Dressing Up, Dressing Down

Am I dressed too casual?

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Comments (52)

(50) Anonymous, April 24, 2012 5:18 AM

I agree.

Where we live, people often make fun of some of the Walmart customers for showing up to the store in weird and slovenly get ups. Many women, even older women and heavy women, go around with sweats or skimpy outfits with lots of tattoes or piercings. Their bodies are hanging out for the world to see and truthfuly, most of the world would prefer to see a little less.

(49) Kathe, February 24, 2012 2:56 PM

Lori, I just love your clothes so I was a little disappointed to see what outfit you were wearing! Yes, I vote too casual, but only because I enjoy seeing other people's clothing to get ideas for my own. You have a beautiful wardrobe!

(48) Jack (Yaakov), February 22, 2012 2:59 PM


Yes, your daughter is right! Casually down the tubes we do.

(47) Christopher, February 16, 2012 6:34 PM

Comfort Counts

People are just to quick to judge others from the outside when it's what's on the inside that actually counts. I dress comfortably and modestly and if someone wants to point their finger in judgment at me that's fine. They still have three more pointing back at their self. If they don't like me just because of my clothes than they have more problems than I do. By the way, you look marvelous in th video. Thanks for sharing.

(46) Donna, February 16, 2012 5:09 AM

Casual Dress, or Not?

I feel that we have become too casual in dress, manners, addressing our elders, and our various governing people. People have little respect for others, their property, their government, and/or even for life. Not teaching children"to respect their elders," children have no concept of Respect for a HIGHER BEING to whom we OWE respect and awe and we treat HIM casually too!!

(45) B, February 14, 2012 6:23 AM

You look like you just took a break from cleaning house!

Anna, February 15, 2012 4:44 AM

Too Casual

I agree with B-you look like you are on a break from cleaning house or doing yard work. Hope to see you next week in your regular attractive, business garb. Dressing more formally implies self-respect and a respect for those we interact with.

(44) Shani, February 10, 2012 7:25 AM

bnos yisrael

I grew up more secular, and had a hard time with this concept myself however now I live in an Ultra Religious area and as you mentioned, people will dress up even to go to the park. why is that? because we are wearing our uniforms, just like your son in his white shirt and black dress pants we are children of Hashem, and we have to dress the part now that Kate is part of the royal family, she needs to dress it even more so bnei Yisrael - the REAL royal family!!!1

(43) Rosen, February 10, 2012 1:43 AM

dressing respectfully vs. rolling eyes

As long as we can teach our children to dress respectfully and modestly, we can hopefully reduce their chances of them rolling their eyes when we tell them what to wear and what not to wear.

(42) Anonymous, February 9, 2012 11:23 PM

I think you looked fine. Nothing wrong with a sweat shirt

I think you looked fine the way you were dressed. Nothing wrong with a sweat shirt jacket.

(41) Ariel, February 9, 2012 4:07 PM


Many young parents are very intelligent when it comes to dressing their children for school. and life. Don't knock what they wear. Three pair of jeans that look the same, three T-shirts that look the same, a sweat jacket, an overvest jacket to wear over it, 6 pair of dark, or flesh colored socks, will keep them looking proper through the winter. Three pair of shorts, three T-shirts, and flip flops will keep them proper enough, and won't have to be replaced for grow-room. like shoes. Times are hard... If everyone complies to resonable fashion, no-one will be able to point and judge one another. Is this not a better alternative, Or is it better to sit and smirk about children who's parents are doing the best they can do.

(40) willy, February 9, 2012 5:30 AM


I believe that an person should dress modest. while my daughter would disagree and say that an person should be able to dress how they want. I told her she was right but if you don't consider how someone else might react to your style of dressing you could be putting your life in harms way. dressing modest for me is saying respect me. as long as you dress modest your cool

