Guest post: And then the gaslighting starts


Originally a comment by nathanaelnerode on In which I surprise them.

I’m a solidly-built, six foot tall white male in my mid forties, and for at least two decades I have had absolutely NO idea what it’s like to be scared walking down a street.

Well, y’know, how shall I put this… I’m a thinly-built, 5 foot 2, “weak” looking, often “effeminate” looking male, and I have ALWAYS known what it’s like to be scared walking down a street.

I’ve been sexually harassed, I’ve been in a hostile environment, I’ve been physically assaulted. This is probably actually fairly common for boys who went through US schools, unfortunately. My threat assessment is turned WAAAAAY up, all the time; I have PTSD.

And nobody is running a special campaign to make me more comfortable, or to claim that “all men” are scary — if I find all men scary, uh, that’s my problem to get PTSD treatment for, and I will.

If I find men who are behaving in a creepy, inappropriate, impolite, and boundary-ignoring manner scary, on the other hand — which I totally do — that’s entirely another matter. They are scary.

Harassment needs to stop, and frankly it’s bloody obvious when someone is harrassing: harrassing means not taking no for an answer. Rude, selfish interruptions such as catcalls aren’t technically harassment individually (only in large numbers) but are equally inappropriate. Both are often indicators of someone who *might* turn out to be violent. Stalking and invasion of personal space is even worse and even more of an indicator.

Politely talking to people about contextually appropriate things obviously isn’t harassment. The way I was brought up, if you really want to talk to a stranger, you nearly always start with “excuse me”. (For instance, “excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice your WHATEVER T-shirt; I’m a big fan of WHATEVER, and I don’t meet many fans of WHATEVER, are you a fan?”, or “excuse me, I hate to be a bother, but I have always wanted a hat like yours, where did you buy it”.) Then it’s their move conversationally. You stop. If they do nothing or don’t respond, you say “Sorry to bother you,” and leave. If they answer your question politely but brusquely, you say “Thanks,” then accept that they don’t want to talk any more, say “Sorry, I won’t take up any more of your time,” and leave. It’s still their move. If they then say “no, wait” and ask to talk to you, then you have a conversation.

If you’re looking for directions, you should be staring at your map and looking lost before saying “excuse me, I’m lost”…

I don’t know when I learned those rules for talking to strangers, but it was young — elementary school, perhaps. I have never had any problem with talking to strangers.

I guess a lot of older men were trained to be inappropriately and offensively pushy towards women on a routine basis. They need to learn not to do that; they’ll mostly probably be happier, on the whole. It just seems so bizarre to me, since I was brought up post-1970s in what I think of as a normal environment.

The other issue here is the men who are defending the idea of making inappropriate pushiness the norm, who really want it to be the norm, who get angry at the idea of obeying normal norms of polite behavior when women are involved — I suspect these men, who are so upset at the idea of behaving in an ordinary polite fashion, of being actual predators, who need a rape culture in order to hide their behavior.

Another little point: from what I can tell, assaulters and harassers really really like to gaslight the third-party witnesses (when there are any). The witnesses often start out with “Hey! Why did you do that to him/her, that’s awful!”, and then the gaslighting starts… “oh, you didn’t really see me just barge into her, really, I was further away, no you didn’t really see me rudely yell at her, I was politely talking to her…”

Comments

  1. says

    The other issue here is the men who are defending the idea of making inappropriate pushiness the norm, who really want it to be the norm, who get angry at the idea of obeying normal norms of polite behavior when women are involved — I suspect these men, who are so upset at the idea of behaving in an ordinary polite fashion, of being actual predators, who need a rape culture in order to hide their behavior.

    I don’t think they all need it; they want it because they want to believe that they have the freedom to act in a way that they probably never will act – for fear of being called out, or suffering retaliation, or being dismissed contemptuously, or whatever. But it’s an important fantasy to be able to think you’re a bigshot who can bite someone’s leg in a bar whenever you want, and laugh about it, and not have any fear of consequences. Yes, there are doubtless a lot who actually act on the “freedom” to annoy and harass others, or to do wrong. We see constantly that when many many people get powerful or wealthy, the governors on their behavior get removed and they become cocaine-crazed ankle-biting full-blown assholes. It happens all the time. So I think that what’s going on when someone throws themself on trying to normalize inappropriate behavior is that they’re signalling the kind of behavior they’d engage in if they felt a little safer or a little more entitled. They’re angry when people cry “foul” at the early stage of their development as full-blown rapist assholes, because they see the doors closing ahead of them and the fantasy of living the life of the ID unchained is being reined in by all the .. sigh… meanies who want them to just be normal boring decent people. When you look at the full-blown rampant assholes, those are the ones that got enough popular recognition, power, or money, that those doors re-opened. And then they completely lose control.

