Dear Uncle Mat,
I’m a 17-year-old kid (female) in high school. I’m pretty open-minded and I think I have a good head on my shoulders. Although I have an idea about what I want to do with the rest of my life, it’s still very unclear. I’m in a design class and I’m really good at it, but who knows? I could end up a doctor. Ha. Well, I just wanted some advice on a stupid situation that won’t go away. A friend’s girlfriend is always running her mouth and talks shit. Never to my face, but I hear things and I’m sick and tired of it. She has disrespected my family and me many times. She talks shit about my friends in front of me, and, yes, I defend them. I’ve put up with her for about a year, and last night I told her off over the phone. She says she is dead set on coming to my house to fight. I want to give her the beat-down of her life already, and I know I could blast her and well make her cry. Normally I would walk away the better person, but this time she has pushed me too far. I’m sure we’ll fight if she has the balls to show up. I know she is shitting bricks, and I know she is scared. From an adult’s point of view, should I beat her down and end this nonsense or let it keep going?
Please get back to this.
p.s I’m a lover not a fighter, but if I have to fight I will.
Dear Princess Smack Down,
The answer is no. Leave your sticks and stones at home, and let her ugly words fall on deaf ears. Sure, you need to defend yourself if you’re physically attacked, but that is not the same thing as giving someone a beat-down.
Concerned about my small size, big mouth, and general hippie attitude, my father sat me down when I was about 15 and told me two things about fighting. First, always avoid a fight if you can. Talk, walk, and run if need be. Second, if you cannot avoid a fight, there is no such thing as a fair fight. Especially when the other guy is bigger than you.
If she is as scared as you say she is, then she is also a way bigger threat than you think. Fear turns on the survival instinct in people. This can result in anything from her being faster and stronger than expected to her borrowing a gun or sticking you with a nail file.
Even if this goes the way you think it will and she shows up, you open up your can of whoop ass, and she drags her trampled carcass home in tears to never speak ill of you or your kin again, you will regret the fight. Anger, violence, and regret are much more exhausting and emotionally burdensome as you grow older. When you’re, say, 50 do you want to have to look back and re-justify kicking someone’s ass when you were 17? Not to mention these little incidents do not look good on college applications should the police or school catch you in the act.
It is time to end this, however. I don’t know what words have been exchanged, but it is time to come up with a new conversation and resolution. It is possible you may even have to back down, but it is the bigger, better, and more mature thing to do.
Looking at this from another perspective might help you wrap up this little drama. Why are you friends with someone who chooses to date someone who treats you horribly? This girl may be the biggest bitch since Anita Bryant, but what kind of asshole dates her? It’s time to tell him to silence her bullshit or to take her away. You may want to do this with a little more tact, but be clear that you are done with her and him if he can’t resolve the situation. If she is trash-talking your friends and family, I suspect they will happily support you.
Move on. Continue evolving into a bright young woman, and leave the kids to their silly games.
Much love and no brass knuckles for you, young lady,
Your Uncle Mat
Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.