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I am going to tell a true story here, and one that I hope is meaningful with respect to the larger discussion taking place here on dkos as of late. It's a story of how I grew up, became comfortable with who I am, and stopped being chauvinistic and homophobic. A lot of it has to do with the lessons I learned from my wife, who is tough as nails, and helped open my eyes a bit.

Today, my wife is a pacifist, artist, and Buddhist. She wasn't always that way though. When I first met her, she was a martial arts instructor at a very rough gym in Chicago. The kind of place that draws macho, testosterone heavy, tough guys like myself (at the time). That's where we met. It's also where I learned an awful lot about women, and I think became a better person. A lot of that maturing has to do with her.

So anyway, I love to brag about her, and if you're interested follow on below.

Twenty years ago I considered myself to be a pretty tough guy. I had played played football, lacrosse, and wrestled in high school. In college, I played lacrosse. I had been a Marine and a paratrooper. I worked as a mason's tender in the summers during high school. My opinions toward women came mainly from what I had been taught by the men around me, role models. They were mostly working class macho guys, starting with my dad.

He taught me that women were to be treated differently. They were never to be hit or bullied. I was never to swear or make foul statements in front of women. I should open doors for them and call older women ma'am. Essentially, that real men treat ladies as though they are delicate.

From the older men around me, I learned that women were targets. In the lunch hours or roach coach breaks on construction sites, the men I looked up to told stories about their exploits with women. "Check out the ass on that one. It looked even better from behind last saturday"  

In the Marines, I was taught a neat trick. To paste pictures from Hustler and other magazines on the back of my map for "use" in the field.

Of course, I knew and dated many women before meeting my wife, but they seemed to reinforce what the men had taught me. I noticed friends of my playing the helpless and dopy part, when I knew they were neither, to attract men.

In any case, that is how I had learned about the relationships between men and women before I met her.

It was in a very macho and dirty gym in Chicago. I am not talking about Tai Bo here, I mean actual black eye bloody nose Muay Thai, UFC, and Boxing. When my wife joined, she was discouraged. They told her that it was a real gym and she can find the exercise stuff elsewhere. The gym owner, however, one of the toughest men I have ever met, said that he'll teach her, but didn't have time for weaklings or quitters. This was exactly what she wanted. I did not join the gym until several years later, when she had already established herself somewhat. So, here's where the lessons began.

Lesson One: Red Man
Over time, my wife proved to be a very tough person, and she developed into a very talented fighter (undefeated even). Her presence at a gym that was dominated by professional male fighters attracted other women. In time, she convinced the owner to let her start a self-defense class intended just for women. She typically had more than 30 students in it. She would often ask the male fighters that we knew to come and help out by playing "red man." In this exercise, the men would dress up in ridiculous red outfits, covered from head to foot in pads. We would get in the ring with a female student and act like we were going to assault them. My wife encouraged us to be aggressive and even talk smack to make the scene realistic. She usually chose some of the largest fighters (heavyweights), but I was the only experienced fighter available that day.

I immediately realized how different the gym (and life) experience was for women than it was for men. It must have been so intimidating just training in a gym with these macho and violent men all around. In the red man ring, the women became crazy emotional. I thought I would be sparring, but I became the outlet for all of the pent up anger, fear, and frustration that these women felt about their relations with men. There was screaming and biting and kicking and crying. Holy shit. After the session, I learned that nearly every woman in the class was assaulted to some degree: ranging from sexual assault to groping to men exposing themselves and masturbating. I thought perhaps that is what attracted them to the class, but it seems their experiences were the norm for women in general. It was an eye opener for me.

The lesson wasn't over for me though. After the red man session, I decided that I could be some kind of advocate for women, a protector. My further experiences taught me that attitude was really not much better. Women don't need super hero protectors, in fact that is condescending. That leads me to the …

FINAL LESSON
I am jumping ahead here because my diary is getting long. I will merely tell you a final story about my wife (still before we were married).

We were at a party. My wife and I had just recently started dating. Many of the fighters, male and female were at the party. At that point in time, my wife had gone from being the "girl" at the gym, to one of the most respected people there.

In any case, this dweeby jackass guy started harassing her. He was clearly intimidated by her. He was speaking very condescendingly to her about her exploits as a martial artist and telling her that she didn't look all that strong, how would she handle a man in real life? One of the male fighters noticed this and pointed it out to several of us. He just said "Oh, this is gonna be good" Not one of us had any inclination that my wife needed any assistance, every one of us knew she didn't.

Then, the asshole grabs her arm and says "For example, what would you do if I did th …" but before he even got the word out she had him in an arm lock, then she threw him against the wall and got him in a frontal choke hold. Then, she looked in to his eyes while he was struggling and said loudly "THAT's WHAT I WOULD DO" then she threw him to the side and said "Now you know asshole." The dweeby creep left immediately.

The guys around me started laughing and saying "that was awesome!" I had an epiphany though. I knew right then and there that this is the woman I wanted to marry.

I was not and am not intimidated by her, I am challenged and made better by her. It's been 15 fantastic years that we have been married.

So my lesson is that women don't need protectors, the don't need providers. They need a society that that views women who are resourceful, strong, intelligent, and independent as role models. We need to teach men and boys that those are the type of women that they should want to marry. Women who will challenge them and teach them something. I know I prefer the relationship I have had with my wife to anything I could have experienced with a Stepford wife.

12:39 PM PT: WOW! Thanks for your comments everybody. Sorry that I posted this and sort of ran, but we had a family gathering this morning and I finished this just before we had to leave. I am very happy it went over well. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for posting this. (30+ / 0-)

    Great story!!

    I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. A Lincoln

    by quadmom on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:10:51 AM PDT

  •  thank you for this especially... (61+ / 0-)
    They need a society that that views women who are resourceful, strong, intelligent, and independent as role models.
    thank you from this woman for pointing out to others what has always been obvious to me (and most likely other women, too... and hopefully many men such as you)

    There will be no humanity without forgiveness. There will be no forgiveness without justice. But justice will be impossible without humanity. – Yolande Mukagasana

    by kishik on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:16:46 AM PDT

    •  Thank you for this (18+ / 0-)

      And if I may add my voice... We need to teach this to women as well...

      So my lesson is that women don't need protectors, the don't need providers. They need a society that that views women who are resourceful, strong, intelligent, and independent as role models.
      So many women are brought up to think they can't take care of themselves.  We can and it's SOOOOO much better than looking for a new Daddy!

      There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too. -Kurt Vonnegut

      by brentut5 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:53:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  women who are raised... (4+ / 0-)

        to be resourceful, strong, intelligent and independent don't need protectors.  I did not believe that the sentence you included was required.  

        There will be no humanity without forgiveness. There will be no forgiveness without justice. But justice will be impossible without humanity. – Yolande Mukagasana

        by kishik on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:59:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, no. We all need protectors. We all (14+ / 0-)

          need people looking out for us, no matter what gender we are. Women should not be diminished for being vulnerable, any more than men should. If we validate women only on "male" terms- can she kick some fucking ass?- and fail to also validate both genders on "female" terms- can he/she be nurturing and compassionate?- then women and men haven't won. Women have just played along with the "male" terms than been accepted for the complicated people they are, just as we "feminists" fight for men to accepted for the complicated people they are.

          •  You have mischaracterized my position, and perhaps (14+ / 0-)

            it is my fault. I do not feel that way at all.

            I just think that if a woman chooses to be physically tough and is, that is a good thing. My wife is not a man, she is a woman in every way. She is not validated on "male" terms, she just isn't vulnerable. She just liked martial arts, and that does not change her gender. Why can't a woman like to do martial arts without being on male terms? Why is being physically tough correlated to being male by you?

            Why are nurturing and compassion female qualities for that matter? I can be compassionate and nurturing too.

            How about rather than defining roles like "male terms" and "female terms" we let individuals decide for themselves what they want out of life? Rosy Grier liked to crochet. My wife liked to kick box.

            They just finally opened the US Military infantry units to women, and I consider that a good thing. They will show thousands of doubting men that they are every bit as capable of doing the job as anyone. They'll join not so that they can be men, but because it is what they want to do and have not had the opportunity.

            If we talk bullshit about how they are being validated on "male terms," we will be doing them a disservice. That's like calling a girl who likes sports a tomboy.

            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

            by ranger995 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:02:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If Rosey Grier liked needlepoint (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CaffeineInduced, aratinga

              no one was about to give him any lip about it.

              Bello ne credite, Americani; quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

              by Sura 109 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 11:29:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Appreciation of the strong woman (10+ / 0-)

              Physically, morally, intellectually, or otherwise.

              My wife had to deal with professors who didn't think she could be a physicist (this was in the 1970's - physics professors were often "macho" idiots also). She got her PhD, and has for the past 20+ years been a staff member of one of the most prestigious labs in the world. She is also a fine musician, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is one tough lady, and after 40 years of marriage, she still won't take sh!t from me... :-)

            •  The goal, as I see it, should be (7+ / 0-)

              . . . to have your partner's back.  Either partner should be willing to help out in whatever way is needed, not out of some gender stereotype, but because you care about them and have a relevant skill.  

              My favorite personal experience of this happened the first time my  parents came in from out of state and met my wife for the first time.  I was making dinner, and my father was going to go out to pick up wine.  When he got out to his car, it wouldn't start.  My wife recognized the signs of a bad battery, so she bundled Dad into her car, they went to Costco, and she found the battery he needed.  Dad paid for it and they brought it home, but with his arthritis, he couldn't safely put it in, so he came in and asked me if I'd do it after dinner.  I said sure and went back to cooking.  

              A few minutes later my wife came in and asked to borrow Dad's keys so that she could make sure the battery did the trick.  Dad went out with her, not because he doubted she'd done it, (though her speed was pretty impressive) but so that he could go get the wine for which he had originally set out.  He and my wife went together to the store so that he could get her a bottle of whatever she wanted to thank her for the help.  

