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40

While printing my master’s dissertation at the uni library, the printer ran out of paper. While getting some paper from the other side of the room, a man approached the printer I was using. I told him that the printer was in use and that I was just refilling the paper, which prompted him to frantically tapping the touch screen and explaining what I should do. That guy went for the printer I was using because he couldn’t figure out which button to press on the 3 printers next to it to wake them up from the sleep mode…

143

I was chatting with a colleague (notorious for mansplaining) about his weekend in Wales (I’m Welsh so was interested to hear where he’d been). He mentioned he’d been to a place called Cwm-y-Glô which means Coal Valley - the rest of the conversation went like this:

Him: Do you know it?

Me: no, I don’t think so…

Him: the name means Forest Valley in Welsh, apparently.

Me: Nah, it’s Coal Valley

Him (with a patronising little laugh): it really isn’t you know.

Me: Look, I SPEAK WELSH. It’s my first language. Are you trying to tell me I don’t know my own language?

Him: I’m sure someone told me it meant Forest Valley.„

19

My dad was printing a passport size photograph for my brother’s university ID onto photo paper. I had been printing 4 days previously and had problems with the printer jamming or drawing in extra pieces of paper. He’d had the same issue a couple of months back as well, so I remembered the best solution was to put in two pieces of photo paper.

Dad: I’m not going to make the same mistake you did by putting in plain paper, just the photo paper.

Me: If you put plain paper it might pull that through as well, but if you only put one piece of photo paper in, it’ll jam. Two pieces of photo paper is the best way.

Dad: It shouldn’t do.

He goes ahead, the printer jams.

Dad: Oh, I wonder why that could have happened. 

He puts in a sheet of plain paper underneath, this gets dragged in with the photo paper.

Dad: Dammit.

I hate to say I told him so.

112

A few years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I bought a desktop computer from a local shop that had a good reputation. When I brought it home, I opened the optical drive and inserted a disc. The drive hummed and the indicator light blinked, but the software didn’t launch. I went to My Computer and checked; the OS denied it even had an optical drive, so I picked up the phone and called the shop. I explained the problem to the clerk, who immediately told me that the wait to have my computer scanned would be a couple of days. I told him that the problem could be fixed in a couple of minutes and I’d do it myself but I didn’t want to void the warranty. He said, “No no, hardware problems in a new computer are very rare. If you’ve gone online at all, you may have what we call a ‘virus’.” I told him that I didn’t care how rare hardware problems were, I was clearly having one. He repeated that it was probably a virus (in a tone so condescending that it made my teeth hurt) and that they’d have to scan. I asked him if he’d ever heard of a virus that made someone’s optical drive invisible to Windows Vista, and he dodged the question, telling me I’d have to bring it in and get it scanned.

Hoping someone more sensible would be there when I got in, I did, and met the same guy. I refused to leave until he wrote “check the hardware first” on the work order, rolling his eyes the entire time, and talking to me as if I were an especially dense six-year-old.

Three days later, I finally got a call to come in and pick it up, and I did so. A different clerk, with the work order nowhere in sight, said, “It’s the weirdest thing, Fred told us to scan it extra carefully, so we did, about five times, and found nothing. Then last night I asked him what you said the problem actually was…”

"And you opened it up and found that the connection was loose?" I said.

"Yes! Exactly!"

I never went back to that shop again.

70

A while ago I was having a group Skype conversation with a few guys I met on a forum. The topic of languages comes up, and I say French is one of those needlessly complicated ones that just piss me off, and I give the phrase ’Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça?' ('What (the hell) is that?')  as an example.

A young adult Dutch male feels the need to insist this is wrong, it’s ‘Qu’est-ce que c’est?' ('What is it/that?') and the bit I added had no business being there, there's no way I know a different phrasing equally valid and used in common everyday language, I dunno shit about French. Nope nope nope, I was wrong.

Nevermind he knows I’m Belgian and have had six years of French in school, I’m half on my way towards fluency (while he admitted he can’t actually speak French for shit), and that was one of the first phrases I learned in my life.

