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Friend-zoning Out

One of approximately ten gazillion zillion “friend zone” rage comics.

I’m too lazy to write a real post today, so I thought I’d point you all to a pretty decent analysis of the dreaded “friend zone” by Foz Meadows on goodreads.

Here she is addressing the “Nice Guys” of the world:

[S]omewhere along the line, you’ve got it into your head that if you’re romantically interested in a girl who sees you only as a friend, her failure to reciprocate your feelings is just that: a failing. That because you’re nice and treat her well, she therefore owes you at least one opportunity to present yourself as a viable sexual candidate, even if she’s already made it clear that this isn’t what she wants. That because she legitimately enjoys a friendship that you find painful (and which you’re under no obligation to continue), she is using you. That if a man wants more than friendship with a woman, then the friendship itself doesn’t even attain the status of a consolation prize, but is instead viewed as hell: a punishment to be endured because, so long as he thinks she owes him that golden opportunity, he is bound to persist in an association that hurts him – not because he cares about the friendship, but because he feels he’s invested too much kindness not to stick around for the (surely inevitable, albeit delayed) payoff.

Seriously, Nice Guys, if you think of your friendship with a woman as a means to an end, or some kind of purgatory, then it’s not really a friendship, and you’re doing both yourself and your crush a disservice by persisting in it.  (I learned this lesson myself the hard way, a long time before there were helpful internet posts explaining to me why Nice Guying was a recipe for crappiness all around.)

Speaking of learning: I also learned from Foz Meadows’ post that there is a Wikipedia entry for “friend zone,” complete with advice on how dudes can avoid getting  “friendzoned” in the first place.

Several advisers urged men, during the initial dates, to touch women physically in appropriate places such as elbows or shoulders as a means of increasing the sexual tension. … Adviser Ali Binazir agrees, and suggested for the man to be a “little bit dangerous”, not in a violent sense, but “with a bit of an edge to them”, and be unpredictable and feel “comfortable in their skin as sexual beings.”

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia … for Your Penis*.

Also: Here is the official Friend Zone anthem, “Consolation Prize” by Orange Juice. Lyrics here.

* Hetero cis penis only.

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Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

Dudes. Real talk. You know how you hang out with your guy friends, and you talk about mostly light silly stuff but sometimes serious shit, and you watch sports or TV or maybe movies together, and you eat together, and you invite each other to your parties and you help each other out when a friend needs to move a sofa or something? And it’s not like an insult that your guy friends don’t fuck you, it’s just they don’t happen to be attracted to you?

When a girl says she wants to be your friend, she means exactly the same thing.

This is not complicated.

darksidecat
8 years ago

People who complain about “friendzoned” generally aren’t people who have crushes on an actual friend (which happens), they are just sleazeballs pretending to be friends to try and manipulate someone. That’s not nice, it’s not friendly, it’s an asshole move. It’s not always fun to have a crush on a friend, but if that’s what’s happening, you don’t regret the friendship or feel like they owe you sex because you don’t treat them like shit.

Christine Noble
8 years ago

Yeah, you know, even in the middle of my heavily over correcting, getting into fights for fun, overly macho days, I never got this mentality. Maybe it’s because even as deep in the closet as I was with my trans status even with myself, I knew deep down, but more than once I came dangerously close to thumping one of my straight cis-male friends for this garbage for their own good.

Maybe I just look at it differently, maybe b/c of my trans status some will think my views on this will lack legitimacy, but I’ve been “friend zoned” (only using that b/c that’s what they call it.) In fact only recently. I fell head over heels for this wonderful, smart, attractive, tough and ambitious young woman. She does not feel the same. You know what? That’s all good. I still have this wonderful, smart, attractive, tough and ambitious friend. Will there always be a part of me that hopes she sees in me what I see in her? Probably, I’m the type when I fall in love, unless that person is needlessly cruel part of me always loves them, but if she never does, and that is very likely, then I’m OK.

If you are friends with someone b/c you think you are going to be more, than you are not really friends. You need to check yourself, and your male privilege.