              Later that night, he took me aside and told me, "She's a keeper."

          •  I worked for over a decade.. (9+ / 0-)

            in a male dominant profession.  And over that decade earned quite a bit of respect from my male co-workers.  It's true, if they had my back, they also knew that I had theirs - and could rely on my having their back without doubts.

            But do I need a protector in my civilian life?  Ummm... no.  not really.  Because I can protect myself.

            and still protect others if it came to it.

            Do I like having someone there to help protect all?  Well, yes.  Makes things easier.

            What I expect from people (both male and female) is that if I need help on something I can't do, I'll ask.  Just as I will help them on anything they can't do.  Without a gender assignment on what can and can't be done... which, pretty much is similar to what the diarist posted in response to your post.

            There will be no humanity without forgiveness. There will be no forgiveness without justice. But justice will be impossible without humanity. – Yolande Mukagasana

            by kishik on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:25:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Balance (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stitchingasfastasIcan, LSophia

            I think Samanthab just meant that each and every person, ideally, should be balanced----an equal amount of kick-ass and nurturing.  And that we should all protect each other.
            That's the way I took it.

            Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

            by sendtheasteroid on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 02:50:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is an awesome diary. (54+ / 0-)

    A lot of men's traditional condescension toward women is directly fear-based. Rage at women who dare defy traditional gender-role expectations--and that rage is at a hysterical volume these days--originates in fear.

    Men don't boast about their wives much. The reverse is fine--expected, even, in many quarters--but admiration of women is too rare.

    Thanks.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:28:21 AM PDT

  •  I'm not a love story (66+ / 0-)

    lover -- at all.  But I have to say, there have been two love stories on this site which have made me into a believer of love stories -- yours and Otteray Scribe's.  Odd the similar backgrounds of the two of you.  Both of you also need to know that strong women could only fall in love, for a long run, with guys like you.

    Thanks for this wonderful story.  Blessings on your marriage.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:31:36 AM PDT

  •  Hey.....Your Wife Didn't Ask For The Fight (28+ / 0-)

    But she had it in her tool kit.  Very nice, very nice indeed.

    If you have sons & daughters, they have a great role model in their momma.  

  •  I've been a man most all my life. (30+ / 0-)

    Pretty much since puberty. I've said and done enough dumb things, and struggled with my inner idiot messages more than once. Somehow, I did end up with respect for women, just as fellow travelers, with their own individual strengths, weaknesses and skills. Some lessons, I thankfully learned without much damage.

    About 20 years ago, a music and poker-playing buddy of mine talked me into joining a Dojo to study Karate. It was run by his wife, a 40-some year old grandmother who was also a 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan. She was a good teacher, and an interesting person. One day we were sparring, and I accidentally hit her in the nose. (considered bad form, you see) The bruises on my ribs healed within a week or so. Can't complain. Lesson, learned.

    •  This seems strange to me the way you've (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midgebaker, victoria2dc, cspivey

      described it.

      If I've got it straight, you accidently hit her on the nose while sparring and she then used her superior skill and strength to deliberately beat and hurt you. Isn't that kind of abusive behavior?

      •  The way I see it, the teacher taught him to (17+ / 0-)

        be more focused and careful with his sparring - to not lose focus and cause an injury.  It's not truly an "accident".  It was a loss of focus, a momentary carelessness and it caused injury.  She corrected him in what I would take to be a quick and fair manner.  She didn't give like for like, or break his nose because he hit hers.  She bruised him in a way that wouldn't last longer than it took the message to sink in.

      •  When I did Shotokan control is part of the art (7+ / 0-)

        And yeah, if you violate the rules of the sparring getting thumped by your senior is part of the lesson.

        Cause if you do something stupid in a real fight, that could be a knife instead of a fist thumping you in the ribs.

        A bruised rib is no big deal compared to the lesson.

        You generally aren't allowed to spar with juniors until you've advanced enough that you can control your own attacks.

        It's a similar concept to the BAMM self defense courses for women who insist that the women learn to actually hit their sparring partners, as hard as they can, or boxing where being able to take a punch and stay in the ring is part of what it is about. "going the distance".

        Now I'm pretty much a novice at all this, I did Karate mostly for the exercise and only made it about halfway to brown belt, and each dojo or gym does it differently.

        But the principle that sparring should be realistic is common to pretty much all training.  If you've never been hit, you won't realize the difference between real damage and startling pain.  If you've never done 1000 front kicks, about 500 past what you thought you could do, you won't know that your mind puts limits on your endurance that your body (at least when I was in my 20s) doesn't always have.  And if you've never really punched somebody, no matter how many times you practice a jab, you'll probably do it wrong when you need it.

        •  I got thumped more than a few times in the dojo (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The grouch, CroneWit, Yonit

          But I gave as well as received when need be.

          Learning control means precision. If you can be precise in your strikes then one might be able to avoid collateral damage to other human beings.

          And it's not all used for fighting. It greatly improves balance and hand eye coordination which can come in handy for a variety of situations other than fighting.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:48:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You had to be there. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CroneWit, BMScott, mrkvica, pixxer, Yonit

        First, I was 44, 6'2', 180lbs, and in very good shape. No, she was not stronger than me, and when she delivered the chastisement, it was controlled, and well within my tolerance. If her fists weren't so small, it would have hurt less, but those bony knuckles got my attention.

        I was a favored student, and a good friend. Neither of us lost our temper, and in context, it was, believe or not, all in good fun.

        •  In chess, losing is harder for men to handle (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stitchingasfastasIcan, aratinga

          if the victorious opponent is female.  Some people are just naturally sore losers, but most chess players get over their loss quickly enough to engage in a friendly postmortem with the person who got closer to the truth of the position.  We want to learn from our mistakes.

          Because of our social conditioning, men are much more likely to be embarrassed at having lost to a woman than they would be if they'd lost to another man.  This, in turn, makes the game less enjoyable for women, and is one of the only justifications I can think of for women-only tournaments.

          •  Woman only tournaments for chess? Sorry but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stitchingasfastasIcan, aratinga

            that is nuts.  Women compete on equal terms in the olympics in some shooting events, why not in chess? Every woman I know secretly loves to beat men.  I bet that is true in chess as well.  

            Of course according to the main story, woman should be able to compete equally with men in everything.  

    •  Love this: "struggled with my inner idiot" (21+ / 0-)

      PLEASE write more about your journey in learning about your "inner idiot".  I'm completely serious.  Men need to hear from men who have traveled this road, and the satisfactions and rewards of travelling it.

  •  That was awesome! Your wife *is* badass! (31+ / 0-)

    I don't know why more guys don't understand that life is so much better with a strong woman. Congratulations on your 15 years!

    •  indeed, strong, smart women... (6+ / 0-)

      I've never really understood the attraction (alleged) of the "pretty little bubblehead" female type -- do ANY men really want to saddle their future offspring with only HALF of their own brains & etc??? maybe (some) men just don't think that deeply about what they're attracted to.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:25:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It takes all kinds. Being attracted to badasses (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ranger995, newpioneer, CroneWit, samanthab

        doesn't mean we have to be down on other sorts of women or men.

        They have their purpose and their charms.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:49:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My generation of girls was taught to be 'small' (10+ / 0-)

        compared to men/boys.  The teaching included:

        -- if you're smart, play it down.  Work hard in your classes so you can go to college and find a better husband (ie above working-class), but don't brag about your grades or let boys see, in conversation, that you're as smart of smarter than them.  Boys won't like you if you're smarter than them.

        -- Running, jumping, climbing trees, doing acrobatics on the monkey bars is okay when your're still pretty young (except you must remember never to do anything that might make a boy look up your dress), but by the time you're 9-10-11 you better start calming down, you don't want to be a tomboy.  Team sports are okay in gym class (which is required), but even the team sports permitted for girls (field hockey, softball, ring toss -- yes, it was a sport!) are a bit dodgy after age ~14 -- you're too old to be called a 'tomboy' and you really don't want to be called 'boyish' or (even worse!) 'mannish'.

        -- Don't talk too much, or talk about yourself, and certainly don't brag about your accomplishments .  Get the boy to talk about himself, get him to brag about his accomplishments, and brag to others (in his presence) about his accomplishments or even about his ordinary skills (he's sooo polite!), or about his interests a though they were accomplishments (Tom has put together seventeen model airplanes, you should see them, he pays such attention to detail!).

        We were taught a lot more, of course, but these are the superficial rules we were expected to know by age 9-10.

        •  I Never Bought into This (5+ / 0-)

          That meant I didn't date much in high school. I wouldn't act dumb or worshipful.  Sometimes I'd feel lonely on a Friday night, but then I'd ask myself what guy I really wanted to date, among the guys at school.  The answer was none.

          I loved college because I didn't have to act dumb, but it was also convenient that not everyone knew my GPA.  Very good years.

          Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

          by sendtheasteroid on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:07:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never learned to act dumb (4+ / 0-)

            and the kind of guys I've generally been attracted to liked smart women.
            I was appalled to see some of my classmates dumbing themselves down when guys were around. Went to an all-girls high school, so we at least were free of this during the school day. And it was the smartest girls who took some AP courses at the boys' school when we were seniors.

            In college, early 80's, there was a weekly students' night at a local dance hall, and my roommates told me not to tell guys who asked that I was a biochemistry major, but to tell them health ed. or something instead so as not to intimidate them. I never could carry that off, though to be honest, I didn't try that hard; if they didn't like smart women, I wasn't interested, and just wanted someone to dance with for a few minutes.

            •  Honestly, (7+ / 0-)

              it would've been hard to act dumber than most of the guys at my high school.  The rule was that brains were bad in either sex.  For a guy, just keep your grades high enough to qualify for sports. (There were a few rare exceptions to this rule.) For girls, "we know your grades, and you're too damn smart." (No exceptions.) Now, had I wanted to be popular despite my brain, all I would've had to do was become a cheerleader.  I refused to go that route despite friends' encouragement.