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    But it’s an important fantasy to be able to think you’re a bigshot who can bite someone’s leg in a bar whenever you want, and laugh about it, and not have any fear of consequences.

    Back in college the first time, when I was 19, I was in a crowded bar with friends. In order to fit more butts into one of the few booths, several of us women were sitting on the back of the booth. Some asshole actually *bit* me on the ass – it left a large bruise. I yelled at him; he laughed. And there were no consequences. This was 1979.

    And the guys with the attitude, “If you (made out/had sexual relations/shared whatever intimacy) with HIM, that means you owe the same to ME” even if we’ve never even met. I’d like to think things have changed in the 35 years since, but I keep seeing evidence that things haven’t changed.

    Great post and great comment, BTW.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    I think maybe

    I have never had any problem with talking to strangers.

    is not unrelated to

    I’m […] thinly-built, 5 foot 2, “weak” looking, often “effeminate” looking

    Your meticulous good manners are all very commendable, but acknowledge that you clearly pose no threat.

    Politely talking to people about contextually appropriate things obviously isn’t harassment

    Well, yeah. But those of us who have the misfortune to not look weak or effeminate need to process the idea that, for apparently quite a lot of people (male and female), ANYTHING we say or do is processed first and foremost as a potential threat.

    Anecdote: I once crashed into someone on my snowboard. He was a relative beginner, and he’d fallen over unexpectedly into my path. My shins hit the steel edge of his board, and drew blood. I still have two small scars there. It was totally my fault, I shouldn’t have been going so fast so near him that I couldn’t stop when he fell. I tumbled past him, rolled over, and got back up, preparing my profuse apologies. His first words, before I could speak, were “Don’t hit me”. I was mortified. His immediate assumption had been that I was going to attack him, presumably because he felt the collision was his fault and assumed I felt the same way. He was about my size. I reassured him that it was my fault, that I was sorry, and made sure he was OK before leaving. I (obviously) never forgot that encounter, because it completely changed my understanding of how I’m perceived by others. From having been bullied right through school, I’d somehow transitioned without realising it into a shape that some people feared. It would be easy, and tempting, to take that knowledge and think “YES! Payback time.” I’m not sure why I didn’t go that route, but I can see why people might.

    And finally:

    catcalls aren’t technically harassment individually (only in large numbers)

    So if you’re the first person to catcall that woman today, that’s not harassing? What if you’re the second? Fifth? Fiftieth? “Technically” you’re right of course. For practical purposes, though, even if you “hey, baby!” someone just once today, then never again in your life, they’ll experience that as harassment. You have to force yourself to look at it from the target’s POV.

  4. Jackie says

    Ah, gaslighting. It works so well.
    It worked on me.
    The threat of it worked on me last night.

    Last night my in laws dropped off my son and my fil smacked me on the ass. I said Hey now, no spanking.” and he thought it was delightfully funny. I hate that fucker. My husband doesn’t like him at all either. But we both let it go because he and his wife would have thought we were rude for rebuking him for assaulting me in my own home, in front of my kids. I didn’t want to cause a scene.

    I
    didn’t
    want
    to
    cause
    a
    scene.

    I know he caused a scene. I know he knows how humiliating and gross that was for me. That’s why it’s funny. Get it? Har. Har.

    I never said anything when my step-grandfather would smack me on the ass when I was a teen either. Same reason. Men smack women and girls on the ass. People think it’s cute. Ha, ha, sexual assault is so funny. Can’t I take a joke? If I called it sexual assault of a minor, I’d have been laughed at by my parents, scolded and told to stop being dramatic.

    When men in your family want to assault you, you shut up and let them (preferably laughing along with everyone else) or things just get worse. No one has to sit you down and tell you that as a girl. You learn it pdq on your own.