(39) Anonymous, February 8, 2012 6:20 PM

Did this idea for "Lori Alive" this week sprung up from being in Israel last week? I listen to your weekly "Lori Alive" because of what you are saying not because of what you wear. I don't know you personally, this could or could not be your normal way you dress on a everyday basis. If this is normal, you wouldn't be dressing down compared to usually being dressed up. Kate of England has to change her clothes several times a day. Well, let's be honest, the general public doesn't have the lifestyle of Kate. Kate would still have her title in a t-shirt and sweat jacket. Sneak peak at home, bet you'd find her dressed casual, she seems like that kind of gal. Is what your wearing to casual? That's up to you to decide, whether it's to casual for you; it may not be your normal wear, leaving you feeling not yourself but pretending to be something your not. Were not Leave it to Beavers moms that were the 60's, the media decides the fad's to compare what is dressing up to what is dressing down these days. T.V. shows, they dress casual, then that is the norm for society in T.V. Land. The observant world isn't influence from the outside, but the inside. Dressing up or Dressing down, the example is of the Rabbi and family in the observant world. You noticed the observant world dresses up more, while in the park also etc, depends on the circle and the example their Rabbis and their families do. In the Old City, dressing up isn't the norm they are to casual? They are the ones to decide if they are dressing up or dressing down for the norm of their society.

(38) Bevie, February 8, 2012 4:15 PM

Alot of good comments on the subject. To over dress up gives the message of SELF IMPORTANCE. That's boarder line on prideful and thinking to highly of yourself or it could send off that message. Who goes to the gym in sweats anyway, you get way to hot in sweats when working out. If your going to the house of the poor, it's best to dress down. When giving speeches intended for the poor you dress it down. Obama, first President to dress casual and not wear a tie. First President to focus much of his campaign to the poor. Mrs. Palatnik has worn sweatshirt jackets before on her blogs and no one has said a thing. This time, she brings it to our attention of focus she is wearing one with the topic of discussion being what we think about casual dressing. Following dress code is appropriate. A standard is set and to follow the standard is appropriate where ever that may be. If Aish, her employer tells her she has to follow a certain dress code, then she has to follow that or her blog wouldn't appear on their site. A shirt and tie restaurant, you have to follow the dress code to enter. You go into a classier store wearing clothes not of par with the stores clothing you may be shun aside in service by those dressed in more expensive clothing who is working there. You dress up in expensive clothing while serving in a soup kitchen to the poor, that would be inappropriate. You where a $10,000 suit to visit someone in the average nursing home that would be inappropriate. You are invited to a dinner party and your host sets the dress code for the occasion, the dress code that is set should be followed when attending. That's why certain places we are going we ask if we do not know what everyone else is wearing so we don't walk in over-dressed or under-dressed for the occasion or place we are attending. Certain places the dress code is to dress it down, for the sake of the poor who attends, even tho we can afford to dress it up, it's in consideration of others.

(37) Barbara, February 8, 2012 7:16 AM

Very interesting topic.

This video really got me thinking. When I became religious, the clothing issue was a huge one for me. I loved my carefree, hippy style from my secular life. Once I became frum, I have always made an effort to keep my style, while keeping the halachos of modesty. That being said, now that I am 30 years down the line from the hippy days, I must admit that "clothes make the man." I feel very different, depending on how I'm dressed. When I put on a nicer outfit, even to go to the grocery store, I feel more dignified. Years ago, in baal teshuva school, a friend once said to me, "It's nice to look nice." I think it's true. I really feel better dressing alittle nicer, even though my style is still very low key and simple.

(36) Nancy, February 8, 2012 3:34 AM

Be Yourself

I think that we need not judge one another from the outside and look at the inside out. Hmm, you look just fine to me and beauty in is the behold (wisdom).

(35) Anonymous, February 8, 2012 2:20 AM

There's a happy medium

Lori, You know it's not appropriate, come on. I also don't even think the question is appropriate on a gender mixed blog. Wear clothes like the Rebbetzin you are. Don't worry about American dress down culture. You're still cool as a bas Yisroel and that goes with proper attire. Shopping is not so hard - go with your daughter; plenty of casual out there without looking like you're cleaning for Pesach. And enjoy the jog!

(34) Shani, February 8, 2012 2:04 AM

don't attract attention either way!

I agree that a Jew must look dignified and use even clothing to create kiddush H in the world. However I often find that people (mostly women) dress up to a degree that calls attention to them. Even if they are properly covered and modest, the fact that they are wearing the latest with every latest accesory to match, nails done, a perfectly blown shaitel, I think that calls a lot of attention to them as well. There is a fine line between dressing up and dressing down that is appropriate. To me the main thing is to dress in a modest, unassuming way without calling too much attention to yourself.