              In college, I had guys try to manipulate me into doing their work for them.  One guy, who looked like Paul Newman and knew it, tried to charm me into writing a paper for him.  I guess my little heart was supposed to flutter just looking at him. I just laughed and told him he was on his own.  

              So good for us!  We always knew who we were and never needed to "find ourselves."  I feel sorry for people who need to do that---whatever it is.

              Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

              by sendtheasteroid on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:34:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I had the parallel experience - As a grad student (5+ / 0-)

              on the first date, the girl would ask what I do.
               I noted that I was an inorganic chemistry graduate student.
               Almost every girl would then moan loudly - "OH I HATE chemistry."  
              One said - "how interesting.  I love science and try to teach it to my third graders."  
              We have been happily married 46 years.  

              •  Chem (0+ / 0-)

                My reaction to your being an inorganic chem student would've been to beg you to explain how to balance a chemical equation to me. I NEVER got it, and I just went back to google it, and it still seemed "by guess and by golly" to me.  I love the idea of chemistry but don't seem to have the brain to make logic out of it.  I didn't flunk, however.  I did okay but was afraid to go on to physics.

                Congrats on finding the right woman!  It just takes one.

                Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

                by sendtheasteroid on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:53:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I never bought into the 'act dumber than you are' (4+ / 0-)

            either.  But the other 'imposed smallnesses' above were pretty well built into the culture, and did n't begin to crack until the late 60s.

            •  OH, I Know (0+ / 0-)

              what you mean.  I got my first lesson in sexism in Brownies/Girl Scouts.  Cubs/Boy Scouts could have as many money-making projects a year as they wanted.  We girls could have two----calendars and cookies---and we only got a tiny percentage of the proceeds.  To this day, I give a direct donation to the troop rather than buying cookies.  They are ALWAYS happier to get $$$$.

              Way back when I was young, the Boy Scouts had a ranch somewhere out west.  We had a mosquito ridden camp in Lapeer, Mi.

              At a Sea Scout/Mariner Scout jamboree in Menominee/Marinette, one Sea Scout troop had a nice yacht someone had donated to them.  When we Mariners wanted to sail, we had to borrow neighbors' Sunfishes.  Yep, I learned young and have been fighting ever since.  But I can still tie a damn fine knot!

              Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

              by sendtheasteroid on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:59:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  This sounds like you grew up in Somalia, not the (0+ / 0-)

          USA.  I graduated high school in 1960 and the strong girls boasted about how many pushups they could do.  They beat the boys whenever they could.  
          And smarts - I had the highest grades for boys in my HS - but there were 9 girls ahead of me.  Two were really shy, but the other 7 had the "clique #1" football player boyfriends.
          It was the BOYS who got bullied for having good grades.  
          I know from experience.  

  •  One of the most gratifying aspects of my job (21+ / 0-)

    Is watching so many of the young women I work with learning martial arts, boxing, etc. ... and  knowing that, when they practice, their sparring, etc., partners are young men of the same age---friends, boyfriends, brothers, cousins.

    These young women are so wonderfully ferocious, and their male friends are helping them all the way. I've even watched as deceptively slight females sit in my office, sparring partners tries to launch a sneak attack, they take the pretend attacker down, and grins break out all around.

    This isn't the only pathway to freedom---not by any means---but I see such ease and happiness in the one pursuing this way, and that makes me happy.

  •  What a terrific diary! (22+ / 0-)

    Thank you so much for "bragging on" your wife. I can't tell you the last time I heard a man do that, which is sad... now that I think about it.

    My dad was a US Marine for over 25 years. He taught us girls a couple moves, none of which I've had to use, thank the Gods. My mother taught us to quite verbal, loud and obnoxious if necessary. The combination has been empowering. But no one would ever mistake me for a "bad @ss".

    My regards to your wife, and to you for "introducing" us to her.

  •  We all need protectors. (8+ / 0-)

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:55:01 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (30+ / 0-)

    I decided about age 10 not to care if I turned guys off by being independent, not hiding my intelligence and only respecting those who respected me.  It definitely made a difference in my life. Sometimes very good, occasionally not.

    In reading the experiences by other women, I recognized the relief that I had never been assaulted. Despite having a face and figure that turned heads, the only thing I got were date requests, and then adultery suggestions.

    I had one experience when I was 12 with my maternal grandfather trying to groom me. I had an initial alarmed response to the ugly suggestion and searched for an escape. I was at the grandparents cabin with a bunch of 1st and 2nd cousins playing outside. That thought led to the realization that my eyes were slightly higher than his. Suddenly I felt in control, told him I had to get back to the game and dashed away.  I stayed clear of him from then on and he never made another attempt.  

    Perhaps from that experience I developed a sense of caution that men picked up on and backed off.

    What has upset me in these discussions is how much of this culture is also promoted by Madison Ave to both men and women; but has not been brought up that I have noticed.

    Glad you love to brag about your wife, she clearly deserves it. ;)

    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:57:13 AM PDT

  •  I quite like this diary. (31+ / 0-)

    I especially like the part where you touch on the part that culture plays in our actions as adults.  You note that your female friends played 'dumb' to attract men, you note that males when alone spoke of women as prey.  

    This is important because that's part of the message we women have been trying to send; that the way things are now is a result of centuries of societal training.  That we were all unwittingly born into this mess.   That it will require awareness on everyone's part to cause change.

    Thank you.  :)

  •  Oh, I love this diary! (10+ / 0-)

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:00:18 AM PDT

  •  Nice thoughts for the day. My wife is the most (20+ / 0-)

    intelligent and compassionate person I have ever met.  I am fortunate to have my best friend with me everyday and see her smile when I first open my eyes in the morning.

    Namaste,

    "LC"

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:10:10 AM PDT

  •  Well, now you've gone and made me cry. (41+ / 0-)

    Of all the men demanding to have their voice heard in diaries here and conversations elsewhere, yours is the one I was looking for.

    You told your story, your process, your evolution. Not once did you tell women what their story should be. Or how we should talk about our stories. Or the hoops we must jump through to make you consider listening to us.

    As Red Man, you accepted the women's experience for what it was. You didn't seek to redefine it for them or scold them for being foolish or diminish their reality by saying "oh yeah, well I didn't do anything to you so what the hell is your problem?".

    The story you tell about your wife at the party perfectly describes situations women face again and again. Often, when that type of man isn't successful in intimidating with words (you talk about his condescension) he starts to become physical. I cheered that your wife kicked his ass. She is indeed a badass. You are lucky to have her and, having read this, she is lucky to have found you.

    THANK YOU so much for this diary. I have hotlisted it with a note to 'save forever'.

    Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

    by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:16:46 AM PDT

  •  Wow. I am just blown away by your (8+ / 0-)

    story!

    Thanks for writing this!!!

    I sure wish my X (who I left because of his very mediocre opinion of women which I only realized about about 14 years) had had this experience. I think it would have changed him, too. He is such a lovely man, otherwise.

    You rock!

    The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

    by cany on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:25:30 AM PDT

  •  Young and stupid is excusable. (15+ / 0-)

    Been there, done that - too many times to feel good about, looking back.

    Being old and stupid, well that is inexcusable.

    There's a short piece of advice that can be taken two ways, both of them valid: Don't die stupid.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:28:55 AM PDT

  •  My wife is kickass too (16+ / 0-)

    Smartest most capable person I've ever met.  She went to an all girls elementary school that emphasized leadership and her friends from there are, well, all leaders. Researchers, doctors, architects, executives, one politician. They found companies and nonprofits (my wife is doing both). And she is probably the wisest, gentlest person I know.  Doesn't slow her from making sure everyone is getting their jobs done though

    It is a different kind of kickass, but I know how you feel. It's pretty great

  •  I see this as a bigtime key understanding... (19+ / 0-)
    I immediately realized how different the gym (and life) experience was for women than it was for men.
    ... that you, as a male, convey to the rest of us men, many of whom self-identify on this blog as progressives, at that. You share with us an essential ability, to simply realize (versus minimize, victim-blame, or "man-splain") that women share a different life experience. Just engaging in this simple of understanding would help more men to feel less defensive, when confronting the very understandable anger and fear that women are very justified to own, when it comes down to the woefully lacking state of equality.

    Fantastic diary, ranger995. I hope it remains on the rec list for a solid three days, at least. I write this as the husband of a woman who is a badass in her own right as well. Her being this way makes me a better human and a better husband.

    Gods can do anything. They fear nothing: they are gods. There is one rule, one Seal of Solomon that can confound a god, and to which all gods pay service, to the letter: when belief in a god dies, the god dies. -- Harlan Ellison

    by bsmechanic on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:46:57 AM PDT

  •  My daughter is the same. (0+ / 0-)

    She had pretty good "jits" training. She said that her 250 lb boyfriend wanted to wrestle her,  and she got him in a choke hold in 5 seconds and he "tapped out." She also told me that when she was younger, a man got really aggressive in a bar and she knocked him down and broke his cheekbone with a head butt. By the time he got up, a barroom melee had broken out, he took a hard ass kicking, and everyone had to spend a night in the tank. Not every woman can do this, they are not strong enough, big enough, not athletic enough, all training aside. And there are situations where no one can defend themselves.
    But on the other hand, I dated a woman about 35 years ago, who told me she was gang-raped twice. She was entirely passive in every aspect of her life. I still have some contact with her, and she has spent her life as a downtrodden victim in every aspect of her life - from her years working in abusive waitress jobs to her two abusive marriages.
    This is why I can't buy into some of the recent posts here "Let me tell men the reality of being a woman." I don't like to blame the victim, but if you spend every day of your life being harassed, sexually molested, being victimized, your interactions are out of control, and that seems the cornerstone of your life experience, maybe you should accept some responsibility. The "All men are pigs" tea-and-sympathy schtick is useless. We do not live in Uttar Pradesh or Pakistan. By and large, most woman can make a choice of how they are treated. I mean, what are the options other than crying?