That said, I am sure for some guys (and I won’t speculate on percentages) it’s not outrage or feeling like they are owed, but rather embarrassment and simple heartbreak. Just as she cannot control whether or not she falls in love with you, you cannot control whether or not you fall in love with her, and when your heart hurts you like that, you can sometimes behave like an asshole.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

Oh, one more thing, dudes?

If a woman says “help me with XYZ” but does not say “help me with XYZ and I’ll fuck you,” then she probably will not fuck you after you XYZ.

Expect this. It is not a betrayal. She was quite clear with you. If you will resent doing XYZ unless you get sex, then don’t do it, because you were not promised sex.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Oh, one more thing, dudes?

If a woman says “help me with XYZ” but does not say “help me with XYZ and I’ll fuck you,” then she probably will not fuck you after you XYZ.

Expect this. It is not a betrayal. She was quite clear with you. If you will resent doing XYZ unless you get sex, then don’t do it, because you were not promised sex.

Seriously, try asking if she’ll cover a pizza or something if you need your good deed reciprocated right now…otherwise assume that when you need your sofa moved, she’ll probably return the favor >.< (Do they manage to have functional real life friendships with other men even if they can't handle this?)

And now I want pizza, damnit

Allison (@neverdidlikeyou)

I used to have a lot if unrequited crushes when I was younger and (more) awkward. And sometimes I’d even try to do stuff for the dudes I crushed on in the hopes they’d realize they should like me back. (Look at me! Look at how nice I’m being to you!) But I never once saw it as a failing on their part if they never returned the attraction (and eventually stopped seeing it as a failure on my part as well) and still enjoyed the friendships even if at times they were painful for me.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

Yeah, most reasonable people (and that includes women, ZOMG) asking for favors will readily answer “what’s in it for me?” with an offer of snacks and beer/soda at a minimum. Not only is this delicious, it lets you know just where you stand sex-wise.

If someone does respond to “what’s in it for me?” with “gosh, don’t you want to do a favor for such a pretty girl?” or some such (one of those scenarios that happens constantly in MRA-land, not so much in reality, but let’s say it happens), you are allowed to say no. In fact you probably should.

Pretty much the only time you should expect sex for moving a sofa and/or hearing a sob story is when someone actually promises you sex.

This is kind of Humans 101.

A. Franklin
A. Franklin
8 years ago

I think Meadows does a disservice to some men with the implication that disappointment at rejection is necessarily a reflection of their frustrated sexual expectations. The “payoff”, the “golden opportunity” of a romantic interest can be just that: romantic. Put simply, this comes down to the difference between wanting to be with someone and just wanting to sleep with someone. I imagine many men see the ‘friend zone’ as full of broken hearts, not unjustly teased cocks.

To those who see the latter… read the above.

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

I’ve never really experienced the friend zone thing although I hear about it all the time. I had several friends who were girls when I was growing up but I never pursued any of my female friends in a romantic way. I also never was offered the “consolation prize” of “let’s just be friends” with those who I did try with.

An on topic question though for anyone who wouldn’t mind answering. Let’s say me or any guy were to approach a woman and start talking what would be a good way to let her know that your attracted to her and not just talking to her to be friendly? Because while I wouldn’t mind making new friends I do hope to have a girlfriend and also have sex at some point in my lifetime.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

A. Franklin – It doesn’t really make a difference. Women owe their friends romantic love exactly as much as much as they owe them a good fuck.

…ZERO.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

Let’s say me or any guy were to approach a woman and start talking what would be a good way to let her know that your attracted to her and not just talking to her to be friendly?

Start out talking in a friendly way, but then (after developing some sort of connection, but before agreeing to any purely-friendly further meetings): “Would you like to go on a date some time?”

Or if you’re just looking for a lay “would you like to go back to my place?” (if she agrees, you also have to ask “would you like to have sex?” explicitly once you’re at your place), but this will have a lower success rate.

Neither one will guarantee you a positive response, of course, but nothing will do that. So at least this way you’ll guarantee that you aren’t leaving anything ambiguous.