(33) Rachel, February 7, 2012 11:46 PM

Appropriate clothing varies with the occasion

Lori, you look great, and I don't think of a sweatshirt jacket on a video blog as being inappropriate. (If you were on, say, network television, I would think something a little dressier would be more appropriate.) As for contemporary society -- things used to be arguable too far in one direction (my mother wouldn't walk to a neighborhood supermarket in the '60s unless wearing a skirt, blouse, hose, and hat) to too far in the other (I used to work in Washington DC, and was disgusted by tourists in cut-off shorts and undershirt-type tees visiting the capitol city -- although that would be fine in a campground or at the beach.) By the way, Americans generally dress badly in contrast to Europeans. I have frequently been mistaken for a native of Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Britain, and Ireland, and I think it's because I follow the Orthodox dress code (longer sleeves, higher neckline, below-knee skirt) than the "typical American" (assumed universally to wear jeans and sneakers.) Re modesty: I have a real problem with Orthodox women in some communities going shopping in full-coverage robes. Being covered doesn't change the fact that people think of that as "intimate apparel". Part of being modest is not drawing undue attention to oneself.

(32) sandra, February 7, 2012 11:03 PM

You look great just the way you are dressed.

You look darling just the way you are dressed...There is no need for formality while you are speaking to us on the internet. Your smile, your warmth of character, create a woman of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual excellence. You are an educator with a lovely soul and are always dressed approriately.

(31) Kiki, February 7, 2012 10:50 PM

No stockings

Yes, yes, yes. I happened to go to the Opera last week. In winter, in cold weather - so many women wearing sandals and no stockings. No just young women either! When I was young, (and not observant) my mother Never would have let us go downtown (where the opera was) without socks - even in summer. One dressed to go downtown. It is a scary world these days!

(30) Anonymous, February 7, 2012 10:19 PM

I agree with your daughter. It has nothing to do with modesty or religion. It's just that, right or wrong, we expect certain people to dress and act in certain ways.

(29) Davida, February 7, 2012 9:43 PM

Are we not worth your effort ?

You tell us how special EVERY DAY is. Is the way you dress not showing minimal effort. For whom do you save dressing up? My husband liked that I dressed up for him every day. He felt appreciated. The same was true of my child raising years.They are also important and respected.

(28) Rina, February 7, 2012 9:33 PM

I agree with your daughter

I *would* have noticed it, even if you hadn't mentioned it. It makes it appear as though you're not taking this too seriously (even though I KNOW for a fact that you do) but it gives a casual impression - like what you're about to say is also casual. I would prefer to listen to a lecture by a teacher in a suit than in a sweatshirt.

(27) Roberta, February 7, 2012 9:32 PM

Standards and perceptions

Regarding your attire for this video: from my perspective you come to me as a guest in my home and as such have made little effort to impress me; perhaps from your perspective I am the guest who is invited into your comfortable place where you were "home" clothes and I'm the one who's over-dressed!

(26) RJE, February 7, 2012 7:21 PM


I agree with your daughter on this one. Yes, you are at home (I assume), and many of us (myself included) dress more casually when we're planning to stay home than when going out. BUT - you are in the public eye, and when you are presenting these videos, in a way you are coming to my home to teach me something that is Torah-related. So put a nice top on for the duration of the video. I cannot see below your shoulders, so it is immaterial what you are wearing there (at least for the duration of the video). Your hair looks nice (when you're at home, you might have it pulled back, out of the way), and you're wearing earrings. A nicer top would complement that look. As you said, a "sense of propriety," at least while you're teaching. (If you were teaching a workout class, the "sense of propriety" would dictate a sweatshirt or similar.)

(25) ARLENE, February 7, 2012 6:23 PM


(24) ShirlinNY, February 7, 2012 6:09 PM

Today's dress code has been dismantled

I agree with Lori in that the bar has been "lowered" - jeans, flip-flops to Carnegie Hall, and meeting with the President of the US is verboten - unthinkable - I think it also has to do with the decay and decline in mores, cultural proclivities, the ubiquity of rap, hip-hop slop, there is no more style or panache or elan existant in today's society - the very fabric of standards has been shredded to accommodate the standards gleaned from prisons - the wearing of oversize pants and wearing them below the derriere so as to expose stanky dirty underwear? Puhleeze - leave something to our imaginations. A little grace and style is needed for certain.