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:48:06 AM PDT

  •  Reminds me of an incident with my dad and my (12+ / 0-)

    oldest niece.  Dad got the girls (all 3 at one point) to take martial arts (Tao se do??).  It just wasn't the middle one's 'thing'.  The youngest was mainly following the oldest whom she adores.  The oldest made it all the way to 2nd black (by age 12 - now 14) and the youngest to 1st black (age 8 - now 10).  Dad wanted them to take classes to build confidence in themselves.

    During sparing the oldest A was against a boy about the same age, but was bigger than her (all 3 girls are ethnic Chinese - petite little things).  The kid wasn't pulling punches and kicks like they were supposed to.  A told grandpa.  Grandpa's response was for her to give back as good as she got cause if the kid didn't understand what pulling punches was all about, she'd teach him.  Boy, did she teach him.  Sent him flying across the room.  At 14 she doesn't put up with much from other people.  A couple years back a friend (male) of hers had been bullied to the point of getting a broken arm.  When she found out, she claims that if she had been there, she would have stopped it.  I'd like to think she would have.  You should see what she does to her younger sisters when they start annoying her......

    •  Truly, bullies look for victims. They do not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Santa Susanna Kid

      act like they do so they can get their nose broken. There are plenty of easier prey around.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:02:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shmeulman (13+ / 0-)

        It seems to me a bully did target your daughter despite the fact she could break his nose. Men who do that kind of shit think only of themselves and consider all women prey. In those instances, the problem is the man NOT the woman. Unless you think your daughter was somehow responsible for the situation she found herself in.

        And I will tell you that a primary reason several men have have crossed the line with me is because I am a strong woman they felt needed to be taken down a notch. Not a one of them was successful. I am still a strong woman. And they are still the pieces of shit they were before they tried to elevate themselves by fucking with me.

        The point of so many women sharing their stories was not to say "pity me! I'm a poor little victim." It was to shine a light on the fact that this is a significant issue and we need to start talking about it.

        Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

        by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:44:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No doubt, I agree with you. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Santa Susanna Kid, Yonit

          Some men actually look for trouble, hoping to get into a confrontation. Some are bullies, who only get into confrontations when they believe the other party is weaker (by far the more common case). This was the first case, there were other factors involved, the person wanted to instigate a brawl with my daughter and her friends, and was "successful."
          Anyone who does not know that we live in a competitive society, that there are confrontations and intimidations, that the weak get victimized by the strong, are completely oblivious or in a state of total denial.
          There is no amount of discussion or consciousness raising or anything else that will change this. Your point about getting fucked with unsuccessfully shows that you understand it. You don't see bullying because the bullies already know better. My beautiful, hot, smart, powerful girlfriend (thank you God!) is a force of nature, I asked her if guys come on to her at work and she said "never." You don't mess with her and it is the greatest pleasure for me to do whatever she asks. She has me wrapped around her finger without even trying.
          If you do not understand the need, or lack the resources to "harden the fortress," you will be open for problems from everyone who wants to take advantage.  I feel sorry, I feel empathy, I can do my best to make sure that there are laws protecting the weak and vulnerable, that there is a level playing field, but life will always be hard to those who cannot or will not fend for themselves.

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:54:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your heart is in the right place and your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ranger995, Santa Susanna Kid

            girlfriend sounds awesome.

            Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

            by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:59:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe I'm reading this wrong, (8+ / 0-)

            but your comment still seems to put the onus on women to have the right attitude, or the right skills, or the right je ne sais quoi to ward off bullies, otherwise you see them as "those who cannot or will not fend for themselves".

            Attitude is important, I get that. I'm kind of a badass myself. But the "right" attitude should not be a requirement for any woman- or any person- to expect freedom from harassment and bullying.

            Your girlfriend is lucky to be immune from unwanted advances, and it's interesting that you use "force of nature" to describe her. I've been described that way on more than one occasion. But in my case, I could make a freaking endless list of unwanted advances, including a very close call with rape, and somehow I don't think it's because my force of nature was just not powerful enough.

            •  I totally agree with you but I think (5+ / 0-)

              Shmuelman is trying. Which is more than I can say of so many over the last week.

              And many points in his favor that he clearly respects the feminine forces of nature in his own life. He doesn't yet seem to realize that there are a good number of men who despise confidence in women.

              Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

              by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:23:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I hate to beat a thread to death, but (0+ / 0-)

              Be careful, lock your door don't get drunk in bars, don't gas your car up at night, don't be naive, be a little paranoid. No one should be a victim of violence, there are tons of jerks, though fortunately most are just obnoxious and not dangerous, and they should be ignored. But in the end, onus for your safety  is on you, because who else is there to protect you?

              "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

              by shmuelman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:26:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oy. Would that be your response (12+ / 0-)

                to a rape victim who made the "mistake" of having too much to drink, or forgetting to lock her door, or getting freaking gas at the wrong time?
                Maybe you shouldn't answer that cause I suspect I know what you'll say and I don't need any more reason to be pissed.

              •  shmuelman (14+ / 0-)

                Even in this diary, there are women who are, and have been, saying that they are tired of living in fear, that they've had enough - as a man it has been difficult to read, much less comprehend.

                If you haven't read this and have a few minutes, please take a look. I wonder what it would be like to be a women unshaped by fear by Onomastic.

                The fear that so many brave women have written about is very real. I hope you can understand the disconnect when they see that you have written to them that yes, in fact, be afraid. I hope you can reconsider, not just your phrasing, but the foundation upon which your phrasing rests.

                Telling any woman who has been abused or violated that it was indeed her own responsibility, that she should have been better prepared or should not have walked down that street, or in to that bar, or parked in that spot, or needed to get gas at the wrong time of day... To me, these are all just variations of, she shouldn't have been wearing such a short skirt, and I can understand how others may interpret your message the same way.

                I don't know how many times it has to be repeated, but, in the end,

                It. Is. Not. Their. Fault.

                It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~ Thoreau

                by newpioneer on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:11:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  <<<clapping>>> (5+ / 0-)

                  Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

                  by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:31:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So not necessary, ExpatGirl, I'm just dumbfounded (7+ / 0-)

                    ...completely dumbfounded, seriously, that today, here, any man would continue to intrude with, they were asking for it...

                    Gobsmacked. I think that's a good word.

                    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~ Thoreau

                    by newpioneer on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:54:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yeah, (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stitchingasfastasIcan, aratinga

                      We should plan our lives around not getting raped because that's OUR responsibility.  MY GAWD---should I have to check hiding places before putting books in the book drop at the library at 10AM on the day it doesn't open until noon?  I DO!!  And I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO in a sane society. It's not my fault that I have to, and it wouldn't be a woman's fault if she didn't check and something awful happened to her.  

                      Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

                      by sendtheasteroid on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:43:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Fault fault fault fault fault (0+ / 0-)

                        What a cold comfort. "It wasn't your fault." I tell people to be aware and to be careful, and you tell them it's not their fault if something happens? Great fucking advice. Shouldn't have to be careful? Shouldn't have to look both ways when crossing the street? No one "should" be driving drunk and running red lights? What good is "should" when shit happens? Who is even talking about fault? Who is even talking about "should?" BE CAREFUL, BE AWARE, HARDEN THE FORTRESS. Take care of yourself. Who else will do it?

                        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

                        by shmuelman on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:47:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Your safety is always your responsibility, whether (0+ / 0-)

                        you're male or female, young or old, big or small -- and it always has been that way.  Our shaggy ancestors evolved into us by being always vigilant and capable of fight/flight/hide as the situation called for.  This is not unnatural at all, nor the result of living in an un-sane society;  it's simply a fact of life.  We were not evolved to live in a nursery, not after we grow up.  Do you think it's "oppressive" or "fearful" to look both ways before crossing the street, or is that simply exercising due diligence?  Preparing for possible combat when passing a dark alley is simply due diligence too.  This is not sexist or oppressive;  it's realism.

                    •  HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT IS WHAT I SAID! (0+ / 0-)

                      Fucking absolutely outrageous.

                      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

                      by shmuelman on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:29:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, the onus is always on women to act right (7+ / 0-)

                rather than men. Thanks for your support...for the creeps that rape women, but only if the deserve it by being in the wrong place in the wrong time. Ugh.

                •  The onus is on EVERYONE TO BE CAREFUL! (0+ / 0-)

                  You gonna be dumb you are gonna get hurt. What difference does it make about what is right and what is wrong? "No means no?" Bullshit. "No means No" like a red light stops a speeding car. You better take care of yourself, no one else will do it for you.  Do you tell your daughters to do whatever they want because that should be how a better world is? Are you kidding? Whatever they do is OK because they don't deserve to get into trouble? And if they do, it's not their fault? Are you kidding? Who talks to their kids like that? Who cares about deserving or not deserving? I am telling women, and men, to be careful, be smart, don't take anything for granted, and this is the bullshit response I get?

                  "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

                  by shmuelman on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:38:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Excellent advice for both sexes. I am reading all (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aratinga

                these woman beat up bully stories and thinking of men and women who get gang raped, or killed, by groups of criminals who are armed, often with firearms.  
                You can be the martial arts champ and one whimpy 13 year old who for initiation puts a 22 round in your skull from behind can beat you.
                Everyone needs to be careful, everyone needs to stay out of the bad places in town, and yes, everyone, man or woman, needs to avoid being drunk unless they are in a trusted safe place.  

      •  And what happens eventually to all bullies? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CroneWit, Yonit

        At some point they run into something meaner than they ever imagined themselves being and then what happens?

        Oooooh woe is me, that mean old lady kicked my ass, she scared me occifer, and I was just sitting here minding my own business playing with my pet hot dog winkie, when she attacked me in the park for NOOOOO reasons!

