Setting up a catfight
If you find a friend who is willing to try it or a sister or cousin who is willing to "do you the favor", you're lucky. Most of us must find opponents in other ways and this is where the terrain may become a bit precarious.
The main problem is that the "woman" whom you are contacting could be a man, or a crazy person, or just somebody who's not serious. The latter is a waste of time; the two former could pose real danger.
So you have to "screen" opponents and the best way to initially find them is through one of the accepted directories such as Am-Fem (the International Directory of Female Fighting) or AFWG (the Amateur Female Wrestling Group), whose address is listed in Am-Fem. Both directories are full of potential opponents' ads. While I'm at it, you could join the dozens of women in the Combative Woman's Web Site's Ladies Corner. All those women are, at least, women: I know because I voice verify each and every one.
None of this is foolproof, of course, but all three are excellent initial screens. By the way, do NOT use an on-line service like AOL for attracting potential opponents. AOL is a poser's paradise and, while I have actually met several real women (including four Ladies Corner members) on AOL, that would represent less than a percent of the "women" who frequent the wrestling chat rooms. Don't waste your time -- stick to the authoritative sources.
So what SHOULD you do? Good question...
First Stage: Mail
The first rule is to use one of these sources, browse them for people near you with your interests and get in touch. For the on-line lists, you can email but the directories require a written communication.
Your letter should be simple: your interests, physical size, and your experience level. Be short, cordial, and respectful. Do NOT include a photo yet.As your return address, use something secure. A mailbox is best. On line, use a generic provider like Hotmail for the initial contact. Try not to use your home or your real email address...you can give those when you've received an acceptable response.
When you receive the response, read it carefully. It's your first screen.
Does it seem like a woman? Is she really talking to you or just babbling about her "past fights" or the damage she does to opponents? Is she open and cordial or overly competitive and threatening? Do her self-references sound like a woman's or does she spend a lot of time talking about her breast size or describing herself as "looking like" some movie star?
I mean, listen girlfriend, do you know any REAL women who describe themselves to other women that way?Screen especially for overtly sexual descriptions, very violent anecdotes or hostile language or tone. These are all indications that the person is a man.
If the response feels right, write back going into more detail and responding to her questions (an experienced wrestler will ask several about your style and experience, for instance).Offer to mail a photo of yourself if none was including in HER response but just offer an exchange of photos. Do NOT send one yet. If she sent a photo that appears authentic, send yours back.
A word on photos: some wrestlers send pretty revealing photos but almost no real wrestler sends a nude photo. The reason for bikini photos is to show actual size and physicality since statistics don't tell the whole story. After all, you want to know if you're going to wrestle a world class body builder or someone who's out of shape, etc. BUT, you don't have to show that much -- although what's it matter if you look like Raven on the right (I sure don't!)?
Watch out for photos that seem professionally posed -- photos with very alluring facial expressions or overtly sexual content. Also watch for "model indicators" like perfect hair, perfect body proportions, extremely unique background scenes...stuff like that. While this doesn't mean the person is a fraud, it should raise a red flag and provoke questions from you about where this was shot and was it professionally done.
You don't have to send back a revealing photo; just make sure it's a full body photo which reveals what you look like. You can screen out the face if you'd like. She's going to grapple with your body, not your cheekbones.
One neat trick for photo verification is to exchange photos and then do it again and this time have the opponent put YOUR photo in hers and vice versa. That's illustrated in the photo to the right. After one exchange of photos with a Ladies Corner member in preparation for a match, I put the challenger's verification photo in this one and sent it back. It's tough to see here but I'm sitting on the photo. It was actually a joke -- you can imagine what the accompanying email said. LOL
Second stage: Phone
Listen! Always and I mean always, talk to potential opponents by phone before even thinking about meeting them.After you've seen the photos and are comfortable, offer a phone conversation. You can offer to call her or provide some safe number that isn't your home or work. Give a specific time to call or ask for one.Insist that you talk first to the woman and, when you make the call, follow that rule. Do NOT talk to men on the phone before speaking with the woman! DON'T DO THAT. If a guy answers (and that's perfectly understandable since many women live with men, right?) he will know not to start asking you a bunch of questions. Combative women are clear about this with our men -- we talk to the woman first and there's no exception.
In this conversation, be friendly and respectful and cover all the ground we mention in the rules section (which you may not have reached yet...but be patient).
After your phone chat you should be able to picture what the match will be like and who will be there and you should have some idea of the potential opponent's personality -- sense of humor, background, life-style. Not to suggest that you grill the poor woman; but actually chat with her. Don't just go through rules like a question and answer session -- talk about "stuff" as well.
Your opponent should be ready and open to talk in general about background and other matters not specifically related to wrestling. You're a woman, not a promoter; have a normal conversation.
After you've chatted with her some, you can invite her to put her mate on and talk with him/her. You should quickly go over the rules with this person and try to get a feel about his/her attitude: Does the person seem boastful about the fighter? Disdainful or disrespectful of you? Vindictive? Domineering? Challenging? Threatening? Does HE talk about her past opponents or matches and what tone does he adopt? Is he nasty toward past opponents, for instance. How does he refer to other women (does he use derogatory words?) How does he seem to relate to her? Is the attitude caring or disdainful?
All of this is important because, even if you like HER, you have to ask what she's doing with a jerk and how that will affect her actions. You know what makes you uncomfortable and, if anything does, go on to someone else.
If everything's cool, talk about a personal meeting in public.
Third Stage: Contact
The public meeting can take place some days before an actual match or immediately before it. But you MUST do it because a closed room is NOT the place to suddenly realize you're with a nut case. The meeting should be in a public place (for instance, over coffee or a drink) and should start only with you two. The guys can join you later.Set it up and attend it. Dress as you do for a "lunch date" or whatever and act as you would in that circumstance: cordial, open and respectful.At the public meeting, your goal is to get to know this person a bit NOT to egg her on. She'll be ready for the fight when it comes -- you don't have to psyche her up.
Is she friendly, does she appear sane, is she flexible about rules, is she specific and concrete or is she vague about anything? Basically, are YOU comfortable with her?
Again, have the mates or observers join you at some point and just chat about stuff. In general, it's advisable to steer clear of talking about the match itself with the mates. Just get a feel for chemistry. You don't have to be buddies but you should get a comfortable feeling of cordiality and respect. You should FEEL safe.