I was out with a guy I was dating and a stripper friend when a drunk girl flat out tried to start a brawl with us. Defense mode activated, as my mind flooded with the memories of a thousand stripper fights and an unsurmounted amount dressing room drama, that (I will be the first to admit) I haven’t always handled with utmost grace.
So here we are trying to get a decent view of the performance we came to see and the short girl behind us was FREAKING OUT that she couldn’t see over my friend’s head. We could have moved, but it was general admission and a packed house; not too many decent places to go. We weren’t in the wrong and we quite liked where we were standing, but the passive aggressive commentary escalated to insults, and eventually she slammed into me with her shoulder on her way to the “ladies” room. I felt my blood boiling. I clenched my jaw and took a deep breath while I decided what to do. Kill? Perhaps.
I looked to my right at my friend, who knows that I am a seasoned stripper from New Jersey who does not take sh*t from anyone; I look to my right and see the guy that I’m dating, who adores and respects me and knows me as an ultimately loving, tolerant, and beautiful person. Then I looked down and see the $900 Saint Laurent heels that I was wearing and decided it was go time.
Although yelling at this girl, shaming her for her squat stature and subsequent inability to see over my statuesque goddess friends’ head, and possibly throwing my cocktail in her eyes was beyond tempting, I remembered what good any of those times that I snapped with the intention of “putting someone in their place.” None. Fighting back when people have been assholes to me has literally never been a winning tactic, and has cost me more opportunity than it has ever earned me “street cred.” (Even if the aforementioned street cred DID outweigh the consequences, what good did it really do me? What, was I in prison serving a life sentence?)
And although this is a bar story, we can all attest that the scenario is common in strip clubs. The mixture of alcohol, immaturity, money, personal ethics, and ego crash hard in dressing rooms and although watching beautiful mostly nude women pull each others’ weaves out is BY FAR one of the most entertaining things to witness ever; it certainly isn’t doing anything to change the stigma or contribute to personal growth by being one of the women IN the actual fight.
So I thought about my shoes and my boyfriend and my level of compassion, understanding, grace, and tolerance, and when the woman returned and started fussing with my friend again, I leaned down and said, “Honey, do you want to stand with us? I understand we are in the way of your view but why don’t you just come stand next to us? My name is Chase, this is Stephanie, and like you, we are here to have a good time, not to ruin yours. Let’s have fun. Can I buy you a drink?”
Street cred: owned. Self respect: earned. Pride: off the charts. Lesson: learned. My friend and date looked at me like I was some magical Mother Teresa, and I think in that particular moment I actually “grew up.” I thought about the dozens of times earlier in my career that I felt a false need to defend my rights or prove myself as a strong person and everything became clear. I proved more strength in my tolerance than I ever had with violence or anger.
The point of the story is not to let some b*tch ruin your night. Don’t get caught up in the drunken barbarism of anyone, let alone someone you work with, handling yourself with grace is SO rewarding, and had this happened at work and not at home, it would have doubled my self confidence for the evening and thereby made me tons of money.