A. Franklin
A. Franklin
8 years ago

Cliff Pervocracy, I agree, and I don’t mean to imply any debt or obligation on anyone’s part in that situation, apologies if I did. My intended point is that disappointment need neither be sexual nor imply expectation: I can be sad that you don’t love me without expecting that they ought to.

A. Franklin
A. Franklin
8 years ago

*that you ought to.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

I don’t think anybody’s angry at guys who are sad that someone they like doesn’t like them back.

If you look at things like the rage comic, there are men who are expressing anger and this weird sense of betrayal that a woman would talk to them and not date them, and that’s what we’re making fun of here.

cloudiah
8 years ago

This “friend zone” crap always gets me. I apparently “friend zoned” a guy in high school, who then ended up stalking me through my first year of college (we went to the same school), making sure to find out my class/work schedule each quarter, where I was living, who my friends were — and letting me know he knew. Finally he became fixated on someone else and moved on from me, or I probably would have transferred to another school. The woman he moved on to actually did end up transferring; both of us had tried reporting him, but were told he wasn’t doing anything wrong. (This was back in the dark ages of the early 1990s — maybe things are better now?) Now, I’m sure that NAFZVALT* but I still think of them all as creepy as all get out, and they make my skin crawl.

Oh, the best part? About 6 months ago, he tracked me down on Facebook and wanted to be friends. I contacted the woman he moved on to after me, and she got a message from him at around the same time.

*Not All Friend Zone Victims Are Like That.

A. Franklin
A. Franklin
8 years ago

Cliff: And rightly! I just thought, given the title of the piece, that it would be worth mentioning that a man might refer to his being in the “friend zone” without any accompanying feelings of betrayal. Thanks for talking this out with me!

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

It pisses me off how guys complain of being friendzoned by some hot chick, all the while ignoring the less hot, but nice girl. I was ignored by men and boys for years while they chased the hot chicks who inevitably only made them miserable.

I can’t get a supermodel + women are all whores sour grapes = MGTOW

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
8 years ago

I don’t think members of the he man woman haters club have friends as most people think of them. They seem to have people who are useful to them and people who refuse to be useful to them. People who refuse to be useful to them are, of course, mean and selfish.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

Fembot – I’m pretty sure those less hot, nice girls dodged a freakin’ bullet. If a guy’s complaining of friendzoning and chasing women who make him miserable, he’s got problems that mere redirection won’t solve.

Myoo
Myoo
8 years ago

Ugh, the comments on that post. Evo-psych galore.

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

Btw a lot of people- at least the ones I know- do have sex with their friends sometimes.

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

@Cliff

I definitely dodged a few bullets there! And I’m happily married now so obviously I never died from a broken heart : D

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

“Slut is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say yes.

Friendzone is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say no.”

Pure genius.

drockthecasbah
8 years ago

@Fembot
Nailed it with the “I can’t get a supermodel” bit.
The whole “freind zone” thing is a unfortunate byproduct of male sexual entitlement in a sexist culture.
It’s like the thought process involves: “Everything suggests I deserve a hot woman and everything suggests that hot women live to fuck, therefore you must be a bitch and/or a manipulative whore.”

Akrasia
Akrasia
8 years ago

And this attitude totally forgets that one of the best ways to meet new women is to have women friends. Women know women! Maybe more mutually attracted women! Also, lots of women love playing matchmaker! If this lady is a friend and you should her you’re a decent human being, no doubt you’re gonna get to meet her (single) friends too.

Amanda Ching
8 years ago

Why did i read the comments to that post? Please, men, tell me moar.

katz
8 years ago

Myoo: I know! Plus “women just want thugboys,” “lol I can tell a woman wrote this post,” “I’M NOT SEXIST!” and about a billion people referring to women as “females.” (But it’s Facebook linked, so I can’t chip in any balancing sanity.)

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

I’ve never been friendzoned.

I have often been interested in a woman and not had it go anywhere, but I never felt she was deliberately refraining from reciprocating in order to string me along. I never felt “stuck” having to “settle for” friendship; I never felt that I couldn’t walk away if I wasn’t interested in a small-r relationship that wasn’t a Relationship; I never felt the woman was to blame for not picking up my tacit signals.

