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A NeW Direction for Female Happiness
Townhall.com ^ | September 28, 2009 | Karin Agness

Posted on 09/29/2009 6:41:16 AM PDT by Kaslin

According to the United States General Social Survey, women’s overall level of happiness has dropped since 1972.  Two professors at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania released a paper exploring female happiness, “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” this spring which garnered national press attention.   One of the major findings in this study is that women’s happiness has declined both compared to 35 years ago and compared to men’s happiness.

This study has prompted me to ask once again—Is feminism good for women?  Does feminism make women happier?  What does feminism hold for me?

                I began asking these questions five years ago.   I had just returned for my third year of college at the University of Virginia (UVA) after an internship in Washington, D.C.  During my time in D.C., I had enjoyed being surrounded by ambitious conservative women.  I sought out a club for conservative women on campus.  Much to my disappointment, nothing like this existed, so on September 29, 2004, I founded a book club for conservative women at UVA, the Network of enlightened Women (NeW). 

NeW was started to fill a niche on one campus.  It turns out there was a need for NeW elsewhere.   Within a few months of starting NeW at UVA, women from other campuses contacted me to see if they could start chapters of NeW on their campuses.  That began our national expansion.  NeW grew steadily—one chapter at a time as more and more women heard about NeW.  NeW continues to grow this way.

                Today, we are celebrating NeW’s fifth anniversary.  In these last five years, NeW has grown to over 15 campuses, held four national conferences in D.C., launched the NeW Blog and been covered by national press such as TIME, The AP and The Washington Post

NeW’s rapid growth demonstrates on the grassroots level what this study found in surveys: Women are still trying to figure out how to manage our lives.  Feminism does not hold all the answers.  We want to talk about it.

NeW members regularly discuss the opportunities and challenges facing women today as well as feminism.  One of the most popular books that the NeW book clubs read is What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman by Danielle Crittenden.   Crittenden exposes how feminism has hurt women today, such as by selling the idea that the key to female happiness is independence.  Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism by Carrie Lukas are two other popular books for NeW chapters.  These books resonate with young women, much more so than a radical feminist agenda.

Many NeW chapters even hold campus-wide events to broaden the discussion.  Among others, NeW chapters have hosted speakers, held careers panels and sponsored debates.  Take Blayne Bennett, the President of the NeW chapter at Arizona State University, for example.   She was frustrated by the negative attitude toward men that campus feminists promoted through The Vagina Monologues.  In response, she organized a Gentlemen’s Showcase to encourage her peers to talk about chivalry, gentlemen and relations between the sexes.   At the Gentlemen’s Showcase, the ladies of NeW honored the top ten most-nominated gentlemen at ASU to show their appreciation for those men who treated women with dignity and respect.  This event sparked quite a discussion.

Five years ago, I did not anticipate NeW becoming a national movement.  NeW’s success is a product of college women rebelling against the feminist message that dominates campus and trying proactively to find ways to increase their level of happiness.  Young women are seeking a new message—one that embraces femininity, acknowledges that there are sex differences and values the role of women as mothers and in the workplace.  NeW provides a place for women to explore this message and seeks to turn women in a NeW direction—one that will lead to an increase in women’s happiness.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: female; happiness; newwomen; women
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1 posted on 09/29/2009 6:41:16 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
"According to the United States General Social Survey, women’s overall level of happiness has dropped since 1972."

Not long after I was born. Figures.

2 posted on 09/29/2009 6:42:21 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Kaslin

Women LIKE men who will provide for them, take care of them, and make the big decisions.

Feminism is robbing them of that.


3 posted on 09/29/2009 6:47:16 AM PDT by Fido969 ("The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein)
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To: Joe 6-pack

that tends to happen when you spend enough time reading magazines and watching daytime talk shows that are all reinforcing the idea that your life sucks!


4 posted on 09/29/2009 6:47:17 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin

Whenever I heard a woman say; “I’ve never been happier”, it usually meant she isn’t.


