Earning Respect with a Sword

“Are you in?” he asked as he held a nerf battle axe in his hands. I was sitting on the gym floor next to his girlfriend and was a little nervous. I love this kind of stuff, but I’m the only girl that’ll play and I’m going to look like an idiot, but this really does look like fun.
“I’m so in!” I exclaimed as I hopped up and examined the pile of weapons on the floor. My careful selection led me to a long sword – perfect for being a girl fighting against about six college guys. We divvied up into teams of two as I warned the boys that I have brothers – vicious younger brothers. They didn’t quite take me seriously, expecting me to be out in a matter of minutes.
That wasn’t the case.
I fought courageously, bravely, and like a girl. I swung that sword like my life depended on it. It would be cool to be able to say that I was fighting for women everywhere who didn’t think they could wield weapons against stereotypes, but really, I was just having fun. I was revelling in the look on a guy’s face as I managed to kick his butt.
My team of two won the first game. The second was each man for himself and I still managed to hold my own there. The sense of pride and excitement that filled me from participating in this epic nerf battle made me feel like the 21st century Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. What was even better than the feeling in the moment has been the response that came afterwards.
From the facebook status that claimed me as a guy’s hero of the day to the way that another one of the guys would always say hi to me in passing from that day forward, I had earned the respect of a bunch of 18-22 year old guys, which is quite a feat as a sixteen year old girl. I was on the list of people to invite to future battles and these guys ended up becoming the group of people I hang out with on campus. We go bowling and have coffee and when they’re at the restaurant when I’m working, they sometimes shoot me with nerf guns – it’s the stuff that makes college fun.
Being a girl who spends her weekends watching Doctor Who and crafting, I’m not the someone that gets much romantic attention from men. Instead, I’m the girl with a load of guy friends who I talk get to talk to about philosophy, rage comics, and geeky movies. They accept my mustache puns and indie fashion. They respect me and treat me like girls deserve to be treated.
You don’t have to compromise to makes friends with guys – even at a place like college. You simply have to find the right guys to spend time with and ignore the ones that are looking at you like meat. Being yourself actually works – nerf swords and all.


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