Why You’re Sick of My “Mansplaining”
Lately I’ve noticed you’re not listening to me in the way you once did. As I talk, I see your eyes glazing over just a bit, and I don’t feel as though the information I’m imparting is reaching its target as accurately as in the early days of our relationship.
I’ve given this some thought, and I’ve come up with several reasons why this is so.
- You’re distracted. You’re tired after a long day of work, and dirty dishes and socks have appeared in nearly all the rooms of the house during your absence. As I follow you around the house as you go about your “cleanup routine,” you can’t fully focus on my observations about the evolution of of tasks in the American household and the way they’re delegated in a post-industrial economy. You really just want to get the place livable again, cook dinner, clean up (again!) and zone out by watching some popular television program. That’s fair. I need to be more mindful of your need to consume mindless entertainment.
- My topics are too heavy. As I, say, equate the labor movement of the 1930s with what’s currently going on in inner cities, and how government is only exacerbating the problem by assigning worth according to how much a person can bolster its coffers, you are left somewhat mute by the topic’s deceptively profound contention. I should take more time to let the concepts sink in before moving to the next point.
- You resent me. Strong words, I know. But I’m not blind; I can see the bitterness in your eyes as I systematically refute your long-held belief that hard work will, inevitably, bring rewards to a person and his/her family. Your “fight or flight” instinct has been triggered — and I know I’d best get out of the way! But that would be cowardly of me, and I know it’s preferable to remain calm and close to you until you regain your composure.
- You have your own beliefs. I have always known you were a person of strong conviction — why else would I even be with you? I like a partner I can spar with. However, I have to be better at recognizing that sometimes partners need to allow space for incongruous belief systems, lest those systems cancel each other out. I should realize that, when held against your misconceptions and delusions, my beliefs become clearer. This is a good thing!
- I’m judgmental. Ouch, this one hurts! I’ve never seen myself this way, but when the Person Most Important To Me believes this is so, I have to give it some thought. Sadly, we live in a world where, when someone wishes to negate someone’s opinion, all she has to do is “call judgmental on that shit.” It’s got to be so tempting, and thus I can’t fault you for it — after all, to do so would be tantamount to judging you. Ha!
- Attention spans in our culture have vastly decreased. We see it everywhere — in schools, in performance halls, hell, even in the discussion rooms of our very own homes! People retreat to their facebooks, their snapgrams, their twitters, all as a way to avoid giving a topic some real thought. I need to remember that the world has changed, and I shouldn’t expect an audience to dutifully gnaw at a big plate of Brussels sprouts when there’s a bowl of M&Ms sitting right there in front of them. I promise to make my musings more palatable to the masses and, in turn, you.
- Deep down, you’re threatened by men. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — in fact, it’s really got little to do with you as an individual. Rather, it’s the result of thousands upon thousands of years of human evolution. It used to be that women had to stay on their best behavior around men as a matter of survival. Thank God our culture is finally moving past that! Men, at least the evolved ones, don’t push their weight around like they used to, even if they know they can. It’s kind of like the trump card they never play. We’re more secure with our intelligence now, and we don’t have to bully our way to intellectual triumph. And to think there are those out there who still refuse to believe in the utter irrefutability of evolution!
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Just keep in mind that…hey, where’d you go?