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:57:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I knew a Korean woman in college (5+ / 0-)

      A petite, slightly heavy woman, not at all what you'd think of as athletic or fit just by looking at her.

      She was dating a guy I knew.  He was drunk and got a little too forward..and the way he described it the next thing he knew he was flying across the room.

      Turns out she had been trained in TaiKwanDo since she was little, although her father insisted she focus on kicks because he didn't think it was appropriate for a girl to punch people (or damage her hands or something).  She managed to kick a 180lb man across the room WITHOUT breaking any bones or even causing much pain (although he had enough alcohol onboard maybe he didn't feel it much)...almost more like planting her foot on his chest and shoving very firmly.  Given my own clumsy attempts to master a side thrust kick, I was certainly impressed by the description later.

      He thought it was awesome.  I don't know if they married but they were SO's for a few years when I knew them.  I do suspect that his reaction to what she did was probably a lot of why they were still together after that date.

  •  I've been asked why my marriage works so well (9+ / 0-)

    and I've been proud to tell people that it's because our principle concern in our marriage is to put the other person's needs first.  We both try and help each other, be considerate and not be pushy and selfish.  We just celebrated our fifth anniversary and that was after five years of dating, so it's been ten years now.

    I've always been very proud of her accomplishments and I try and live up to her expectations of me.  

    I feel we've got some of the same chemistry as you do - thanks for the diary and I am glad to read that as a counter to some of the meta (which was cathartic for many as well).

    •  Yes that is so true ColoTim, That was the advice (6+ / 0-)

      my parents gave to their friends and family after their 50 yrs of marriage. Their marriage was very strong and always stayed strong because they both and the key word is both....put the other first. Mom and Dad says it works if both do this. Both have to be willing to be unselfish and trust the other. If only half the couple is considerate, kind, unselfish, it will not work. But if both are committed to being unselfish, generous, kind, and both are best friends..it can work beautifully.

      After 25 years, I am so pleased I can say that my husband and I are best friends, he is the person I most want to spend my time with , and we both spend a lot of time thinking of ways to surprise, cheer up, encourage each other.  

      I realize I got very lucky as my husband is so good to me.  He really does not think of what makes me happy before he thinks of what he wants.  I feel appreciated, respected, loved, and important. I never knew this in any other relationship with a man before.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Now THERE is excellent advice. You marriage works (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, stitchingasfastasIcan

      so well because you put the other's needs first.  My marriage works for the same reason.
      Also because we take our vows and personal honor seriously.  No cheating. And no threat of divorce.
      If there are any problems we talk them out honestly.
      Here is a little trick - if one of us says the other is stupid, the first one instantly replies - right, I am stupid; look at the man (or woman) I married, and this still makes us both giggle.  

  •  Great Story. I have one of my own. . . (8+ / 0-)

    My wife, fifth grade teacher, is a bad ass in her own way.

    True story.  Fifteen years ago, I was driving with her and my three sons (then ages 7 through 12) in our bad ass Nissan Stanza wagon through Beverly Hills.  A prototypical self-regarding bad ass, black leather, black SUV, 5 day growth of beard cut us off.  I pulled up next to him and gave him the shoulder shrug "what the hell?"  Seeing the three boys in the back seat and my wife in the front, he leaned across (both the cars had their front windows down) his empty passenger seat and wittily remarked to me:  "Why don't you suck my cock?"  With nary a beat,  my wife leaned across me, with a gesture toward the back seat and sweetly riposted, "Why don't you suck all of our cocks?"  As the light changed, I idled forward, the alleged bad ass stayed at the light still wondering how he had been made so small.  Bad ass, indeed.

    the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

    by Egg on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:59:39 AM PDT

    •  LOL, you wife rocks Egg, If we were your neighbors (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995, newpioneer, la urracca

      I would want to be friends with your wife. She is a bad ass.

      As I once said to a foul mouth relative of mine  once who was bashing my husband son....

      No one messes with my boys..meaning my son and husband.  If you want, insult me and argue with me. But do not be dissing my husband and son behind their backs. They are my people. You may be blood but they are my real kin, my real tribe.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:02:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love it (8+ / 0-)

    My nieces are pretty hardcore, being two girls at the youngest end of seven. I love that they're not constrained by being girls. They can kick ass and take names, and wrestle with their brothers and hold their own.

    The youngest would probably love martial arts. I might see about that.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:00:10 PM PDT

  •  'Bad-ass Women are the BEST!' (7+ / 0-)

    I want that on a t-shirt.

    This is a wonderful, wonderful dairy, ranger995.   Except it's too short.

    We need at least a few of the intermediate stories -- ones in which your bad-ass wife (or gf, depending on era) taught you something hugely important about Being a Person or Not Being a Jerk or about What I Learned Growing Up was ALL WRONG!

    Some of the most important things I'm guessing she taught you (or re-educated you on) did not have to do with the gym or martial arts.  We need those stories, too!

    You know, you could update your diary.  You could add sections on 2-3 of the most telling, important things she taught you.

    One of the most important stories (for us to hear, anyway) is how you learned that learning from her -- especially when she challenged your thinking and behavior -- was the best thing you could do for yourself.

    That's what I'd like to hear, anyway.  And you could still add it in.

    Thanks for writing this!

  •  I work in a heavily male dominated field (11+ / 0-)

    When we go to work related events, the men give my husband a bad time about me, because I'm tough, authoritative, etc. it's part of my job. He's learned to tell them he's not afraid or intimidated to be with a strong woman, that we make each other stronger. They shut up after that.

    We have been married 16 years, and I'm a lucky girl.

    Thanks for being a good guy too.

  •  I'm in love with both of you! :) (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this diary. I needed a little kickass inspiration today and you and your wife provided it.

    "This is a center-left country. Democrats can act that way and win. In fact, they must." -- Markos

    by cassandraX on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:13:28 PM PDT

  •  See? THIS is how you do it. (11+ / 0-)

    This is how you participate in a discussion about women without making it all about men.

    Thanks for your diary, I truly enjoyed it.  I especially liked the part about your eye opener from the women's self defense class.

  •  The Bad A** Wife's Husband (4+ / 0-)

    You totally get it.

  •  wonderful story (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, vinny67, la urracca, aitchdee, Yonit

    and I also like a tough woman. But there are also many other types of women and men. Whatever the relationship, we should be celebrating the other's awesomeness.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:43:45 PM PDT

  •  EXTREMELY satisfying. But women shouldn't have to (6+ / 0-)

    out-badass the men.  Rather, men should stop physically threatening them, period.

    I totally love the story and might have proposed at the same moment as the diarist!  I have a thing for tough women too.  My partner is a rock climber, not a fighter, but I get it.

    The unfortunate fact is that nature has given men a strength differential over women that is just insane.  I sit at a computer and type all day.  My partner is an accomplished rock climber and I'm still way stronger than her (not at climbing, that's for sure, but in absolute strength) despite having done nothing to earn it.

    I think she'd do well if called upon to defend herself.  She'd be stronger than an attacker would expect.  Surprise would be on her side.  But in a full-on fight with a man of just average strength, she'd still lose.

    True, if she spent years training to fight, she could probably get to a point where she'd win against most men.  She looked into it once.  She hates it though.  So do I for that matter!  I'm totally for anyone who enjoys the martial arts to pursue them to their heart's content, but women shouldn't have to hone themselves into action-movie basasses just to feel safe in the streets.

    Until we can one day genetically engineer this gross inequality in natural strength out of the gene pool, the onus is on men to not take advantage of it, not on women to counter it.

    •  No matter who you are, there is always someone (8+ / 0-)

      out there who can kick your ass.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:52:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ranger995, la urracca

        Those who could kick mine include (1) about half of men, maybe more, (2) almost certainly your wife, but unfortunately (3) maybe 2% of women in general.  The distributions overlap a little, but not a lot.  Your kick-ass wife is in that little overlapping part.

        I've noticed a proliferation of big budget action movies with average-size (and of course, hot) women dispatching rooms full of large men in combat... it's a nice fantasy, but it's begun to annoy me.  Somehow it seems like we're creating this fantasy ideal of a bad-ass woman who's nevertheless bad-ass on male terms.  It doesn't seem fair to me -- notwithstanding exceptional cases like your awesome, tough wife.

        •  I get what you are saying, and both my wife and I (7+ / 0-)

          agree about the hollywood thing. Why not portray real strong women in those roles? Probably because it is more fantasy for the men who make those movies.

          All I am saying is that women should be encouraged to be strong, independent, and smart. Not told that they are too weak to compete so they shouldn't bother.

          The more girls are encouraged instead of discouraged, the more they are going to accomplish things as women. Just look at what women athletes are starting to accomplish on the world stage. Give them a chance, let them know they can do it, and watch what they can do.

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:14:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I like Laura Croft (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stitchingasfastasIcan

            If only because the set for her home is actually the school I went to in Britain from 1962-63, and where my nephew graduated from years later - Dulwich College (founded in 1619 by Sir Edward Alleyn, one of the first Shakespearean actors, and the first to play the part of King Lear - history lesson over for now). I think she (or the character anyway) is smart, strong, independent, determined. Yeah, I'd hit on her! :-)  Of course, my wife would kill me if I did!

            Ok. History lesson not over! :-)  Dulwich is situated next to the old Canterbury Road, and in a copse of trees between two of the rugby pitches where the pilgrims would reportedly rest, in the 1960's we were still able to find coins and other artifacts from those times - supposedly from the 14th to 15th centuries (1300-1500). I think some of those artifacts can still be seen at Dulwich.  Here is a link to an old NYTimes article of a movie from the early 2000's about a "road trip" through that area, starring Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine: http://www.nytimes.com/...

