Re: Reactions from strangers?
I have a colleague at work who is of a different office-politics faction and tends to tease me about my clothes, hair, lifestyle, etc. (Not about my work, though--we keep this relatively friendly.)
The other day she stopped me in the hall and said, "You've finally lost weight! You look great--what did you do?"
"I took up martial arts."
"Ah! Maybe I should do that too."
And I stood there smiling sweetly at her while thinking, "Yes! Nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo...I've been wanting to do yonkyo on you for years....what an opportunity!"
In general when I come out of class bouncy and happy, people do seem to react to it. And they think I've lost weight even though I actually haven't (lost 15 pounds the first year but never any more). And guess my age wrong (I was asked for ID the other day, and I'm 42) which sure doesn't hurt my feelings any.
The one thing I've found is that if I carry a weapon, no matter how hard I try to treat it as a big mop-handle, people react to it as a weapon--last time I walked to the dojo with my jo one of the guys who hang out at the bus stop said, "You gonna hit me with that?" I bought a weapon bag--don't know yet if it will help.