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Don’t Cram Your Heterosexuality Down My Throat

| March 31, 2013

Eight years on, 'Brokeback Mountain' is still ahead of its American times.

Eight years on, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ is still ahead of its American times.

Several years ago around Christmas I was standing at a Walmart checkout counter with my son when a stranger behind me felt compelled to make me his homophobia’s bosom buddy. He must have glimpsed a magazine featuring “Brokeback Mountain”’s two men behaving tenderly toward each other. Christmas be damned: It displeased him. It’s his right. But he couldn’t contain his scorn. So he shared it with me, the way men guilty of stupidity seek cover in accomplices when white hoods aren’t handy.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive “What’s wrong with that?” I told him. “My son is gay.”

My son was 2 at the time. I had no idea what his sexual orientation might be, nor would it matter. It has no more moral significance than the color of his hair or whether he prefers Legos to cross-dressing Jedi masters with American Girl paraphernalia.  But if the fool behind me found it natural to cram his bigotry down my throat, uninvited, I wasn’t going to be so rude as to not return the favor. Down his throat went my reply, followed by his jaw.

I’m using that imagery out of deference to those who might not, in this context anyway, understand less inelegant language. Homophobes like to say under cover of token tolerance that other people’s business may be their own, only to then belt the battle hymn of their repugnance: “Just don’t cram it down my throat.” But who’s doing the cramming?

The image’s grossly phallic allusion aside, the statement is more offensive for its assumptions: that the culture’s supposedly respectable heterosexuality—with its Steubenville-like undercurrents of rape, misogyny, harassment,  and objectification–isn’t somehow crammed down our senses at every turn. Or that, if it is, it’s perfectly fine, because heterosexuality is “natural,” homosexuality isn’t.

Cue most religions’ homophobic dogmas for support, and with it Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito’s frat-house-inspired that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it argument: “Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years,” Alito said last week during oral arguments on the matter. “Same-sex marriage is very new.” In that sense women on the supreme court, Jews in country clubs and  a black president  in the White House is all quite new too, while clitoredectomies, honor killings and child marriages, which have also been around for thousands of years, continue in many parts of the world. But who’s counting.

And for all the myth-busting science on the prevalence of gender-bending sexuality in nature, human or not, the mentality of Check-Out-Line Man prevails. But thousands of years of “tradition” can’t hold a candle to biology professor David George Haskell’s ironically and scientifically irrefutable OpEd in the New York Times last Saturday describing the diversity of bisexual, asexual and homosexual life on the Washington Mall, a stroll down from the Supreme Court building. He wasn’t talking about human beings, but plants, birds, bees and our closest relatives: “Stepping from the northern border of the Mall into the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History,” Haskell writes, “we come face-to-taxidermied-face with our great ape relatives. Before these apes were sequestered in museum cabinets, homosexual bonds were a natural part of their lives. This is especially true for our closest living cousins, the bonobos and chimpanzees.”

Meanwhile, American custom and law with regards to homosexuality is indistinguishable from the Taliban’s, bans and killings included when you consider the extent of lethal bullying—America’s version of stoning—against gays, young gays especially. Yet supreme court justices, looking for a way not to give gay marriage the same protection as any other civil and human right, kept echoing what magazine covers have been blaring all week: that gay marriage is already won, so why push it.

Because it’s hardly a victory when the first mention of gay rights in a presidential inaugural address is not yet three months old. It’s hardly a victory when 41 states, Florida among them, still ban gay marriage, when gay-marriage approval rates are barely above 50 percent, when Supreme Court justices think marriage equality is not yet ripe for their blessing and might find room to pass the gay-marriage buck in the name of states’ rights. Or when Neanderthal small talk is still considered acceptable in check-out lines.

And it’ll never be a victory as long as we leave it to governments, gods or goons to define marriage, when even bonobos and chimps know better.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. This column is syndicated through Florida Voices.

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38 Responses for “Don’t Cram Your Heterosexuality Down My Throat”

  1. interesting says:

    Pierre, as a Woman, very, very much a woman I find macho dicks getting it on in the closet, while open gay men are often kinder and certainly more respectful of Women. However, the majority of men envy then hate the inherent sensuality, power and allure of the feminine., they all resent they are here because a woman chose to give them birth. Have you read..’ MALE RAGE AND THE PHALLIC WOUND’? Also, lets face it Pierrre marriage for 2 guy s is all about MONEY MONEY MONEY.

