Okay, previously it has been amusing, but now I am just frustrated. Since I became a woman, no one takes me seriously!
Last week I was in my Denver bike shop when a summer employee offered his assistance. I asked if an aging Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Deluxe frame could flex enough with age to cause a rear disk break to rub. The young man began to explain why rear disc brakes usually rub. I told him I know why rear disk brakes usually rub; that wasn’t my question. I was asking if an aging aluminum frame could flex too much. He proceeded to tell me that my brakes needed to be adjusted periodically. I told him I knew that, and in fact did my own adjustments. He said the rotor was probably bent. I told him the rotor was not bent; I had checked it. I said, “I was not asking if my rotor was bent. I was asking about frame flex.” With condescension he replied, “Well ma’am, what do you want me to do?” I said, “I want you to answer my question.”
Finally the owner of the shop stepped in. He said, “Yes, that is more than likely exactly what is happening. Are you only getting a chirp when you pull hard uphill?” I told him I was, and he kindly explained that the problem was likely to continue until I got a new bike. The problem is frame flex caused by metal fatigue. That is all I wanted to know! But no!! Mr. Summer Employee had to treat me as though I had never been on anything but a flowered banana bike with a basket on the front bumper.
Evidently, I have become stupid. Estrogen has stripped my brain of the number of cells necessary to function as a full human, and now I must be “mansplained” to until the good Lord calls me home. Well, here is what is going to happen. The next male that mansplains to me is going to be prematurely called home. I am going to grab him by his golf-shirted collar and lift him into the air like a side of beef. Then I am going to throw him against the wall and inform him in no uncertain terms that I know what the *$%# I am talking about, and that if he doesn’t know the answer to his question, he needs to admit it. Then I will tell him that admitting I might know more than he knows will not make his penis shrink; it will just make him human.
So there is a deeper problem developing. The more I am told I don’t know what I am talking about, the more I question whether or not I do, in fact, know what I am talking about! I understand a woman’s tendency to doubt herself. After millennia of being told they didn’t know better, it is hard for women to realize that they almost always KNOW BETTER.
I do not claim membership in the club of cisgendered women, those who have unfortunately been subjected to this mansplaining madness since their earliest days. In fact, according to a reliable source, my former wife, I was guilty of mansplaining. What I do know is that after several years as Paula, I am amazed, completely amazed, at the way I am routinely treated by men.
Most men have no idea I am transgender. Unless they know my story, they assume I am a tall post-menopausal woman. In other words, I am of no interest whatsoever to them. I may as well be a frog on a log, croaking into the night.
I wrote on Facebook about my experience at the bike shop and received over one hundred responses. I think three or four were from men. The rest were from women, most of whom have decided to ignore the incessant mansplaining and just move on.
To all of you who knew me as Paul, I AM SO SORRY if I ever mansplained to you. I owe you a great debt of gratitude for not baking me a pie with ingredients that included organic matter.
As for the owner of the bike shop who finally answered my question, God bless you, my son. God bless you and your children and your children’s children. May your family rise up and call you blessed.
And so it goes…