To Mansplain or Not to Mansplain

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In college I had an English professor whom I admired. Not only was he knowledgeable, but he also had a sense of humor. Especially, whenever he recited Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in old English (entertaining, but also exhibitionistic).

I was struggling a bit to keep my head above water and met with the professor during his office hours. Before fully hearing me out, he declared that I had a time management problem. Then he went on to describe left brain versus right brain gobbledygook. I looked at him with an eyebrow raised.

“Do you know what I’m talking about?” he asked me. “Because you look confused.”

Yeah, I’m confused, I thought, why you’re talking down to me like this.

I was a grown woman with a job, a husband, and bills to pay, not some eighteen-year-old living on campus. The struggle was real!

As a left-handed person, I very well understand the differences between left and right-brained thinking. I just couldn’t for the life of me understand why this man was prattling on about that, of all things, when I had come to him to discuss competing priorities in my life.

The professor didn’t give me a chance to explain myself, what all was going on in my life. Instead, he made assumptions and talked at me like I was a child. Unfortunately, like a child, I didn’t realize I had the right to call him out. This was my first time experiencing classic mansplaining. To this day, it remains the best example I’ve ever experienced.

If I could go back in time, I would tell him off in Chaucer’s own language, not have sat there silent and resentful.

How dare ye scallywag besmirch my good name this morrow? OK, that’s more pirate than old English, but something to that effect. It would’ve really blown his mind in language he understood.

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