I’ve also never had a woman unload about all the shit her string of boyfriends did to her, then turn to me and say “gosh, Hershele, I really wish I could find someone just like you.” But I suspect none of these dudes have either.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

I’ve had people inappropriately unload about their string of shitty partners to me, but my thought was always less “this person is cruelly sexually teasing me and they know just what they’re doing” and more “this person is oblivious to how boring and awkward this conversation is for me.”

cloudiah
8 years ago

Oh god, I should not have gone over there to read the comments.

I suddenly feel the need for a video of an inflatable dog:

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

In my experience, I do tend to like creating friendships with guys that I’m potentially interested in, but generally that’s on the table- “let’s see where this goes.” However, I make it VERY clear to these people when things don’t seem to work out and then check in with them about what they want to do next- keep up with the friendship or go separate ways.

I think it’s messed up to lead someone on, but it’s just as stupid to stick around when it’s obvious that it’s not working.

My husband and I met and we had a kind-of spark, but I wanted to get to know him as a person before even considering more than that. We were friends for a good year (with plenty of sexual tension on both of our parts), but eventually, it just fell into place, and we both finally admitted it to each other.

I think that in some situations, people want to not only find a sex partner, but a person who can be a great friend in addition to all the tingly pants stuff. But I do think that honesty and openness is absolutely essential to making sure that both of you are on the same page.

Shaenon
8 years ago

Several advisers urged men, during the initial dates, to touch women physically in appropriate places such as elbows or shoulders as a means of increasing the sexual tension.

This is indeed good advice for not getting “friendzoned,” because if a man did this to me I would definitely not want to be friends with him.

Missy
Missy
8 years ago

The friendzone thing is closely related to a phenomenon I’ve seen on dating sites where guys get PISSED if you don’t want to date them. I get at least one angry message a week where a guy will send me a message saying “Sup, wanna go out?” and if I respond that we don’t really seem compatible then the response is pure rage. Because, you see, if you are a single woman than you must be open to a relationship with ay man who pays any interest to you. If you have any sort of standards or sense of attraction then you are being a bitch.

The friendzone seems related in that the idea seems to be that if a woman likes you enough to spend time with you then, obviously, she should also want to sleep with you, date you, and marry you. The idea that a woman might have different standards for “friend” “one-night-stand” “boyfriend” and “husband” is foreign to them. I am unsure where this idea comes from other than just general male entitlement. But I wonder if they carry it over to other areas of their life, also getting “ragey” when they don’t get a job they wanted or a promotion or a grade. Do they have this view of everyone as owing them things, or is it just women?

Bostonian
8 years ago

Oh not everyone, just women get the special rage.

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

Let’s just hope Anthony doesn’t get friendzoned by his Virtual dream girl the moment she’s finished. Maybe there’s an app for that?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Missy, I started to form some theory about where that issue understanding women have standards comes from, something about monogamy being the standard….and then I read “ragey” as “rapey” and that kinda makes more sense >.< (plenty of men manage to be monogamous with one woman and friends with others after all)

Leeloo Dallas Multipass

I feel bad for whoever this girl is (if this actually happened). It must suck to have someone you though was a friend suddenly flip out of you and reveal that all the time you spent together was just a horrible ordeal that they put up with because they wanted to get something out of here. You know who does shit like that? Tom Riddle’s magic evil diary, that’s who.

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

@Missy- This is why I am fairly certain that I would basically refuse to use online dating if I ever found myself single. Actually, I honestly think that I would never date again if I found myself single. I mean, sex with someone I really love and enjoy sexually is great, but it’s very hard for me to find someone like that, and I am very slow to trust people.

Besides, who needs to wade through all the asshats in the world when I have a perfectly non-asshole vibrator at home to help me scratch the horniness itch?

I love my husband more than anyone in the world, but I honestly think that if he were to not be in my life for whatever reason, there’s just no one who could really replace him ever.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
8 years ago

I imagine many men see the ‘friend zone’ as full of broken hearts, not unjustly teased cocks.