Yes, dear, tell me all about ‘vooley voo koosee avec mwa’. I’m so impressed.

53

I am a graduate student in engineering, but I also have a BS in biology from a great school.  My male friend is a postdoc in astronomy who has never studied biology in his life.  He excitedly tells me about an evolutionary biology study he read about in a popular science article.  Based on his explanation, the study’s conclusion doesn’t make sense to me and actually reflects a common misconception about evolution and population genetics.  Thinking my friend (or perhaps the article’s author) may have misunderstood the original study, I express my doubts.  My friend (again, a physicist with no background in biology!) argues persistently that he must be correct.  Most frustratingly, he does so by repeating his interpretation over and over as if I didn’t understand it.  I continue to explain my position. 

My friend dismisses the argument by saying, “Well, it’s evolutionary biology!  It’s not like it’s proven-they just make stuff up!”


Sure, dude.  It was a really cool, exciting study until I questioned it.  THEN it became unproven crap.

52

I went out with a guy a few months ago who is about a decade older than me, and conversation turned to what I was studying at university, where my degree was in American Studies. Discussing my class on the politics of conspiracy theories, I mentioned the enormous popularity of JFK assassination theories despite having these been debunked several times, when he interjected, “Oh, you don’t really believe that do you?”  I paused, not sure if he was joking, before saying that I had researched the subject and found that the official explanation was the most likely. He shook his head and suggested that I had been hoodwinked, was naive for believing what I was told. I asked him if he had read the Warren Commission report, the Church Committee report, or the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations report, as I had. He laughed, said that I shouldn’t trust anything the American government says, and changed the subject. Over the course of the evening it became very clear that my three years studying the US and nine months living there simply doesn’t measure up to the knowledge you can acquire as a British man who has never been but has seen many movies.

83

My father: unemployed after quitting an administrative job at a university. Has a biology degree. My brother: taking an intensive sociology course during the summer term, and needs to study for a test. My mother: professor with a PhD in sociology. Helping my brother by quizzing him about content and explaining things the book was unclear about.

Guess who decided he had to argue with her about basic facts in her field?

And guess who only got a good grade on the test because my mom later offered the advice, “Ignore everything he just said”?

69

I’m currently pursuing a highly competitive and highly academic writing degree at an arts university. 

I took time out of my time writing, preparing for next semester, and generally preparing myself for the big bad professional world to work at an amazing summer camp, which was definitely one of the best, if not the most rewarding summer of my life.

One day, one of our toilets began overflowing for no reason and would not stop. Knowing that maintenance wouldn’t show up until they had “free time”, I laced up my boots and got to work. (I’ve plunged, fixed, and tinkered with my own toilet at home; at this point I considered myself a semi-expert)

Another male counselor in my group raced over.

Him: “Ah, see here what we need to do is—”

I had just turned off the water.

Him:”How did you do that?”

I pointed to the knob and explained what it was for. I plunged the toilet to no avail. So I pulled off the lid to the tank and tried to see what was up.

Him: “Ah, now I see how it works. See how—”

Me: “We need to adjust the chain. Its not closing all the way, the water level isn’t rising enough to turn it off.”

Him:”Isn’t it great! You got to learn something about how toilets work today. Now let me help you out.”

He proceeded to try to push me out of the way to get to the toilet to adjust the chain. I handed him a flashlight, asked him to hold it with as much politeness as I could muster and then in a few minutes, fixed the most stubborn toilet in the whole camp.

81

A candidate came into the lab where I worked as a postdoc to interview as lab manager. My brilliant lady boss and I had our doubts, but we decided to meet with him as a favor to another faculty member. We’re a molecular genetics lab, so we find it very helpful to give people quizzes on general chemistry and genetics during the interview, and we’d recently added an Excel competency task as well. It’s pretty easy: process these cell numbers to derive a ratio, graph the means of the ratio for each genotype, and add appropriate error bars.

