Before I start here are some numbers for you; at the end I’ll explain what they mean:
- 181 cm
- 85 kg
- 120 kg
- 190 kg
- 140 kg
Remember those numbers for later.
Last night my wife and I caught the train into the city to celebrate a friends birthday. We visited a little greek place where we delighted in greek style tapas of lamb, fetta and ricotta balls and calamari among other things. Conversation was good, and a fun time was had by everyone. Afterwards we even went out for a few chocolate milkshakes but alas, the missus and I had to leave early- there were reports to write the next day and the last train needed to be caught.
Tired, we boarded the train, sat down and relaxed for the half hour train ride home… yet it wasn’t long before our peace was disturbed by three youths looking for a fight. From the moment my wife and I heard one say, “How could they be married for a year and not have a kid, why would you use a condom all that time- something must be wrong with him, he must be gay,” we knew they weren’t the most educated of youths.
They started harassing two 16 year old girls, trying to score a number, yet it was harmless and they were turned away repeatedly. After a few racist jibes against some Asian girls, they decided to try and pick a fight with me.
Some of the highlights included:
- “I feel like breaking someone’s face, someone with glasses,”
- “I hate it when ugly guys get hot girls,” and the classic,
- “You wanna have a go, he’s staring at me, he wants to have a go” among others.
My teeth were grinding, my jaw was clenched and I could feel my blood boiling, yet I remained stoic. Finally, the train screeched to a halt at our station and we got out. Once we were on the platform, my wife turned to me and asked why I didn’t fight back,
“You could have taken them, why didn’t you teach them a lesson?”
Here comments mirrored something my Year 10’s have asked before,
“Sir, how come you’ve never gotten into a fight? You’re like a tank.”
“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.”
That was said by George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright, essayist and 1925 Nobel Prize winner in literature.
Men who pick a fight with other people, act obnoxiously in crowds, harass other people or generally act like pigs, are seeking validation. They go through this life trying to prove something to someone. Their conception of manhood is tied up in feats of idiocy, dumb, untested strength, a compassionless attitude, chauvinistic beliefs and hollow words. They are, like George Shaw said, pigs; an unfortunate product of a socioeconomic group that still operates on racist, prejudiced, uneducated views. Yet they unfortunately think that these traits are what make a man a man.
When my wife asked me why I didn’t teach them a lesson, the answer was simple- the pigs would enjoy it and to fight would be to stoop to their level. To fight with them would be to validate their lives, attitude, words and beliefs. However, I have nothing to prove to anybody- in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s one of my rules. Had I engaged with them I would be sending a message, “I don’t think I’m good enough, I need to prove that I’m tough, strong and worthy.”
Those numbers at the start, remember them? Good, here’s what they mean:
- 181 cm- My height
- 85 kg- My weight
- 120 kg- How much I can bench press
- 190 kg- How much I can deadlift
- 140 kg- How much I can squat
I’m a big, strong guy and can handle myself- just in case anybody is reading this and thinking “I’m sure he’s just a weakling who didn’t want to get his arse kicked.” But why do I need to? Boys who throw a punch or sling a word are trying to prove something to themselves and the world, they are insecure in their manhood and need a scar or bruise in order to feel like a man. As cliched as it may be, it does take more courage and manliness to walk away from a fight and endure the piggish attitudes of others, knowing, full well, that you don’t need to prove anything to them.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Not fighting sends a more powerful message. It tells the world and your antagonist that you don’t care what they think about you, you don’t need validation from anybody, you can resist haunts, jibes and comments and walk away because you and everybody else watching, knows that you’re the better person.
It is a shame that so many youths these days still don’t understand that message.
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win,” Mahatma Ghandhi
In saying all of this though, if anybody ever puts my family or friends in danger, you’ll make me angry… and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.