This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Some firsts are universal—first love, first heartbreak, the first time you get high after several attempts at smoking weed. A first fight isn’t like that because not everyone is aggressive/stupid/unlucky enough to get into fights. But for those of us who’ve experienced it, it’s a feeling like no other. It’s primal and almost euphoric—you’re going off adrenaline and rage that makes you feel invincible. Until the other person puts you in your place.
This has happened to me before.
At five-foot-one, I’m a shrimp. But, during my early 20s, I was a rowdy drunk, and far too sassy for my own good. One night, at a club on Vancouver’s infamously trashy Granville Street strip, my friend became convinced that two (much taller) women were laughing at her. I looked in their direction and whispered in my friend’s ear, “them?” Then I smirked. The women immediately approached us.
“Are you laughing at me?” one asked. “Yes,” I replied, defiantly.
That’s when she slapped me in my face. I reached back and hit her with the heel of my palm, and I hopped off the stool I was sitting on. For some reason, I looked down at that moment, and one of the girls booted me in the face. My nose started pouring blood, so I ran to the bathroom. When I came back outside, I was livid and eager to continue the fight, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Because my nose was still fucked up, I decided to go home. Later that night, my friend saw the women getting into a cab—she rushed up to them and started slamming the cab door on the legs of one of the women. She called me and I felt happy knowing I’d been avenged. But then I had to show up at my new journalism internship with a scraped up nose.
The point is, whether you got your ass kicked or you won, you never really forget your first fight.
So I was the new kid in school, and I became really close with this girl, whose best friend felt that I had stolen her best friend. She started spreading rumors about me and saying I was talking shit about people behind their backs. On MSN Messenger, she threatened to kick my ass. Then she didn't show up to school for two days. When she finally showed up, after school, she came up to me with a few other people and was like “why are you talking shit?” I told her “I've literally never talked about you” and I was smirking. As I turned around and started walking away, she spit her gum at me while my back was turned. I fucking lost it. I dragged her down by the hair and kneed her in the face. It was a massive catfight, but there were also punches thrown and it turned into this huge brawl. This teacher who was trying to split us up got punched in the face. —Anushka*
This was back in the fall of 2014. I took a gap year from my studies and was living in Windsor, Ontario with my folks (they had just moved there that summer). I was going to meet a girl I was seeing for lunch one afternoon. My mother was driving into the city and offered me a ride. For some reason I can’t remember, she dropped me off three blocks away from my destination. In hindsight, I think it was destiny. I was walking along the street and I noticed a couple in a parking lot around the University of Windsor. They looked peculiar, particularly because it seemed like they were in the midst of a very intense argument. I couldn’t keep my eyes off them. I finally glanced away to cross the street and I heard a smack and a woman’s voice shriek. I turned around quickly to see that he had hit her very hard across the face. From there, I don’t know what got into me, but I ran toward this guy at top speed, knocked him to the ground, and immediately started whaling on him. He was around five feet tall, so I had a bit of a height and weight advantage on him. I’m not sure many would consider it a fair fight. Turns out, two women across the street were filming the entire incident and had already called the police. I stood on the man’s wrist and told him not to even think about moving until they got there. The victim had gotten away by then, but once the police showed up they were shown the video and sent me on my way. I’m not sure what else came from the situation! —Connor Atkinson
Punched in the Mouth
I got punched in the mouth in a dive bar in Oshawa, Ontario when I was 17 years old. I was standing up for a friend, and I threw a drink at someone. She responded by hitting me so hard I thought my teeth had fallen out. Then the bouncer kicked her out and I stayed and kept drinking. —Darcy
In high school, my coach took my (very diverse) rugby team to play a tournament in this (very white, very racist) farm town. One of the girls on the local team we were facing got mad real quick about her team losing, so she tried to drop a punch in while tackling me. I dodged the punch in a super cool way that everyone thought I did intentionally, but really I just slipped. So I didn't know she tried to punch me until later. And my team got riled up and we were about to take on the whole town, but my coach got us back on the bus before we started a mini race war —Premila D’Sa
I DJ'd at a bar; a girl kept making song requests, and if I didn't play them immediately, she called me a coolie and a n*gga, etc. She ditched her date who refused to pay for her (she left him to get other guys to buy her drinks). One of the boys threw up on her, so she ditched him for his best friend, but that guy wouldn't pay for her either. We asked her to pay, but she claimed she had no money so we confiscated her ID. Eventually, the entire bar staff almost jumped her and my partner held us all back. It ended with my partner yanking me off a table before I could get to her and the staff on my side screaming “get the white devil.” —Premika Leo
I jumped in on a buddy getting beat up on the beach. I got kicked in the back of the head. When I came to, I was leaning on my car wearing only a leather jacket and a bathing suit. Blood had dripped all down my face and chest. I've never been cooler. —John Semley
*name changed to protect privacy
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