          •  I am with you in spirit and almost completely (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stitchingasfastasIcan

            agree.  Strong, independent & smart has been my cup of tea pretty much from day 1 of realizing I liked (eww!) girls, in grade 5.  (Hi, Wendy B.)

            From an athletics point of view though, I think what we should be doing is encouraging the hell out of girls to pursue whatever gives them joy -- but the standard cannot be competing with boys.  Not after the testosterone kicks in, at least.  It's an almost hopelessly tilted playing field.  They shouldn't be on the same playing field.  But no woman should ever be made to feel lesser because she's the women's world champion, not the (men+women)'s champion.  Nobody says Usain Bolt is slow because horses are faster.

            Of course, elite women in most physical activities (even fighting, as your wife demonstrated so AWESOMELY) will be able to compete with most men, and most certainly crush amateurs.  Never the top men though.  Featherweight boxers don't fight heavyweights for the same reason.

            Anyway, putting athletics aside: I want all women to feel safe in the streets (and everywhere else), not just elite fighting women.

    •  Good point, although not recognized in this thread (0+ / 0-)

      I got my wife to take a week with Massad Ayoob, and then concealed carry.  
      She never has drawn on anyone (she tries to avoid dangerous parts of town, drinking with strangers, etc), but even the most careful CAN get attacked.
      Do martial arts if you enjoy it, but to defend yourself against serious attack, learn to use your concealed and licensed firearm.  
      God made women smaller, but Glock made them equal.  

    •  Not so unequal (0+ / 0-)

      There's not so much difference in physical strength between men and women as we've been taught to think.  Yes, men tend to have greater upper-body strength and women tend to have greater lower-body strength, but when both sexes are raised with the same diet, exercise, and expectations, there's far more overlap between the two than difference.  

      We haven't seen much of this in modern society because so much of the world has been so thoroughly sexist for so long, but (in the western world, at any rate) this is beginning to change.  Search the internet, and you'll see examples of women body-builders (one of them no less than 64 years old!) with musculature that would match Schwartzenegger in his competition days.

  •  Can I just say that I am shaking my head (11+ / 0-)

    at the number of men who, and I am paraphrasing here, said "fuck yeah!" and "this is the only diary I have cared to read" and "this is the only diary I am prepared to uprate" and "how dare anyone try to silence me" in regards to multiple diaries saying that men were being unfairly maligned by being asked to listen and not voice an opinion. But this, the best and virtually only male testimony to date, has had less than 60 comments five hours after posting.

    Yeah. The real problem for those men wasn't that their voices weren't being heard, it was that women (or people they perceived to be women in the case of EV) said "let us talk".

    Thanks again Ranger. I honestly love this diary. But the fact that the outraged aren't participating just goes to show the true source of their outrage.

    Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

    by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:45:45 PM PDT

    •  With 89 comment now, I'm a little uneasy (7+ / 0-)

      at how many of the mens' 'Yay!' comments about the women they know are about how a woman/women they know can win a physical fight.

      There are lots of ways of being 'bad-ass' or 'kick-ass' besides physical fighting.  What about reasoning skills, or skills in argumentation, for example.

      •  I've noticed that too. (11+ / 0-)

        Apparently, the solution to violence against women in the minds of some is for women to engage men in physical combat. I can't help but think, great, but what if we lose? To the victor go the spoils? We already fight like hell against rape etc and all too often lose. And doesn't it go against the central message that men have no business trying to overpower women in the first place?

        I know that isn't what this diary was trying to say, however. And I personally think this diary sets an incredible example of a productive way for men to participate in the conversation.

        But I hear what you are saying and it is concerning. I am really glad to be hearing it though. There is nothing we can do with condescension. We can do something with this.

        Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

        by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:12:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is not at all what I meant by this diary. (10+ / 0-)

          What I meant is simply to relay how my attitudes towards women changed because of these experiences.

          My wife is now a pacifist and just a tough as ever, but in a different way.

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:22:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Believe me, I know that. (10+ / 0-)

            This diary is the best male perspective I have seen on the subject. You are cheering strong, empowered women when a lot of men seek to diminish us.

            I genuinely love every single thing you have said here.

            Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

            by ExpatGirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:29:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Upthread, I had used the word "badass" (5+ / 0-)

              to describe my wife, only in different fashion. By no means did I intend to imply that, like the diarist, my partner is capable of inflicting that level of physical force upon anyone. She is not.

              But my wife is a badass in many other aspects, the biggest of which is that she has survived horrific abuse at the hands of both family members and former partners, has been harassed at work for just being a woman, and has fought her way through ptsd symptoms to this day.

              It was with the help of friends that my wife was able to escape from her most recent partner over four years ago, an all-phase abuser who had in essence held her hostage. And my beautiful partner has come out of this to relocate back to the U.S., and in the process meeting supportive new friends, while starting her own business. I now assist her with this work, and it provides us a modest yet steady income.

              So I guess I am trying to say that I follow you, ExpatGirl, from the point you made in your original thread comment, to now. As a male who read this diary and enthusiastically recommended it, I admittedly relish the notion of a male perpetrator getting back, and in his face, all the abuse he has dished out, by a would-be-victim. But as a solution to the problem of rape against women? Certainly not. The onus of that falls on men, to call out abusive behavior every time it happens, whether it is an actual incident of rape, or an inappropriate catcall or whistle. Let such men know that this is not OK.

              Gods can do anything. They fear nothing: they are gods. There is one rule, one Seal of Solomon that can confound a god, and to which all gods pay service, to the letter: when belief in a god dies, the god dies. -- Harlan Ellison

              by bsmechanic on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:35:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You veered away from your thesis (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shaharazade, Miz Trom

            and it's your thesis that both the men and the women need  to hear.

            Here's how you laid out your thesis:

            I am going to tell a true story here, and one that I hope is meaningful with respect to the larger discussion taking place here on dkos as of late. It's a story of how I grew up, became comfortable with who I am, and stopped being chauvinistic and homophobic. A lot of it has to do with the lessons I learned from my wife, who is tough as nails, and helped open my eyes a bit.
            You grew up = stopped being chauvinistic and homophobic because of lessons learned from your wife.

            We need to know, 'What lessons?'

            We need to know, 'How did she make you learn?'  (I say 'make you learn' rather than 'teach' because the lessons your talking about usually require the woman to make repeated applications of that metaphorical 2x4, over years.)

            Where did you begin your journey?  How did you describe your 'before' state of being not-grown-up, chauvinistic and homophobic?

            He [father] taught me that women were to be treated differently. They were never to be hit or bullied. I was never to swear or make foul statements in front of women. I should open doors for them and call older women ma'am. Essentially, that real men treat ladies as though they are delicate.

            From the older men around me, I learned that women were targets. In the lunch hours or roach coach breaks on construction sites, the men I looked up to told stories about their exploits with women. "Check out the ass on that one. It looked even better from behind last saturday"  

            [...]

             that is how I had learned about the relationships between men and women before I met her.

            Before you met your wife, you believed what all men are taught to believe about the relationships between men and women.  You believed the Madonna/Whore myth, in which anyone not male-anointed as a Madonna is a Whore -- and a Target.

            And I would bet good green money at long odds that, if you had expanded that paragraph about behavior at the worksite, it would have included rating women (Targets) on a scale of 1-10, with sub-analyses of body parts adding up to the score (ie 'legs are a 6, that ass and that rack are both at least 8s, face is a 4 but what the hell, I can always put a paper bag over her head' (guffaws all around)).

            And I would bet that, if not at the worksite then later, over beers at the bar,small bunches of guys would huddle around guys who had recent Bagged a Great Score, or who Scored often, begging for tips.  ('How'd ya do it, Archie?  That babe was hot!  How'dja get her to go home with you?')  And Archie would say, 'not so hard, really.  First, get 'em to laugh, early.  If they brush you off, turn it around against yourself and make it into a joke about yourself.  Get 'em to laugh, they relax a little, you can keep talking.  Ask 'em about themselves -- act like you're interested in them 'as a person'.  They eat that shit up.  Get 'em to tell you more about something they're good at, or know a lot about, then act all impressed and interested.  And all the time, see, all the time she's talking, she's telling you about herself, so you can figure out the things she likes to hear.  And try to make a tiny little touch, early on -- say, 'excuse me' and pick a thread off her sleeve, or brush her arm while you're reaching for the salt then pull back fast, all apologetic; if you can work in something about 'respecting your boundaries', that's great.  See, this is what you're working toward:  If you can make them believe that you're a nice guy who's not just after her ass, that you like and respect her as a person, then you're more than halfway there.  Then you just keep doing more of the same, and when she asks you test questions, just keep telling her what she wants to hear.'

            'That's great, Archie.  But what about when she says something like, 'All men are jerks and treat women like dirt', or 'All men just think with their dicks and only want to get into your pants' or 'All men a just chauvinist pigs who'll say anything to get laid'?

            'Simple, Tom.  Just look all hurt and offended and say:  'Not all men.  Not me.'  They'll think they've hurt your feelings and say, 'Oh, of course not, I didn't mean you, but most men.'  Or, if they stick with it and argue the point, keep being all hurt and offended and say, 'Have I acted like that with you?  Haven't I been nice and respectful with you all evening?'  Play it right, and not only will she apologize for lumping you in with 'those men', you will have upped your chances for getting laid because now she feels guilty that she's hurt your feelings.'

            And that's The Game.  That's The Game that 'Real Men' play, and teach to each upcoming generation of 'Real Men'.  Among men, it's supposed to be this Big Secret not to be spoken of to women (or it was in my day), but let's face it, that cat is out of the bag, and has been for a long time.

            And this is The Game that has now become a monetized sub-culture among Pick-Up Artists (PUA).  Because this is the Age of the Internet, that monetization means that now, the whole rule-book and procedure manual is online, for anyone to read.  And The Game, which always reduced women to objects, targets has now been pumped full of and shored up by well-developed ideologies of genuine hate for women, all available online.

