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Curl Type Jealousy- Natural Children

By January 27th, 202145 Comments

Curl Type Jealousy- Natural ChildrenAndria writes:

Hi Curly Nikki Community,

I have two daughters- a nine and a three year old. They have two vastly different hair types. My oldest has tightly coiled, thick, long 4a hair, and my youngest has hair like myself, curly type 3b/3c. I have always taught my daughters that self love is #1, but we have had a very difficult time with jealousy of hair types with my oldest daughter. I allow my youngest to wear her hair out, but I feel it necessary to keep my oldest in protective styles, because she retains length better that way.


How can I better manage the jealousy? The jealousy over hair types as well as styling options.

45 Comments

  • BlackCat97 says:

    I come from an Arabic family with light skin and "good hair". Ironically I'm the only one without it. And my mother,cousins, and sister made sure I knew it. My mom alway criticized me & put me down for it. When washing my hair she would always call god's name out and say "where did hair like this come from, why is it so bad", "Why could it be like ur sister's" or tell me my hair broke yet another comb. I always had my hair in braids or ponytails while my older sister was the doll my mom had fun dressing up. She never even tried to leave my hair out or work with it. In reality I my skin was like cafe brown, my hair was a type 4a & was way passed my shoulder about 15inches but to my mom if I wasn't like my sister with her much longer hair & lighter skin than I'm no good. I'm 15 now n my older sister's hair barley passes her shoulders because she straighten too much now my mother need a trophy daughter but I refuse to even let her try. Learn from me, tell her she beautiful and make sure she believes her hair is beautiful if she wants to let out her hair, than let her. Because every rude comment, hurtful remark leaves scars for a lifetime. I always try to tell my self their just dumb narrow-minded people but it's still so painful

  • Anonymous says:

    A post above said that children cannot be jealous. But the truth is, no matter what you try to teach at home about beauty, children (especially once they are in school) pick up society's notion of beauty. I was jealous when I was younger, when all of my friends with "good" hair wore their hair out and I couldn't. With that being said, I agree with most, that both girls should wear similar styles in order to stop the jealousy. I liked the idea posted above, about keeping both girls in protective styles during the week and letting them wear their hair out during the weekend.

    Thank you for sharing your post. Please follow up and let us know what methods you try in the future.

  • Rayna says:

    I agree with the comments made about children noticing hair types. I don't have any sisters, but when I was in elementary school, I did notice that my cousins' hair was different from mine. When my younger cousin would spend the night, my mom would let her wear her hair out, but I always got two French braids, which I couldn't stand at the time. I even overheard my mother telling one of her friends that she wished my hair was like her two nieces' hair (one has straight hair, and the other has wavy hair). It hurt me, but when I went to school my classmates would always compliment me, because my hair was long and thick. Unfortunately, a lot of times we want what we don't have, especially while growing up.

  • Anonymous says:

    To anonymous 2:56 PM.

    People originally adopte hair typing not seperate but to tell if your hair will act the same in the same style. Just as we type skin, as oily, dried, combination, normal(no such thing), sensitive, etc (more adaption have been applied to skin). So she using it to describe that it very tightly coiled kinky with a "s" pattern while the other is coiled by but looser more curly than kinky but not jumbo curls either.

    Hey I think it better than say indian hair versus african hair because so much variety in each anyway.

    So don't hair typing as mean to seperate each other, rather to explain texture in fewer words. Plus most of us already know that the system is faulty since it not fully descriptive of the state of the hair just a more specific description texture.

    People use terms to better describe things it others that try apply good and bad implication. For example you placing typing as bad all together while others might just see it a measuring tool. Just try not to take as worse than it is anger just makes people hate and as the quote goes, “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”

    Also on a more humorous note:
    "Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out of it alive."

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 10/31/2010 @11:18. I think what you spoke of is a large part of why my oldest has hair issues. I am bi-racial and my youngest has many of my features including my 3C hair. Strangers do the same thing, which really bothers me. Both of my daughters are beautiful and I make sure they know it all the time but because of others my oldest still has minor issues. Because I have built her up it is better but I see it in her face when strangers flaunt over my youngest. I make sure for every compliment one child gets the other(s) (son also)get one no matter what.