(23) Kristina, February 7, 2012 6:03 PM

A Telling Quote

"What one generation allows in moderation the next generation allows in excess..." that quote has always intrigued me. I watched the slide of the 60's start this avalanche in lowering standards, morals and dress. Here's another quote: "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do..."

(22) Suzanne, February 7, 2012 5:49 PM

As a whole, our society too casual

Lori, you are a beautiful women and would look good in a sack but, in this case, I think your daughter is right and that a sweatshirt jacket - while fine in private - is a little too imformal for your videos. That being said, I believe that standards have gone WAY DOWN. People often could look so much more dignified if they just dressed up a little more. I believe that when you dress up you raise your own expectations of yourself. Think of how school uniforms dignify students, it's the same with adults. Also, I'm glad someone on one of these talk backs pointed out that Israelis are too casual. I love them - they are wonderful people, but, as a group, alot of them could use some polish.

(21) shlomoh, February 7, 2012 4:45 PM

Fay ce que voudrais

Thank God we all dress the way we want to now, not how others tell us to

(20) Anonymous, February 7, 2012 3:48 PM

Dress up, Dress down

Lori: My husband & I like hearing you very much. Today’s message was interesting. I felt you were too dressed down. I am sitting in my home office right now dressed in business casual clothes. I’ll be making calls for a fund raiser and I want to be, seem and act very professional and I think clothes do make a difference. But I realize not everyone feels that way. Thanks for making us think & smile!

(19) Kibbitzer, February 7, 2012 3:14 PM

Dress standards on the way down.

Standards have definitely slipped very badly in line with the general trend to 'dumb down'. I'm in my sixties, born and raised in the UK but now living in Israel where the dress code is lamentable. Parents of a bar/batmitzvah on a Shabbat morning for instance will wear jeans and T-shirts. Back in the UK standards had deteriorated but not as far as that where those parents would definitely wear their best clothing. Going to 'town' in my youth was an occasion to have a bath and dress up, not any more! BBC RADIO announcers many years ago had to wear dinner suits that the audience couldn't see but it made the announcer feel the part. O tempora, O mores!

(18) KB, February 7, 2012 3:12 PM

Casual has it's place...

The line seems to be blurred between causal ( comfort) and impropriety ( Broadway show, White House visit, etc). Living in FL, my wardrobe is comprised of wash & wear cottons and sandals ... the ultimate casual lifestyle. However, I remember dressing for business when I lived in Chicago and the feeling it gave me. There is a huge difference between being pulled together & casual or looking sloppy. Whatever we wear... Jeans & a tee, slacks & shirt, etc. should be clean, crisp and pressed. Comfort can be cool! Clothes and things do not define us. It is our own self-assessment and how we choose to present ourselves, honor ourselves and interact within the world which shows who we are. Clothes are a prop, if you will. Consider these two scenarios: 1) running into a nice store to to pick- up something when you are very casually dressed 2) running into the same store more pulled together. How are you treated by the salesperson? It happened to me years ago in Saks. Casually dressed, I was almost invisible & not so when I stopped in after work. People size us up. Period. We are each so unique & beautiful and should shine every moment of our lives whatever we choose to wear.

(17) Diane, February 7, 2012 2:42 PM

Different times

I agree this is tricky territory. Our day to day lives are so different from our grandparents' and even our parents' lives. Women used to stay home 95% of the time cooking, cleaning, raising children... Now we work, go to the gym, drive kids to activities...We don't have the time to dress several times during the day to be appropriate everywhere we have to go in one day. I don't thinkk our way is a better way to live but that is the reality of our society. When we return to a simpler lifestyle we will have the time to dress up when we do go out in public.

(16) Anonymous, February 7, 2012 2:33 PM

I have to disagree with Jewish Mom. Wearing a sweatshirt to present your video blog does not lessen the impact of your message. You are a beautiful woman always stylishly (and appropriately) dressed and being a bit more casual does not contraindicate the beauty of your words, nor imply disrespect.

(15) Bobby5000, February 7, 2012 2:58 AM

Notice the old movies and portraryal of the 30, 40, and 50's. A husband might beat up his wife, a thief might rob a home, and one could even kill someone, but you would do it dressed in a suit. There was a certain decorum in those days; one dressed in a suit even to go to the ballgame. Perhaps blacks were not allowed to go certain places but we all dressed well.