            And this is the misogyny women cried out against in YesAllWomen.  And far too many men replied 'NotAllMen'; not me'.

            ALL men are born into, and raised in the world where The Game rules.  So -- yes, all men.

            You started out to write how your wife helped you learn your way out of the game and "grow up", ranger995.  Then you left those lessons out.

            When you, and many more men, can talk and write about how you grew out of The Game, you will change the world.

            •  Crone totally misses the point. Very few men are (0+ / 0-)

              "pick up artists".  The majority of us are loving and faithful husbands, who despise the frat boy pick up artist behavior.  And do not appreciate being lumped with jerks.

              •  I learned that script from husbands/fathers (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kfunk937

                that I worked with in the 70s.

                My comment was part of a sub-thread in which some people (including myself) said they felt the thread, which had become to be all about women who are as physically tough as really tough males, when ranger995's thesis statements had set us up to expect more in the way of men's stories about how women (wives, gfs) had taught the men how to break out of their misogynist upbringing and "grow up".  The author had apparently written some stories about how his wife had helped him do that, but had edited them out.

                Writing about those lesson would have meant that the Author would have had to write about his 'before wifely improvement' self, which would have included un-learning the cultural conditioning of seeing (non-Madonna) women as Targets.  Knowing that men (of my generation, at least) were conditioned to 'Don't Tell Women Our Sekrit Rules', I thought I'd let it be know that -- surprise, guys -- women already know.

                So I wrote:

                Before you met your wife, you believed what all men are taught to believe about the relationships between men and women.  You believed the Madonna/Whore myth, in which anyone not male-anointed as a Madonna is a Whore -- and a Target.
                The Game, as I was introduced to it in the workplace in the 70s --
                included rating women (Targets) on a scale of 1-10, with sub-analyses of body parts adding up to the score (ie 'legs are a 6, that ass and that rack are both at least 8s, face is a 4 but what the hell, I can always put a paper bag over her head' (guffaws all around)).
                As a young woman, I spent every minute of my six-day workweek with 3 (later 4) men -- my boss, in his forties, and co-workers in their 20s -- who played the Body-Part Rating Game avidly, using female passers-by and customers (after they had left the store) as grist for their mill.  As time went by, I made a point of asking each one, separately, more about this Rating Game.  Specifically, I asked if this game was something that only these guys did in this store, or was it done more widely.  Their answer, to a man, was 'Everybody does it.  We all do it. Get a few men together, and after the weather and sports talk, maybe somebody will have a story to tell about some Score he made since last time, but sooner or later we all get around to this.'  The men they were referring to were all respectable, employed, generally church-going husbands and fathers.  They all made the point that one main rule was 'Don't Tell the Women', so I asked them why, if it was supposed to be secret from women, they made no bones about playing the game in front of me (and other young women, hired later).  Their replies, when deciphered, came down to:  since I fell into neither the Wives/Madonna category nor the Target category (since, as a co-worker, I was considered more-or-less 'equal', a kind of honorary sister), it didn't matter if I knew.  (In fact, they tried to co-opt me, as a 'non-player', into alerting them when a 7 or above came into the store.)

                The whole 'Archie' dialogue is based on what amounted to teaching sessions arranged for a new, college-age male employee -- the boss' daughter's boyfriend! -- when a former employee and Legendary Scorer A4 (his real nickname) came to town for an extended visit.  Visits during the store's quite times were arranged, and all the men gathered around, leaning forward eagerly in their chairs as A4 regaled them with the stores of his travels ( . . . then there was this girl in Panama, legs up to here! . . ..)  

                'But tell us how you do it, A, tell us what you do, do you just go into a bar or see a girl somewhere and go up and start talking, or what?'  Thus began the A4 Lectures on Skirt-Chasing, presented for the edification of the boss' future son-in-law.

                And even if you, deh55, did not play the PUA Game, you know it well enough to have a common name for it -- 'the frat boy PUA' game.  And whether or not you or any other individual man has played this game, you have all been raised in it as the strongest cultural model of What A Real Man Does.

                The beginning of ranger995's diary promised the reader that they would learn how he learned his way out of this, and other forms of Malignant Cultural Misogyny, but his diary ended up omitting any form of those lessons -- which is really regrettable, since we need those stories to be told by men.

                And your comment, deh55, is one of many perfect examples why, when men say 'Not All Men/Not Me', women roll their eyes and say, 'Yeah, right!'

        •  Oh okay. Then we give gold stars out to men (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CroneWit

          that are kinda, sorta trying, rather than men who are willing to challenge themselves enough to listen and absorb what women who don't meet his standards are saying and thinking. That doesn't work for me.

  •  Thank you for telling this story. (6+ / 0-)

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:45:47 PM PDT

  •  wish i could take her self defense course!!! (4+ / 0-)

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:59:02 PM PDT

  •  My self defense class (6+ / 0-)

    consisted of all professional women at a time when we had to prove ourselves competent several times a day.

    The first class, we got in the circle (outdoor class) with a large man dressed in the padding you described.  And we whaled on the poor nice man who was a volunteer.  We let him have it.

    He told the instructor that he thought this was the first class, not the final exam class, where we had to demonstrate the nasty tricks we learned.  She told him we were all professional women, working in male dominated fields.  We had to fight all day every day for every single thing we had.

    At graduation, we weren't able to find a volunteer to pummel so we could show off what we had learned.  The instructor said that the word got out that we were snake mean to begin with and everybody figured we were probably much worse after she got done with us.

    That made me proud, pudgy yuppie that I was.

  •  Strong diary, exceptional woman, excellent man. (7+ / 0-)

    I throughly enjoyed this...besides being well-written, the chronicle of one whose attitudes changed ( no easy thing in our society) was an informative pleasure for this woman to read.

  •  that's great. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vinny67, ExpatGirl

    Women and men who are maybe not so strong or not so smart are also valuable and worthy of respect.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:56:53 PM PDT

  •  I've often thought (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Black Max, Themistoclea

    That the best thing we can teach our female children is how to be lethal. Lethal doesn't take just strength, but brains.

    Because once the 'bad guy' has to think -- is this worth dying for?   Maybe he quietly goes away.

    Democracy, if done properly, is rude, messy, and loud

    by allensl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:16:47 PM PDT

    •  As long as being lethal doesn't involve guns. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMScott, WakeUpNeo

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:38:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ranger - you would forbid women to use the best (0+ / 0-)

        self-defense weapon available, the concealed hand gun?  For shame.
        MANY rapists, muggers, etc. attack with firearms.  
        Women should be able to defend themselves.  
        So should men.  

        •  I would rather all people be smart and aware than (0+ / 0-)

          fearful cowards that need to carry guns around. The shame is in people who need crutches and violence to make up for their weaknesses.

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:43:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "fearful cowards"? "crutches"? (0+ / 0-)

            I'd say that old people, injured people or disabled people, who are obviously physically weaker than much of the population, can't fairly be called "cowards" for relying on guns.  People with damaged backs or legs really do need crutches, and I don't see any shame in that.  

            What would they have relied on in the days before guns were invented?  People used crossbows back to the 3rd century, and longbows and slings back to the Stone Age.   The advantage of guns over bows is that they can be effectively used by someone physically smaller and weaker than an attacker similarly armed;  what makes the difference in such a competition is the skill of the user, which can be learned, and depends on intelligence rather than strength.  

            If everyone were regularly armed with guns, only the "smart and aware"  would survive.

  •  When my husband and I were dating (6+ / 0-)

    this macho fellow from TX whined at me that he didn't like the idea that I was not dependent on him.  I told him I would never be dependent on him but I would always want to be able to depend on him.  A big difference.  He got it and we've been married 20 years.

    Thanks for the diary.

    People act on the outside how they feel on the inside. If you acknowledge it, you can change it.

    by Raggedy Ann on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:30:38 PM PDT

  •  I love this diary. Your wife and mine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, ExpatGirl

    would understand one another very well.

  •  Salute to your wife! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, LSophia

    She must have the patience of Jobe to be able to toss you to the curb but is still putting up with you. How do I know? You are a Veteran, right?

    The time has come to repair this country and care for its' veterans.

    by llbear on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:01:54 PM PDT

  •  thanks for writing this, and thanks (5+ / 0-)

    to you and ExpatGirl for taking the time to respond to my earlier comments. After reading further comments, something occurred to me about my own attitudes which I hadn't really considered before. I don't want to say what that is, specifically, but I'm not sure it would have occurred to me if you hadn't written what you did, and if the larger discussion hadn't taken place.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:05:31 PM PDT

  •  I dated a biker chick... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995

    ...and she's still the last person I'd ever want to get in a fight with, male or female.  She's freakin dangerous.  And beautiful.

    She was abused a lot as a kid, so she ran away lived on the street for a while and fell in with bikers when a Hells Angel and his wife took her in for a while.  She soon figured out that males were having all the fun in that lifestyle and she'd already gotten enough abuse at home and wasn't going to take any more, so she made sure she learned all the stuff that they knew - how to ride, fight, fix bikes, etc. - and got better at it than they were.  She's self-educated but one of the most naturally-smart, capable-of-kicking-yer-ass people I've ever met.

    I remember once in Florida they tried to throw her out of a bar for fighting a guy who groped her, and she beat the bouncer up, too.  Another time, a car made an unsignaled left turn in front of her and she had to dump her bike and broke her leg... and still got up and tried to drag the guy out of his car to pound him for making her wreck the bike.  And there are other stories I can't even tell.

    Despite the capacity for violence, she's still the first to help a lost kid in a store find their parents or whatever.  Last time I talked to her she told me about carrying a crying, exhausted little girl all over a Target 'til they found her mom.  

    After knowing her, I never underestimate any woman in any situation.  Females can be badass as anybody.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:57:18 AM PDT

  •  Not only love, but respect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995

    I decided a long time ago that, if I had to choose, I would much rather be respected than loved.  I still think that.