    • Jon says:

      SO your saying that marriage for two guys is nothing but money. while I can see how you could get this view since there are monetary benefits to ANY marriage you dont think its possible that two males might want to give each other the right to see each other in the hospital if anything ever goes wrong or leave their loved one anything in their will. what about raising children(there are plenty of ways for a a same sex(male) couple to have children) but for you you would probably say they only want to do that because the money. also I see women(or Womyn if you prefer) as equal to men.

  2. JonQPublik says:

    Growing up as a gay male in Flagler County was a difficult, frightening and extremely trying experience. I didn’t come out until I could distance myself from everything and everyone that made me question the validity of who I am. The disadvantage of not feeling ‘normal’, or the perception of normal, isn’t made easier when you and your peers are taught that what is different is wrong. A learned hate is a coat of harm. Fact.

    During my adolescence there were always gossip and rumor, but they rarely came to me directly. Kids can be the best at saying the worst of things. It’s not always about cliques or the pecking order, but includes what they’ve learned by note, rote and drill for years from their parents and society. If a community makes an effort to teach its children acceptance rather than intolerance, it can make a differenceº it can help make a more cohesive environment for all. A society does not move forward when it repeats cycles of hate. It’s like a skipping record– you cannot fix the problem without lifting the needle.

    And BTW… Best. Headline. Ever.

  3. Deep South says:

    The ole’ checkout counter rant. Why is it you here so many people get all riled up, and have to speak their mind in a check out line ? Is it because they have you cornered and have to give you their two cents worth. Whether it be any subject, you let the fellow off too lightly. I would have given him the good ole stock car in the wall routine, but oh yeah you had your boy with you.

  4. RainbowBob says:

    Someone has been hanging out with WAY too many females !!! Hey Pierre….SNAP

  5. David R Campbell says:

    I have to say this, Pierre.
    You just touched a *button* with me.
    I’ve been around a long time. I thought that I knew…well…not everything, but I have my thoughts on the subject at hand.
    Most of my friends while I was growing up were of the ‘homophobic’ catagory. As the years passed and these families grew…guess what? All of a sudden it didn’t seem to matter any longer that so-and-so was gay. This was family and whatever they turned out to be was acceptable, albeit, they did not have a choice.
    We are what we were created. Nuff said.
    I wish that every homophobic parent would look at their child (perhaps while the child is sleeping or otherwise not paying attention to the parent) and, with an open mind, ask themselves this: “Do I still love him/her no matter what? Do I love my child enough to accept his/her sexuality?”
    The point I’m making here is that old world thinking has no place in my curent world!
    Thanks, Pierre.

  6. Will says:

    For survivors of rape or incest the phrase, “cram it down our throats’ is particularly painful. I find it offensive when someone posturing politically uses it whether referring to gay rights or “Obamacare” where I’ve heard it all too often, or even in some local government tax or zoning issue.

    Can it be that those saying it simply don’t understand what they’re inferring, or are they so mean and crass that they use the phrase to offend from the start? I’d like to think that people of goodwill would couch their arguments in the public arena in terms to win people to their positions, not to stab or hurt people with their language along the way.

    As usual Pierre, you’ve addressed an important issue. Now you can simply hope that it’s seen and read by the people who need to read it – and they’ll have the good sense to think about it too. Maybe it will wake someone up.

  7. mell says:

    Thank you, Pierre! People need to get over this nonsense. There are over 1500 species on earth that science and biology have identified and documented demonstrable homosexual behaviors. There is only one species on earth that is identified and documented as homophobic. This is shameful.

  8. HJ says:

    Thanks for the article Pierre !

    Live and let live !

    Only Love can conquer hate ……

  9. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    “Before these apes were sequestered in museum cabinets, homosexual bonds were a natural part of their lives.”
    Are Apes trying to get the Government to “certify” their relationship status? The ape analogy appears valid on the surface but in reality it is a farce. Apes don’t marry and they certainly don’t seek the Government’s recognition of their relationship. In fact just like Apes, any adult in our country is currently free to engage in any type of relationship they want with another consenting adult. (though that hasn’t always been the case, it is now as nobody is being prosecuted for gay relationships.) But freedom to engage in relationships is not what this issue is really about, it’s about requiring the Government to recognize and somehow put a stamp of approval on the relationship.

