Apparently, our new Prime Minister doesn’t like mansplaining. This is when a man talks down to a woman by explaining something to her.



She doesn’t like it. Not one little bit. She will stamp her kitten heels if you try to do it.

Remember, this is the Prime Minister who said: “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”. There ought to be a name for that sort of comment. Womansplaining, perhaps?

Except it doesn’t work when a woman does it. It has to be a man, because it’s a close cousin of that other mortal male sin – manspreading.


I have to admit to some sympathy with womankind over that one. The last think I would want would be Boris’s thighs in close proximity to mine. Now, I must admit that there are some thighs that I wouldn’t mind being forced against mine. There’s the Mem’s, of course. And, um, ah …

… changing the subject …

It’s become a thing, hasn’t it? This “mansp” thing. First there was “manspreading” and then “mansplaining.”

And I have to admit that we’re guilty as charged. The sexiest thing that a woman can say to a man is … “honey, would you please explain the offside rule to me?” That is even sexier than when she says … ah, no, we’d better not go there.

Because the plain truth is that many men love the chance to explain something. It’s not that we’re frustrated teachers, it’s more that we love explanations. We adore cut-out diagrams of technical things. We have secret fantasies of rebuilding a V8 engine in a garage with precision tools, preferably those formula one style nut-undoing guns that go “whirr-whirr”.

The way to a man’s heart is through a Haynes manual and a tub of swarfega. And if you don’t know what swarfega is, just ask a man. He’ll be delighted to tell you.

We’re not talking do to you ladies. We do it with each other. When two man talk, it’s like a pair of stags butting horns in some mossy Gaelic pre-rutting ritual. Each stag tries to get in the hunkiest explanation. It’s how we compare our relatively manliness that doesn’t involve a ruler.


But we’re learning, ladies. Trust me, we are. You don’t want to know about the Millennium Falcon and the Kessell Run. We get it. We’re trying to wean ourselves off the mainsplaining but it’s hard going. We have millennia of evolution to combat. Bear with us. We’ll get there.

Of course, that begs the question of what the next “mansp” will be. Nature abhors a vacuum and the media abhors a series that stops at two. There will have to be at least one more “mansp”. That’s how these things go.

But what? It’s not that easy coming up with “sp” words that men can be accused of. And yes I know that mansplaining cheated by dropping the “ex”. That’s one of those reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic thingies that either fall flat or become tremendously annoying ear-worms.

Here are my tips for the next “mansp” words.

“Manspotting” – noticing when a woman is wearing a low-coat blouse or is showing a yard or two of leg.

“Manspouting” – telling someone (often another bloke in the pub) that you know what’s wrong with the world …

“Mansporting” – using obscure sporting references in everyday speech to baffle non-sporty types, such as “in the long grass”, “a hospital ball”, “bowled a googlie”.

“Manspeeding” – everyone adds 10 mph to the speed limit, don’t they?

“Mansplurging” – oh, go on. Just one more.

“Manspitting” – in public. Just no. No, no, no.

“Manspelunking” – deciding that it would make a wonderful hobby to dress up in rubber and go exploring caves.

“Manspanking” – deciding that it would make a wonderful hobby to dress up in rubber and go exploring dungeons.

And my personal favourite – “manspluttering” – wondering what on earth the world is coming to.


12 thoughts on “Manspluttering

  1. Actually, I do ‘want to know about the Millennium Falcon and the Kessell Run.’ But I imagine I’m in the minority of women there.

    It is cruel not to let your man talk and then complain he never talks to you. You haven’t established your credibility as a listener until you’ve learned to listen to his explaining.

    It STARTS with the easy stuff: fusion. War. Finance. ‘area of specialty’. It will go on, eventually, with how to help Dad in the nursing home, and whether the offspring will bankrupt us if we help them buy a car, and finally to whether we should tell said offspring that the proposed mate is a terrible idea.

    But it starts with listening to the easy stuff – the stuff he can tell you without a whole lot of on-the-spot thinking, because he’s figured it all out.

    I tell you from 41 years+ of experience: it’s worth learning to do.

    And your guy will never actually tell you he needs to talk.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a lovely sentiment! My wife and I have a similar arrangement. She lets me make all the big decisions, like who should be Prime Minister, whether Han shot first and why Daisy shouldn’t have been voted off Strictly. Meanwhile she takes all the little decisions like how we feed, clothe and look after the family.

      It seems to work!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not a partnership unless both partners do roughly equal (in any definition of the word) work.

        Not to tout my own gender, but I think women are more flexible in what they can do, so we have a tendency, bad or good, to let our spouses do what they can, and fill in the cracks ouselves.

        And we learn to shut up about our standards (and hire a cleaning service if we can afford it), or the guys just say, “Look. I can’t do it the way you want (Can’t? Won’t!), so you do it.”

