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In a well known Eastern Ivy League university, there is at least one piece Of graffiti on the men's room wall that was written by a woman. I know. I put it there.

I was at a week-long summer conference. We attendees came in all ages, genders and marital statuses. We were scattered all over the campus, and I happened to be assigned to the men's dorm. There is nothing on the outside to identify it as men's, but when you enter the bathroom, it's unmistakable.

The graffiti is startlingly graphic.

I like to think of myself as sophisticated, but I was shocked. Like Everyone else, I think of this as a rich kids' school. I picture the young men of this university in dark blazers with button-down shirts, saying things like "Sir," and planning successful futures in business and law. How can kids like those produce walls like these? On all three wooden walls of both stalls were scenes I could only describe as vicious. In words and pictures, these young men attacked one another by name.

One could easily see some of the characters: Mark, the stud, his work unchallenged; Brian, the scapegoat, picked on by everyone; and the one who didn't want to play, his name carefully crossed out wherever it appeared, but not so thoroughly that it couldn't be read-Darren.

This bathroom was the only one on our floor, so there was no choice. At least twice a day, I was assaulted by images that made me an involuntary witness to an unpleasant drama.

The graffiti began to haunt me during the daytime. I wondered aloud what it meant. I began to mull it over with others. Is this a harmless outbust of adolescent tension? Does it say anything about the differences between the genders? Is it genetic? Environmental? Cultural? Is it even important? Obviously most graduates of this college go on to avoid criminal aggression, so perhaps the graffiti means nothing.

In the end, I never got answers to my questions. But on my last day there, I decided to talk back. What the heck, I thought, come September, these young men will be my captive audience. If I reach even one, it'll be worth it. I added these words to the wall:

WOMEN KNOW

that what a man fears most is that two women whose opinions count will get together behind his back and laugh at him. These could be his girlfriend and mother, wife and sister, whatever.

To prevent this, a man will start a war, beat a spouse, pass a repressive law. These things only make him feel worse.

To be happy, a man need do only one thing: Join the gentle laughter.

She will love you forever.

She will tell you that you're different from the others.

And you will be.

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