    Had I not choked down my outrage, I’d have been treated to a gaslighting extravaganza that would have triggered the fuck out of me. My son was so happy to have had so much fun with Grandpa. “I’d” have been ruining that. Rather than deal with the gaslighting I shut up again and thought, “I’m done with family holidays for good now. No fucking way is that asshole eating at my table one more time.

    The last time we ate with my in laws I got to hear several old men sit around and talk about how it’s OK to hit women sometimes and the NFL should stay out of players private lives. When my teenage daughter and her cousins went for a walk to get away from that, I was admonished that girls should not walk the residential neighborhood alone, because of rapists.

    Last Thanksgiving, as I served them dinner, I got to hear my other fil and an uncle in law be outraged that anyone would consider birth control health care. I spoke up, but ended up walking away so that “I” would not ruin Thanksgiving.

    I’ve let them drone on about creationism for the same reason.

    Simply knowing I will be shamed and blamed for destroying the family has been enough to keep me quiet for years over relatively small stuff. I have friends who even kept their rape at the hands of family members to themselves for the sake of their families too. One girl I knew told on her stepfather for raping her and was put in an asylum by her mom until she recanted. Another woman I know was told she was unreasonable and hurting her family for refusing to attend family events so long as the family member who molested her son was there. She was supposed to suck it up and endure it in silence. We all are.

    When I told my teen daughter in the kitchen what her grandfather had done, she joked, “I did not need to know that”.

    I did not laugh at that joke. People not wanting to hear that these things happen is a large part of the problem.

    I’m so over putting up with any of this crap from anyone for anyone.

  5. sambarge says

    My son was so happy to have had so much fun with Grandpa. “I’d” have been ruining that.

    You know your son runs a good risk of turning into this grandfather. Children do as they see. If his own mother isn’t worthy of respect, what woman is?

    I would have made to punch Grandpa in the nuts, just to make him flinch. “Haha! Big joke, right? No? Then fuck off. Next time you touch me, I’ll take you out, old man. You’re weaker than I am by far.”

    We have to stop pretending that disrespectful people deserve respectful treatment back.

    I hope you stick to your guns about not hosting dinners. Alternatively, you can do what I’ve done. We’ve hosted my in-laws forever and I have shut down conversations that I found inappropriate or disrespectful. My table, my food, my rules. If you can’t be nice, you can’t be here. I’m a grown up who worked to buy this house, this table and the food on it. I will not be disrespected here. I had to listen when I was young and at your table but not anymore.

  6. AMM says

    “Well, yeah. But those of us who have the misfortune to not look weak or effeminate need to process the idea that, for apparently quite a lot of people (male and female), ANYTHING we say or do is processed first and foremost as a potential threat. “

    I don’t know what you mean by “not look … effeminate.” The only sense I can make of it is using “tough” or aggressive body language. I can’t even make sense of the word “effeminate” except as a form of gender policing, the way things like “real man” or “man card” are. Looking and acting vaguely (or not so vaguely) domineering or menacing seems to be part of what you’re supposed to do if you want to count as “masculine.”
    .
    I don’t know if you’d call me “effeminate,” but I’m about 6 feet tall (185 cm for you metric people :-) ) and not exactly thin. People have told me that I don’t look like an easy target for a mugger. But I’ve asked women on multiple occasions if I seem at all threatening, and they’ve always said no. I assume it has to do with my body language. I don’t try to take up two seats on the subway, or bulldoze my way through crowds, etc. And I’ve never had any trouble talking with strangers — men or women — when the occasion warrants. (I frequently offer directions to people who are standing around looking lost.) But I don’t act anything like the people in that video, either.

  7. anbheal says

    I commented upon an earlier post here, suggesting that unless it’s to ask directions, the general rule of thumb should be to assume the other person does not have any interest in talking to you. But yes, “Excuse Me”, whatever happened to that? You don’t hear it once in the NYC video.