(14) Anonymous, February 6, 2012 4:36 PM


For me, the way you dress will build the way you act. If you're dressing like a beggar, you act like a beggar. If you dress like a prince, you'll act like a prince. You reap what you sow. Since we have the chance and opportunity to dress up, dress up wisely, dress like a son of God.

(13) Jewish Mom, February 6, 2012 2:49 PM

"Clothes of Honor"

There is a concept in Judaism of clothing adding honor to it's wearer. honor, and weight and heavy all share the same root (k'v'd') - kavod, koved, kaved. The High Priest's clothing were called malbushei kavod - clothes of honor. Dressing formally sends a message that the person wearing the clothes is regal and bears weight, adding dignity to the persona. One is meant to treat others and be treated with dignity, not only between the sexes, but of course, this does have ramifications for male-female relationships. Dignified dress sends a clear message that is the direct opposite of objectifying women (and men, for that matter!). This is probably why it is not so popular today. So Lori, although there a sweatshirt is not immodest, I would have to agree with your daughter that as a Rebbetzin presenting on a video blog, formal attire is more appropriate. You're not out to be pals with your audience; you are out to send weighty messages that are better matched with malbushei kavod.

(12) smb, February 6, 2012 10:06 AM

A friend and I went to a community college and most people there wear casual clothes like a t-shirt and jeans. But my friend wore a nice shirt and skirt. She said someone asked her why she wears nice clothes all the time? To her though, it was just a shirt and skirt. :) By the way, I think you look fine

(11) Laya, February 6, 2012 6:39 AM

I wouldn't have noticed

I wouldn't even have noticed that it was a sweatshirt if you hadn't said something. People are into you for your content. On the other hand, we know that some people will judge you by your presentation. Tricky territory, isn't it?

(10) irene, February 6, 2012 3:46 AM

casual = self-interest

I like the casual clothes, but I think people dress them because there is a self necesity of feeling confortable, no matter if it is appropiate for the ocation, what realy matters is that " I want to feeel good, confortable". It is happening with all the aspects in our society: " ME first, YOU after ", "the exterior is not the most important, the inner is". In conclution, I think the exterior also talk about the inner and formality matters".

(9) tammy, February 6, 2012 1:54 AM

either way

Lori you always look beautiful.

(8) Anonymous, February 6, 2012 1:32 AM

I see both sides

Firstly, I would have not even noticed that you were wearing a sweatshirt had you not said something. I understand the concept of looking more presentable, as G-d"s children but to me that does not always mean needing to dress up. there was a time in my life when I chose not to wear denim skirts. but now being a mother of young children, as well as a preschool teacher, I have brought long black skirts and denim skirts back into my life. I need to feel comfortable during my busy day. I can't handle wearing the short black straight skirt/stockings/tights look. It might be true that I may not look at presentable as someone who is wearing the sweater look but right now I am not there, but I am hoping that G-d and His children will look beyond that and see the other special things that I AM doing. Also, to put so much effort on a daily basis to look "dressed up" is in my opinion not what we should be focused on. there is a balance or happy medium that is very individualized .

(7) TMay, February 6, 2012 12:24 AM

on flip flops

It can certainly get to be complicated. I moved to a small town and have gotten used to casual dressing. Being post menopausal, I like natural fabrics that breathe and keep you warm in the winter. Add to that that, I like wash and wear, and no ironing, and low cost, non-staining, and I like for the fabric to last, and there are not many clothes to choose from.I go for comfort and modesty. I personally hate to wear flip flops because I hate the feeling of something between my toes. I have changed my position on flip flops and become more accepting. I would love to wear them, but won't. In a discussion, I was told that some women have feet so big that flip flops is all they can wear. A little research online can fix..Some flipflops come very fancy, black, and have little sequins and sparkly things. It helps to have a professional nail polish job. There are even white decorated flip flops for brides to wear. They are made for weddings on the beach and are designed so that on the bottom they have mirror writing of "Just Married" so that one can leave messages in the sand that one has just gotten married, like the sign on the car. I wonder about the health of the foot.I think humans were meant to wear airy sandals On the other hand, I have stubbed my toe or dropped something on them so often that I should probably be wearing steel toed shoes. I do not approve of children wearing flip flops while dong a sport like biking. I think they need to be able to put their feet down on moving concrete if they have to, and it could be very painful on bare skin. I personally think high heels are unhealthy. They shorten one's Achilles and one is more likely to heave an Achilles Rupture as a result.Very high heels also raises the odds of that. Anyway I don't wear flipflops. On others, I like the sophisticated ones with a fancy nail job. I think one should dress up to meet the president,and that includes men too. .

