The Women Who Slapped Me
It was a Tuesday night, and my friend and I trekked through the streets of Boston to the one local bar that was busy that night. I had been a regular on Tuesdays there for over a year.
I skip the line and make a bee-line for the bar. My friend Jeff is working tonight which means free shots. I find two cute girls waiting for drinks and sidle up next to them. I look over and say, “I bet you guys a round of drinks that he serves me before you.”
They look me over, skeptical. The one next to me speaks, “No way, we’ve been waiting for like five minutes.”
“OK, take me on then.”
She nods and gives the OK. We both turn towards the bartender. I calmly wait for Jeff to recognize me and serve me first. She pulls a $20 bill out of her purse and starts waiving it gaudily in his direction.
“Is that how you always get attention from guys?” I say.
She turns to face me, bewildered. My statement is processing. I had teased girls hundreds of times over the years, offending quite a few. This appeared to be another one. I calmly prepared for some sort of recovery statement … a compliment maybe, or a “Sorry, I was just kidding, what’s your name?” Those usually go over pretty well.
I was not prepared for what happened next.
She slapped the shit out of me. Like hard. Like it fucking hurt. Then she called me an asshole. And looked like she was ready to spit on me.
I take a moment to come to my senses. Wow. Did that really happen? Then suddenly a line pops into my head. I don’t know whether I made it up then, or before, or saw it in a movie, or what, but it spilled out of my mouth with little prior thought:
“Wow … girls usually know me for at least a couple weeks before they slap me. That was fast.” I grin like the asshole I am.
Right then the bartender comes over and says, “Hey Mark! What’s up? You want the usual?” I say sure. I then look at the girl next to me expectantly.
“What?” she asks.
“I won the bet. You owe me a drink.”
“You’re unbelievable,” she replies.
She’d go home with me that night and sleep with me a week later.
Another night, another bar. I’m talking to a super-cute blonde. College girl. Sorority. Ditsy as fuck and a true pain to interact with. You know those people who interrupt you constantly and redirect EVERY possible topic of conversation back to some inane story about themselves? She was one of those. A real torture to talk to.
But she was hot. And I was inexperienced and desperate and crazy horny and honestly had nothing better to do. So I talked to her. Painfully and grudgingly.
Somewhere in between trying to decide whether to drown myself in alcohol, to drown her in alcohol, to stab myself in the face with a broken beer bottle or to stab her … she let loose a gem of a quote.
“By that way, thank God you’re not ugly.”
I was so disenchanted with this girl, my frail ego completely disregarded the compliment and I honed in on what was so shallow, I just couldn’t stand by idly any longer.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
”I said, thank God you’re not ugly.”
I imagine my mouth fell open here. But of course she disregarded my incredulity and continued:
“See, no offense, but talking to guys in bars is so boring. And tonight, nothing but these hideously ugly guys have been talking to me and buying me drinks. But at least you’re not ugly.”
She continues: “To be honest, I can’t stand ugly people. Like it seriously hurts my soul to look at ugly people. Like I honestly feel physical pain if I have to look at an ugly person.”
I couldn’t contain it anymore, “You must not own any mirrors then.”
Her face: disbelief, horror, then anger — in that order, half a second max — then her fruity drink came flying onto my face, followed by a dainty slap.
She stormed back to her friends.
Austin, Texas. 2007. The worst blow out of my life. I’m with my best childhood friend late on a Friday night. I see two cute girls dancing by themselves. I approach. I lightly touch one on the shoulder. She spins around, “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME! DON’T YOU EVER FUCKING TOUCH ME!”
“Whoa, chill out, I didn’t even do anything!” I try to blurt out between her shrieking. I doubt I’m heard. She shoves me while screaming. I grab her arms to try to calm her down.
The slap comes hard and fast. Totally uncalled for. “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME! DON’T YOU EVER FUCKING TOUCH ME AGAIN!” Before I know it bouncers are removing me from the bar.
“I didn’t even do anything, I don’t even know her,” I say.
“We don’t want to hear it. Shut up and get out or else we’ll call the cops.”
It’d be weeks before I’d work up the courage to approach another girl.
One night my buddy and I picked up two promo girls who were handing out free shots. They were bored and getting paid nothing and were going to quit anyway, so we talked them into coming back to my apartment instead of finishing their shift. We slept with them that night. They both sucked in bed. They both called and texted us regularly wanting to see us again. We weren’t interested.
A week later, on a drunk whim, we decided to try and swap them. We met up with them at a club and my buddy immediately took my girl and moved her to another room. As I escalated on his girl, we were just about to kiss when she got a horrified look on her face. I was standing over her with her against the wall.
“Where’s your friend?” she asked.
“I don’t know, probably just getting a drink. Why?” I played dumb.
“Wait, where’s [girl]?”
I shrug as nonchalantly as possible. She looks me in the eyes. Something in me gives it away. Her eyes widen.
“No way. You wouldn’t.”
“You guys are such fucking pigs.”
Before I respond she knees me in the balls and runs off. A couple minutes later I find my friend.
“They left.” His cheek is bright red. I’m hunched over grabbing my crotch. We look at each other and burst out laughing.
When I first started going out and trying to pick up girls, I used to be horrified of rejection. And more specifically, the idea of getting slapped or a drink thrown on me, or getting thrown out of a bar, these were all nightmares that would probably have made me visibly shake at the thought of them happening.
But all four of these memories are bright in my mind, as they’re some of the most important learning experiences I ever had — even more important than many of my successes.
Being slapped by a girl is not always the end of the interaction. It’s simply an emotional response. And as a highly emotional response, I’ll always take being slapped over indifference or boredom any day.
Being slapped also taught me that you can’t always control how people react to you. Some people are completely out of their minds, or they behave very inappropriately. You can’t help this. You cannot control what happens in every interaction. The sooner you accept this, the better off you will be.
Sometimes you’ll deserve being slapped. And sometimes you’ll welcome those slaps. I regret absolutely nothing I said to the sorority girl that night. The drink in my face and the slap were totally worth it. I felt as much pride and success that night as I would have had I gotten laid.
And ultimately, as with any failure or rejection, it’s not until you have it that you realize how insignificant it actually is. How you spent so much time worrying about nothing. And how you’re free to act however you choose.
About Mark Manson Mark Manson is a writer and dating coach from Boston. He spends most of his time abroad visiting exotic places and fornicating with exotic women. He's also the creator of the acclaimed Mark Manson website.