    Which brings into question the author’s statement “And it’ll never be a victory as long as we leave it to governments, gods or goons to define marriage,” Who should define “marriage”? And better yet, why does marriage require one, across the board definition? Marriage as an institution comes from religion, so religion certainly does have some claim on defining it. However somewhere along the line the Government got involved. But religious marriage and Government marriage are not the same thing, even if both can happen simultaneously in the same wedding ceremony. Marriage is for many a religious sacrament , which the Government then decides to recognize for whatever reason and turn it into a civil partnership that affords certain tax and right of survivorship benefits. But many still skip the religious sacrament and just go straight to Government recognition. Get Government out of the marriage business.

    The Government should not be “marrying” anyone regardless of their preference. Marriage should return to a religious only event, and if we still think the Government should be involved in certifying our relationships for whatever reason, it should be as a civil partnership defined simply as a relationship between two consenting adults. That truly would separate church and state and allow everyone the freedom to form relationships with whomever they want while still allowing for religious freedoms free from Government intrusion. Of course that won’t make everyone happy, you’ll still have a certain segment of the population that think they’re deputized to be God’s moral police or just hate Gays, and you’ll still have a certain segment of the Gay population that won’t be satisfied unless the Government forces various religions to recognize and even perform their marriage, but I think most people could get behind something like this.

    • Witchy Mamma says:

      Actually… you have that backwards. Marriage began with government… it was a pure convenience that lead to having clergy take care of the paperwork…. it was centuries before it became any sort of religious function.

  10. Gia says:

    The definition of marriage is clear, it’s between a man & a woman as it must be. Anything else is filthy dirty pure crap & garbage.

  11. Fred says:

    Hey Mr. bottled water…You did not mention anything about humans that choice to be Asexual. Not everyone wants or needs sex. The choice of, I’m I straight or I’m I gay makes absolutley no sense.

  12. Linda says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me. I am one of the most tolerant persons I know and detest hateful bigotry. But I am tired of this effort to normalize homosexuality. My homosexual friends have all told me, unequivocally, that they would not choose to be homosexual. Our children are being raised to think it is normal. It is not. (I am prepared to be attacked by those who stop reading at this line, and who do not know me.)
    That said, ALL of us have abnormalities and differences, and no one should be hating or condemning anyone for their differences or abnormalities if they are not harming others. No one’s constitutional rights should be violated because they are different.

    • Nancy N. says:

      That right there is the worst kind of bigotry. Because it is the subtle bigotry hiding in plain sight that pretends to be tolerance and acceptance. It’s insidious, and deceptive. You speak of your homosexual “friends” – you’re no true friend when you can speak so dismissively of who they truly are. To be someone’s friend means accepting them for who they are, not dismissing one of the core foundations of their identity as wrong. You say that your children are being raised to think homosexuality is normal. Do you really think they aren’t picking up on your subtle message of lack of acceptance of gays?

      Saying “you’re flawed but I accept you anyway” is still bigotry. Because the whole point of LGBT civil rights is that it’s not a flaw to be LGBT. I mean, if you said to someone, “you’re a jerk but I love you anyway…” the message is still there that the person is a jerk, right? Same thing.

  13. Rachel says:

    It’s not our place to judge, either way, but God made it very clear in His word, that He intended marriage to be the union between man and woman. We must pray for those who choose otherwise, but remember…..there is only one lawmaker and judge and the time will come for each of us to present ourselves to Him and speak on behalf of the choices we made.

    • Anonymous says:

      God made uis all the way we are – gay or not – PLEASE stop using God to rationalize you bigotry!