(6) Michael Knight, February 5, 2012 8:00 PM

Your daughter is right

I agree with your daughter. Wearing a sweatshirt jacket is too casual for a public video blog. In all your other video blogs, you would wear more formal clothing that was more appropriate for this occasion. But let me be clear that this has nothing to do with modesty. This would apply equally to both men and women. Speaking and presenting oneself publicly requires more formal wear. P.S. You should be grateful to your daughter for pointing this out to you. It shows she truly loves you and cares about you.

(5) Chana Miriam Zelasko, February 5, 2012 5:30 PM

Not what it used to be

My mother a"h told me in the 20's when she was a child and would take a walk on the Atlantic City boardwalk, her father would dress in his finest clothes and even carry a cane, the ultimate in good dress in those days. I can remember back in 1961 when Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the US. He did not wear a hat. That was the beginning of the "casual" look in the States. Wearing flip-flop sandals is surely not appropriate.when meeting the President, but this is the culture of America now. I heard some wonderful tapes from Rebbetzin Dina Weinberg on Shabbos. She said that on Shabbos you should dress as if the GadoL HaDor is going to come to your house for Shabbos. .

(4) Sue, February 5, 2012 4:20 PM

Your sweatshirt jacket doesn't bother me. I'm sitting here with a football jersey on. You came to my home in proper attire on this sunday morning via YouTube.

(3) Anonymous, February 5, 2012 3:06 PM

Yes, you're a little too casual.

Dear Rebbetzin Palatnik, Sweats (sweatshirts, sweat jackets, & sweatpants) are workout clothes. I love you to pieces, but I agree with your daughter. It's a little bit too casual. I understand that you were a workout instructor & that perhaps sweats may constitute a large fraction of your wardrobe. A sweater rather than a sweatshirt would make you look like you cared a little more, & that your video wasn't just an afterthought on your way to or from the gym.

(2) Anonymous, February 5, 2012 12:22 PM

I must agree that wearing flip-flops to meet the President of the United States is too casual. In my opinion there is nothing inherently wrong with dressing casually as long as you are in the appropriate setting. Wearing a t-shirt with a slogan does not belong in the workplace, not even on casual Fridays. (Btw--I have a problem with the latter concept). I enjoy the distinctions between business attire, Shabbat clothing and jeans and t-shirts. Like it or not, we ARE judged by how we dress. Re: Baseball games and traveling on an airplane. I think it is perfectly fine to dress casually in those situations unless one is with one's boss. Btw--I love your sweatshirt!

(1) Alan S., February 5, 2012 11:38 AM

Mrs. Palatnik, you look fine in the video, but, your message has me a bit confused. I understand that issues of modesty requires you to wear a jacket of some type. So, if you are talking about the observant world dressing up versus those that dress more casually in the non-observant world, than I guess that you did not wear the most appropriate clothing for this occasion. This said, I had zero problems with your wearing a sweatshirt jacket in this video, and something tells me that you always dress appropriately for the occasion. This leaves only one question to answer: is a sweatshirt jacket appropriate for you to wear when doing your video blog (versus a dressier jacket)? To me, this sweatshirt jacket was not and is not "an issue" I think it is perfectly fine. Wearing flip flops when meeting the President was outright disrespectful, and had nothing to do with issues of modesty.

Susan, February 7, 2012 7:54 PM

Sweatshirt Jacket

Funny you brought it up. It was the first thing I noticed. It looks just like the one I was wearing when I watched your video! I am visiting in the UK for a month. They do dress up a bit more than in the states. Especially the shoes, dark pants. I feel more aware of my presence a little more dressed up. Black leather shoes instead of sneakers. I like the sweatshirt Lori. And I also like when you dress up too. Makes no difference. What matters is: Did you feel different


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