are simply wrong and contribute to the societal stigmas that make people ashamed to seek the help that they need.

Your point was a disaster waiting to happen. Physical altercations do not typically end up well and can result in people being killed.

You will have more success in trying to figure out what is going on with you that creates the atmosphere for people to do what they do, rather than trying to figure out the motives of other people. It is far easier to figure out yourself and change yourself rather than figuring out other people and changing them.

Marc Abrams
Not to be facetious, but what is the therapist going to tell me? "How does that make you feel Roger?" "Does that hurt your inner child?" The best a therapist could ever hope to do is find out something about me I already know, and then tell me how to fix it by doing something I already know I should be doing. I'm an introspective person and I know more about my faults than any therapist could ever learn about me. I know what I need to do to change, but like most, I am unwilling or unable to do it. Not that this has anything to do with why others don't adhere to social mores related to personal space.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:26 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Btw, I don't train in a dojo.
You have chronic pain to the extent that you can't be slapped on the back and you don't train in a dojo, yet on another thread you are giving me s*** because you think your ability to train like a "regular student" would be hampered if a blind student showed up? I don't know if you are for real or a troll, but as of now I will not respond to your posts on any thread.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:19 PM   #11
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Re: Personal space issues

I used to have some major issues with personal space and people being too close or touching me. I still have them but to a much lesser extent. I just keep working on being ok with being touched. I really had to come to terms with the reasons I have these issues, even to the point of discussing them with my sensei. Since aikido is a very intimate art it has pretty much forced me to confront and deal with my discomfort. This in a safe environment where I knew things would be under control.

It does not hurt that the more I train the more I come to be aware that I can defend myself if I need to so I feel less like I need to be on the defense all the time.

Roger trust me when I tell you this. It is you that you need to confront and deal with not these other people. Counseling is not a bad idea. Training can help. Look up the articles on this website I have found them immensely helpful.
http://being-in-movement.com/articles.htm
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:29 PM   #12
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Personal space issues

I know it is beating a dead horse but I will say it anyway. Women are not girls.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:48 AM   #13
lbb
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Not to be facetious, but what is the therapist going to tell me? "How does that make you feel Roger?" "Does that hurt your inner child?" The best a therapist could ever hope to do is find out something about me I already know, and then tell me how to fix it by doing something I already know I should be doing. I'm an introspective person and I know more about my faults than any therapist could ever learn about me. I know what I need to do to change, but like most, I am unwilling or unable to do it. Not that this has anything to do with why others don't adhere to social mores related to personal space.
Mm. Well, you know, if you are convinced that something won't work, it won't. Someone who is so convinced will find ways to sabotage a perfectly functional solution, just because solving the problem that way (or any way) doesn't conform to their view of reality. As a wise woman (who, imagine this, was a therapist) once said to me, "Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right?" Everyone wants to be confirmed in their view of the world, because that's what we're used to and we always feel more comfortable in a familiar place...but we need to ask ourselves if this momentary "don't ask me to change" comfort is the way to lasting happiness. Aikido gives us a lot of metaphors about staying with your center, but what if your center is located in a bad place?

The other thing about being unable and unwilling to change...as I said, that's human nature. But reality moves whether you move with it or not. You can say "I can't" or "I won't" to change, but then circumstances force change upon you. "I can't" take the bus to work; then your car dies and you can't afford to replace it. "I won't" eat rice and beans; then you can't afford anything else. Choices that you find unacceptable or impossible now, may be forced on you in the future. If you feel like you're being pushed to change, and so far you're successfully resisting, it's always worth asking yourself if you'll always be able to maintain the status quo. If it looks like the answer is no, it seems like changing gracefully, by your own choice and at least somewhat on your terms, rather than going kicking and screaming.

None of this has anything particularly to do with this situation of being touched, btw. I have no idea what's up with that, but...it's weird. The only thing I can think to do in such a situation is to look at the whole incident and ask myself, "What just happened here?"
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:21 AM   #14
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
You have chronic pain to the extent that you can't be slapped on the back and you don't train in a dojo, yet on another thread you are giving me s*** because you think your ability to train like a "regular student" would be hampered if a blind student showed up? I don't know if you are for real or a troll, but as of now I will not respond to your posts on any thread.
I never said I was worried about "MY" ability to train hard. You are projecting that onto me for whatever reason. I merely stated that a blind student could impede a non-blind student in the dojo. Also, I have trained in martial arts for over a 20 year period, inside and outside of the dojo, if you must know.

I thought about something I could do about the women touching me. I could immediately do to them exactly what they do to me. Lady hits me on the back, I turn around and walk behind her and slap her on the back and go "HI LADY!" Girl pinches my cheek, I turn around and grab her face and squeeze with all my might. I've found that the faster a negative result occurs, the more apt people will be to avoid it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:30 AM   #15
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Personal space issues

As long as you are ok with unemployment. Go for it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:37 AM   #16
hughrbeyer
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Re: Personal space issues

Because it's way too hard to say, "Would you not do that? I don't like it."
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:25 AM   #17
Narda
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Re: Personal space issues

Sorry, but this is workplace harrassment...whether the women understand it or not. Your Human Resources department needs to get with the times, and be proactive in educating the workforce.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:29 AM   #18
lbb
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
I
I thought about something I could do about the women touching me. I could immediately do to them exactly what they do to me. Lady hits me on the back, I turn around and walk behind her and slap her on the back and go "HI LADY!" Girl pinches my cheek, I turn around and grab her face and squeeze with all my might. I've found that the faster a negative result occurs, the more apt people will be to avoid it.
I can't imagine a good outcome from that. Even when someone else has failed to act with restraint, or has violated boundaries, an adult is expected to modulate his/her response, not engage in a childish form of retaliation (which, it seems to me, is how this is almost certain to be viewed). Maybe the best thing to do is ask yourself what outcome you want for the situation, and then evaluate your possible responses by questioning whether they bring you closer to that desired outcome, or take you further away from it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:57 AM   #19
genin
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Re: Personal space issues