    • May Says says:

      Adam and Eve were made perfect and were going to live forever on paradise Earth. They chose to disobey Gods laws and he said after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Satan said if they ate from the tree their eyes would be open and they would be able to make their own dicisions and not have to listen to God (Only one God Jehovah). From that time on they were told they would get old and die, they chose not to listen. There are many ways we can disobey God today other than only, homosexuality. God gave us a free will and there are many ways we can miss the mark of perfection (sin) today. Smoking, pedophilia, bestiality and there is a very thin line between men that want little boys but will make do with a very young 18 year old it they, are made too by law. These men that are afraid of breaking the law, many, many, many times are in marriages because they have positions of authority in the schools, churches or government. I know, I have seen it in my own family and these individuals could careless about getting into a same sex marriage. They like the idea of what they know is bad, like a smoker but are compelled to keep it up until they share a disease or a smoker gets various cancers. Jehovah God is the one who gives free will, but it will be a fear inspiring day if we chose to totally ignore him, he says at John 17:3 It means your life to take in the knowledge of him and the one whom he sent forth Jesus Christ. I won’t judge anyone, but when I studied the bible and read and saw where I needed to make changes, as hard as it was. I did it and for the every day sinning imperfections, I ask him daily to help me over come all badness and to become kind, loving and to help me to teach others. God said his followers would not be the wise intellectual ones.

  14. stevie says:

    I have bird nests all over the place at home and they are all filled with males and females. They must be homophobic bigot birds?

  15. Liana G says:

    Religions did not invent marriage – certainly not Christianity! Marriage has been around long before this broad Abrahamic religion materialized. Why is religion allowed to dictate this bonding? And where is the separation of church?

    I’m not overly trilled with the eagerness to equate the characteristics of Bonobos to humans. Those apes are too free with their affections regardless of age….major creepy.

  16. Dlf says:

    I have no problem with the gay marriage issue or the gay issue in general. Like all issues that the liberal crowd wants to back you must agree with them or shut up. Do not use the “N” word,do not voice your feelings unless they are in line with theirs,political correct is the term . Well ,I for one will not use the “N” word,poke fun at the gay marriage ,but don’t tell me I cannot,don’t tell me what I can say we still live in USA and have the right to say what we please, and you have the right to disagree with it.

  17. anonymous says:

    Where do you think the quality of love comes from? It comes from God. Just like the basis of most of the worlds laws even though many are misused.Their are a lot of people who don’t agree with sex before marriage, sex out of marriage and so on. The problem is society and MOST evolving Religions have welcomed every form of lifestyle except homosexuality. Which in-turn has made them look like bigots and hypocrites. But yes those of us who are still imperfect sinners that don’t practice or continually give in to humans fleshly desires hold our marriages, and relationship with the creator as a way of life. Satan’s deception to Eve was that she should be able to dictate whats good for her outside of God, gee where did that get her? I know of men who grew up with feminine tendencies but did not practice homosexuality. I know of men who experimented with homosexuality and practiced it but abandoned it, some still struggle some feel comfortable with it. Just like a gay person may not be into a heterosexual relationship a heterosexual person may not be into a gay relationship. We all have free will when it comes to what we practice.The point is if a person believes that there is a higher power than them and they wish to follow his guidelines, hard constant work of keeping ones emotions in check will have to be at the fore, whether its same sex opposite sex or whatever. Whether people believe the scriptures or not if you go by it you can’t pick and choose what fits ones life. Eve was created because it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, further on it says a man will leave his parents and stick to his wife. There was bringing together of man and women by the creator. But like I said if a person cherry picks only what they like about the scriptures things like the above don’t matter. Here’s a question for all of us – If we do in fact believe there is God do we think he so desperate for worshippers that he will continue to let let imperfect humans dictate what our standards are to him. It says come as you are not stay as you are.

    • Nancy N. says:

      All that Christian philosophy is very nice – for you. But not everyone believes in god or even your version of a deity if they believe in something called a higher power. And the separation of church and state says you can’t use the government to impose your religion or its beliefs on the rest of us. So please keep it in your own church, and your own home, and out of mine.

  18. standoff says:

    Shame on you for insisting that your judgement of living breathing human beings is OK somehow Yes, God will have something to say to you, all right–you’re confusing His word with bigotry. You are wrong, and Judgement Day will find you on the wrong side of Him, too. He loves ALL of His Children. If you hate ANY of them for what they do when they lay down, you’re the sinner, not those who chose love.

    The twisting of His words makes me sick.