5 posted on 09/29/2009 6:48:04 AM PDT by Bringbackthedraft (DON'T BLAME ME I VOTED FOR "PALIN"!)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Correlation or causation? ;-P


6 posted on 09/29/2009 6:49:05 AM PDT by MortMan (Stubbing one's toes is a valid (if painful) way of locating furniture in the dark.)
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To: Kaslin

Way to go Ladies!


7 posted on 09/29/2009 6:50:02 AM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: Kaslin
Female happiness is directly linked to liberal promotion of men as the evil sex.

Female and male happiness, provided they are heterosexual, is dependent on finding a suitable member of opposite sex to fall in love with.

But if women are constantly being brainwashed to hate men or feel guilty about loving masculine men, then women are going to stay unhappy.

Women are the victims of their own runaway femininity and the oppression of masculinity.

8 posted on 09/29/2009 6:50:18 AM PDT by TheThinker
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To: MortMan
"Correlation or causation? ;-P"

Conspiracy, I believe :-)

9 posted on 09/29/2009 6:50:54 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Kaslin

The problem is they have made it worse for all the rest of it.

If the mommy isn’t happy - nobody is happy.


10 posted on 09/29/2009 6:54:00 AM PDT by edcoil (If I had 1 cent for every dollar the government saved, Bill Gates and I would be friends.)
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To: TheThinker

>Women are the victims of their own runaway femininity and the oppression of masculinity.

“Feminism is the mode of thought which hate everything feminine.” — GK Chesterton


11 posted on 09/29/2009 6:57:42 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

I can only speak for myself, having said that, motherhood is what made me happiest. I waited until I was 32 yrs old to get married. I had a good job. I travelled all over the world. When I had a preemie, I decided to stay home with him. The first few months were very unrewarding (lots of diapers, barf, sleep deprivation, etc). As the baby grew older and I was able to find more and more rewards, I really began to grow into my role. I can’t imagine anything that is more rewarding than helping my children find their way in the world. The rewards seem endless...


12 posted on 09/29/2009 6:59:18 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: Kaslin

American women are at low ebb right now, and it’s their own fault. With so many, selfishness runs amok, it’s all about them, never about anyone else. And that’s where they feel the conflict, because they aren’t built that way naturally. The MSM has been as negative for American women as the Democrat Party has been for American blacks.


13 posted on 09/29/2009 7:00:33 AM PDT by raptor29
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To: Kaslin

If women would just be who they are and not try to be someone they are not they would be happy. Be yourself, strive for success, don’t bow to what is out there. Don’t listen to all the garbage that is spewed in advertising about all these products who say you will be young again. We age. We all age. It is the natural way of life. You can botox 7 days a week all year long but your INSIDES will still be the way they are due to the natural process of aging. Women need to be healthy and fit. That means eating food and junk too. Exercising to keep themselves fit and healthy but doing it for YOURSELF and NO ONE ELSE.
I think everyone should strive to look nice, be healthy and fit but if you are not like the mag covers and the make up ads and all that other nonesense...so what? I wonder what all those beauties look like before they have ten people doing their hair and makeup.
I wish women woul like themselves for who they are. Stop trying to please everyone else and stop trying to look like everyone else. Be yourself. Do your own thing and all the right things for yourself and then everything else will fall into place. You WILL be happy for all the right reasons. Stop letting others tell you how you should look, dress and behave. Behave like you know you should, dress the way you know you should and look confident. Don’t let anyone else run your life. It is YOUR life and it is here and gone before we know it. So, be yourself. You couldn’t ask to be anyone better than that. :) Be happy :)


14 posted on 09/29/2009 7:01:37 AM PDT by cubreporter (.)
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To: Kaslin
Young women are seeking a new message—one that embraces femininity, acknowledges that there are sex differences and values the role of women as mothers...

Um, that's an old message. Tried and true.

15 posted on 09/29/2009 7:01:39 AM PDT by polymuser ("We have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!" (HRC))
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To: Apple Blossom

Submission is the road to happyness.


