Let’s face it, speaking from experience, I can say it’s good to be a Man.
One of the great things about being a guy is in the field of indulging yourself in Badassery. Our popular culture is awash in badass guys, and our country is equally awash in businesses who want to let regular guys get in on the fun.
Whether it is flying a Russian MiG fighter, attending baseball fantasy camps, manning the rigging in a Tall Ship, or these friggin’ idiots, the world is filled with opportunities for men to indulge their self-image.
Even real life superstars give it a shot, as with the program where the Navy SEALs drag off our top Olympic swimmers and give them a look at what REAL training in the water is like. (Actually, they don’t. The Olympians can’t take what the SEALs dish out to real trainees.)
But when women want to lay out money for recreational escape, what is mostly on offer? Culinary camp? The spa? Pottery weekends?
In case you haven’t noticed, popular culture is increasingly embracing the concept of the female badass.
Enter Femme Fatale Finishing School in Central Ohio. Femme Fatale is your one-stop shop for a taste of all the best aspects of being an International Woman of Mystery. What’s great about being Jane Bond? Shooting guns for a start. They have that covered. Hand to hand combat. Check. Skilled gambling, car chases, and the art of seduction? Check, check, and check. And of course, neither self-image nor public persona is complete without knowing to the core how to drink a cocktail better than everyone around you.
Femme Fatale Finishing School is owned Peg McCort, a mother, businesswoman, and fitness enthusiast, and Jason Holt, a personal trainer and Krav Maga instructor. Together, they had an idea for a series of experiences for women looking for ways to be more adventurous, exciting, and assertive without sacrificing any femininity. Over the year they spent developing the concept, it grew into the metaphor they now use. The name really says it all.
FFFS doesn’t do “classes”, they offer “Missions”. The names of these Missions, such as Loaded Guns, tell as much about the attitude as they do the subject matter.
Combat Ready, for instance, embodies in its name the difference from more prosaic offerings such as How Not to be a Victim, or simply Self-Defense. The kind of training Combat Ready introduces participants to has a more assertive mind-set than, “just kick him in the knee and run away classes,” as Peg describes them. Combat Ready is more about the concept of taking the gun or knife away as a means of ending the conversation.
Not that a session of Combat Ready is going to give a woman the ability to safely do that. The point is to show participants that it is possible, that learning to actually do it can be fun, and give them the contacts to pursue these skills in the future. Most of FFFS’s missions are like this. The Missions are about having fun and expanding the horizons of what you can do. The advantage over things like Fantasy Baseball Camp is that the activities Femme Fatale introduces are one that real people can actually participate in and use when the adventure is done.
Their two biggest mission specialties so far are Loaded Guns and Seduce.
Loaded Guns 1 and 2 are firearms experiences. Loaded Guns 1 is an introduction to guns, primarily aimed at women who either have never touched a gun or otherwise feel uncomfortable around them. It starts with range and safety instruction at Black Wing Shooting Center (they are negotiating adding other venues in the area), then an extended period out in the range, shooting with handguns. They start with .22s and eventually work all participants up to 9mms and .45s. They finish up with more discussion and a light party.
Personally, I’m a big believer that adults, and even most older kids, should at least be familiar with firearms, know their real safety issues, and simply have some experience with what happens when a gun goes off nearby. Peg talks eloquently about the therapeutic and empowering value shooting a firearm for the first time can have for women. For some women, just doing it once will be enough to scratch the itch, others may find it to be a great pastime and go on to try recreational shooting, or even take a concealed carry class. (I intend to take a concealed carry class myself for the legal, safety, and skills training. I doubt I’ll actually carry.)
For many, it is simply a fear to eradicate forever. Jason told me, “we have lots of women come in who are scared to death when they walk out on the range and we put a gun in their hands for the first time. I had one lady who was literally in tears at being expected to fire a little .22. but by the end of the session, we practically had to pry the .45 out of her hand. She wouldn’t even swap back to the .22.”
This brings up something important about what they are doing with FFFS. When men do an adventure experience, we have ways of psyching each other up to get on that animal, or jump off that thing… ways that are neither pleasant nor particularly effective with normal women. These folks work very hard and very carefully to recognize the different motivational techniques you need to not only succeed and but make it fun for female clients to take that leap. Whatever the leap may be.
Loaded Guns 2 is more pure adventure for women who have already experienced the introduction. It gives them the chance to experience firing serious weapons such as assault rifles, carbines and a machine gun or two, I believe.
At the other end of the spectrum, but just as Bondian a skill if you think about it, is FFFS’s other most popular series of missions, Seduce. Seduce is about learning to control and enhance your sensuality through movement and dance. They start out with just how to walk and move on to a variety of dance ideas. Yes, they include an introduction to dancing with a pole, but Peg goes to pains to explain that they are not teaching stripping, or the kind of dancing strippers do. It’s about asserting your femininity. To me, it’s about a perfectly acceptable way to keep one’s rightful share of power in a relationship. And it certainly fits with the spy movie-esque theme of the business. If 007 didn’t know how to Seduce a variety of women, he’d have been in an unmarked grave a long time ago!
While most Femme Fatal Finishing School Missions are just a couple of hours, they are beginning to do some longer, more involved events as well. A great example is the upcoming Ride the Edge special mission. Held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, one of those tracks where the Indy cars get to turn right every so often, this full day mission will involve training the women on spin-outs, evasive driving, pursuit driving, and a high-speed run. Oh, and there also will be the opportunity to drive around the track at speed, shooting pistols out the window of the moving cars at targets by the side of the track….
Will someone tell me why the hell this company only allows female customers?
At least for right now, the mixology missions are mostly piggy-backed on other missions, after the activity is over for obvious reasons. They make a pleasant and enjoyable wind-down from the excitement and a great way to enjoy the more relaxed elements of being an international mystery woman.
All missions have different pricing, but a few examples are: Loaded Guns 1 at $100 and Loaded Guns 2 at $150; Seduce 1 at $75; and Ride the Edge is obviously pricier at $650. While larger groups can reserve an entire mission to themselves, most missions are made up of individual women and groups of a couple of friends each. The company’s website is here, and this is their Facebook page. The fabulous broad that is the PeguWife will be trying a mission or two, but I’d love to hear from any of you out there who give being a badass a whirl!