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Fight or Flight ?

A short comedic piece collated from funny real-life stories of girls at Warwick where their dad’s love for their daughter and need for her safety have backfired.

By, Chayn S Kohli

Fight or Flight ?

As an international student that has been sheltered all my life, the transition of shifting to a new country was more daunting for my father than for me. As the only girl child in the house, I was so used to being guarded against the outside world that I never had any exposure to 'awkward' or 'threatening' situations. The idea of living alone, far away from home, without anyone to protect me, seemed to trouble my father a lot more than it seemed to worry me.

I still remember the week before I left for college, my father signed me up for karate classes in case I was in a situation where I needed to know how to drop a jaw-breaking punch. For a week, my father trained me alongside a karate trainer; while my karate trainer was intimidating, my father was way more. My father convinced himself that he was a general in the military training his solider for war – from running drills to push-ups to extra laps every time I nagged. I profoundly remember crying to my father about how "over the top" this was.

Although this was a very awkward experience for me, over the first week, I happened to speak with other girls only to discover there were 20 other girls in the same boat—all with similar stories or maybe even more awkward than mine. Over the course of a year, I have understood my father's love and selected the best stories to share from girls at Warwick about awkward situations a father's love for their daughter has caused. This blog is an accumulation of all the random stories where the self-defence techniques father's taught their daughters have backfired.

The Pepper Spray:

This one girl's father was very insistent on her carrying pepper spray everywhere she went, whether it be grocery shopping, a party or even to the kitchen. Never having used pepper spray before, she was worried she would accidentally spray it in her own eyes if she were ever in a dangerous situation. To prepare for the worst, she sprayed pepper spray in the bathroom sink with her roommate to test it. She sprayed a puff of pepper spray into the sink, and her roommate's eyes turned red, burning from the smell and watering uncontrollably. The spray was so strong that it irritated her eyes even from a distance. This poor girl had to evacuate her room and sleep with her roommate for two days as the smell was so strong that it was impossible to stay in the room without her eyes burning.

The Almost Deportation:

Another girl's father sent her to university on the condition that she must carry some self-defence equipment. He filled half a suitcase with a sabre (a self-defence flashlight, noise gun and pepper spray built into one piece of equipment), a defence key, bolas and a few other items. Travelling alone to university with a suitcase filled with all these items, this girl gets stopped at customs. The border security checked her bag and asked her questions regarding the items she was carrying. Confused and unable to give better reasoning than her "father wanted her to", she has cried through an hour of intense questioning and grilling as she has just landed in a foreign country that could very well have claimed her to be a threat to national security. It was only after a lady officer intervened as a mother, having understood her plight, that she was allowed to leave after all her father's precious equipment was confiscated.

The Public Alarm:

Last year, the university had given out alarms that would ring loudly in public once pulled. Shaped like mini-grenades, they definitely had the ear-bleeding volume of one too. This one girl was walking back to her accommodation along with her father on facetime. As she walks through the Warwick SU and makes her way near the Rootes accommodation lawn, where most of the fresher university parties happen, her father demands he sees how the alarm works and conduct a few test runs with his daughter through facetime. Insistent that she knows how to use the alarm and would complete the test runs in the room to avoid doing it in public, her dad refuses as he also wishes to see if anyone would come for help if she did pull the alarm. After a heated argument, she gave in and decided to pull her alarm as she walked through a Rootes party. She pulls the alarm, and everyone turns to look at her, someone lowers the music volume, and they all look at her confused as she stands alone by the pavement without any reason to pull the alarm. Embarrassed, she started walking away quickly, but at least her dad approved of the alarm. For the next two months, she was known as the "alarm girl'.

While these stories are awkward and embarrassing, we value our father's love for us and understand they always lovingly have our best interests at heart. We now have funny stories to pass on to our children, and we realise that as parents if we were in their shoes, we would do the same to ensure our child is safe at all costs. To end the blog on a happier and more honest note: all fathers are superheroes without capes and always a call away to protect their daughters.

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