And he says to his girlfriend, “Do it like I fucking told you.” The hair on the back of my neck stood up. My heart quickly accelerated. I could feel the adrenaline dump. She wasn’t in immediate danger, but her head dropped. The shame made me cringe! Knowing that on a functional level I’d be limited to gross motor skills due to this sudden rise from 108 to nearing 145bpm, I quickly accepted the hormonal imbalance. In my experience, that helps it pass quicker than trying to pretend like it isn’t there.
I put down my dumb bells and inhaled all the way down to the souls of my feet. Thankfully the mirror kept him in my peripheral vision. I starred straight ahead. If I was going to react, I wanted it to be a surprise. The longest minute of my life passed and then he said it again, “Do it like I fucking told you!” This time he raised the bar. I was ready. I stood up, walked over and positioned myself about eight feet behind him and said, “We don’t talk to women like that in the gym.” He turned. I could see fear in his eyes. His heart rate began to spike whereas mine was on the downward slope. And then out came, “She’s my girlfriend.” To which I replied, “We don’t talk to women like that in the gym.”
Men were around but not one of them said a word. Instead, it was a woman who stood up behind me. I wasn’t afraid. But knowing I now had a witness on my side certainly helped. I’m always thinking ahead.
He quickly walked past me. I backed up to allow him space. And he started mumbling threats, “I’m a Thai boxer. You think I’m afraid of you. Who do you think you are?” And then I said a very important line, one that I feel is a key Choice Speech lesson, a topic I dive deep into in the member’s portal. “I’m off duty. Do you want me to get on?” He blurted out, “What are you cop?!?” I said, “That’s not what I said. I said I’m off duty. Do you want me to get on?” He took a step forward and I raised my hands into Non-Violent Posture, which is undoubtedly my current optimal position. I saw him prepare to go. My chin dropped even further and in that moment there must have been something in my eyes because he took a step back, told me to fuck off, and went to the locker room. His girlfriend followed hesitantly. And with warmth I said, “You don’t deserve to be treated like that.” She turned and looked at me. She agreed, but I could tell it was nice for her to hear a man say it. They left. I finished my set.
Knowing what to say and when to say it is just as important as being able to back it up. I instilled doubt. Sometimes that’s the best line of defense.
Peace and punches!