    I also do not agree with the one size fits all approach to curly hair. Curly hair has so many different variations. I would say pick a few hair styles for each girl and let them pick which one they want.

  • JazBNatural says:

    I agree with Momma T, buy them books! You can find a lot of books and book reviews at Beads Braids and Beyond and Happy Girl Hair.

    And the mom Katie from Happy Girl Hair has twins that have completely different hair textures and she styles both of their hair beautifully and tries to make sure they both get equal attention and styling options. You should visit her blog and let your daughters visit it too, for inspiration to show that both textures are beautiful and versatile. She does a great job at not styling their hair in the exact same way, but doing the styles that bring out the beauty in each texture. That includes both "out" and protective styles for both of them.

  • Anonymous says:

    Boy, can I relate to this issue! I have the same issue with my daughters, but mine are at the other end of the spectrum, they're teenagers. With any luck maybe they'll read these post and see themselves, and work on themselves. At their age I'm not sure they listen to my attempts at boosting their their self-worth, although Lord knows I keep trying.

    When they were young, I would take them out together, women would appear out of nowhere at the store, church, the park, and perform a dreaded scene of ohhing and ahhing over my daughter with wavy hair. At times they would push aside, ignore or even worse throw my other daughter a crumb-of-a-compliment "oh, you're cute too". I cringe at the memory. There I was, many a day trying to salvage my daughters diminished self-pride. I'd end up reminding one low-life stranger after another of my other daughter's adorable hair puffs, long,soft twist…or even play dumb and say "oh, you didn't see my other daughter, did you? She's adorable too". It was a common song and dance that was necessary for m e to perform, not for white strangers, but for black women, the sistas, who should of known better.

    Sadly, I can only pray my daughters' relationship will survive the reality that sometimes black folks are our worst enemy.

  • Anonymous says:

    btw:

    I don't mean to offend you and I'm not saying your kids are conceited, I'm saying my sister is, lol.

    I just wanted to tell you my experience and how in my case, a little confidence boost turned into something completely different.

  • Anonymous says:

    My mom did that to my sister and I.

    My sister has a looser curl pattern and thinner hair than mines (almost like my mom's hair, 3a/3b) and I'm more of a 3b/4a girl with a courser 4a on top and a thin 3b in the back.

    My mom ALWAYS let my big sister wear her hair down. She put barrettes, bows, etc in it and all she put in my hair was rubber bands. I asked my mom about that not too long ago and she told me she actually envied my hair. While she and my sister had thin hair, she was able to style mine naturally and it still looked cute.

    Today, I don't have any perms/relaxers. My sister does, along with hair that has broken off and been damaged from constant heat.

    The reason for me typing this out is, don't try to protect only your eldest daughter from this problem. My sister claims she has "good hair" (…ugh) and relaxers make her good hair even silkier due to my jealousy. Please try to tell both of your daughters that their hair is beautiful, but not in a way to cause too much conceit.

    In my opinion you should vary the styles for both of them. Mostly protective styles (bonus: it's good for both of your daughters' hair) with a few fancy styles every once in a while.

    Also it'd be cool to find a celebrity or friend of yours that your daughter looks up to that has hair like your daughter's. Point out how pretty their hair is, how it's even sort of like your daughter's.

  • Ara-Zior Wilson Armstrong says:

    I say give them both the same options so that they don't notice the difference too much. My niece has very long thick curly hair. She likes putting it in ponytails but I explained to her why she cant everyday. It will get too tangled because her mother doesn't take care of it. She sees little Caucasian, Spanish and Indian girls who are able to wear it out all the time and she doesn't quite understand. But I told her that as a black woman you have so many options for your hair and older you get you will thank God for your hair and learn to Love It. So we came to a compromise sometimes she will wear it natural and out then other times blow dried (have it out or in her ponytail)or braided. Little black girls need to love themselves and it really starts with us, the parents and community.

  • Momma T says:

    I have 2 daughters. They never noticed the differences btw each other but the oldest did begin to notice differences btw herself and her friends. We live in a predominately white area and she began questioning her hair until her aunt got her this book called, "I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair!" There are pictures of little girls with all types of hair, who look like all types of girls. Anyway my daughter now loves her hair and thinks she is one of the characters in the book. I think when little kids get positive imagery and see characters who look like them it goes a long way towards their self esteem. There are tons of cute little books out there now which reinforce natural beauty. Try that, it worked for me!

