It's always an unfortunate day when you have to suffer through some "hero" who takes it upon himself to mansplain something to you: whether it be politics or science or some other subject he deems your female mind too feeble to comprehend. So it really sucks when you wind up on a date with a dude and conversation stars veering in that direction. How do you respond to mansplaining on a date, though? Let's be real: The dating world can be a disaster these days — if it's still early, your response could potentially open the door for the date to move forward (or not, depending on his response).
"Mansplain" is one of those funny little words that has been added to the vernacular in the last few years, but which isn't funny at all when it actually happens to you. Some people insist it's not a thing; others simply call it ego. Although, for the record, there is scientific data on this specific type of behavior. But whatever you call it and however it happens, it's never fun when a man presumes to know more than you based solely on your gender. People of all genders can obviously talk over people and explain things in a condescending manner, too — it's also the worst. But, to be clear, mansplaining is so relevant to discussion because we live in a patriarchal culture where the voices of men are already deemed more important and more knowledgeable than... well, pretty much anyone else's.
If you're out there in the dating world and want to be prepared in case the person sitting across the table pulls a mansplaining card, here are a few responses to have at the ready.
1. Hear Him Out (To An Extent)
If the date is going well by all other accounts when he shushes you to present his apparently superior point-of-view, try to give him the benefit of the doubt. We're all adults here, and we all know that it isn't mansplaining every single time a guy attempts to explain something. If the person with the best grasp of a subject happens to be male and his present company would like to know more about his subject of expertise, than by all means! The behavior becomes problematic — i.e. mansplaining — when the man interrupts or speaks over you to explain something you already know. So if he seems like a solid human being who may just be bad at making his point in this particular context, it might be worth hearing him out.
2. Ask Questions — LOTS Of Them
You gave him the benefit of the doubt, but he isn't pulling the nose out of his verbal tailspin. So, here's what you do: You come prepared with plenty of questions. What makes you an expert on this subject? Do you know why I'm an expert on this subject? Are you listening to what I'm saying, or are you only listening to answer back? What is your ultimate point in "explaining" this to me? Don't let them off the hook.
3. Don't Back Down
You know what else is the worst? Talking to someone who you know isn't hearing a word you are saying. If your date doubles down when you try to open up the discussion more, hold your ground, too. If or when he tries to interrupt you when you speak, firmly state that you're going to finish your thought before he enters his. The hope is that he'll pump the brakes a bit and realize how presumptuous he was to assume you didn't know what you were talking about in the first place — and how rude he was for interrupting you when you tried to tell him.
4. Ask Them If They Know How They Sound
Sometimes people need somewhere to hold a mirror up to them before they really how they are coming off. We've all been there, right? Sometimes you so worked up talking about something you're passionate about, you don't realize how patronizing you sound. Again, to be clear, mansplaining is much more insidious than a simple case of getting carried away. The point is that if he's not an arrogant prick but someone who misspoke in a moment of passion, he won't be so defensive that he shuts you out.
5. Give Casual Convo Another Go
If you're able to get a word in edgewise and you still think this dude could be a decent guy, try rebooting the night by changing the subject. This doesn't mean you should avoid conversations of substance, of course. Actually, broaching another subject you feel strongly about is a good way to gauge whether or not he was triggered specifically by the last subject or if he's just a habitual mansplainer.
6. Present The Facts
If he seems to be leaning toward the latter, present some cold hard facts on whatever subject the two of you are debating. It's hard to argue with science and data — and yet where there is a will, there's a way. If you present a measured, analytical retaliation to his mansplaining and he just tries to mansplain more, well, that brings us to our last suggestion.
7. Cut The Evening Short
There are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say. You don't have to spend one insufferable minute more than you want to listening to some guy "educate" you on a subject you've already got a firm grasp on, thankyouverymuch. Adulting takes enough energy as is — why waste more of it on someone who doesn't appreciate your empowered, amazing self and the badass voice you bring to the table?