Pumped Up Kicks and Punches

Story Sent in by Tom:

Debbie was a friend of a friend. She was a musician and played original folk music and covers all around the region. I was a bit of a musician myself, and at a small party, we talked about music for a while. Emboldened by her gregariousness, I suggested that we play together at some point. She went the extra step and suggested a time and place. I then took the final initiative and paired it up with dinner.

At dinner, we discussed music, places we had traveled, and aspirations. She was a very good listener, and I felt as though she could become an excellent friend, if not more.

She had access to a rehearsal space next to a club at which she had played numerous times. It was stocked with instruments, and so we went there. We both grabbed acoustic guitars, tuned them, and I followed along as she played a series of tunes.

Not long into our set, a big guy, around 40, came in and stopped short when he saw us. Debbie smiled at him and said, "Hey."

He replied, "What the hell are you doing in here? I have this place booked out. Right now."

"Sorry," Debbie said, putting her guitar down, "I thought it was open, now."

"It isn't!" he yelled, "Leave!"

Debbie stood and I followed suit. On our way out, past the guy, he muttered, "Amateur bitch."

I spun to the guy and said, "What was that?"

He swung at me and clipped my chin. Before I could concentrate on any pain, I slammed him in his right cheek. He roared and pinned me against the wall. I kicked him between his legs and he grunted, then kicked him again.

He was bigger, as I said, and he threw me to the ground and bellowed, "Enough! Get out!" He pointed at Debbie and said, "And I never want to see you here again!"

Debbie stormed out and I followed her. She seemed in a hurry to leave me behind, but I caught up. What I wasn't expecting was for her to turn to me with tears in her eyes and say, "What did you do that for? He owns the club next door! Now I can't play there again, and it's all because of you!"

"Me?" I raised my voice, incredulous, "He swung at me, first! And you let guys treat you like that?"

She said, "He's the club owner! He can do what he wants! And you just ruined it! I never want to see you again!"

I let her go. To my credit.


  1. Look, I can't fault you for reacting without thinking, so I'm not even going to touch on the fight aspect of this story.

    The problem was, you got stuck in a situation you knew nothing about - it's fairly obvious from what the two of them (owner and Debbie) said that she has been a problem for him before and she was desperately clinging to any chance she had of performing in front of an audience.

  2. I have a feeling this story would be quite different if we heard it from the other guy's side or Debbie's perspective, but even as written it's still pretty stupid.

    Here's a useful phrase: "Pick your battles." (Or, if you prefer, "a pyrrhic victory" also applies nicely.) Sometimes, win or lose, it just isn't worth it to start trouble, or respond to trouble.

    I hope it felt really sweet kicking some random guy you don't even know, because you not only lost the girl but possibly ruined her career, too. Way to go, champ.

  3. Other guy swung first. OP defended himself, and he's at fault?

  4. ^ That. Seriously.

  5. ^ Agreed. When somebody takes a unprovoked swing at you, you are entirely within your ethical rights to do whatever it takes to make sure that never happens again. In the long term the OP actually did a GOOD thing because hurting this guy makes it less likely that he will initiate aggressive behavior on other random people.

    As far as your LEGAL rights, you're only supposed to respond with non-lethal force (ie, unarmed). However, a "shod foot" is typically considered a weapon, so if you want to do something more dangerous consider allowing them to kick you.

  6. Story doesn't makes sense, i think we're lacking at least one comment here that provoked the swing.

    I call a rebuttal

  7. Actually, it depends on the state you're in. Some states are "duty to retreat" and some are "stand your ground". Duty to retreat laws basically mean you have to exhaust all attempts to escape first before you can hit back.

  8. Yes, but Ender Wiggin taught me to always make sure the enemy can never hurt me again.

    Team OP.

  9. Isn't 'duty to retreat' is only for lethal force?

    Pretty sure in most places if someone swings at you, you are entitled to swing back in self defence.

    I seriously question the worldview of the first 2 commentators who somehow think the poster did something wrong for punching back at the person who, unprovoked, attacked him.

  10. For maybe the first time I'm with the commenters JMG stepped in to correct. The OP is the one who escalated it into a confrontation; other guy made a passive aggressive mutter and OP spun on him and got in his face. Other guy wasn't justified in swinging on him, but you can't pretend the OP was the blameless victim. The way it's presented, absolutely no altercation would have happened if he and the date had just walked out like they were doing before that comment.

    So yes, if someone made a passive aggressive, insulting comment about my date, I would leave and try to get my date to do the same. She didn't want to be 'defended' the way OP decided to do all on his own, and like commenter Andrew said, by deciding to be macho he might have hurt her career.

    Team Date.

  11. @Jason

    I'm not sure if you're refering to me or not because I didn't say anything against the OP.

  12. I LOVE all the "you hurt her career you macho jerk!" comments. how well off could her career have been if her best connection is calling her an amateur bitch.

    Sounds like her comfort zone is somewhere between "unwanted" and "victim"- if you told her that he kicked her out because she was ugly and her music sucked, she'd fall in love with you.

  13. ^ This. 100% truth, right there.

  14. It's been years since that song was stuck in my head and now it's back :'(


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