Once, in college, I went to a dance. I had some sort of ultra-short hair dyed an unnatural color and I think I was wearing a turtleneck and jeans.
I was dancing with friends when my shoulders were grabbed and I was swung around by a lunk of a drunk. He gave me a shake that made my head lurch forward and knock back and then he shook me a second time, his eyes full of hostile frustration. He obviously felt justified in his actions as he bent to look in my face and shouted:
“WHAT are you anyway?! I mean, like WHAT are you? Are you a punk, are you a prep? What?”
I had never been shaken – I have many blows to the head from falling off horses and from being a lacrosse goalie – but aggression off the field had never been physical. I had learned from my time in a lacrosse goal cage that sometimes a brief lack of movement could be more intimidating than movement.
I became very still, and then stretched my shoulders out in such a way that the lunk’s fingers loosened their grip. I pulled my lips up jaggedly and smiled, showing those canines.
“Me? I am a Brzustowicz.”
I shrugged his paws off my shoulders and I danced out of the room – alone.