I Didn’t Fight the Guy who Disrespected me in Front of my Girlfriend, Here’s Why
There has never been a moment when I stepped out with my girlfriend to a party and regretted it. We have nothing but good times. But whenever we hit the town, I feel an extra amount of pressure to be aware of our surroundings at all times and keep her out of any uncomfortable situations.
This is not because of how she acts. Anyone who has been around her knows she doesn’t call attention to herself. This comes with the territory of being a man.
From the days I was a young boy with an even younger sister for whom to look out, I have understood my duty to always be on notice when with a woman. My cues came from following my mom and pop’s walk alongside each other in public spaces. Even if they had just been arguing with each other, once out in the world, around others pop’s always stayed close to my mother, allowing very little space between him and her and sending a clear message to any man who may have been staring at her from afar.
Now I’m doing the same thing with my girlfriend and with good reason.
Without fail, the minute I put some space between us at a party, there is usually some guy sizing her up and approaching her. Luckily most of the time, she and I can find a way to diffuse it without any awkwardness or problems. Our go-to move is me coming up to her and showing her some affection, nothing too brazen or imposing. Since she knows exactly what I’m doing, she’s receptive and follows along, letting the guy who’s trying to ask what her interests are know that we are together. Most guys play this off with ease. I’ve seen them introduce themselves to me then back off. Others, fully aware of what is happening, humbly back away without saying a word.
This is not what happened at a Fourth of July party we attended.
As the party was nearing its end, I was helping one of my other friends look for a wallet in the main area while Gina was in the bedroom. She was sitting on the edge of a bed with a few other friends who were lounging, sipping the bottom half of their watered-down cocktails and smoking cigars. The door to the bedroom was open, so as I’m looking for this wallet, I notice a guy I don’t know sitting next to Gina talking to her. She’s not looking at him. She’s staring down at the floor, obviously not interested in what this guy has to say but listening to be polite. I paused the wallet search and walked over to her.
I gently pulled her into me as I stood above her. “Babe, are you okay?” I asked. The guy looked up at me and then turns to Gina and said, “Oh, this is your man?”
“Yep, that’s him,” she said.
“What’s up?” I said, as I reached my hand out to dap him up. “My name’s Jozen.” Usually, this is how I diffuse a situation by introducing myself and being cordial. For a second, it seemed to work, as the guy stretched out his hand to shake mine. But then he said “I gotta admit, I wish you weren’t here right now.” He said this right in front of my woman.
With no hesitation I replied, “It really doesn’t matter; she’s always going to choose me.”
Gina chimed in, “That’s right.”
“Oh, you’re confident,” he said. “I respect that. I respect that.”
Then, he walked away.
A few people in the room overheard it and laughed. Gina and I laughed. This situation felt completely normal in that it happens way more often than I wish it would.
But the next day when I shared this encounter for fun on Facebook, I was surprised at how serious other people took it. While no one told me I punked out, more than a couple of people, women and men, said they would have handled it differently. When I say “differently” I mean they said their reactions would have been violent or at the very least, confrontational.
After reading a few more comments that shared this sentiment, I asked myself why a violent thought never crossed my mind. There is no doubt that what the guy said to me was disrespectful. If hindsight was giving me 20/20 vision about anything, it was that I clearly understood why it would have been acceptable for me to swing on that guy.
But the reason I did not is because I have never been the guy who swings first. Violence has never been my preferred method of diffusing a situation, whether with a woman or not, and nobody knows this about me more than Gina. Had I swung on this guy in an attempt to show both the guy and my girl I don’t tolerate disrespect, I can’t imagine Gina having much respect for me, and more than that guy’s respect for me, I care about her respect for me. Maybe I would have gotten the best of him — hit him with a right, hit him with a left — and knocked his ass out like fight night. But life isn’t a Migos video. I could have missed my punch, and he could have given my face a hands clinic.
At some point, every man is going to face a situation similar to the one I was in on Fourth of July. It is, for better or worse, a pop quiz — but pay close attention to the question being asked. because it is not as simple as testing your toughness. These tests are being given to determine who we really are and how true we can remain to ourselves under moments of duress. It is not in my nature to fight because of a comment like that. I didn’t feel threatened, my lady was not in any danger, so I responded to his words with my own words, and that was enough.
The idea of fighting that guy was never on the table because like so many other moments when I’m with my lady, I’m not thinking about fighting so much as I’m thinking about keeping her safe. What that requires is something more than the ability to throw hands and take a punch. It requires an awareness of what’s going on around her and the ability to think on your toes when confronted with an awkward situation. I fault no man who would have handled the situation I went through differently. Hell, if I was watching from the sidelines and a man did respond to what that guy said with a challenge to fight, I wouldn’t be mad at him. But there’s nothing wrong with being the guy who finds a non-physical way to pass his test.