  • Anonymous says:

    I HATE type casting our hair.4a,3c,4b like what the hell!!! I just see it as another way to put black women/people against each other. Reminds me of the anecdote that the slave masters used to turn the slaves against each other.I still see so much of that today. All the advices given here are great so I won't add anything there. Seems like I too will have the same problem but it won't be from me but from ignorant black folk out there. I have a 3 year and a 1 one year old. Since the younger one been born black people been going on about her hair and the "Indian" that she and myself have in her. I'm very good at shutting them down and I'm very strict in letting them know that I don't want that "shish" around my girls. When people use to ask my mom, "what you mixed with to have that good hair" Her response would be "I'm 100% negro", I have now adopted that phase. My mother would also tell me that when someone chooses to hate us because of our race, they don't care, if we are light skin,dark skin, "good hair" or "bad hair" we are all just the "n" word to them. Moral of the story: let's stop finding ways to seperate each other and just try and embrace each other. At the end of the day its just hair and we are all beautiful. Let your hair fly and be free!

  • Anonymous says:

    I think you should offer both your girls the same hair options and choices. We all want freedom of choice. (This DOESN'T mean you should treat them the same. I don't agree with a one-size-fits-all approach to child-rearing. Each girl's individual personality and temperament should be your guide in how to teach them about their hair.) Also, who decided that length retention should be the goal for you eldest daughter? Did she get to make that choice? Maybe she would prefer -if given the option- to wear her hair shorter and "out" than longer and braided. Or maybe she wants both! I wear braids during the week and then take them down for a braid-out a 1-2 days before I decide to wash. So more flexibility in the weekly routine might also help. HTH

  • Anonymous says:

    For different styles to use on your daughters hair you can also look into these hair sites for kids.
    www.happygirlhair.com
    www.beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com

    Just remember that protective styles can be fun and pretty, but just make sure that the girls love their hair. Because believe me jealousy and sibiling rivalry is no laughing matter. I've been there and it's not nice knowing who is the favorite. So just love your kids and all that natural hair no matter if its easier to do or not.

  • Anonymous says:

    Um, kids might notice a lot but they learn to hate or love certain things based on what they are taught by others. And it's a shame that the people who teach them these lessons tend to be their parents, family, and other black people.

    So my hair is not the same as my mom's (her's is much much straighter) and I was the only black girl in my class at school, but I didn't have to hear anyone anywhere telling me that my different hair was less pretty and I great up LOVING it.

    Also co-signing on the comment about length retention. You are teaching your daughter a whole other lesson that I wish black women would let go of with that explanation. Focus on keeping her hair healthy but I don't think she needs to be taught that longer=better, and I'm sure you've already filled her head with that to some degree.

    Another nice thing being the only black girl is that I got to grow up around people for whom cutting their hair wasn't a big deal. Theirs and mine always grows back just fine.

  • Anonymous says:

    Others have addressed this issue very well. I would just like to add, even as an adult I get the sense from reading these hair forums that some hair types are restricted by "protective" styles. I don't even like to use the term because it seems to make those hair styles seem less attractive than non
    "protective"styles and by association, casts the same shadow on the types of hair people say "need" to be kept in protective styles. Word selection is very important, particularly with children so along with the great advice given, Id also just recommend making sure the words you use to describe and discuss your children's hair with them are also equal and supportive.

  • Anonymous says:

    YOU SHOULD STILL ALLOW YOUR OTHER DAUGHTER TO WEAR HER HAIR OUT TOO. JUST NOT ALL THE TIME. SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO WEAR HER HAIR IN PROTECTIVE STYLES ALL THE TIME. WHATS THE POINT IN THAT? THE WHOLE POINT OF NATURAL HAIR IS TO KEEP IT HEALTHY AND WEAR IT OUT IN FUN STYLES EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.