Someone breaks your heart by hurting you, by cheating on you or absuing you. No one “breaks your heart” simply by being unresponsive to your sexual attraction.

And I`m a straight guy who once bought into that Nice Guy mentality myself.

burgundy
burgundy
8 years ago

There was this guy in college I was friends with, and really into, and we had great sexual chemistry and lots of people thought we were a couple, and one time we started making out but I’d had garlic pizza earlier in the day and he couldn’t deal with it, so we stopped, and I always figured we’d be able to pick it up at some point, but instead he ended up going out with my best friend/roommate. I found out that he couldn’t get sexually involved with someone who was “too good of a friend,” and sometime after the garlic pizza incident I had passed that threshold. It was actually pretty upsetting, but that was mostly because of the total lack of communication and having them making out in front of me without notice. But that was college, when people are dumb. I never got mad at him, and we stayed friends.

Several years later, I got a huge crush on a guy who was also a very good friend of mine. I finally worked up the nerve to broach the subject, and he turned me down in what was possibly the most graceful manner possible, so that after the conversation I still felt very happy and loved, even though we were just going to stay good friends.

Right now I am quasi-dating this guy that I’ve been friends with for several months. We’re both in the “you’re really awesome and I’m attracted to you, so let’s get to know each other better and see where we want to take it” place. We talk about it explicitly, and we agreed that even if we don’t end up actually dating, we want to continue spending time together.

It turns out that if you actually talk to people about what you’re feeling, you have a lot less trauma! And when you don’t approach relationships with a sense of entitlement, you can have really good friends! Amazing, isn’t it?

Seraph
Seraph
8 years ago

I wonder if they carry it over to other areas of their life, also getting “ragey” when they don’t get a job they wanted or a promotion or a grade. Do they have this view of everyone as owing them things, or is it just women?

Depends on if they have someone convenient to blame. Not long ago. A Facebook “friend” didn’t get the job he wanted, and he ranted about how he should have given a Spanish name, and how illegal immigrants were stealing all the jobs. Right, asshole, you want a $20 an hour job with benefits, and those are the jobs that illegal immigrants are stealing.

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

Franklin:

I imagine many men see the ‘friend zone’ as full of broken hearts, not unjustly teased cocks.

That doesn’t make them magically not be wrong about being owed something, especially something other than friendship, for engaging in friend-type behaviors.

The “friendzone” concept is based in the idea of women as vending machines. Saying “well, maybe these guys were expecting chips, not soda” doesn’t make the idea of women as vending machines any more sensible.

Bostonian
8 years ago

“The “friendzone” concept is based in the idea of women as vending machines. Saying “well, maybe these guys were expecting chips, not soda” doesn’t make the idea of women as vending machines any more sensible.”

I wanted to repeat this for emphasis. I really hate the entitled, douchebag attitude that goes with the “friendzone” true believers. I put favors in, why does this woman not vend what I want?

A. Franklin
A. Franklin
8 years ago

Hershele:

You’re right, and I admitted as much when Cliff called me on the same point. The point I was trying to make was that disappointment at rejection need neither be sexual nor imply expectation. I have clearly underestimated the extent to which the concept of the ‘friendzone’ specifically hinges on a misplaced assumption of obligation, and not simply regret that a feeling is not reciprocated, and as such have missed the mark somewhat. My bad.

Crumbelievable:

I believe there are many more ways to break hearts than those that you have listed, but, taking into account the above revisions to my understanding of the ‘friendzone’ – a term I was treating a little too nebulously – I can agree that we’re not dealing with a heartbreak scenario here. Again, my bad.

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

@Fembot:

It pisses me off how guys complain of being friendzoned by some hot chick, all the while ignoring the less hot, but nice girl.

Well, sometimes. Some women reject the romantic advances of Nice Guy ™ types and, afterwards, hear something along the lines of “but no one else can see your inner beauty the way I can!” which, in some cases, seems to translate roughly to “you’re too ugly for anyone else to fuck! I’m doing you a favour by overlooking it!”