    All of my friends with awesome marriages have this one thing in common - all of the husbands think they're lucky to be married to their wives, that their wives are the most beautiful, competent, smartest and most successful women in the world, and they tell the world so.

    Hanging out with these people is like curling up in a sunbeam.  It's wonderful that such relationships exist.  Even when they snark and snap at each other, it's still done in a context of love and respect.

  •  "We need to teach men and boys ..." (5+ / 0-)

    This is critical.  

    Kossack Avilyn has a sig line that addresses the same point.  It reads, "I’m a feminist because the message is still 'don’t get raped' not 'don’t rape.'"

  •  Who said, "I am woman, hear me roar?" Yes, wome... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995

    Who said, "I am woman, hear me roar?"

    Yes, women in martial arts are incredible people. Strong, resourceful, independent women in the world make the world a much better place for everyone, with or without the martial arts background.

  •  I have been training women in Martial Arts for (0+ / 0-)

    over 25 years......

    CORRECTION:
    I have been training women, been trained by women, and been training with women for over 40 in Martial Arts. A good Martial Artist is deadly no matter what sex they are, and in fact, let me tell you how I have begun my lessons to women for the past 20 years. I begin by asking the following question of the new female student:

    (Assuming there is such a thing as "true martial arts")

    Who is more deadly, a man or a woman, who is trained in a "true martial art"...?

    And after I let them ponder the question for a moment, I then answer....
    "A WOMAN! .... No Contest!"

    ...and then they usually look at me all confused and incredulous, to which I add...
    "... and I can prove it, with one question."

    Their eyes become quizzical. And so I say,
    "Here's the question:
    Do you have any doubt that you, as a woman, can convince any man, using all of your feminine powers of seduction...to let him let you get behind him?"

    And I have asked that question to countless women over the past 20 years, and every single one of them responds, without hesitation, with...
    "Yes!"

    To which I then add...
    "And think what kind of damage you can do if you are behind someone."

    Now, this thought is very disconcerting to man... namely, the idea that a woman cannot be trusted... or that a woman is deadly, or can be deadly. It is so disconcerting to men, that they cannot even contemplate the notion that a female cannot be trusted. It is, I believe, a part of our genetic make-up, probably having to do with the "mother thing." I, myself, literally have never watched the movie "Fatal Attraction" because the very notion of that movie's premise scares the living shit out of me, as a man..... all I have seen are clips, that was enough for me.

    In any case, the larger point here is that the "mental state" is as important as the physical movements, and in fact, I often stress this idea by saying to new students (of both genders)....
    "I can teach you five ways to kill someone with your hands, in five minutes... the physical act of hurting someone is actually not that hard or difficult to learn, nor do real technique take much strength..... however, THE WILL TO DO HARM, now THAT is a different story entirely."

    Harming someone is easy. Learning how to deal with an attack and NOT harm your opponent, now THAT is what takes years to master.

    Women are deadly, and the only thing that limits their deadliness is the "will to do harm" ... hence I end that lesson above with the following question:

    "If three guys came up to you and wanted to rape and kill you and then take your newborn 3 month old infant baby girl and sell her into slavery. What would you NOT DO, to save your baby's life ...and your life?"

    What would you NOT do?

    Not what you WOULD do.... but what you would NOT do?

    Think about that for a second.

    We are raised in a civilized world, and so, the idea of actually hurting people is frowned upon, which it should be, however, that does not change the fact that hurting someone, from a physical mechanics standpoint, is not hard... ask any doctor, or anyone who has studied the human anatomy, and they will tell you all sorts of "neat" and "easy" ways to cripple someone. Ain't hard.... but the will to do those things, now that is where the "hard" comes in.....

    but my point is... anyone who thinks a woman can't be deadly is a fool... and in fact, let me add a side note, which could lead to an entirely other related discussion:
    The most deadly of the martial art styles (I believe) are the ones that employ the male (yang as strength) and the female (yin as sensitivity) energies/ principles. (Taiji and Aikido, being two examples of this.)

    * * * DONATE/VOLUNTEER: Marianne Williamson for CA-33 * * * #CampaignFinanceReform is the lynchpin of our democracy. #AIKIDOPROVERBMoveSoonerNotFaster ~

    by ArthurPoet on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 11:00:59 AM PDT

  •  We women have been done a disservice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raspberryberet, sendtheasteroid

    for generations--

    In our homes and the schools from kindergarten through college and our work places that discipline us by suspending or expelling or firing or jailing us for defending ourselves when others have touched us against our wills either violently or sexually

    because we still, in 2014, do not have the right to own our bodies.

  •  A couple of other areas where women need respect, (0+ / 0-)

    besides the ability to hold their own in unarmed combat:  physical strength, and mental ability.

    YouTube is full of examples of female gymnasts, bodybuilders, fitness competitors, powerlifters and weightlifters.  Some sacrifice a degree of femininity to excel in these endeavors, but most don't.  Very gradually, the misconception that muscles don't belong on female bodies is dissipating, at least outside the Muslim world.  But almost every YouTube site I've seen featuring strong and/or muscular women has had some troll saying that anyone who admires women like this is a fag (yeah, misogynists ted to be homophobes too).

    Then there's the mystery of why women are so scarce in the ranks of software engineers and chess grandmasters.  Plenty of women have made major contributions to computer science and engineering, but (as Google recently admitted) female CS graduates have a tough time getting the kinds of jobs for which male CS graduates are aggressively recruited, even from Asia.  That has led to a drop in the percentage of female CS majors in American universities from about 38% in 1987 to 18% today.

    It's really not that big a mystery.  Women need role models, so "women can't do that" tends to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.  As with racial minorities, the conditioning starts in kindergarten and continues throughout a child's school years.

    Anyone who's ever been married, or even had a sister, ought to know that women are just as competitive as men on a person-to-person basis.  But they are taught to hide it, not flaunt it.

    A last word to the poster of this great diary:  most women are closet bad-asses, but you were lucky enough to find one who had come out!

  •  Good Stuff! (0+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed reading that, well done!

    Time sets all things right. Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal. - General James Longstreet

    by kbrown2225 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:22:40 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (0+ / 0-)

    Reminds me of the time I decided I was a tad to old (55) to take up karate. Took a kick from one female instructor who was, I believe, somewhat under 18 years old. The knee didn't come back in until I accidentally hit it on a door about 3 months later. lol. She was small, but very accomplished.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:36:37 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing

  •  My partner is ranked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, kfunk937

    in the martial arts.  I am unranked in three arts.

    What I have learned in my nearly 20 years studying and practicing the martial arts is that the more you learn about how to seriously maim and/or kill someone, the more cautious you are to actually do it.  The upper ranked people I know are much more compassionate and empathic than some of the lower ranked people I know.  Perhaps it has something to do with the simple knowledge of how to end another's life that allows a person the ability to step back and re-evaluate one's own approach to Life?  I dunno.  But, from personal experience, the more damage I learned how to do quickly to a threatening target, the more I respected the amount of control shown by bigger belts.

    I just know that my Aikidoka counterparts will willing push me (a slower, dimmer-witted Judoka) in front of them to deal with a potential danger whilst they head for the hills -- I'm just kidding!  They'd actually stand back and give me pointers on what to do . . . not that there's any sort of sibling rivalry between aikido and judo.  None whatsoever.  (for those of you not well-versed in humor, the proceeding paragraph was written firmly tongue-in-cheek)

    Yes, in response to the above post about how deadly women can be, women can be just a deadly as men.  WWII showed us that women can also be much more cruel than men.  Why is it that modern societies so quickly forget that female warriors were equally as gifted on the battlefield as their male counterparts?  Why is it that modern societies are so quick to discount the contributions that women have ALWAYS made to preservation of traditions while also progressing a people into the future is also beyond my comprehension.

    Whatever the reason, thank you for sharing the story of your badass wife, ranger.

  •  Congratulations on finding the right person. (0+ / 0-)

    "I noticed friends of my playing the helpless and dopy part, when I knew they were neither, to attract men."  Great job on that line: this starts in grade school and still confuses me no end. I saw girls who were smart act as though they were stupid, and only around males. I still don't know why any male would accept this as their due. That kind of female is playing him as a fool. This is not respectful of the male and not a way to enter into any relationship which matters.

    Regarding your wife: it takes a self-respecting, accomplished, genuine adult to find another one. I wish you both many more happy years together.

  •  Relationships (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937

    I once had a discussion with my husband about the difference between "need" and "want".  He'll often say "I love you, I need you"... and then wonder why I seem a bit put off by that.

    Here is why... if you need something, you don't have a choice.  You have to have it, even if you don't like it.  Life is full of things and activities we "need" but don't necessarily want or like, stuff we wouldn't choose to have or do if we had the choice.

    "Wanting" is different.  Wanting something is a choice that says you really like one thing or activity over another.  The stuff we want is frequently not anything we need... but we want it anyways.

    The same is true of relationships in my mind.  I don't "need" my husband... but I do want him.  In saying that, I establish that I made the choice to marry him freely and without any coercion or compulsion.  I didn't marry him because I needed him to provide for me.  I didn't marry him because my family or society said I needed to.  I married him because I love him and want him to walk with me throughout the rest of my life's journey.  

    By wanting instead of needing, we are both free.  If down the road I lose him, either because he decides he no longer wants to be with me or because his life journey ends before mine, I will survive, financially and emotionally.  I'll miss having him around, but my life won't come crashing down into a chaotic mess simply because my husband is no longer a part of it.

    I don't want my husband to "need" me.  I want him to "want" me, to freely choose me because that's what he desires.  For me, that's love.

  •  That's exactly why (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937

    I married someone so much smarter than me.

    "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure" - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100, dissenting; opinion

    by HugoDog on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:54:57 AM PDT

  •  Great story! (0+ / 0-)

    What a great relationship you two must have!

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