All right I got like five requests to tell the story of the Shakespeare Mansplainer, so:
Today I went to the bookstore to buy the Arden edition of ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore because I need it for one of my term papers. But I looked at my punchcard and realized buying it would get me a free book, and because I’m standing right there in the drama section I start browsing around. Enter the Mansplainer. Now, I can only assume that this guy saw me flip through a few books and put them back and decided I didn’t know what I was doing. Mansplainer to the rescue. Up he swaggers. Now, this guy is average-looking but so am I, so at first when he says, “Oh, are you looking for some Shakespeare?” I’m willing to entertain the possibility that he might be worth flirting with or at least talking to, but he literally doesn’t give me enough time to even answer the question before he says, “You know–” And this is like, the most fatal phrase in a dude’s vocabulary, because as soon as he says it odds are 90 to one he’s about to start telling you what he thinks you don’t know. So I shut my mouth. I shut my mouth and I stand there and smile and nod like I’m in utter awe of all his manly wisdom while he proceeds to tell me every wrong “fact” he learned about Shakespeare in secondary school. For those of you who don’t know me, here’s what makes this hilarious: I’m getting a master’s degree in Shakespeare. I’ve been a Shakespearean actor for ten years. I’ve written a fucking book about Shakespeare. I know more about Shakespeare than this guy knows about breathing.
Anyway, for two, maybe three minutes I let him go on about how the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet is actually a sonnet and they were both like thirteen because that’s how young people got married in England in the 1700s and so on and so on. (All of this is wrong, by the way.) Towards the end he starts to flounder, because he was clearly expecting me to jump in and start cooing like a fucking pigeon about how romantic it all is or whatever the Great Mansplainer expects a woman to do when he dazzles her with his dizzying intellect. He finally finishes with a showstopping, “So, yeah.” And this is my cue. So I say, “Actually,” and then proceed to correct literally everything he said while I beam at him like the fucking sun because I want to watch his ego shrivel up like a fucking raisin. And it does. By the time I’m done (which only takes half the time because if women take up more than 25% of a conversation men think they’re dominating it and I’m 100% certain his little Mansplainbrain would just explode under the stress) he’s physically taken two steps away from me and is looking toward the door like he’s grappling with some intense fight-or-flight instinct. So I stop and smile again and because I just can’t resist I wave my staff pass and say, “Sorry, I need to go now, I have to be at the Globe in twenty minutes.”
And that is the story of the time a guy tried to mansplain Shakespeare to me and I will cherish the look on his face until the day I die.