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15 Things I Should Have Said To The Guy Who Mansplained Beer To Me

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"You're doing it wrong."

Today, a man tried to explain beer to me. That's a right, a guy was mansplaining fermented grain to me. This fact in and of itself would be ridiculous even without knowing the context of what happened, but I'm going to share the story of what did happen to help you understand precisely why this experience was so particularly upsetting for me.

To begin, I went to a party college. Seriously, it's a place known for its binge drinking culture. Also, I am 34 years old. Finally, I've spent years working in a workspace where there is always free beer on tap.


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In short, I know a lot about alcohol. That's not necessarily something I'm proud of, because who really feels proud about their booze-hound tendencies? But it is knowledge that I possess.

Today, I moved to a new workspace. It's a WeWork office space, as was the one I just left, but I simply upgraded to one that's a bit nicer. Yeah, yeah, privilege for the win.

A friend came along to help me with the move, and when we were done we decided to explore the new space and take in all of its amenities.

If you haven't heard of them before, WeWork "provides shared workspaces, technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises." And one of the many things their communal work environments are known for is being fully stocked with free kegs of beer.

We moseyed down to enjoy a beverage or two and exchange cheers in celebration of how exciting it is that my career is in such a good place. You know, dorky stuff, but also personally momentous stuff. 

The taps for the beer were somewhat different than they had been in my old building, and when I tried to pull a pint from the unfamiliar system, I pulled the lever too quickly and nothing came out. I was about to give it another go when I was suddenly interrupted by a man wearing a fleece vest and a button-down shirt standing opposite me.

"You're doing it wrong," he said.

I looked up and blinked. You know, because I'm not used to strangers randomly telling me that I don't know what I'm doing. 

"Sorry?" I said, confused, and with good reason.

"It's okay not to know something," he said. "Let me come over and show you how it's done."

He proceeded to come over and pour me a beer in a fluid motion handing it to me with grace and ease — the same grace and ease I myself have employed quite often, having worked in a bar for more than five years.

I smiled, said thank you, and scuttled away with my beer, red in the face. 

I felt embarrassed and ashamed, because when someone essentially calls me stupid in a room full of strangers, that's kind of my default reaction, while a million different versions of what I wished I had said quickly began playing through my brain.

In a way, I was annoyed with myself for being so embarrassed, but the truth of the matter is that I had every reason to be.

If this man had watched another guy go to pull a beer and fail, he either wouldn't have said anything or he would have simply given him instructions. But because I am a female, he felt safe to automatically assume that I didn't know what I was doing.

Maybe if I didn't live a life where I often find myself explaining to men that I do know what I'm doing, this particular experience wouldn't have bothered me so much, but the truth is that, especially lately, it feels like most days I have to show some sort of figurative badge to the men I interact with, making it clear that I'm authorized to exist in the world free of their judgment and well-meaning assistance.

In my mind, I walked back and hit this guy with a classic Stokes one-liner, but the reality was different. The reality was me scuttling away, embarrassed and ashamed. So I've decided to imagine a world where that isn't what went down at all. A version of reality where I said one of these perfect things instead to stop the mansplaining. 

1. "Shut up."

2. "I'm good, but thanks for the input."

3. "Is that legit your opening line?" 


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4. "Believe it or not, a person can be female AND know how to pull pint."

5. "I didn't ask for your help and I don't need it."

6. "YOU hold MY beer." 

7. "See this head? That's just the tip of what I can do." 

8. "You don't have to be a man to work a tap." 

9. "You're so helpful! It's almost like you've helped girls have too much beer before." 

10. "Nice fleece vest. How's JP Morgan Chase these days?" 

11. "The sad thing here is you have no idea why what you just did was so offensive." 

12. "I worked as a bartender for ten years. I think I've got this."

13. "Not only can I pull my own pint, but I can also tie my shoes and make just as much money as you do!" 

14. "F*** you, f*** your friend with you who is laughing at your flirting, f*** a society that preaches that this is an okay way to talk to women, and f*** me for not saying boo about it." 

15. "Baby thirsty, baby need beer!"


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark, on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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