A while back, I had to switch primary care physicians for various sordid reasons that were fortunately completely unrelated to me. I ended up getting an appointment with a new female doctor about my own age. As it happened, she was an MMA student (mixed martial arts) in her spare time, which was very handy since I was having taekwondo-related trouble with my knee: she knew exactly what I meant when I told her that it hurt to strike a target with an outside crescent kick.
At any rate, she helped me to resolve that issue, and I didn't have need of her professional services again for a while. The next time I was in, I asked about her MMA practice in the course of the usual small talk and was very surprised to learn that she'd given up the study since I'd last seen her. I asked why, genuinely curious. She told me that many of her patients were convinced that she was a battered woman because of all the bruises on her arms and legs from her workouts, and that this was affecting her professional performance, so she had to quit.
I was reminded of that conversation tonight as I sat on the sofa taking stock of my own current bruises. Four sparring-themed classes last week plus two self defense-themed classes so far this week have taken their toll: the one massive shoulder bruise (still ugly) from last week along with a couple of other lesser ones on the same arm, one on the inside of my ankle, and a lovely new one from last night on the outside of my left wrist. And all appear to be classic defensive wounds, because they are! I wonder if I'm ever going to have to explain to any authority or medical figure that my sweet blameless husband has never raised so much as a finger in my general direction.
I sometimes end up helping with a brief part of the service at church on Sunday mornings if there aren't enough other volunteers. This past Sunday was one of those days. I was wearing short sleeves, and apparently at one point the one sleeve raised up enough to reveal the big arm bruise. Nobody said anything, but my husband was unhappy about that afterward. And I totally understand his concern, since it's he that people who don't know about my hobby will think is a wife-beater.
Not sure quite how I'm going to handle this long-term...I'll have to ask the other women who are senior to me what they do. Will definitely have to remember to wear long sleeves or pants when banged up, though, since my husband's reputation will be terribly (and unjustifiably) besmirched if I don't!!