Sometimes I have to chop wood. The logs I buy from the men who sell them to me are generally too big for my stove. So once in a while I chop them up. I had never chopped wood before, until now. It’s a rather satisfying job, especially when you strike the final blow that makes the log surrender and part in two smaller pieces. The trick is to follow the vein. That’s what the google says. That’s also what my father says. The best opinions you can ever get. And it’s not rocket science.
I was on the canal path, hammering away with rage and joy when a middle aged man walks past. But of course he doesn’t just walk past. He stops. And guess what. He’s got some advice for me. If he can suggest, I should be careful not to hammer my legs. Yes, if he can suggest, which he is doing even though I obviously have not asked for it, I should be careful with my legs. I knew this portion of mansplaining was coming as soon as I saw him approaching with the corner of my eye. Not because I was doing anything wrong – in fact, I had my legs wide in a pretty safe, if unfashionable, position. He mansplained it to me because, hmmm, I am a woman. And as you should know by now, women don’t quite know how to chop wood. If I was a man, I doubt the middle aged man would have stopped to tell me to be careful not to hammer my legs. But that’s because men know how to do it. Women don’t. And that’s why they need to be told, even if they don’t ask for advice. Especially if they don’t.