  19. anonymous says:

    Sorry Nancy N, I don’t belong to a Religion that backs any government in regard to this issue nor would I picket against homosexuals or spew hate speech at them. If you read my comment you would understand what I was saying was YOU may have one view or belief about marriage and what role God has in ones life and I have another. That is your choice. Because I believe the practicing of homosexuality is wrong does not make me homophobic or hateful. If this was the way life was intended to be it seems from day one of documentation there would be no question or mystery if same sex marriage and practices were right. I think I will take my chances on scripture and the guidelines it provides for me and my family and friends rather than humans that change direction when the wind blows. It’s amazing how many people want to look to a higher power during times of turmoil but don’t want to put in the hard work of being recognized as true followers if it brings them discomfort.

    ISAIAH 5:20 Woe to those who are saying that good is bad and bad is good, those who are putting darkness for light and light for darkness, those who are putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

    • Nancy N. says:

      ” If this was the way life was intended to be it seems from day one of documentation there would be no question or mystery if same sex marriage and practices were right. ”

      A little knowledge of history goes a long way in understanding why the bible as a document is written the way that it is. For a large portion of history, religious leaders were also political leaders who influenced the content of the bible as it was edited and assembled. They had a vested interest in promoting agendas that would grow their flock (power) and monogamous marriage that produced heirs was important to ensure property inheritance and a stable society. Remember, it’s called the “King James” bible for a reason. The bible reflects the political and socio-economic conditions that it was written under. Things are different today.

    • May Says says:

      I have a very sure reason to believe that you are a Witness and have a wonderful writing style. Some rely on college educations and maybe you have one or more. Though for some reason, I feel your message was written after prayer for holy spirit.

  20. Bunnell Resident says:

    Don’t cram anyone’s sexuality down my throat. Most everyone agrees that adultery, cheating on a loved one outside of marriage, polygamy, and a host of other moral terpitudes are morally wrong although some like adultery carry no criminal punishment. Comparing American society where homosexual conduct is already legal under the law with the Taliban is a far stretch. I teach my children right from wrong including what behaviors I see as wrong as taught to me by my church, my parents, and society as a whole. Homosexuals in this country already have almost every legal right as anyone else. There is no need to be married to ensure the person you love inherits your belongings, is at your deathbed in the hospital, can make medical decisions on your behalf, etc. all that is required is a good last will and testament, an advance h.ealth care directive, etc. you can even do a quit claim on a deed. We as a society are extremely tolerant absent the occasional bufoon that victimizes us with their personal opinions in the grocery line. I teach my children to treat everyone with respect, even when they disagree with the other persons actions/ lifestyle. There is no reason for government to be in the marriage business at all. It should strictly be a social/ religious thing without legal implications from the government whatsoever. The whole idea of bestowing tax benefits, social welfare, even health insurance based upon a government definition of marriage is offensive. If two people want to call themselves married, fine. Purchase your health insurance at market rates, reap no tax benefit from the government, etc. also, if a family chooses to have ten children they should have to pay proportionally for their health care. Why do responsible people have to subsidize breeders? There is no distinction in health care premiums between a family of ten and a family of three. Our society perpetuates unfairness and calls it good. I don’t care what homosexuals do behind closed doors. I do care if the government is going to require training for my child in school that says homosexuality is perfectly normal. Why not the same for other inherited characteristics such as the narcisist, the heterosexual sex addict, etc. come on! Aren’t they just as entitled as homosexuals? Bottom line is that if we all pay as we go and pay our own way, we would end all these culture wars. Virtually every law in is country rewards one group in favor of another. This is the greatest injustice. The fact that homosexuals are on the receiving end of income tax injustice is unfortunate for them but demonstrates my point. We will never have freedom in this country until people stop asking the government for favors and limits governments at all levels to what they were originally designed to do. That is the absolute minimum needed for society to function. We don’t need government to tell us who we can marry, but we do need a military to defend our country. A person never gains independence from their parents until they stand on their own including financially. Likewise, a citizen financially dependent on the government is never truly free. Birds live their lives without worrying where their next meal comes from yet human beings, the most intelligent creatures on the planet cannot figure out how to provide for themselves without government assistance? Please! Take personal responsibility, build it yourself, teach your children, help a neighborn when you can, and quit asking governments to solve your problems. The taxes we are forced to pay is the worst kind of blood money. Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Congress shall pass no law that favors any person, group, or corporation at the expense of anyone else. When the citizens get the true tax bill, everyone will then demand a decrease in government services. I read a story today that the government actually funded a story on duck penises! Since they keep cramming laws down my throat, just thought it would be nice to cram that study down their throats!

