You may be aware of a brief adventure I had traipsing about Central America recently. As it happens, I was traveling as part of a small circus – which is to say three men plus me.
Here are some things you might not know about me. I am small. I am adorable. I can get a wee stabby. There are many times in life when being small and adorable are advantageous. When maintaining equal footage with giant men in a patriarchal society, these attributes can pose a challenge. That’s when the third thing comes in handy.
There was a moment, early in the trip, when I was asked for advice about a subject I have some expertise on. One half-sentence into my answer, another guy popped in offering his two cents on the subject, apparently oblivious to all the wrongness falling out of his mouth. Imagine if you were talking to a mechanic about your car, and another customer started blabbering on about it probably being a busted flux capacitor. It’s both entertaining and mildly infuriating. If it happened a lot…well, shit would get scary. My mom once bit a guy in a meeting and I was beginning to understand why. It takes a lot of bullshit to get to biting, you know what I mean? Apparently, this happens all the time.
That’s why I’m offering these helpful tips for communicating with men, to avoid all the frustration. And biting.
1. Have confidence in your ideas. It makes it easier to smile placidly while some jackass spouts gibberish if you know you’re going to drop some truth bombs. Think of the wasted time as groundwork to make your ideas look even better. Like bringing an ugly friend to a party.
2. Speak loudly, quickly, and succinctly. Men tend to have poor hearing and very short attention spans. Also, they are more or less incapable of subtly and inference, which is like 75% of woman speak. You don’t lead a man to water, you pour the water directly into his throat. Think of it as conversational water boarding, but more effective. It works at home, too. Want jewelry for your birthday? Instead of dropping little hints about key pieces of jewelry your wardrobe is lacking, simply say “I’d like a sapphire necklace,” when he asks “what do you want for your birthday.” Then send him a link to the exact necklace you want. I know, it’s so crazy it just might work, right?
3. Be prepared to interrupt right back. Many women have had politeness drilled into them from an early age and have a difficult time fighting fire with fire. Unfortunately, popping back in louder and faster can be misinterpreted as being “shrill” and “like my mom yelling at me.” I recommend having a few good interruption lines ready that you can deliver with a calm, quiet smile. Like a serial killer.
I chose to say, “If you interrupt me one more goddamn time I will fucking stab you with a fork.” This line worked for me because we were at lunch. Feel free to replace “fork” with “pen” if you happen to be in a board room.
Lean in. With something pointy. Works every time.