    As for grandpas at the table, I lost patience with them a long time ago. There was always the generational excuse, but that was bullshit, because 80 or 90 percent of their generation knew better than to use those words at family gatherings — it was just the exercise of privilege, hell if they’ll change their ways just to not offend everyone else in town. So I started saying “fuck shit balls ass” at the dinner table every time they’d say nigger or jewboy, and when my mother and father would yell at me, I’d say if they’re going to object to offensive language, be consistent and do it with Uncle Phil and in-law Larry too, cuz nigger is way more offensive than fuck shit balls ass. And yes, it cast a pall over jolly Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, and I was often banished from the table. But after a couple of years of this, the old assholes would cast me a glance and then say “Afro-American” or “Hebrew persuasion” in a theatrical tone. I’d simply reply “you’re allowed to say black and jew”, and dinner went on undisturbed. It wasn’t much progress, but it was some. And I be there were a few silent “let’s not ruin the fun” types at the table who were secretly cheering.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    I don’t know what you mean by “not look … effeminate.”

    For the actual answer you’d have to pose that one to the author of the post. It’s the word they chose to describe themselves.

    I took what I thought was a reasonable guess that what they meant was the dictionary definition, “having traits, tastes, habits, etc., traditionally considered feminine”, which given that I’ve got a beard pretty much rules me out.

    I’ve asked women on multiple occasions if I seem at all threatening, and they’ve always said no

    Not to make light of this too much, but did you ever seriously expect any woman to say “yes” to that question? Apart from anything else, it’s a pretty creepy question to ask anyone other than your best friend or partner.

  9. smhll says

    Jackie, thank you for taking the time to share what you are dealing with from your relatives. I think it’s valuable for people to see how hard the decisions are when assholes are part of your family.

    (I’m happy and lucky this year that the most conservative member of my family has been invited elsewhere and the prospect of arguments exploding like bombs is greatly reduced.)

  10. Jackie says

    You know your son runs a good risk of turning into this grandfather. Children do as they see. If his own mother isn’t worthy of respect, what woman is?

    Do not lecture me on raising my children. Do not.
    You have no fucking clue how we deal with living in the Bible Belt with racism, homophobia etc. Do not make the assumed effects of a man’s bad behavior my failing. You assumed I’m not guiding my children at all because why? STFU.

    Every fucking time.

  11. Jackie says

    I would have made to punch Grandpa in the nuts, just to make him flinch.

    How nice for you. You’re so much better and smarter than I am for not being triggered by people gaslighting you over unwanted sexual touching and molestation as a child. Maybe you should come raise my children for me? I’m clearly not pretending to hit relatives in the balls enough to produce good feminists.

  12. says

    Seconding that.

    Families, in-laws, dinner tables, eh? So much can go so wrong, and there’s usually so little that can be done.

    (I have this Thanksgiving dinner from years ago at which I still wish I had said some things I wanted to say. Still.)

  13. Blanche Quizno says

    It’s not the gross unwelcome touching, but MY elderly father, who moved about 20 years ago to a Deep South Bible Belt town, manages to press unwelcome stuff on me, too. He’s quite racist (works well for him there), so if he’s going toward that, I change the subject. The problem during my last visit was his fairly new evening ritual with his girlfriend. They keep separate domiciles, but he goes over for meals and socializing. He’s pretty solitary. Anyhow, he and she hold hands and recite the Lord’s Prayer slowly together, in time to his breathing (he’s on oxygen). They called me and her little great-granddaughter over to join them, so we held hands with them. I had a broken shoulder at the time, and I was pretty well thrashed from the activities of the day, so I stood silently while they recited. My father suddenly stopped, and said, “You aren’t praying.” I said, “Well, it’s not my religion. I AM offering moral support,” I added, hopefully (that that would be the end of it). He said, “What religion ARE you?” I said, “None.” “That’s your religion, then,” he said. “Well, okay,” I said, “if having no texts, no doctrines, and no beliefs…” At that point, the young great-granddaughter piped up with something and we got derailed and then my father dropped my hand, took both his girlfriends’ hands in his, and he and she went back to their prayer. My dad’s known his whole life that I’m atheist, yet he still insists that we all hold hands while he prays before meals, though the incidence of this at restaurants has diminished, thankfully. Life is full of people overstepping the bounds of consideration and politeness and inflicting their whatevers on others – and probably enjoying the feeling of power that comes from knowing no one will stand up to you. Or feeling that they’re doing you some big favor by inflicting it upon you or something, ffs.