Anyway, I have no issue with anyone’s druthers when they’re selecting sexual or romantic partners. If our Nice Guy has a really specific physical type he goes for, that’s cool. It’s just when he resents the fact that women would dare to also have physical preferences that my back gets up.

Missy
Missy
8 years ago

@Nanasha- The internet dating thing is really sort of a hit or miss, with lots of misses. But you can ignore the asshats easily enough. They don’t know your email or phone number so you just block them from the site and it’s okay.

I’m going on 4 years single. I’ve had some dates and hookups during that time but no real relationships. On one had it really depresses me when I go to the movies alone or go out on a picnic in the park by myself and see all the couples. Then I talk to my friends who are all in relationships and many of them seem miserable. One of them isn’t allowed to see The Avengers because his partner doesn’t like him seeing movies without her and she hates superhero movies. Another one had to leave our study sessions during exam week to go home and make dinner for her husband because he doesn’t like making it for himself. I would much rather be alone than in a relationship where I gave up so much freedom. The best relationships I’ve ever had are where we both sort of lives our own lives and then spent our free time together because we liked each other. If we both wanted to see a movie then good. If not then it was also fine. I can’t do the attached at the hip thing, and that seems to be what most people want in a relationship. So, until I find a guy who I am attracted to, who is attracted to me, and who is cool with us being our own people (and not that old thing about needing the other person to be complete) then I guess I’m single.

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

“One of them isn’t allowed to see The Avengers because his partner doesn’t like him seeing movies without her and she hates superhero movies.”

I don’t either but The Avengers was AWE–SOME. That chick be crazay.

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

@Missy- I understand the whole “attached at the hip” thing- but honestly most of the time, it just involves people suffering for the sake of the other person. Sometimes this can be good, such as if you don’t particularly like theater but your spouse/significant other wants you to come see a performance of his or her new play. But the whole “I wanna go see this movie but you don’t so I guess I won’t” thing is just bullshit. When we were first together, my husband and I were kind of clingy on each other- like spending all day in bed just cuddling and stuff like that- but we are both geeky type people with a LOT of similar interests (he can quote Monty Python and I can pick up the counter-dialogue, lol). So generally most of the time, we enjoy the same things and the same activities. However, there are things that both of us do not share, such as his interest in table-top RPGs or my interest in zombie films. My husband has zombie-phobia, so I tend to go to zombie flicks with friends that like that kind of thing. He has his game night where he hangs out with the guys and pretends to be a dwarf who hacks and slashes bad guys.

Sure, there’s a good amount of compromise and cooperation involved, but I’d like to think that this only makes our relationship stronger. And by the way, I met him totally by accident. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the class that we met in (the other class he wanted to take was full). Of course, the second he saw me, he was entranced, and decided to stick around. Luckily, we both hit it off due to our combined interest in anime, manga and assorted geekery, and although he’s a shy sort of person,we really hit it off.

This is why I’m sort of opposed to internet dating for myself (were I ever to be in a situation wehre such things would be needed). I could care less about hook-ups (my physical anatomy doesn’t like orgasming in the presence of strangers) or casual, stinted dating. And I sure as hell don’t want to have any trolls directing bullshit rage at me, regardless of how much I can block them. I guess I’m just too tired and past all that bullshit to want to dive in again. I have my life- my friends, my family, my offspring, my cat. I have plenty of people who need me around and who enjoy my company. While I do love sex and feel like it would be very sad not to have a partner in life to share all of the milestones with, I do also feel honestly that I could conceivably do exactly as my grandmother did after her husband died and simply be single until the day I die because there are more important things in life than fucking, and there are so many things to do in the life that I have left that would be pushed to the side if I were to seriously start trying to drag through the dregs of society for a decent relationship partner.

Of course, there’s also the fact that I am not only overweight, but I am insanely picky and have a very dominant personality, and I am told that most men don’t like that. *shrug*

Brian Connors
8 years ago

My only thought is this, and I’ve said it to a couple people in the month or so since I’ve thought of it: if you’re in the friend zone, it’s for a reason — they just aren’t that into you, but they probably genuinely like you as a person. This could change, but don’t count on it. Be a friend, expect nothing, and move on.

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