16 posted on 09/29/2009 7:04:02 AM PDT by bmwcyle (We need more Joe Wilson's. OBAMA is ACORN ACORN is OBAMA)
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To: Kaslin

My observation as one who is older: A lot of men of that generation (they mention 1972) were happy to step away from the roles of providing, taking care of, or being “men”. A lot of so-called feminists were/are women who stepped up and took on the role of supporting their families. I’m not convinced it was a choice in many cases.


17 posted on 09/29/2009 7:04:30 AM PDT by Happyinmygarden (Yes, actually, I have pretty much seen and heard it all before...)
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To: Kaslin

Women have indulged this on themselves...thank God for men there are happy Asian women.


18 posted on 09/29/2009 7:05:58 AM PDT by Vision ("Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40)
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To: Vision

We could start a thread on the white man/Asian woman phenomomenon, which I first noticed as a lad visiting the west coast, but which has taken NYC by storm over the past five years or so.


19 posted on 09/29/2009 7:07:47 AM PDT by Clemenza (Remember our Korean War Veterans)
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To: Clemenza

There already is a big one.


20 posted on 09/29/2009 7:08:45 AM PDT by Vision ("Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40)
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To: marstegreg
Me, too. I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, seen what I wanted to see and my love of children drove me to desire the motherhood I have cherished with all my heart. What a privilege it has been to have been given that gift.

I grew up in a household where my femininity was celebrated along with my intelligence and independence. I had the most wonderful and devoted of fathers, a fiercely independent mother (about whom my father remarked on their 25th Anniversary, “Faye, I can honestly say in 25 years, I've often felt like murder, but I've never been bored.” He encouraged us to be all we could, do whatever we set our minds to and was truly (and I think this is important) PROUD of us.

My father's mother was born blind. He watched her navigate life with no resources (the blind were homebound or institutionalized). He watched her bravely face whatever life handed her and realized that the strengths women have are boundless for a truly devoted husband and child.

It's not that we want to be better or more successful than men, but we don't want to be told we are less than they. We are equal BUT different. I celebrate the masculine (really enjoy it on all levels), but I despise extremes on either end. Women complete men, and men complete women.

21 posted on 09/29/2009 7:08:56 AM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: Buckeye McFrog

****...when you spend enough time reading magazines and watching daytime talk shows that are all reinforcing the idea that your life sucks!****

How true; we have replaced traditional family influences with *Group think*. We should have learned by now that indoctrination is the most destructive force in human history...regardless of its benign or malignant beginnings.

We have seen religion twisted into evil cults and womens’ suffrage turned into revulsion of our sons & brothers.

Mass communication - ain’t it great?


22 posted on 09/29/2009 7:09:25 AM PDT by sodpoodle (Never give up- Keep Up!!!)
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To: Kaslin
Women used to live significantly longer than men too, that gap has shrunken dramatically.
23 posted on 09/29/2009 7:09:32 AM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied, the economy died)
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To: cubreporter
exercise is a fairly recent phenomenon. I have never personally met a centenarian that exercised or was a vegetarian.

If exercise and eating your vegetables made you live longer than almost all 100+ people would be body building vegetarians, and yet there are none. We are being lied to.

24 posted on 09/29/2009 7:13:01 AM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied, the economy died)
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To: Fido969
Women LIKE men who will provide for them, take care of them, and make the big decisions.

Feminism is robbing them of that.

Women like men like this because this is how both sexes were created. The man IS the "head" of the family, not "should be", "IS". Now, that's not saying you'll be good at it... Any time the woman tries to be this "head", the result is a two-headed freak, and the consequences are less than desirable.

Women, living within God's intent, you're not of any LESS worth, you're of DIFFERENT PURPOSE than the man. Read Prov 31:10 for a good description of a successful woman. She keeps the family and household together and is at the same time an entrepeneur.

25 posted on 09/29/2009 7:14:13 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: Constitutions Grandchild

Your response really touched me. The story of your grandmother tugs at my heart, but inspires me to no end! I think that I wasn’t truly happy in the business world because there was something missing, I never knew what until I saw my baby’s face for the forst time. He needed me, and it turns out...I needed him too.