  • Unknown says:

    I'll have to agree with most of the other comments. Just try to spice up the protective styles a bit with cute little headbands, clips, or flowers. That's what I do for my 8 yr old's (mostly 4b with some 4a hair) twists she wears Mon-Wed (mainly so her twistouts can holdup to the humidity here). She wears a twistout or pony puff Thur-Sat. Sunday is wash day. I'm more concerned with healthy/moisturized hair as opposed to length retention so my daughter's (as well as my) hair is out alot – we LOVE flaunting our natural hair! Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    All of you are right about the fact that they should wear similar styles. I agree with that. However, I just wanted to point out that 9 year olds DO notice hair type. No, they do not know its reference (whether it is a 2c, 3a or 4b), but they can obviously see and tell the difference between silky, glossy curly hair versus hair that is not. I know because I have a 9 year old stepdaughter that has noticed the same thing about my daughter's hair (her half sister). So, they DO notice hair type. But I have learned a lesson from reading this. Thank you to the poster 🙂

  • Unknown says:

    What's with the desire for "length" retention? As long as your DD's hair is healthy…who cares if it's down to her butt? And for the record, PS isn't required to keep nappy hair healthy 🙂 let your baby girl be free! Continue to take loving care of her hair, but ease up on the restrictions. It's pretty obvious (to me) why she's reacting this way.

  • jaimitch says:

    I have the same hair type as your oldest daughter and I remember growing up getting to wear my hair down or out was reserved for special occasions (primarily Easter Sunday Morning or picture day at school). Wearing your hair out was also a "big girl" style that I had to wait to take advantage of. Your older daughter might be upset because wearing her hair out is a privelage that she has to wait for while the youngest gets to do it all the time. She may feel like she has to work for the privelage while the youngest is just given that "honor". I have a son but I keep my niece for most of the week since my sister works crazy hours. She has hair like your oldest and it is crazy thick like mine and her mom's. Sunday nights washing, detangling, and styling all that hair is time consuming for just the one so I understand you not wanting to have to go through that with two. But part of the responsibility of being a good parent is that we always have to do what is best for our kids and not what is convenient for ourselves.

  • NikNak says:

    I have 3b/c hair. I remember when my aunt did this elaborate braided style on my cousin who had 4a hair. Then she did me (maybe she was tired, who knows) and she did like a few cornrows back.

    I started balling b/c it felt like she liked her hair better than mine. I get the feeling that's what your older daughter is feeling like.

    If you treat her hair like it's some hassle, or like it's a lot of work, of course she's going to resent it.

    Kids are VERY aware of nonverbal communication. You might think you aren't doing it, but she will notice it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of the ladies that commented on this topic. The mother should treat both of her girls equally and the jealousy will start to simmer down. If I were the eldest daughter and was forced to wear protective styles all the time, while my younger sister walked around with her hair loose. I would be jealous, too. Therefore, treat them the same.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would suggest that you pay close attention to your converstations with your daughter. If you are making a big deal about one daughter over the other, then jealousy would be the result.

    If you allow both of them to wear their hair down you are showing that a difference isn't being made. I understand the difficulty with doing so, but if you pick days she can wear her hair down it would be fair.

  • sarah @ BodyAfterBaby4.com says:

    I only have 1 girl (and 3 boys!) but I agree with the others re: doing their hair the same so it makes it almost a non-issue. Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Im gonna take a wild guess that your daughters have no idea what 4a 4b 3c 3b means. Seriously!!! she's not jealous of hair type – not a nice emotion to put on such a young girl – she can see she's being treated differently because mommy IS treating her differently. I hope you have not told her to her face that her hair type is different and therefore must be in a different style. Treat them the same!! Braid 'em both up!!

    I can't believe some of the moms on here describing their young daughter's as jealous – they're children!!! children want to feel like they belong.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can completely relate this jealousy. My 9yr old has 4b hair. My 4yr old has 3c like myself. My oldest is jealous of my youngest daughter because she has the same hair type as me. I try to explain to my oldest that her hair is great becuase she can do so many various styles me and her sister cannot. my oldest also has extremely thick hair so the styles look gorgous and stay for a long time. I let both girls pick their hairstyles but my oldest just wants to have hair like me and my youngest because she feels left out.

