Help Not Wanted

“Damian, don’t bother.”

“I’m not going to sit here and watch this.”

Damian and I had been enjoying an evening of camaraderie drinking beers on the trunk of his car in the parking lot.  According to Fodor’s, this particular parking lot was a popular destination for camaraderie and drinking; well, it was for us, until that evening.

A man and woman were arguing vociferously about a hundred feet off.  They looked exasperated with each other.  Lots of aggressive hand motions punctuated their heated row.  His voice quickly got angrier and he grabbed her forearm with great flourish while berating her.

fuck you, cunt! you’re a fuckin worthless whore! you just follow your pussy! maybe you should suck that guy’s dick.

Then the slap.  Right across her cheek, bullseye.  I used to think that face slaps in the movies were way too loud; that the soundman was having fun exaggerating the effect for the audience’s shock and awe.  But this real life slap echoed throughout the empty parking lot like a crack of lightning.  I put my hand to my face in ghost sympathy.

Damian is normally a guy who takes amusement in the foolishness of humanity.  His philosophy (well, one of his quite frequently contradictory philosophies) is “I don’t care what people do to each other as long as I can sit back and ridicule them for it.”

He wasn’t laughing this time.  This got me worried.  He stood and put down his beer bottle.

“Dude, do NOT get involved with this.  Trust me, it’s pointless.”

“Get my back in case there’s trouble.”

Oh boy.  No time to talk him out of it.  He was dead set on white knighting.

I watched as he marched purposefully toward the fighting couple.  A few words were exchanged.

what’s your deal, motherfucker?
“Leave the girl alone.  Cowards hit girls.”
why don’t you mind your own business and go fuck yourself.

Damian got in his face.  “You’re a fucking loser taking it out on a girl.  I’m not leaving.”

The girl was crying and stamping her feet.  The loser took a step back from Damian and shoved a hand into his back pocket.  A split second later a metal object glinted from the lamppost light as it slashed a downward arc through the air.  Damian’s hand went reflexively up to his face.

I ran to them, my veins pumping with delirium.  The girl screamed and the guy jumped in his car and peeled off.  Blood seeped between the fingers Damian had pressed against his left cheek.

“Jesus, man, are you OK?!”
“I’m fine.” He looked at the girl. “Are you OK?”
She had hysteria in her eyes. “Why did you do that?”
“You shouldn’t have come over!  This wasn’t your business!”
I spit at her “That’s the thanks my buddy gets?  Go fuck off!  Your loser boyfriend is going to jail.”

At the periphery of the parking lot I saw Knife-Guy’s car idling.  He had driven around and stopped there.  She turned and ran toward it and got in.  They drove away.

Damian stared blankly at the nothingness in front of him.

“Hey, man, I’m taking you to the hospital.”

We drove in stony silence.  Bleeding face wound or not, Damian finds it hard to keep his yap shut for more than five minutes, so this was extraordinary.  A little too extraordinary for comfort.

“I guess you were right.”

“Hey, look, you did the right thing.  She was fucked in the head.  Don’t let it get to you.”

“Sure, whatever.”

I wanted to believe my own words, but I couldn’t.

Many police report filings and stitches later, we mused about that night.

“I’m disappointed.”  Damian did not look disappointed.


“The cut was not deep enough for me to impress the ladies with a cool scar.”

I sympathized.  “Perhaps you can impress them with the story instead.”

“I’m done impressing.”

He was wrong.  The cut was deep enough.


  1. Saw where this was going from the start. You can’t save people from themselves– 80% are trash who deserve, or possibly enjoy whatever absurd situation they’re in (male or female). Still, props to your buddy for trying, and the good karma of the universe he gets for the scar and the story for the club girls.


  2. How come I couldn’t be raised to be like that?

    It’s not fair.

    Still not as alpha as I’d like to be in my opinion, having to use a knife.

    I would have more respect for the guy, if he had taken you both on and beaten you with bare hands.


  3. GJ–even if someone IS trash, I don’t think they deserve abuse.


  4. I actually thought about doing this once. I saw a guy strangling his girlfriend in the subway and the rage inside of me was boiling so much that I almost hit the guy.
    But I didn’t, out of fear, I just ran up the stairs.


  5. Victims of domestic violence don’t “deserve it,” but in the case of that girl, she did get into the guy’s car afterwards, didn’t she?


  6. If the person is not willing to fight to defend themselves, regardless of whether or not they can win they don’t deserve help.


  7. There’s that Rand saying about how if you see evil but don’t act against it you’re only sanctioning it, thereby enabling it..

    I am totally sympathetic about victims but fuck the abuse lovers. Yet, that girl didn’t develop a fucked self-esteem like that all by herself..


  8. This one kind of hooks you so you want to comment – but you feel dirty commenting about it.

    Bottom line : Bad game – like “let’s you and him fight” without the payoff. they were both screwed up people – and it feels so 60’s 70’s?