26 posted on 09/29/2009 7:17:46 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: Kaslin

Happiness comes from sacrifice, not possession.
Happiness is a consequece, not a goal.


27 posted on 09/29/2009 7:19:04 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (Mr. Obama, I will not join your plantation.)
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To: Kaslin

Feminism is not really about women, but a mere vehicle designed by radicals to undermine the family, the morals, and the established order of American society in order to ripen it for the attempted Communist coup we are currently experiencing. The women who fell for any part of this nonsense were mere “useful idiots”, as were the men who went along.


28 posted on 09/29/2009 7:19:28 AM PDT by dagogo redux
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To: Happyinmygarden
You are absolutely correct in over 75 percent of the cases. My ex (before our reconciliation) told me he didn't plan on me outliving him. He said he was “evening” the score for men who died young taking care of their families.

That's a pretty low-life attitude for what was supposed to be the “head” of the family. He never held a job, retired at 57 and I carried the load. He may not be an evil man, but he was one pi$$-poor husband and father. We are reconciled now, he lives in my home (bought and paid for by me), has few, if any responsibilities, except his son has had a chance to “know” his father. I don't live in unforgiveness (as it is poisonous), but if the Good Lord asked me to sum up his job as a husband and father, I'd have to say, “No comment.” I really would ask to be excused, as I'd hope for his eternal life in heaven, but it wouldn't be by my testimony — only God's Son's mercy. Had I been left to my own brand of justice (without Christianity), I'd have been kicking a$$ and taking names, but if I want forgiveness, I'd better be willing to give it, as well.

29 posted on 09/29/2009 7:22:58 AM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: Kaslin
Of course they're not happier. Feminism has defeminized them. They're no longer special, they're treated just like guys. Add to that feminists are always telling them how bad their lives are, eventually the message sinks in. Women aren't the problem, as usual liberalism in the form of feminism is.

As the age of Obama drags on I suspect everyone's happiness level will decline, and everyone will be scratching their heads wondering why.

30 posted on 09/29/2009 7:23:00 AM PDT by YankeeReb
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To: Joe 6-pack

“What does feminism hold for me?”

That’s easy: Psychological and economic rents.


31 posted on 09/29/2009 7:24:08 AM PDT by achilles2000 (Shouting "fire" in a burning building is doing everyone a favor...whether they like it or not)
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To: Kaslin

Maybe because we are taxed to death, forcing many of us to go to work instead of stay home and raise our children? If my taxes weren’t so insane, my husband and I could live well on his income. I could stay home with my son instead of working full time. I love my job, but the stress of being full time mommy, wife and employee gets to me sometimes.


32 posted on 09/29/2009 7:30:06 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Constitutions Grandchild
He never held a job, retired at 57 and I carried the load.

WOW! Do you have a sister? .... Only kidding. Seriously, I never understand the attitude of some of these people who refuse to work.

33 posted on 09/29/2009 7:34:32 AM PDT by YankeeReb
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To: YankeeReb
I was an only child. I've played out the hand I was dealt with as much integrity as my wonderful family's taught me. He's home baking muffins today. I've been living on the “edge” for 40 years, slugging it out in the trenches with the big boys, but if you had told me what my life would be, I'd have certainly prepared for it differently.

All I ever wanted was to idolize my mate, raise his children, and make a beautiful peaceful home — full of love, laughter and peace. I got two out of three, and the Good Lord has provided me with all I need — down to the smallest detail. God's generosity and mercy has given me all I need to be generous and merciful. My home-again husband made me strong and resourceful.

I have no regrets (okay, maybe one). I'd just once like to hear from the man I love/loved, “I'm proud of you,” and I'd like a hug.

34 posted on 09/29/2009 7:41:12 AM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: goodwithagun

Prayers for your strength. Prayers for our country. Prayers for you three to stay strong and healthy. Hug them both tonight, long and tenderly. Life isn’t for the faint-hearted. It takes everything you’ve got and, if you’re lucky and blessed, you’ll have all you need. One is strong, two is stronger, yet. Three is unbreakable.


