Pepper Spray, Stun Guns and the Modern Woman

Silhouetted Woman Running at Sunset
Photo credit: Google Images

I run the in the morning. In the dark. With headphones on. Admittedly, not the smartest thing in the world to do. It’s why, for years, my husband bugged me to take a self-defense class. Or twelve. I refused on the grounds that I was too afraid of getting hurt.

But he was relentless, and alas I gave in. I would go, I said, as long as I could wear one of these:

Photo credit: Google Images
Photo credit: Google Images

He dropped the subject.

Until a few weeks ago. After hearing reports of a man flashing a woman while she was running in my neighborhood, my husband gave me a couple of early Christmas presents.

Pepper Spray3

I was excited to try out my new badass toys, but also a little afraid. Of harming myself. And so, the new toys sat on my bedside table for a couple of weeks. And then, last week I decided to explore. I opened the pepper spray first. It seemed less…violent…than the other gadget, and there seemed to be less chance that I would accidentally end up spraying myself.

I was wrong.

I should clarify that I didn’t actually spray myself. I should also mention that I was in the bathroom when I test fired it. And I should also warn you that pepper spray, like air freshener, does tend to permeate the air. Especially in a small, enclosed space.

Enough said. But I will also say this: the shit works.

And so, being the kind person I am, I decided to share my experience—simply as a public service announcement mind you—to my friends on Facebook. It was there I shared that I am also the proud owner of a stun gun.

Stun gun by Vipertek (photo courtesy of Google Images)
Stun gun by Vipertek (photo courtesy of Google Images)

One kind friend, after reading about my pepper spray debacle, felt it necessary to suggest that I might not want to test out the stun gun while in the bathroom. More specifically, while standing in a pool of water.

My friend made a good point. And so, not being one to read directions (hence the pepper spray debacle), I decided now would be a good time to start. And surprisingly, the instructions told me that it is safe to use my stun gun while standing in a pool of water. I, however, decided it would be prudent not to test this theory.

In fact, because of the pepper spray debacle, I made my husband test fire the stun gun. Let me just say that the stun gun is back in its case, buried in the bottom of a drawer where it will stay until the pepper spray runs out.

Woman holding stun gun
Photo via Google Images

Now, you might be asking yourself, “where the heck does Suzanne live that she needs pepper spray AND a stun gun?” The unfortunate truth is that it doesn’t matter where you live. Any woman spending time outside alone after dark (even in the daytime), should protect herself.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you’re stubborn (like me) and insist on wearing headphones, keep your music low enough that you can hear someone approaching. Carry a cell phone, and for extra measure, buy some pepper spray.

But always remember to keep these items safely stored, away from children.

What about you? Do you brave the dark solo? If so, what do you do to protect yourself?

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13 comments on… “Pepper Spray, Stun Guns and the Modern Woman”

  1. Safety first is my motto too, Suzanne! Yes, I go out in the dark by myself but I gave up listening to my iPod when I do it. Too many creepy people out there, even in a good neighborhood. Bad guys (and girls) have cars, you know.

    Decades ago, I worked on a consulting assignment at a public hospital in a very bad area of a major US city which will remain nameless. Suffice to say that when they blew up the tenements two blocks over, it made the national news. The hospital administrator set our work area in the out-of-use nursing school with no air conditioning in the middle of hot, humid summer. The whole team was female. We were told to avoid wearing any jewelry or dressing nicely, arrive after 9 am and leave before 4 pm, and always, always, travel as pack. And defend ourselves if approached or attacked. Kind of like what you’re supposed to do if you encounter a bear or a mountain lion – make your (gang) appear bigger than it is.

    Hhhmmm – a group of preppy over-educated women used to wearing pin-stripe skirted suits, floppy silk ties over their button down shirts, and very high heels (this was the 80’s, after all) and we’re expected to defend ourselves? Do we get war zone pay for this?

    No, we received pepper spray.

    As my consulting years continued, I found myself in places that made me question how I would take care of myself if the need arose. Parking garages late at night aren’t that different from quiet corners in busy airport terminals. Danger can lurk in a shopping mall when the wrong people are around.

    It took a nutcase following me into an elevator in downtown Chicago one evening to convince me that I needed to learn more about self-defense. Thankfully, car keys threaded through my fingers and pointy heels were enough to dissuade the guy that night. When you’re scared, self-preservation kicks in. But I needed more.

    I had the same concern as you – getting hurt. But guess what? It’s no worse than the blisters you had rollerblading (and in fact, won’t last as long) or surgical recoveries, and certainly something a kick-ass chick like you can handle!

    And the amazing thing I learned is it’s FUN, not to mention empowering! I haven’t “indulged” in a long time, though I’ve thought about it often for the past year.

    I’ll go if you will – what do you say?


  2. Yes I run in the dark and carry pepper spray. I mostly carry it in hand when I rollerskate as it would work on dogs if needed. (Sorry dog lovers but I have been bit). I’m curious as to the results when your hubby test fires the stun gun?! Hugs

    • Listen, nobody loves their dogs more than us, but a girl has to protect herself.Glad to hear you’re playing it safe. Ahola, sister!

  3. My mother taught me to always look in the back seat before getting into a car, and I try to avoid areas that look dangerous. But I know some people who seem to go too far, expecting a mugger around each corner and afraid to leave their house. Maybe as a reaction to that, or because I live in a “safe” area, or because (knock on wood) I’ve been lucky so far, I don’t worry to much. One scary incident, though, and I’ll sign up for karate and start packing my own pepper spray!

  4. You had me laughing out loud. Great storytelling:-)

    I once owned some pepper spray that fit on my keychain. When the kids became interested in my keys, I got rid of it. It just seemed like an accident waiting to happen.

    I wouldn’t mind getting some more, but I’m definitely procrastinating. Thanks for the post!

  5. What is that old saying? “Better safe than sorry.” Yeah. And you’re right. You can never be too careful wherever you live. Sadly, it doesn’t matter anymore. We need to be a little paranoid. Just sayin’. Please take care of yourself Suzanne and I wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery. ((Hugs))

  6. Ha – I love this post. I can imagine what your bathroom must have been like after the test spray incident. Good grief my friend, be careful.

    I do love the stylish pink stun gun. Does it come with a matching bedazzled holster? I’d wear that.

    Thanks for the smile today. Be careful out there. And, it’s nice to know your hubby loves you and is watching out for you.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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