  14. Blanche Quizno says

    Jackie, any possibility you can manage to keep your back to the wall when Foxy Grandpa is in the room? I realize that involves a whole lot of annoying choreography for you, but what *I* learned coming of age in the 1970s when sexual assault was FAR more socially acceptable (apparently) than it is now, once you realize someone’s a threat, the only way to protect yourself is to keep your distance. I mean, if Foxy Grandpa is so determined to slap your fanny that he ends up chasing you around the room or the front yard, well, that will really show off the problem quite nicely, I’m thinking. I suspect you’re the better runner, too. Not judging or second-guessing you, just tossing my own two cents worth into the ring. I realize that, especially in families, outright confrontation is simply not possible in any practical sense. Would be nice, but life isn’t always nice. Plus, confrontations are more, shall we say, expensive for some of us than for others. I recently confronted my uncle the retired minister over his malicious, condescending, and sneering behavior (couched in, of course, faux nicey-niceness) toward the unbelievers in his extended family (now the majority) – that was such a huge effort for me that I haven’t read his reply nor spoken to him since. Granted, it’s only been a coupla months…

  15. RJW says

    “I’m a solidly-built, six foot tall white male in my mid forties, and for at least two decades I have had absolutely NO idea what it’s like to be scared walking down a street.”

    I’m a solidly-built six foot tall white mail in my sixties who isn’t scared to walk down the street, yet. A new perspective comes with age, believe me, particularly when I now realise that many people, particularly women and some men have always been wary and sometimes fearful of strangers most of their lives. That’s probably my future, elementary martial arts skills acquired long ago are probably worse than useless.

    I can remember years ago working in manufacturing companies, when young women from the office needed to enter the factory they would usually ask me to accompany them as they found the general macho atmosphere of the factory threatening. I couldn’t see the problem at the time as all the factory workers behaved themselves when I was there, now I understand.

  16. says

    Including understanding why they asked you! If you’d told them at the time, “I don’t see the problem, all the workers behave themselves when I’m here,” they would have said, “Exactly, which is why we asked you.”

    It’s a thing I noticed when I worked as a laborer for the Parks Department. It was divided into districts, and districts that had a lower proportion of women were less comfortable. They didn’t feel threatening, that I recall, but…less comfortable; I can’t think how else to put it. Less as if we (women) belonged there.

  17. sambarge says

    Blanche Quzino @16

    Does #5 count as “mansplaining”?

    Well, I’m not a man so technically no, I don’t think it does. Perhaps it counts as reading something on the internet and commenting on it.

    Jackie – You don’t know anything about me either (nor can I see an itemization of the hardships you’ve endured living in the Bible Belt in your post, perhaps you can include a biography next time). So you can keep your defensive profanity to yourself, thanks. I’m not telling you how to raise your son but you mentioned how much fun he has with his sexist, racist grandfather and I commented back. If you don’t want discussion, in future perhaps you should indicate that your comments are not for replying to unless it’s unqualified support.

    Good luck with the holiday season. I hope you have fun with your family, in your own way.

  18. says

    RJW @ 20 – I didn’t mean to belabor the point, or you, I was just amused by the trap (which we all fall into). We forget that what we see is what we see when we’re there and that it’s not necessarily the same as what we would see when we’re not there if only that were possible.

  19. Al Dente says

    Some years ago my wife, daughter and I were visiting my uncle who I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager. He give both women a caress on the butt. I told him that wasn’t appropriate and he replied: “It’s a little ritual I have to greet female family members this way.”

    I grabbed him by the testicles and said: “I have a little ritual. Any man who sexually assaults my wife, my daughter, or any other woman when I’m around gets their nuts pulled. Do you want to sing soprano? I can arrange it right fucking now!”

    I’m informed by other family members that my uncle has dropped his ritual.

  20. kate says

    @sambarge When someone reports a painful interaction like the one Jackie did, it is never appropriate to tell them how you totally would have handled it better. She had every right to respond in the way that she did to your horrible, judgmental comment.

  21. sambarge says

    My comment was a response to her comments. She cursed me out. Don’t cry for her. She’s more than capable of defending herself.

    Al Dente – Careful. I only suggested pretending to hit someone in the nuts. You’ve just described assault. I assume you’ll be jumped on momentarily. Brace yourself.

  22. RJW says

    @22 Ophelia,

    I’d previously worked in banks (majority of female employees) where overt male sexual predatory behavior was very rare, so I had no experience of the ultra-male culture on the factory floor at the time.