35 posted on 09/29/2009 7:48:39 AM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: Fido969

“Women LIKE men who will provide for them, take care of them, and make the big decisions”
Mine does!


36 posted on 09/29/2009 8:11:36 AM PDT by La.daddyrabbit (Born and bred in the briar patch. Liberalism is the sickness, the Democratic party is the asylum.)
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To: Clemenza

Is there actually going to be a distinct Asian population in 20 years in the US?


37 posted on 09/29/2009 8:31:05 AM PDT by John Will
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To: Kaslin; ryan71; boxerblues; Hammy; Petruchio; Phinanceguy; DollyCali; Yorlik803; ...


A good read here, folks.
Thanks for posting, Kaslin.
38 posted on 09/29/2009 8:34:43 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (30-year smoker, E-Cigs helped me quit, and O wants me back smoking again?)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

Look at the change in Diet, we went from enjoying Animal fat, Meat, Cheese to having those foods demonized in favor of whole grain low fat with all those corn abominations.
Look at us during the stone age, we basically ate root veggies,leaves, fruits, Meat and Nuts.


39 posted on 09/29/2009 8:36:14 AM PDT by John Will
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To: bmwcyle
...values the role of women as mothers and in the workplace

Roles that are not assigned a value determined by men. You might make a good co-captain, but there are no job openings for a dictator.

40 posted on 09/29/2009 8:46:43 AM PDT by Apple Blossom (...around here, city hall is something of a between meals snack.)
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To: John Will

Yes, and it will be comprised of aging bachelors.


41 posted on 09/29/2009 8:47:35 AM PDT by Clemenza (Remember our Korean War Veterans)
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To: Joe 6-pack

That’s because their happiness is dependent on stomping on our happiness.


42 posted on 09/29/2009 8:52:06 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: RandallFlagg; Kaslin; All
Thanks for the post Kaslin and for the ping RandallFlagg. Interesting article, but some of the comments have made me “speechless”. I think it is clear that the opinions are all over the map and I whole heartedly disagree with many. Seems to me though, that one FReeper has it figured out. It is not out there, it is within.
43 posted on 09/29/2009 8:59:15 AM PDT by LuvFreeRepublic (Hey whiners, SEE BRETT THROW!!!)
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To: raptor29

EXACTLY....you can measure happiness by the selfishness of the person....the more selfish...the less happy.


44 posted on 09/29/2009 9:22:50 AM PDT by goodnesswins (Democrat party has always been the party of slavery, sedition, subversion, socialism and surrender)
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To: RandallFlagg

randall, is this what the singles thread will degenerate into? A woman bashing thread?? shudder!


45 posted on 09/29/2009 9:46:56 AM PDT by Shimmer1 (Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.It's already tomorrow in Australia(CharlesSchulz))
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To: goodnesswins
the more selfish...the less happy

Said another way, the heart that gives, gathers.

46 posted on 09/29/2009 9:48:18 AM PDT by LuvFreeRepublic (Hey whiners, SEE BRETT THROW!!!)
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To: Shimmer1

No. I just wanted to alert folks to the conversation.


47 posted on 09/29/2009 9:53:54 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (30-year smoker, E-Cigs helped me quit, and O wants me back smoking again?)
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To: Bringbackthedraft
Whenever I heard a woman say; “I’ve never been happier”, it usually meant she isn’t.

When she says she's "FINE!" run...

48 posted on 09/29/2009 9:57:37 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 251 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: Shimmer1
randall, is this what the singles thread will degenerate into? A woman bashing thread?? shudder!

Sometimes it's a men bashing thread...

49 posted on 09/29/2009 10:02:53 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 251 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: LuvFreeRepublic
Or.......what you give, you get
50 posted on 09/29/2009 10:05:10 AM PDT by goodnesswins (Democrat party has always been the party of slavery, sedition, subversion, socialism and surrender)
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