A Woman Was Manterrupted While Reading A Book About Mansplaining. Yes, Really.

"He was actually pretty typical. In my opinion, it was male entitlement."

Earlier this month, writer and performer Lara Sharp went to a local pool to relax and read Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things To Me — a collection of essays that has become a touchstone of the feminist movement — but her tranquil afternoon was reportedly derailed by a poorly-timed lesson in the frustrating art of manterrupting.

According to a recounting of the events Sharp shared on Facebook on August 2, she was approached by a man who was curious about her choice of reading material.


Seemingly unaware that an essay in Solnit's book is actually credited for coining the term "mansplaining," this gentleman (who Sharp later calls John) went on to mansplain just about everything he could to her and insisted on calling her "young lady" despite the fact that she repeatedly told him she's 47.

First, according to Sharp's post, John tried to explain the book she was reading despite never hearing of it himself, then he offered to "mentor" her in writing her upcoming memoir even though his sole work experience consisted of owning a chain of stores. Lastly, he suggested she use a photo of herself in a bikini on the book's cover, ostensibly to sell more copies.

But wait, it gets worse. 

Despite Sharp's obvious disinterest, John just kept spouting words of wisdom while simultaneously displaying a level of ignorance that was as laughable as it was cringe-worthy. When Sharp said her name was "Gloria Steinem" he advised her to change it to "something less Jewish sounding." She then suggested "Betty Friedan" but John countered with "Chrystal or a Lacey."

"I can tell you that he wasn't listening to anything I said," Sharp tells A Plus of her conversation with "entitled" John. "I can also tell you that, in some form, most women have met Poolside Johnny, more than once. He is hardly an anomaly."

 She adds, "He was actually pretty typical. In my opinion, it was male entitlement." 

Sharp's original post has been shared upwards of 18,000 times, which has her feeling "extremely flattered," and even caught the attention of Rebecca Solnit herself. "I still cannot believe that!" she says. "It certainly wasn't my goal to go viral, but I'm totally thrilled that so many women 'Liked' my post!"

The virality of Sharp's post is in part due to the fact that she wrote about an experience many women are all too familiar with. "I wasn't surprised that many, many women could relate to the experience, or that men kept 'explaining' the encounter, as something other than what it was, to women," she notes. "I was pleasantly surprised by all the photos women sent me, of them wearing a bikini, and reading Men Explain Things to Me, and by their willingness to share their own Mansplaining experiences with me." 

Though Sharp also says she's gotten her fair share of explicit pictures from men, death threats, and rape threats since going viral, she points out a "large majority" of her naysayers have been men.

As for what advice she'd give other women who encounter men like John? Sharp's approach is refreshingly pragmatic. "I wouldn't advise any woman on what she should or shouldn't do when she finds herself in a similar situation, because we are all very different, and we all handle things differently," she says. "Personally, I pretty much roll with 'Try not to get hit.' Unfortunately, I haven't always been successful." 

"Poolside Johnny was behaving with extreme entitlement, and he felt he had the right to my time, for his amusement," she concludes. "I simply turned the table, and I did the same thing, right back to him. Blame it on the menopause!"

Sharp's memoir, which is currently in progress without any help from John, is slated to be published by Chalberg & Sussman in the coming months.


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