  23. kate says

    @sambarge – you deserved to be cursed out for your response at #5 to Jackie’s account at #4. Essentially saying “I would have handled it better than you.” is never an appropriate response to someone describing harassment or assault. Never. You deserved exactly the type of response Jackie gave you; and Jackie deserves the support of the community here, not to be left on her own to defend herself.

  24. says

    Dial it down, please. sambarge, sorry but I sympathize with Jackie’s outrage. Yes of course comments are part of a discussion, but still, some things are out of bounds. But I get grumpy when yelled at too, so I get why you’re yelling back. A metaphorical handshake would be good, but if that’s not possible, let’s just draw a line under it.

  25. sambarge says

    I’m not sure what I’m dialing down as I haven’t cursed or yelled at anyone, although apparently I deserve to be cursed at for my comments.

    But sure. Whatever. I genuinely don’t see the problem with what I said but I’ll assume that’s my short-coming and move on.

  26. Brony says

    It’s dominance behavior.

    Of course the people that use dominance behavior and want to be able to keep using it will work with one another to try to keep it going. They do it implicitly even when they don’t know one another because it’s the social version of predatory behavior, and they all want to keep on being predatory without opposition.
    They will come up with any excuse they possibly can to keep things going the way they want. Victim blaming shoves the effort to prevent abuse and harassment away from them and the energy expended makes the victims weaker, and more vulnerable. Gaslighting hides the way the victim feels from as many as possible, and the people using dominance go along with it so that it will work for them when it’s their turn. “Jokes” in response to abuse or harassment tries to hide the emotions and offense as well, and again other people that use dominance will be more willing to go along.

    Then there are the micro and macro aggressions like the butt slapping Jackie mentioned above. I think of these as “dominance maintenance” where they insist on doing the smaller thing over and over so that the dominated will remain receptive to obeying in other things. Insistence on using gendered and racial slurs and attempts to convince the offended to just stop worrying about it is another example. “Look at me I can keep doing this thing that bothers you over and over and you can’t do anything about it!”.

    Of course we are seeing freakouts from social conservatives in all areas that want women and other races to remain as submissive as possible. Our own atheist conservatives as well. There is a reason that Dawkins, Nugent and others simply will not address what people on this side of the rift are actually saying. Many (maybe most) of them probably really believe they are not doing these things and really believe the rationalizations so they don’t have to confront their own sexism and worse. These are strong instincts and I’m sure that the privilege of the socially dominant is a type particularly good at blinding oneself to what one really is.

  27. Brony says

    @sambarge
    You need to step away from the keyboard and think about what people are telling you for a while. I’m sure what you said sounded good in your head, but in reality what you said was very insulting. What you are doing is a very common thing for people trying to talk about their experiences of harassment to experience. Someone else making tons of assumptions about them, their situation, the reality of how fighting back actually plays out when other dominant people back up the abuser, or many many other things that you have no idea about.
    You think that based on internet comments you can know enough about a situation to insert yourself and your experience as superior? Guess what? That’s another dominance behavior. It’s also one that has the effect of covering up the experience of the harassed and abused. That is why you are getting flack. Because it happens a lot and the only way that changes is changing our collective behavior by scolding people like you.

  28. rilian says

    @#3 sonofrojblake
    reminds me of this one time when this person and I bumped into each other in the hallway. I think we were both distracted. They started saying “oh my god i’m so sorry” and was just like “huh? wha? it’s fine? I’m sorry?” and they just kept saying sorry after me as I was trying to walk away. I wondered who was apparently beating that person up on a daily basis… why were they so afraid…

  29. rilian says

    @#4 jackie
    once in 10th grade, a boy, a stranger, walked up and hit my friend on the bottom. He knew what he did was wrong, because right then and every time he saw me after that, he ran away. we told the principle, nothing happened. we told my parents and they said “that’s just flirting”. we said it’s not flirting if one person doesn’t like it, and they said it was just bad awkward stupid kid flirting. I said he was the same age as us, so by that reasoning shouldn’t my friend like it? then some garbage about boys being immature.

    speaking of family stuff. in my family it seems the atheists and liberal types always have to back down. the jesus-loving gun-toting ones will never back down. they shout about their beliefs and the others have to just smile and nod….

    There was one time when they didn’t, and half the family (so like 20 people) was engaged in a 12-sided fight for several hours. My grandpa declared that everyone hated him and he stormed out into the cold and we didn’t see him for an hour.

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