Re: Wife Called Me A Coward..
On a site like this, there is often "the correct answer", and then "what I would really do". I admit that I avoid my real thoughts on it because I don't think it applies to most people. I'm very focused on behaving with honor because I grew up among a small native american community, but both parents were also half white. I don't think another person, or persons, has the right to project their insults into my private life. I also know pretty well how to pick out the dangerous ones, how to fight when a person has a knife or baton, and how to remove a gun from a situation. I've faced them all on the streets.
That said, if this were my current community, its very naive to think that this would have to turn into a fight. Especially in the midwest, just telling them kindly to take it down a notch would result in some low level murmuring, and not much else. If I was in the city, rules change. I'd walk away, like my wife and I did in downtown Detroit, when it was highly likely that one or more was carrying a weapon. The guys stopped me because I said nothing, and I whispered to my wife to get my friend from the car, my telescoping hardened steel baton, which was our only weapon allowed in a protection job in college. The guys decided that facing this new surprise wasn't worth their time.
Still, a few guys in a movie theatre in my current locale don't necessarily signify physical conflict, because most of them in my area have only seen them in TV. They're more likely young guys who use the fact that everyone walks away to step up their game for the next woman who walks by. But if my wife isn't in danger, I will not let them project their insults like that without a response. To me, it feels like doing so would be like giving up on everything I was taught that I am supposed to stand for. Especially since I look like a linebacker, walking away only encourages the ones who are looking for trouble.
Seems only common sense that women look at the characteristics of the man they are with before marrying them. One situation like the OPs only demeans her, because she very likely chose a guy who wasn't a neanderthall like me, someone who would respect her independance in every aspect of her life, including this.