Mansplaining; A Name for the Last Male Frontier of Marginalization

Mansplaining – the perfect name for obnoxious behavior. One delicious benefit of arriving at a certain age is to have a woman give a name to a practice that women put up with for years.

On the Lucy Show, when her adventures backfired, Ricky huffed and growled, “Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.” I waited for Lucy to ‘splain to Ricky where to stuff it, but she never did.

Mansplaining rachets up the ‘splaining to give the male a platform to pontificate to the female on unsolicited subjects.

I hoped men might progress and outgrow this practice, but they did not. Women united, and named it and devised a clever name to call it out.

In the land before time, if a man called you “little lady”, you knew an unwarranted homily, was forthcoming; like when the builder who was building our new home tried to put sub-grade shelving in all the closets.

The contractor explained the pine rosin and knot holes would not be discernable once the closets were filled. Juggling three kids who did not want to go to a building site, may have caused me to be a bit impatient. I went ballistic, the oldest child covered the youngest child’s ears as they scurried to the safety of our car. The good news was the contractor never called me “little lady” again and our closet shelves were rosin and knot free.

This was not my first encounter with mansplaining. Years prior, a male interviewer mansplained that I would want a third child, and pregnancy would create a major inconvenience for this position.

Then there was the time I went to the HR director to ask for help with a delicate matter.

My boss’s body odor was so horrible he could have distilled it and marketed it as bear repellent. A few minutes spent in his office drove the aroma into my nostrils where it lodged itself for the remainder of the day. I couldn’t say anything to him, but I thought perhaps another man might could. Nope, nuh uh, he mansplained in four words, “He is an executive.”

I am waiting for eldersplain to become a word. Eldersplain is the practice of younger folks assuming the mature set require unsolicited instruction ranging from the use of electronic devices or how to “google it.”

Pack Rat or Collector?

What is the difference between being a pack rat or a collector?

In spite of having recently purchased Roku, we are keeping our VCR and an ancient tv set that has its own VCR. One of us firmly believes we may need it one day.

During a recent reorganization, I unearthed a box with spare buttons. Most of them belonged to garments long ago consigned to Goodwill.

What would happen if I threw away the whole shebang?

I’m telling you, within seconds of the buttons becoming fodder for the recycle bin, my beloved would inquire if there were a spare button for the old jacket he swore he burned. That jacket is so ugly, our dumpster diver wouldn’t retrieve it.  A missing button on that jacket is a minor flaw.

He promises to organize and discard, but the man has serious issues when it comes to eliminating anything. There is no twelve-step program for this kind of retention obsession. At the supermarket, he manages to secure extra twist ties. He has managed to escape arrest, thus far for his petty crime. They are taking over the kitchen junk drawer. We could bungee off the roof with twist tie straps.

He has a lifelong love affair with paper. There is a file on his desk for every conceivable topic. He files most of the stuff under “loose ends” and “follow up.”

He clips newspaper items and prints online articles, but the information disappears. It refuses to cooperate and retreats mysteriously into a file known only to itself. A scanner and back up hard drive will never replace the manila file folders he clutches to his bosom.

He undeniably has a Tote issue. After spring cleaning, we agreed that the plastic Totes we have hauled all over the universe would go to new homes or the recycle bin.

That lasted two weeks. After the last family member’s relocation, he put out an APB calling for the return of all missing Totes, plus their lids. I have run out of places to store the totes. No one actually believes we have a beige, plastic sectional sofa.

I, on the other hand, methodically whittled down my assortment of vases and kept only the fifty that are unique. Organized by size, shape, and color, stored out of sight in their own armoire. I call my stuff collectibles; his treasures defy definition.

He prefers the term “collector,” refusing to accept the more accurate term pack rat. Currently, we are at an impasse, but we have agreed neither of us is comfortable watching “The Hoarders.”

Note: Originally published December 2011.
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