We're lucky here in Madison to have a former reporter of Joel Despain's caliber working as a spokesman for our police force. One of Joel's greatest strengths is his knack as a story teller, and there are times when it shines through in something like a police press release, which is generally intended to be bland and to the point at best. I've seen some from other departments come across my desk that almost require a cryptographer to decipher.
But the Madison press corps got a good chuckler from Joel today. As with most of them, you have to read between the lines to get the joke.
Incident report for Case#2009-182844
Released 06/24/2009 at 11:51 AM by PIO
400 block West Doty Street
5'6", 115 lbs., with curly, red shoulder-length hair, slender build, wearing a red sundress.
Male, age 21, MadisonVictim suffered multiple
abrasions to his back, including two cuts requiring 11 stitches. He also had a bruised chest, a cut lip, and a sore nose.
On Tuesday, a 21-year old Madison man came into the Central District to report a battery that happened around 3:00 a.m. that morning. He said he was at a downtown house party, sitting on a porch, when a woman started dancing and taking her clothes off. The victim said he - and others - laughed as they watched the disrobing. As he chuckled, another woman, clad in a red sundress, slapped him across the face, saying, "You don't know who you're dealing with." The man backed up, sat on a railing, and continued to guffaw at the striptease. Suddenly, the woman responsible for the slap "rushed" the victim - knocking him off the railing. He says he fell more than six-feet onto concrete. The woman descended with him, landing on his chest. Friends cleaned him up, and he discovered his back was bleeding profusely. He ended up in the emergency room, and wishes to pursue charges against the assailant. She has not been located.
By the time I finished reading this story, I had nearly fallen out of my chair. I have no idea how the police officer that took this report was able to keep a straight face.
If this 21-year-old "victim" has any motive other than getting a phone number in wanting to file charges against this "assailant," I'd like to sit him down and have a talk about finding him a decent pair of man pants. I mean that. I don't know any self-respecting member of the male gender that would come forward to police to admit he'd had the crap kicked out of him by a girl.
Based on the "victim's" description, we're not talking about a bruiser here. Girls that are 5' 6" and 115 pounds don't play for the women's hockey team. With the red hair and sundress, guys should have been lining up around the block to get cracked in the jaw by this young lady.
Let's face it, there's a fair chance this guy got exactly what was coming to him. As a member of the male gender, I'm realistic enough to admit that 3 AM at a house party is not when most guys are at their most gentlemanly, and I find it hard to believe this guy was half the "victim" he makes himself out to be. I say good on this mysterious red-clad firebrand for being able to lay down the law with the punk.
But for this guy to take his pitiful, fabricated story to police is an unprecedented level of weak. There are certain unspoken rules all men should abide by. You never hit, push or otherwise lay an ungentle hand on a woman. If a woman takes a swing at you, you get out of the way or you take the hit. There's no excuse for fighting back. And if a woman gets the upper hand and bloodies you up a bit, you sure as hell don't tell anyone!
That's what I find so baffling about this story. So the guy needed a few stitches and will probably be the butt of a running joke among his buddies for a while. Dragging police in the matter won't solve either of those problems. In fact, it will likely prolong the humiliation, first when his buddies see the police report, then when some media attention is paid to it. If they actually catch the young woman, that will reopen the wound, as will any court appearances to follow.
I can just picture this guy, tears streaming down his face, describing to a jury the "brutal beating" he sustained at the hands of the five-foot-six pixie in a red sundress. Call protective services! He's going to need protection from this monster!
I've got to think that this guy was just a little concussed when he made the decision to take his story to police, and didn't think ahead to the guffaws that would follow any time one of his buddies mentions "that time Jimmy got his ass kicked by a girl."
So let that be a cautionary tale to any young men who haven't learned these lessons yet. Fiery things can come in small packages, and while there are times they will bruise your pride, you're just going to have to man up and get over it.