I'm a half a step away from going to jail
Seriously though, Mrs. B and I were in the grocery store (a place I hate as much as I would hate the proctologist's office IF I was ever compelled to visit), and I decided I could expedite the experience by helping her shop. So while she pushed the cart, I ran through the aisles on a food scavenger hunt. Every few minutes I'd return to the cart and drop off my take.
On one return trip, a guy - not an old guy, but I'd guess he was maybe 50 - stomped up to Mrs. B just as I rounded the corner. He had a snarl on his face and, dripping with sarcasm, he told her he was sorry if he had offended her. Then he hovered a little too close for my comfort and asked her if there was a problem. At that point I stepped between them and asked him the same question. He looked me up and down, backed up a few feet - coincidentally just out of arm's reach - and shook his head no. Same look on his face.
So I stepped forward to make sure he was within arm's reach again and repeated the question and added that since I was "back" he was more than welcome to discuss his problem with me and not my wife, who was six inches shorter and probably 50 pounds lighter than him. I, on the other hand, was about six inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than him. He backed up again, muttered something about people not getting it (or getting him; I couldn't make out that last word for certain), and stomped away. I found out later that he'd burst through another aisle minutes earlier and shoved her into a cart or shoved a cart into her on the way by - I forget which. And she gave him a disapproving look. No words. Just a look.
Here's the kicker. That incident was one of three over the past week, in which I observed a guy throw menacing attitude at my wife over some perceived slight. Mrs. B isn't picking fights. And you can ask my friends. I'm not that hyper-sensitive guy who wants to fight every guy who looks at his woman. Not my style. I'm probably just the opposite - extremely laid back. It's just been a weird week. And we are in South Florida.
I wanted to drop kick the grocery guy. But again, too pretty...
Now, where I'm from - people always say that, as though where we're born entitles us to certain tribal behaviors that other people just wouldn't get - if a guy gets in a woman's face, especially a woman he doesn't know, he's asking to get knocked out, or even worse, he's asking to get pimp-slapped.
Seriously, you want to stun a grown man and put him in check? Don't punch him. Everybody punches. Open your hand wide in its full pimpish glory and smack him as hard as possible across the face. Make it sting like a bee. I swear to you he will have to fight back the tears and will be so mortified he won't know how to react. He'll be in shock and will slink away in shame. I heard all this. Haven't necessarily ever tried it myself. Or have I?
Is it old-fashioned of me, or chauvinist? Not the pimp-slapping, but wanting to rip this guy's throat out. It has just never occurred to me to step to a woman and fuss at her. It just seems wrong. I had a woman during one semester in college who didn't like me. No, I never dated her. We were hardly acquainted. But I swear she used to torture me. I mean she would stalk and tease like we were in middle school again, times 10. It was near obsession. Weird. Truth is, we were adults. So she was probably just insane. And I should have gotten a restraining order. Regardless, it never occurred to me to step to her, raise my voice and wag a finger in her face. Instinctively, I went to her brother and her boyfriend, who attended the same college, and told them something to the effect of "Fellas, we get along. And I want to keep it that way. (Jane) is trying to pluck my nerves. I'm not sure what to do about it. Can you have a word with her?" They talked to her. Things settled. She later transferred to another school, a move completely unrelated to our beef.
I never thought going to her brother and boyfriend was a chauvinist move. On the contrary, I thought I was showing her some respect and exercising a nice blend of chivalry and common sense.
Yeah, I know plenty of women can defend themselves just fine against brutish men. If it had come down to it, Mrs. B would've kicked the grocery guy in the twig-n-berries or given him purple nurples and walked away unscathed.
But I know we all understand the instinct a man has to step up and defend "his" women (wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, daughter, etc).
Some stuff is just common sense. Guys, I don't care how open your mind is and how much you support equal rights. I support 'em too. But menacing a woman, when there's a perfectly healthy man nearby who's your size or bigger, is a cowardly, low life thing to do. And if you do it with the wrong woman, a woman who is dating or married or related to a guy who isn't too pretty to go to jail, it could also be a stupid move on your part.