        And we let ourselves get exhausted. Not good, and leads to being ‘Too tired tonight,” which serves no one.


  2. Oooo! Haynes manuals! They’re the best! No way could I have kept my Saab 95 on the road for 300,000+ miles without my Haynes manual! (Even if I did have to read carefully to make sure I was following the left-side drive instructions, not the right-side drive instructions.) I do miss that little car, although it’s been gone for nearly 30 years…

    But I have no idea what a “swarfega” is, although I grew up in a house full of men (4 brothers and 0 sisters) and worked in a shipyard for 4 years. I hope you’ll enlighten me!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Probably it’s an oil-based product. We’ve got different brands of this kind of stuff on the market here, some with pumice for deep cleaning. I discovered years ago that I could use ordinary salad oil to get that thick grease off my hands – a lighter oil breaks down a heavier one. After ‘washing’ with the salad oil, I then used dish detergent or my mother’s old-fashioned lye soap, which also works wonders on any kind of stain.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s got to be a story behind the name ‘Swarfega.’ The initials of the founding fathers of the manufacturer? Something in a foreign language spelled backwards?

    A lot of American products have over-obvious, stupid names that usually have as part of their names the root of the product, like Sham-Wow, an imitation chamois material for absorbing liquids and polishing hard surfaces. Pearl Cream is purportedly made from pearls, which women are supposed to rub on their thighs to remove cellulite (another euphemism for fat). (On some of them, neither the product name nor the ad reveals what the product is. If I don’t know what they are selling, I suppose I will continue to live happily ever after without it.)

    I don’t know how well treacle or onion gravy might work to remove axle grease, but I’ll be happy to consume the treacle, and my husband will be happy to consume the onion gravy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I googled it and apparently:

      “The name derives from “swarf”, being the old Derbyshire engineering term for oil and grease and “ega”, as in “eager to clean”.”

      That probably means that we ought to pronounce it rhyme with “scarf”. Or in a broad Derbyshire dialect “swaarrrf”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. At least you’ve got the idea down. I’m used to reading sputtering from men about the “mansplaining.”

    I appreciate what you said about being eager to share info. I myself have read way too many books and taken too many classes, so I become eager to explain things, too (chatty introvert, after all). I’m not good at social stuff, but learning.

    What is tricky, though, is when you’re trying to get a point across and the man (usually) interrupts your point or proceeds to tell you something about a subject despite not knowing nearly enough about the subject as you do. It reminds me of a story I read in Smithsonian where a guy tried to tell a bunch of people at a party that the moon landings were faked. The second guy was a physicist with NASA and dismantled every argument the first one threw his way. After half an hour of argument, it turns out the first guy was a biologist and barely took physics. All that for nothing. I mean, we all want to seem smart, but yikes. I believe the Freakonomics guys when they say the three hardest words in the English language to string together are “I don’t know.” Guess that’s why we don’t say them and just fake smart instead.

    Now I admit, I fall into that trap, too, sometimes…and when I find out how wrong I was I get red faced. If it comes up again I try to remember to apologize and ask for clarification. When you know a lot (or think you do), it’s hard to avoid “mansplaining.” Okay, is there a good gender-neutral term for it? I do think it’s something we should all be aware of in our interpersonal communication, because it is belittling–that’s the worst of it. But one big thing that should be asked is when the mansplainers are doing it, and to whom. I doubt they do it to everybody, after all…and why.

    Wait, isn’t there a study on this somewhere? Woo-hoo, research project!


    • Interesting thought. Who was mansplaining? The guy who claimed the moon landings were faked or the NASA expert who explained that they weren’t? Or is it only mansplaining when (a) a man does it or (b) you don’t agree with it?

      Theresa May complained about mansplaining when she was getting advice she didn’t like from her experts. But that makes me wonder. Were those experts the equivalent of your moon-fake guy or your NASA guy?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It turned into an actual argument that started from mansplaining, which from what I can see would be from the “moon landings are fake” guy.

        I do think the term is used far too much, it seems to go with EVERY instance a guy is trying to inform someone of something, but one of two things are needed (I think) in order to deserve that label: 1. If the person is giving unsolicited information or views to another in a condescending way, as if the person’s not smart enough to understand this without the speaker’s help, or 2. when the person is explaining something they have no real knowledge of or background in, but is hoping(?) to look like an authority on the subject.

        Hmm…does kinda describe the so-called “surge” in this behavior, whereby people are busy stating opinion as fact and get pissy about it when it’s called out or not taken seriously. Lots of confusion about it, probably because it is overused and becoming a knee-jerk response to say someone is “mansplaining”.

        So in this story instance, the moon-landing’s faked guy was definitely the mansplainer in the beginning, and the other guy began lecturing when it turned into a full on argument. The first speaker took for granted that everyone else believed the same way he did and he wasn’t an authority, until he was schooled by one.


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