Telling friends about that you met someone, or that you have a new girlfriend can be quite exciting. That was no different when I had started dating Leticia (my wife) a couple of years ago. My friends of course asked questions about her, her personality and wanted to see pictures of her. The one thing that made the situation a bit different was that when people asked about Leticia’s work and interests, I of course mentioned that she has a black belt in hapkido and that she works as a martial arts and self defence instructor. My friends all reacted in different ways; some joked a bit about it (like “don’t piss her off” and similar), several of my female friends said they loved it and that Leticia was “badass” and I also remember one friend saying “wow so she can kick your butt – how does that feel?”.
Before Leticia had showed me some of her hapkido skills and techniques I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from it, since I have never been into martial arts myself – and I had no idea how effective it can be. Looking back now, I have to be honest and admit that at that time my ego wasn’t quite ready to admit that a woman like Leticia, way smaller than me and so very feminine, would be able to kick my butt. So the little jokes and comments implying that she could, although they were perfectly innocent, stung my pride a bit and made me a little uncomfortable. I mostly just laughed it off but it also made me even more curious about Leticia’s martial art and it also felt a bit like a sort of “challenge” for me to ask for a “demonstration” or “intro lesson”, which of course I finally did about four months into our relationship.
The first weeks after Leticia’s first hapkido demo with me in her practice studio, although I very much admired her and it made me fall in love with her even more, I also felt quite embarrassed about the apparent ease with which Leticia had wiped the floor with me using her hapkido skills, so I didn’t really talk about it with anyone. When the subject came up I just mentioned that yes Leticia had shown me some of her skills and that it was awesome and impressive and – if people asked – that yes she could kick my butt.
I was worried that I might be ridiculed, teased and that people (including my friends) would laugh at me. As time went by, I found out this was not the case and as I started to think more logically and ignoring old stereotypes, I also felt more and more comfortable talking about it. Sure, people did comment, there were jokes and especially my female friends loved hearing about Leticia’s martial arts skills and some laughed about it – a lot –, but there has been absolutely no mocking, mean spirited comments or any kind of ridicule.
So in conclusion, I totally underestimated my friends when it came to this and there was really no reason at all for me to worry about their reactions.