Male-splaining or Male Bashing?

There’s a new expression that’s all the rage. It is “male-splaining.”

The term is (in my mind) an incredibly condescending way of describing how men supposedly talk too much. Male-splaining means that men, thinking that they are the center of the universe, explain in too much detail. Apparently, they look down on women and assume that we don’t have a single brain cell in our heads.

The term is being thrown around all the time, as a woman complains about her man, other people’s men, and random males in stores. As for me, I don’t know if males explain too much. But I’m glad that someone does.

What do I mean? What I’m saying is that we live in a world where most of us are left to fend to ourselves. If I buy a new piece of furniture, I’m supposed to put it together. If I purchase a heavy mirror, I’m supposed to somehow pick it up, put it in my car, and drag it into my house.

As for explaining, that’s not happening much either. For one, many if not most of the workers around here don’t speak fluent English. So if you’re at Target looking for handkerchiefs (a true story), good luck getting any of the three workers that I asked to know what in the world I’m talking about.

To be honest with you (and very politically incorrect), when I seek out help, I oftentimes look for an English-speaking male. For instance, there is a hardware store near my house that can offer helpful suggestions.

The store employs mostly men — but a few women too. Frankly, when I wait on the line for help, I dread getting a woman salesperson.

She tends to know a little about all the nuts, bolts, and other mechanical parts in the store. But generally it is nowhere near as much as the men. And the women seem bored and uninterested in going into details, even if they know.

But the men — wow, speaking to them is like taking a class in all-things hardware. I’ll come in and ask for a particular lightbulb.

The next thing I know, the enthusiastic male salesman is filling my brain with all kinds of interesting info about LED bulbs, fluorescent, etc. Before I know it, I’ve had a college education on how to illuminate my house.

I remember once having a nasty pest problem in my place. I went into the hardware store and spoke to one of the fellows. Well, he knew all about the creepy crawly things, and had recommendations that would rival that of an exterminator.

And he said all of this with a sense of delight in sharing his vermin expertise. If I got one of the ladies instead, she would have had a mildly disgusted look on her face about the infestation and simply led me over to the pest control section.

I’ve also found out the hard way about the benefits of seeing a male doctor. These days, most women look on visiting a male physician with as much excitement as getting a colonoscopy. Women doctors are much more in demand.

But a couple of years ago, my (woman) doctor was out for a few days with a sick child (1). I saw her colleague, a man. It turned out that this “rash” that I thought I had was actually a potentially serious, staph infection.

Even though this man was filled to the brim with his own patients waiting, he took literally 45 minutes with me. Rather than just give me some antibiotics and make me wait for my doc to return, he literally performed out-patient surgery to rid me of this dangerous infection.

This doctor got in there with some sharp instruments and he dug. . he dug and he dug. . I could not only see the skilled physician that he was, but I could imagine the young boy that he once was.

Like that young boy totally into some science project that would gross-out a girl (for instance, dissecting), this physician went to battle against this disgusting, pus-filled mess. It was close to an hour before he stopped. And the whole time, he “male-splained” and kept me informed on what he was doing.

When he was done, he stuffed the wound with something and then had me come back the next day to remove. Upon seeing that the infection was not completely gone, he spent another 1/2 hour digging until he had gotten all of the mess out.

Being incredibly careful, he had me return again. All looked well. And to this day, I have not had a reoccurrence.

When I saw my usual, woman physician a couple of weeks later, I waxed rhapsodic about her colleague. I told her how he went way beyond the call of duty on all of the days that I saw him.

When she heard the story, she shrugged her shoulders and said, quite honestly, “That’s great — but I wouldn’t have done all of that.” So I was very fortunate that the guy was there instead of the gal — and I actually switched to his practice shortly thereafter.

The male doctor may have done what a lot of women would patronizingly call male-splaining. The same could be said about the fellows at the hardware store.

But as for me: I greatly appreciate all of their enthusiasm and their explanation — and that they will take the time to share their knowledge with me.

And when it comes to hardware, rodents, or sometimes even disgusting, pus-filled messes, knowledge is power. And, oftentimes, men do know more.

Rather than ridicule men for all that they know, why not value their vast wealth of knowledge? And why not be happy when they share it with the rest of us?

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Notes:

(1) Another problem with women doctors. Many of them are extremely talented at what they do — when they do it. Around here, most of the women doctors are only part-time since they are being pulled between home and work. But the male doctors, dentists, etc. tend to be around when you need them.

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