A terrible truth has dawned on me recently. I’m a manterrupter. That’s to say, I’m one of those men who, it has been scientifically recorded, is less likely to allow a woman her say in any given situation: In casual conversation, at work, anywhere a woman might be tempted to be so bold as to open her mouth in the company of men. Here are three examples that loomed big and ugly as soon as I started reflecting on my manterruption sins…
1. The Oedipal Manterruption
My mother likes to suggest how I can improve my flat – the kitchen particularly is a disappointment to her. I’m a middle-aged man, I should be able to deal with this. But I cannot. I immediately butt in and unearth an ancient resentment towards her ‘interference’ that probably started when she was trying to teach me to ride my bike or something.
Mum: Time to get the kids’ dinner ready. Shall I defrost some –
Me: This is about us not having a microwave isn’t it.
Mum: No, my darling boy, we just need to feed –
Me: I can actually handle the kids’ dinner!
Mum: Of course you ca –
Me: I CAN!
Mum: *hurt silence*
Me: *rummages badly in freezer* The fish fingers, Mum, where are the sodding fish fingers?
2. The Husband Knows Best Manterruption
My wife is experiencing a complicated work situation that she wants to get off her chest. But of course I, the experienced man of the world, know it all, do I not? So I belittle her hellish experience. This might have the teensiest bit to do with the fact that my wife’s career is quite a lot more illustrious than mine…
My wife: … so then the document just disappeared from my screen and I lost an entire –
Me: Yeah, that happened to me. 20 seconds before deadline.
My wife: Yes, you’ve told me that story quite a lot. Anyway, so *then* –
Me: 20 FUCKING SECONDS! Can you believe it!
My wife: …and it got sorted and then you had that row with the IT guy blah yeah I know what happened. Can I just –
Me: OH MY GOD THE IT GUY. I’d forgotten about him – What. A. Tooooool!
3. The Patronising Dinner Party Manterruption
It’s 9:45. I’ve definitely only drunk two glasses of wine. Or maybe 5. Anyway. Up comes my pet topic, the one I know A LOT about. Plus, the wine is making me a bit shouty so can’t everyone just sort of let me bang on a bit?
Female guest: I don’t know, there are so many ways Brexit could go. It’s so hard to –
Me: We’re all fucked. I mean look at them. Boris, Davies, Fox. Jesus.
Female guest: Sure, that lot don’t inspire confidence. But I meant that it’s far from certain that either side has made any sort of conclusive case for how things are going –
Me: I read a New Yorker piece about it. And something in the Guardian by, you know, with the hair. Basically they all said we’re doomed.
Female guest: Do you really think it’s that black and white? What I’ve been sensing –
Me: So do you have some sort of special insight into all this?
Female guest: I’m a chief exec for a global NGO with specific risks associated with Brexit, and this all came up at a conference for all our European partners.
Me: Can I have large glass of water please?