The solution is so obvious

When a 6’6″, 250-lb man mansplains how I should deal with rude behavior

Mr T, my friend L, and I were at a music festival. It was all free to see a ton of amazing musicians, so we were grateful and didn’t want to complain about anything. How can you complain about great music delivered to you for nothing?

I admit I wasn’t happy about being in an enclosed space with unmasked people and on a warm day, at that, but then I realized I could solve the problem. At least, I could solve the problem of warm, stagnant air.

I opened the plastic walls.

Nobody stopped me and indeed, others joined me. Soon, we had airflow and it was much more comfortable.

But dealing with the Standers was a little more challenging.

For an hour – an entire hour, people drifted in front of us and stopped. They didn’t sit in the empty seats near us. They didn’t check to make sure they weren’t blocking anyone’s view.

They just walked until they hit a chokepoint and then they stopped.

Sometimes, they danced. I don’t want to harsh anyone’s mellow and I believe you should dance if the spirit so moves you, but what dancing does is make it impossible for me to adjust to your position. That is, even if I move a bit so I can now see the performer, you move as well and – there you go, blocking me again.

For the first hour, we just laughed about it. Every few minutes, a new person would step into the spot where he blocked our view. We rolled our eyes and laughed, but after an hour, it got to be a bit annoying.

That was when Mr T stomped in front of one of the standers to block the stander’s view. Mr T was going to Show Them!

He lasted 22 seconds.

Then he slunk back to his seat.

He couldn’t bear to be rude.

Which of course is one of the reasons I love him.

We had to resort to grand gestures to indicate our displeasure. We pointed to the empty seats. We laughed louder and rolled our eyes – well, rollier? In any case, it was probably clear to anyone paying attention that we recognized the situation and were not terribly happy about it.

As we got up to leave – our musician had finished, a huge man – maybe 6’6″ with big muscles – came over to me.

(Not to Mr T, but to me. Because it’s the Little Woman who needs telling, right?)

“Just let it go,” he advised. “And if you can’t, then just ask them to move.”

  1. Total stranger
  2. Giving me advice
  3. I had not asked for
  4. And would not work in this context

What even is the proper answer?

What I wanted to say:

  1. I’m supposed to ask every single person who has blocked my view over the past hour to move? Which means I would be asking someone every three minutes or so?
  2. Did I ask you for advice?
  3. What color is the sky in your world? The world where women’s requests of men are heeded immediately and never turn into bad situations?
  4. Did I ask you?
  5. I bet that works for you.
  6. Did I ask you?
  7. Did I ask you?
  8. Did I ask you?

What I did:

I adopted the strategy I used years ago when I was a clerk at Macy’s over Christmas.

I couldn’t use my current online strategy, which is not to argue or engage in any way with idiots, but the Macy’s strategy is close: Say anything to get them to go away.

“If you don’t like it,” he persisted, “you should just say something!”

“Of course you are right,” I said.

“Don’t just get mad! Just ask them!” he continued.

Because when women just ask men to do something, they do it! It always works! THANK YOU SIR!


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