This gentleman received the very simple instructions and a quick introduction to the spreadsheet, which has about twelve rows and five columns. When someone knows what they’re doing, the task takes five to ten minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, I walked by and saw that he had customized the column colors and the spacing between them. Well, maybe this helps his process somehow. When he said he had finished, I took a look — at a graph unlike anything I had ever managed to produce from those data.

I started, “So, we asked for the means of the ratio for each genotype…”

He responded smugly, “Yes, I used the median, it’s always statistically better.”

It was practice data: n = 3.  This is the most trivial and obvious case of the median NOT being more accurate than the mean. It was not a trick question. But clearly he knows best, even to the point of overriding our very clear instructions.

He had also used the total cell count rather than the ratio, but I was willing to chalk that up to a simple mistake — not at all impressive, but at least not trying to tell me that clearly his answer was perfect so I needed to change the question.

After I told him three times that we would like him to do the exercise as written, he went back to attempt it.

… And when he finished, he had still used the total cell counts rather than the ratio.

Strangely, he was not hired.  I’m sure his arrogant, condescending incompetence was a great loss to us.

105

I was sitting at a coffee shop working on my laptop & a middle aged man approached me to tell me that my laptop charger was not plugged in. I looked down & saw that it had in fact fallen from the socket (I probably accidentally kicked it while shifting, as it was right next to my feet) & so I thanked him.

He then decided to go on to say, “Yeah, your computer is losing power if it’s not plugged in, you’re only sapping its battery.”

i literally just stared at him for a minute, trying to process whether he’d really thought it necessary to explain the purpose of a charger to me. especially when it was clearly unplugged only by accident.

26

I’m attending college as a second semester junior and am living in the college apartments. Recently the ice maker in our freezer stopped making ice so I put in a work order to get it looked at. When the man walked in he went over to it and said, “Now you know young lady, when the ice gets full up what you have to do is move this arm here UP and it will stop making ice.”

No shit Sherlock. Even if the ice maker didn’t have STOP written across the place where the arm stops when you turn it off I’m pretty sure I could figure out which way you moved it to turn it on and then off. And what does that have anything to do with it not making ice?

27

I’m a lawyer who regularly works with a government agency that has strict deadlines but is also notorious for missing those deadlines (as in, they will supposedly review your claim in 90 days, but in reality it’s much longer). 

I was in a meeting with my boss and another lawyer to do a status review of all our cases. We were just providing an update on the progress of our cases, what will resolve soon, etc. 

Other Lawyer is on exactly the same level as me: same age, graduated same year, started at this job at the same time, literally the same job description. We both have experience handling cases dealing with this government agency.

My boss asked, “What’s the next step with Mrs. X?” and I said by way of update “Well, it will be 90 days next week so I’ll call then to check on the status of Mrs. X’s claim.” Other Lawyer jumps in and said, “Oh, it’ll be WAY longer than 90 days, I can tell you that. I know all about that. No way it’ll be 90 days.”

Uh…yeah, I agree. I am aware of that. But that wasn’t the question, was it? But I guess it was worth stepping all over my case presentation, because now we all know HE knows. Excellent.

67

I recently did some landscaping that involved regrading my front yard and replanting grass from seed. I then called in a landscaping company to put in a parking pad next to it. On completion of the job, the owner of the Company tried to express his deep concern over the welfare of my lawn. 

Him: “I noticed that the all the soil in your yard is concrete and construction grade dirt. Grass needs a proper soil mix to grow properly”

Me: “I know. The soil is actually a triple mix enriched formula. Not to worry.”

Him: “No, you see, grass needs a proper mix in order to grow and your lawn doesn’t have it.”

Me: “Trust me. I spent an entire weekend breaking my back raking the triple mix onto the lawn. It’s there.”

Him: “Maybe it wasn’t the right mix.”

Me: “Yeah, it was the right mix. See the sprouts? That’s new grass growing.”

Him: “I guess it was just the patch near the driveway then.”

Mansplaining. Why admit fault when you can just redefine your argument entirely?