Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Archers

Britain has been a warring nation for hundreds, thousands, of years. You only need walk down the street for ten minutes in Stirling to see a castle, war monument, and scene of an epic battle. Because of this, aspects of fighting and war have been diffused into British culture. For instance, the archers.

In the US, the lift of a middle finger is worth a thousand words. Across the pond, you lift two. To hold a bow, you need your pointer and your middle finger. So, when the enemy captured a bowman, they would cut those two fingers off so that they were a useless opponent. At the end of a battle, therefore, the bowman would lift those two fingers to show that they had won, and were still a threat to be reckoned with. It was, if you will, a true "F you" moment.

I had hoped that I wouldn't have any need for this gesture while studying abroad. I just wanted to drink tea and eat scones and listen to Enya. Yesterday morning, though, my inner archer emerged.

I was on my morning run. The sun was shining, I had just put together a new workout playlist and the world was a good place! There weren't many people around, since it was still a bit early, so the gentleman up ahead stood out to me immediately. He seemed harmless...he was wearing a tweed cap after all! I will not include here the words he spoke to me as I ran past. I have been yelled at by men before, and us girls just know that we have to grin and bear it, and chalk it up to low self-esteem or something on their parts. The things that came out of this man's mouth though, were beyond anything I have ever experienced before. They were disgustingly crude, and I would classify it as a verbal assault. So, how to give this man a piece of my mind without actually stopping to engage him? Thank you archers :)

I don't fling up my middle finger (or two fingers) lightly. I think there are many other ways people can express themselves without using profane words or gestures. However, there is a time and a place. And this was the time and the place.

As I ran past, he looked shocked and offended. I suppose I was an unlikely candidate with my bright pink sweatshirt and long blonde ponytail. But you know what they say...don't dish it out if you can't take it.

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