This is for my people: MAWGS. Not familiar with the term? It stands for Middle Age White Guy.
Times are tough for us middle-aged white guys, not that anyone is going to feel sorry for us. In a Baskin-Robbins a MAWG is the lonely vanilla ice cream at the end of the display case. Vanilla used to mean something. It used to have some pizazz. But with so many other awesome flavors out there no one likes plain vanilla anymore. It is the same with MAWGS. We have gone from best seller to no-seller, even though, ironically, the MAWG never really was the majority in our country. Not when you combine all the different kinds of women and men who have always made up this gumbo called America. For some strange reason, though, everyone kind of allowed us to act like we were in charge. (The term is called repression, and that’s a discussion for another day.) But now, like the song goes, the times they are a changing.
As a MAWG, there are words people use, often about us, that haven’t been that important until now. If we are going to survive as the plain vanilla ice cream of society, then learning a few of these terms might help. (I learned about them on Twitter!)
Let’s start with mansplaining. This is a tough one for a MAWG to understand because there is not a hard and fast rule about when you are doing this and when you are not. There are also some women who will tolerate your mansplaining, and there are women who want to kill you for it. So, what is mansplaining? Maybe it would be easier to describe it this way. Imagine you are the hero in a western. You, the MAWG in the white hat, comes upon the damsel in distress. She is tied up and laid across the railroad tracks. Most MAWGS would have lots of questions at this point. Who put her on the tracks? Why? And how much time does she have before the racing locomotive cuts her into slices of bologna?
Meanwhile, your damsel in distress, is REFUSING to answer your questions, or accept your aid. This only leaves you more perplexed. You ask more questions and explain to her in a slow and deliberate manner that she is about to be turned into processed meat if she doesn’t let you assist her.
Still, the damsel in distress refuses. The MAWG begins to wonder aloud if she is an excellent wiggler. Or maybe she has a knife in her possession. Or maybe this is a fashion shoot for a glamour magazine about sisal.
Here’s the thing. Whether she stays on the railroad tracks and dies is beside the point. I mean, you are correct to be alarmed. What reasonable person would refuse your aid? There could be a train bearing down on her. She is tied up. She might be about to die. Meanwhile, you are giving her a longwinded, obvious ass explanation, as you literally and figuratively talk down to her about why it is NOT SAFE to be tied up on train tracks. THAT is the point. That means YOU are mansplaining.
(And for the record her name was Deborah and she and Frank like to get their “old west” perv on sometimes. See the weeds growing up between the rusted tracks? No one uses that spur anymore. And Frank was hiding in the bushes while you questioned his wife but he stayed put because he was embarrassed to let you see his six shooter.)
There is also manspreading. This one is easier for a MAWG to understand. You own a piece of property. Did you buy it? Did you inherit it from a rich uncle? Doesn’t matter. If you take one step past the boundary designating your property then you are no longer on your property. Perhaps your neighbor is smaller than you. Does that mean you get a little more property and the smaller neighbor gets a little less? No, it doesn’t. Property lines are absolute. (Except in cases of war, imminent domain, or some damn MAWG stealing your land, but I regress.) So, when you are on a plane, a train, a bus, or anywhere else where you may be sitting next to a smaller person and you decide your greater girth allows you more space than you really own then you are manspreading. People who are smaller don’t like this. And it is really bad when a small statured MAWG decides to manspread. I don’t know why they do it either, maybe they have a lateral Napoleonic complex going on. And the absolute worst are men who manspread so they can touch the woman next to them. Think it doesn’t happen? Ask a woman.
So, that’s it. I’ll pop in on occasion to comment or explain some things that might help us MAWGS assimilate into normal society. Until then, let’s try to keep the mansplaining among ourselves and limited to subjects we truly understand, like television remote controls and NASCAR. And, yeah, for the record, I don’t order vanilla ice cream anymore. I’m more of a yogurt man these days. I like vanilla yogurt, with nuts. (And no, that isn’t a joke about my wife.)