    I can see this being funny as a scene in a movie though-

    Charlie Sheen witnesses the whole thing. He silently walks up to them – tension builds… and smacks HER


  9. Camille Paglia once said that the reason battered wives stay with their husbands is because the sex is so hot. Feminists say that it’s for economical reasons. BS to that; sole breadwinner wives of alcoholic unemployed husbans stay with them too.

    Assuming the battery consists of yelling, shaking, slaps, but not actual fist punches, I imagine there is a kind of high involved in the emotions, the apologies, the sex afterwards. I don’t know this from personal experience, Just imagining how it might be for people in relationships like that.

    I avoid talking about “self esteem.” It is a idiotic concept, spawned during the 80s. Usually the disfunctional types have a higher self reagard than normal people anyway . To each his or her f’n own. She didn’t have to get into that guy’s car, but she did. Her business.


  10. Props to your boy for sticking his neck out for someone in peril. I’d venture to guess that only 10% of such risks end in bloodshed for the middleman, and regardless, a full 100% serve as successful reminders to perps and victims alike that there are people out there who won’t tolerate abuse.

    GJ– Listen to yourself, man. If we let ourselves act as though any victim of domestic violence actually deserves it, we’re as depraved as the criminals themselves.


  11. I have a family member who spent her career in the criminal justice system, and one of the major lessons she tried to impress on me was not to interfere when two other people were fighting. Especially a man and a woman. She’d see too many assault and even manslaughter cases resulting from that.

    Another major lesson was to treat cops like dangerous wild animals — be very polite and wary. She’d seen a lot of assault cases from that too, except the person charged with assault was always the guy the cop beat up.


  12. Victims are just as sick in the head as their abusers. Your friend did a heroric thing. When/if the woman gets her head straight, she’ll look back on the situation with regret for her actions and admiration for your friend.


  13. pa – paglia is right, except she has identified the symptom instead of the cause. women are attracted to power and dominance, and abusive men have that in spades. thus, the hot sex with them. i don’t think women actually like to be physically pushed around, but their attraction mechanism gets knocked out of whack by the sheer dominance that such a violent guy demonstrates. it’s almost like the women can’t help themselves. similar to the way men can’t help their boners when they see fantastic T&A.


  14. Most women stay in abusive relationships out of fear… Having listened to victims of DV for many years, I have never heard one say “well, the sex was hot”. It’s mostly “I was scared for my children” “I was scared for my safety” “I was scared for my life”. Think about it this way.. that man knows where she lives (may live with her or have keys), knows where she works, etc. She got in the car because she (most likely) was quite scared of what would happen to her if she DIDN’T get in the car.

    I was involved in a similar situation as this in Baltimore about 9 years ago. My friend who intervened (we were walking down the street and witnessed a guy punch his girlfriend in the face) ended up in the hospital (and the girl had the same reaction as this one, she immediately defended her boyfriend.. which got all the girls in our group involved in the brawl – since no one could figure out why she was defending him).

    The best thing to do is to call 911.


  15. Well, what I heard was that victims of DV are pretty much brainwashed. He convinces her that she (or he) is utterly dependent on him, and cuts her off from anyone else. Cycle of fear begins and lack of power begins… I’ve seen huge guys take it from a girl. But I can’t generalise. For some people, sex/drama could feed in to it.

    What your friend did was brilliant.

    However, here in Britain, there were two articles about knife kills, one died because he said ‘excuse me’ while trying to get out of the train and another got it because he got out of his car when two kids threw a half-eaten chocolate bar into his window.

    I’m glad he’s okay!

    To me, a man harming a woman has the same sort of wrongness as a woman harming a child… I mean, there are circumstances where it’s you need to restrain them.


  16. Great story.

    Much respect his assertiveness, but he’s lucky that knife didn’t go into a vital organ or his throat. And that the guy didn’t have a firearm. And that you were there to make the perp think twice about any further violence.

    No easy solution here. I might have accosted them in a loud voice, but only from a certain distance. Every extra 10 feet affords significantly more protection from a recklessly fired handgun. Then dial 911.

    @Just a Girl

    “I have never heard one say ‘well, the sex was hot’ ”

    1) That wouldn’t be a very welcome statement to make to a counselor, would it?
    2) As the recent NYTimes article amply demonstrated, women are generally barely cognizant of how their attraction mechanism works.

    There was an article about using MDMA as an adjunct to psychotherapy — I read it in the Washington Post Magazine sometime in the past 3-4 years. One of the patients was a middle-aged woman whose drunken lout of a stepfather had viciously abused her since she was a little girl.

    Found it…

    Quote: “During her MDMA session, Elizabeth says, she remembered that after her mother divorced her stepfather, she’d confided to Elizabeth that he had been the best lover she’d ever had.”

    Her mother ignored her daughter’s daily agony because her own sex life was so great. In the article Elizabeth talks about addressing the issue in an MDMA therapy session, finally verbally exploding: “My mother traded my childhood for sex!”

    It happens.


  17. NEVER get involved in a domestic disturbance. If you’re lucky you’ll wind up slashed. If you’re unlucky both man and woman will join together and kill you and then go home and bone each other until dawn.