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I can't imagine a good outcome from that. Even when someone else has failed to act with restraint, or has violated boundaries, an adult is expected to modulate his/her response, not engage in a childish form of retaliation (which, it seems to me, is how this is almost certain to be viewed). Maybe the best thing to do is ask yourself what outcome you want for the situation, and then evaluate your possible responses by questioning whether they bring you closer to that desired outcome, or take you further away from it.
That's a sensible thing to do, sure. This whole thing reminds me of road rage incidents. You can't prevent people from driving stupid or road raging you, but sometimes you have to make a stand when you are violated or threatened. I knew chasing down the guy who cut me off and confronting him in a parking lot was not going to have a beneficial outcome, but I still chose to do that because I felt he needed the lesson. Sometimes, you just have to pick a person and make an example of them, otherwise one person after the next will continue to victimize you.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:30 AM   #20
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Sometimes, you just have to pick a person and make an example of them, otherwise one person after the next will continue to victimize you.
Heh, that's silly. They're not all part of some conspiracy, are they? One guy cuts you off on the road, and at the next gas station he stops to fill up, and says to the person at the next pump, "Hey, that guy in the blue Honda, license plate KICK-ME, you want to go right out and victimize him because he won't do anything" -- is that how it works? Or maybe you believe that your friends and co-workers all get together and say, "Hey, listen, go out of your way to touch Roger, he's got personal space issues and he really hates it and it's so much fun to wind him up!" Do you honestly believe that that is going on? Isn't it much more likely that you're simply getting your signals crossed with these people, and that if you were to communicate to them in a straightforward, clear, non-confrontational way, that they would honor your wishes?

Any time I hear someone talk about how they "just have to" follow some course of action -- particularly when that course of action involves confrontation, violence, or any behavior that could harm others and/or land you in a world of shit -- that sets off the alarm bells. Little children believe that they "have to" retaliate to every perceived slight. Adults need to get beyond that, if for no other reason than that we face more serious consequences for our lack of restraint. If a child is bumped into while standing in line in kindergarten, and the child retaliates by shoving the other child so hard that he/she falls down, the child may get a scolding, but that's about it. If an adult behaves in the same way, the adult is going to be in serious trouble.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:36 AM   #21
Fred Little
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Re: Personal space issues

It seems to me that there's an uncanny similarity between the writing style of "genin" and the writing style of a poster some time back who wanted to teach children wrist locks to help them deal with their anger issues. But maybe that's just me.

FL

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Old 07-28-2011, 09:39 AM   #22
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Heh, that's silly. They're not all part of some conspiracy, are they? One guy cuts you off on the road, and at the next gas station he stops to fill up, and says to the person at the next pump, "Hey, that guy in the blue Honda, license plate KICK-ME, you want to go right out and victimize him because he won't do anything" -- is that how it works? Or maybe you believe that your friends and co-workers all get together and say, "Hey, listen, go out of your way to touch Roger, he's got personal space issues and he really hates it and it's so much fun to wind him up!" Do you honestly believe that that is going on? Isn't it much more likely that you're simply getting your signals crossed with these people, and that if you were to communicate to them in a straightforward, clear, non-confrontational way, that they would honor your wishes?

Any time I hear someone talk about how they "just have to" follow some course of action -- particularly when that course of action involves confrontation, violence, or any behavior that could harm others and/or land you in a world of shit -- that sets off the alarm bells. Little children believe that they "have to" retaliate to every perceived slight. Adults need to get beyond that, if for no other reason than that we face more serious consequences for our lack of restraint. If a child is bumped into while standing in line in kindergarten, and the child retaliates by shoving the other child so hard that he/she falls down, the child may get a scolding, but that's about it. If an adult behaves in the same way, the adult is going to be in serious trouble.
It's a good point about overreacting. And no, I don't think there is a conspiracy. But what I'm saying is that you can ignore this stuff and continue to be stepped on, or you can stand up for yourself. Sometimes sticking up for yourself isn't about physically defending yourself, but it's a matter of protecting your pride and dignity. I suppose drawing attention to this issue might prevent people from doing this to others. Because obviously if it is happening that much to me, it happens to others as well.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:54 AM   #23
Marc Abrams
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Re: Personal space issues

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
It seems to me that there's an uncanny similarity between the writing style of "genin" and the writing style of a poster some time back who wanted to teach children wrist locks to help them deal with their anger issues. But maybe that's just me.

FL
Fred:

I just pm'ed somebody pondering the possibility of this being the re-incarnation of Buck. What do you think? Maybe we should all just walk away from the crash site and stop gawking.....

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:12 AM   #24
genin
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Re: Personal space issues

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Fred:

I just pm'ed somebody pondering the possibility of this being the re-incarnation of Buck. What do you think? Maybe we should all just walk away from the crash site and stop gawking.....

Marc Abrams
I'm not Buck or any reincarnation of any former poster here. I've been reincarnated on other forums before, and I've seen how people react to those suspicions and the ensuing witchhunts, and I'll just pre-empt you and let you know none of that applies in this case.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:29 AM   #25
phitruong
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Re: Personal space issues

question, are these lady latino? latino is a touching, slapping culture. just want to know some of the cultural context.
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