  21. fla native says:

    @bunnell redident. good letter..I get tired of the gay agenda rubbed in my face too. it was adam and eve,not adam and steve.

  22. JonQPublik says:

    “There is no need to be married to ensure the person you love inherits your belongings, is at your deathbed in the hospital, can make medical decisions on your behalf, etc. all that is required is a good last will and testament, an advance h.ealth care directive, etc. you can even do a quit claim on a deed.”

    Not exactly. Do married– and yes, even common law married heterosexuals need to provide any of that? Shall we start making that a new rule? “I’m sorry Mrs. Smith, you cannot visit your dying husband because you don’t have the right paperwork.” Seems completely legitimate! Oh, and power of attorney only goes so far– Do you know how easily distant or estranged family members can trump that just because their kin? Rude, disgusting.

    “The whole idea of bestowing tax benefits, social welfare, even health insurance based upon a government definition of marriage is offensive.”

    Fine. Shall we take that away from you, just because you find it offensive? I mean, if gay people don’t deserve it, then heterosexuals don’t deserve it either. There’s no reason for you to feel ‘more equal’ than anyone, so please, stop perpetuating the ideology that you’re above anyone else. Also rude and disgusting.

    “…if a family chooses to have ten children they should have to pay proportionally for their health care. Why do responsible people have to subsidize breeders? There is no distinction in health care premiums between a family of ten and a family of three.”

    This is really the only thing you’ve said that makes sense. Although, this article isn’t about ‘breeders’, as you so eloquently put it. And when I say eloquently, I generally mean subversively xenophobic.

    “We don’t need government to tell us who we can marry…”

    Apparently, yes we do. Because people continue the set themselves above another, denying equality for others for the sake of their own beliefs, that is exactly why it has become necessary for a government to do so. It’s not like the Civil Rights Movement happened without government interaction, right?

    I wouldn’t normally pick apart someone’s post, but this had to be done. It would have been too distracting to find the parts I was addressing.

    • standoff says:

      And I have the right to demand that America keeps her many religions separate from our government and I also retain the right to point out ignorance wherever it may dare to raise its uninformed and sometimes very ugly head.

      Our government was NOT founded on any God. The Founding Fathers that some of you are so in awe of and their Constitution set forth to new shores in part to escape from ****the religious persecution of the Church of England****

      I simply cannot understand why those who so piously believe in The Christianity and deplore The Gay simply cannot make that distinction in their minds. Yes, in the United States of America, you absolutely have the right to be a Christian, but that right stops at the end of YOUR nose.

  23. BeachLvr84 says:

    I wish government would get out of marriage. I don’t need a paper that affirms my commitment to my husband. However, and I’m sorry if it offends, but in my religion gay relationships, incestual relationships, and any others are not recognized. That’s fine… it’s my religion – you don’t want to follow it, I don’t really care.

    That said, if government *does* want to recognize partnerships for tax purposes and true equality, I’m all for it. That makes it a government issue and not a religion issue. If anyone takes issue with that, it’s obviously not about equality for you but more about forcing people to change their belief systems and religions because you don’t like them.

  24. quarter_blaq says:

    Incredible article. Your writing style is extremely humorous and definitely kept me interested just for a good laugh. I am a gay male, and I just so happened to be African American… I dont think most can ever even begin to relate to what life is like here in predominately republican peachy palm coast, located in the heart of conservative capital central FL. Provided I do posess this sexual orientation the article is is pretty relative and clearly familiar in more ways than one. I just hope we as on world can realize that equality for will be implemented whether one agree’s or not.

  25. Bubba says:

    If you want more rights in this country just tell everyone that you’re a gay liberal and you’ll get all the rights you need and then some.

  26. markingthedays says:

    Why can’t we all just get along? By get along, I mean jump in a big pile and grab whomever is closest?

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