  • Anonymous says:

    To add on to the majority of the people posting my suggestion would be to teach them the beauty of differences. My sisters and I are all very different there are 6 of us total (including me. My oldest two sisters have a different mother than me and my younger sisters but we all have the same father. Our mothers had similar features but we all mostly took after my father (like most girls lol). But we range in skin color, height, weight, butt, breast, and hair. Our parents took the time to teach us the beauty of our differences, my youngest sister is a beautiful mahogany brown and does not scar, I am medium brown and bruise easily. With something like that said we were taught to love the things that make each of us different. I love my sisters mahogany brown skin because it fits her. I love my skin because it fits me. Teach them to love the things that make them each different. And I agree with the group, keep them in protective styles all week until the weekend…..its only fair.

  • Jeannette says:

    @Andria…the consensus is in and agree that treating BOTH daughters styling the same is key to keeping peace. I mean, who wants to be singled out because of their hair 'type.' LOL Please keep in mind that protective hair styles protects ALL hair types. I love Alta Angel's idea of keeping them in protective styles during weekdays and allowing them to wear it out on the weekends. It's a fair to the children. I congratulate you for noticing this issue and taking action now by asking for help. I wish you all the best and if you can, keep us posted. This is a very interesting topic.

  • Anonymous says:

    Perhaps you can level the playing field by allowing both girls to wear their hair in protective styles. I remember being 9 and I felt real grown-up like whenever I wore my hair out. Perhaps you can do a two-strand twist on both daughters and maybe allow both of them to wear the two-strand twists out on Saturdays, Sundays and/or special occasions. Also just ask the nine year old what is bothering her about her sister's hair. Ask her how she feels about her hair and her sister's hair. I hope this helps.

  • Dani @ OKDani.com says:

    Of course there will be jealousy if you're allowing one daughter to wear her hair loose and one is forced to keep hers in protective styles.

    If you treat both your daughters equally hair-wise you will likely find the jealousy is lessened (at least about hair stuff – i dunno what else is goin on in there).

    Put the 3 year old's hair in some braids and I'm sure your older daughter will be less upset.

  • Divafied Mama says:

    I agree with each one of you ladies who suggested that both daughters should wear the same protective styles.

  • Curlz of Luv says:

    I would have to agree with the other responders. I have 2 girls that are 5 and 8 years old with different hair types and length. The younger has 4b/c BSL hair and the older has 3c/4a hair that has just reached her shoulders. My oldest daughter loss alot of hair a few years ago due to exczema and medication reaction. It has taken along time to get her hair back to where it is now. Her texture is beautiful but she wants the length her younger sister has and is VERY jealous. So I rarely let either of them wear their hair completely out, an occasional puff is it. We research styles together and then I do variation of those styles on each child. Sometimes they will be identical but most times their hair will be a little different. My older is more conservative and older like to live a little more dangerous so I let that reflect in their hair also. As long as they are allowed to have some input on their style for the week they remain happy and I have a stress free hair week cause the protective styles only need moisturizing.

  • ThisOwl says:

    wow! look at all the positive and very insightful advice given. This is great! I agree with everyone! Do protective styles on both and let them wear their hair out as a treat. With children you have to be very mindful of everything that you say and do because we all know that they have vivid imaginations and so the perception of things can be interesting. Never underestimate them, they are always smarter than you think.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great question and insight. I completely understand your choices and with our busy lifestyles we want to make choices that make sense. Unfortunately, you are sending subtle message to both of your daugthers even though you are making choices that are good for their hair. Someone else posted to make both wear them in protective styles, then a day or two to wear down, but keep it even. Mix it up and lead by example as well. Good luck and nice that you noticed this now.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wanted to offer supporting information from another aspect. I was the younger sister with the thicker, fuller more difficult hair. I wore the ponytail and braid, and it was a very inhibited feeling concerning my little black girl beauty concepts. Kind of like, protective hairstyles were the only options for my kind of hair. Only back then, it wasn't about protective it was about bad hair management, and an avoidance of the time and patience it takes to comb 4a/b hair. My sister had beautiful hair and hairstyles, so, I understand the dilema. Wearing protective hairstyles, ultimately afforded me a head of beautiful hair. My sister, indirectly, wasn't alloted the valuable lesson of black hair maintenance. I mean to say, beautiful black hair is work. Be sure both daughter understand the value of protective hairstyling. So the older sister can be at peace with her hair, and the younger sister can have this understanding as well as give support to her sister, and maybe this can help. Try to have all actions among the girls actively express love between them. The older sister appreciating herself, will have her appreciate others, because she'll already be in the habit of appreciating. Let them both wear it out occasionally and feel free and beautiful. Hopefully your older daughter won't have to take as long as I did to realize, she always has options.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with many of the comments above. I grew up in a house full of sisters and my mother was the stylist. We all had different hair types and lengths (especially my mom who had type 3a long hair) but she tried to keep the styles as uniformed as possible. If it was bun day we all wore different variations of buns, on twist day, we all wore twists and so forth. However, each child received something a bit different that was unique to them. We all loved it. We never fought over who had what because in our minds, we were all special cause of the little bow, headband or zig zag braids. Basically, letting one child wear her hair out is like saying to the other, "your hair isn't good enough for that yet." There are many styles that can be done to make each child feel special and as though her hair is worthy. I understand that it might make the process a bit harder on you, but it would be much more positive for your oldest child. I also think it's great that you noticed this sooner rather than later. Good Luck and I hope you find a resolution 🙂

