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We all remember the scene when the malicious Sensei tells his student to sweep the leg.  Johnny hesitates for a brief moment, tosses his golden locks around a bit, but ultimately decides to take his orders and meets Daniel-San back on the mat for the premeditated low-blow. Van Damme photo: the100.ru 

We don’t question why he did it. It was obvious; he was the bad guy. He was the character who fought dirty.  Just think back to all of these types of movie moments where we hoot and yell for the good guy even louder when their bad guy opponent steps outside the bounds of sportsmanship and takes the low road in an attempt to win. I can think of three or four off the top of my head starring Jean Claude Van Damme alone!

I got to thinking about the concept of small battles, and how in relationships we find ourselves in them on a pretty regular basis. And that’s in the instance that you have a relatively NORMAL relationship. But what happens when someone in that relationship metaphorically “sweeps the leg”?  Is there ever really a fair fight when one of you is a low blower?  I would argue that no, there can’t be, because the moment that one of you enters the realm of street fighter where anything goes, you’ve lost the integrity of the natural argument and a chance at real resolution to change.  

When my ex and I were coming to an imminent break up, we had a kind of state of the union address and went over all the lessons learned within the five years of our relationship. I asked him what was there that he’s suggesting I would work on, and really what would have made me a better girlfriend. I patted myself on the back and my maturity in just ASKING this question.

I mean how awesome was I to really ask such a question all in the spirit of growth and self-awareness?  It wasn’t until much later that I realized what I was expecting him to say was “Nothing. You were the Mary Poppins of girlfriends: practically perfect in every way.”  

Instead, he said to me with a full on honest face, “you’re a dirty fighter.”   

 

I was shocked. I wasn’t one of THOSE girls in high school, or anywhere else for that matter. I never took off my earrings, smeared some Vaseline on my face, and met anyone out on the blacktop. How and WHY was I being characterized as a “dirty fighter”?  He told me, “You were impossible to fight with because you would just go to mean places, intentionally hurtful places, and keep throwing below the belt until I just stopped fighting with you. Sad thing was you thought you won, and really all that was happening is I was choosing to just walk away from you." Wawa photo: archer-group.com
 

I didn’t know I was doing that. Sure, I knew that sometimes I would get so angry that I would beat a point to death like I was swinging a bag of hot nickels, and a few “yo mama” comments definitely came out, but how many of those “common” arguments weren’t arguments at all, but really just pity submissions to a hot tempered bad guy?  Did we ever move forward in our relationship if I was just being pacified?  I appreciated his candor and I decided to really invest in changing that flaw in myself considerably. 

I can now say that I recognize this in myself and I make all efforts to play nice.  When I get into a heated debate or disagreement with someone, be it a boyfriend, friend, family, Wawa sandwich maker, whomever, I don’t go for the easy win, as a matter of fact that’s the real lesson here;  I don’t really go for the “win” at all.  In an argument if your intention is to win over your partner, then that’s no longer an argument, it’s a fight.  And by instinct when we’re in a fight we do one of two things; (help me out here Darwin fans) we stand and fight back, or we take flight.  

If I could impart a small bit of wisdom, it would be to make the effort in your relationship to not go for the win, but instead go for the truth. I mean think about it, that’s really what you’re getting to the heart of in most arguments; the truth of what you want and the truth of why they aren’t giving it to you.   
If you watch boxing like I do you’re pretty familiar with the referees giving the fighters the instruction “watch your low blows.”  Even in a sport where two guys/girls stand toe to toe and make it a point to beat on one another’s face until their eyes swell shut and they somewhat start to resemble mulch, there’s no honor or credit given to the opponent who aims for the weak spot.  Keep the arguments clean so when all the smoke clears and the issues are open and out for change you won’t have to mess with taking back a bunch of heated “kidney punches,” and you can instead move right ahead with the make-up sex, or a free shorty Wawa hoagie, depending on who your opponent was. 

Ladies, ever wonder where the phrase "tapped that" originated?  Fella's, ever wonder if girls had slumber parties with nighties and pillow fights?  Yeah, well me too.  The Vagina MonoBlogs takes a proactive but honest point of view on some of these timeless questions and offers some perspectives to apply...or avoid for that matter!

Contact Brandi Conrow at brandi.conrow@hotmail.com

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Wawa photo: archer-group.com

Van Damme photo: the100.ru