  • Naturally Zee says:

    I suggest lookint to sites like Beads Braids and Beyond and Happy Girl Hair, you may be able find something that you can do to both kids' hair. You may not realize it but you are treating the older one differently because her hair is different from both yours and her sisters, that could be the reason she is resentful. Not because of the type, but because you limit what you do to her hair and not the other. Now I understand that looser hair like you younger daughter's may not hold styles like braids or twists well, but they both can wear buns during the week. If your oldest wore twists, then she could wear those down as well, and her hair would still be somewhat protected.

  • Anonymous says:

    In a sense (and with all due respect) you are treating one differently than the other. It might seem ok to an adult, but as a child she probably only sees that 'mommy treats me differently'. I agree with the comments above. Both girls should wear their hair in similar if not the same protective styling during the week. Allowing them to both wear it down on the weekends would be a treat for both girls and should relieve the "jealousy" issue. Good luck with this 🙂 Grace and Peace.

  • SaBrina says:

    Yes you should keep both kids in protective styles, and if you can do them both in the same kind of style is great. This way the oldest child won't feel as though her hair is not as worthy of being let out since you have the youngest child hair like this. It goes the same as the light vs dark skin in the black community, one is not better than the other. Treat everyone whether skin, hair whatever the same, because kids and grownups pick up on the subtle differences real young and self esteem starts to get effected.So yes make sure that both girls know that their hair is good hair no matter the hair type because not one hair style will look the same on every head, but love it none the less.

  • Bee Michelle says:

    I don't have kids but I think that you shouldn't allow the younger one to wear her hair out if you're not going to treat the oldest daughter the same way. It doesn't seem like a "jealousy" issue, your daughter just feels as if you're treating her differently than her sister, which you are. I agree with Alta Angel, let them both wear protective styles until the weekend.

  • Alta Angel says:

    My daughters have different hair types too. My oldest is a 3c/4a and the youngest is a 4a/b like her mommy! I have "solved" the dilemma by keeping them in protective styles during the school week and letting them both wear down styles on the weekend.

    By the end of the week, both of my daughters can wear a nice braidout with no worries since they have been in protective styles all week. Come Sunday night, they are both getting braided up again.

    Now if I could only get them to stop fighting over pink vs. purple, Arthur vs. Curious George, and everything else under the sun!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    If you're allowing daugther 3b/3c to wear her hair out, you're other daughter is going to want to as well, that's to be expected! YOU should treat both of them the same, that way no one would feel left out.

  • Il était une fois...moi says:

    I think the best way for you to avoid jealousy is to treat your children the same (as much as possible). Of course she going to be jealous if her sister wear her hair out and she can't.

  • Brandi says:

    I can understand your older daughter being jealous, but is it more jealousy about the hair style or the hair type? If you required both of your daughters to wear their hair in protective styles, neither of them would know the difference between their hair types. You would just be requiring that both the girls wear their hair protected. You could also allow them to wear their hair out as a treat. I believe that following the same practice with both girls will keep the jealousy at bay.

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