Scene: Pool, balding man, maybe 65 or 70 years old, with blue, bloodshot eyes, drinking from a bottle of Ensure, wearing designer swim trunks, which are half hidden under a huge, extremely brown, beer belly.
Him: What's that you're reading, young lady?
Me: It's a book.
H: What's it called?
M: 'Men Explain things to Me', by Rebecca Solnit.
H: What's it about?
M: It's a book about how men explain things to women and...
H: Oh, so it's a book about men mentoring women!
M: No, not exactly. Not at all, actually... It's actually about how men...
H: What do you do, young lady? Do you work, or do you have kids?
M: Umm, I write.
H: Oh, you're a writer?
M: Well, I write...
H: Who do you write for, young lady? Women's magazines?
M: Umm, no. I write for Myself. And, I'm 47.
H: You're freelance?
H: What genre, young lady?
M: Memoir, mostly.
H: You write about yourself? I guess most women do! What's your book called, young lady?
M: I'm 47. What's my book called? It's called... umm... Facebook. I mean, I really just write on...
H: Are you looking for a man to mentor you?
H: I can really help grow your book. I can help you. As your mentor!
M: You can help me grow my... book? As my... man mentor? This book isn't about that. It's a book about...
H: Absolutely! I'd be happy to mentor you! I'm retired. I've got plenty of time to mentor a young lady.
M: Oh, right... Retired? What are you retired from? Publishing?
H: Publishing? No, heavens no. I owned a chain of corner stores.
M: Corner stores, huh? Fascinating. So, how is that... I mean... OK, so... But, publishing is... I mean... Soooo... Did you, like... sell magazines, in your corner store?
H: No, no magazines. We sold cigarettes, potato chips, cola, lotto cards, candy bars... milk... dog food... toilet paper... It was a family business. My dad started it before I was born.
M: Right... Cool... Cola... So... Is that the only career you had? You went directly into the family business?
H: Yeah, started working in there when I was a kid, took over the stores, sold them, and retired. Did pretty well for myself, young lady!
M: I'm 47 years old. So, OK... Because I'm a writer, I'm just gonna take a few notes on my phone, while we talk... I don't want to forget anything important that you might say... Because you're my male publishing mentor... So, you spent your life in the family business, owning corner stores, and you didn't even sell magazines, but you can mentor me in the Publishing industry?
H: Well, young lady, selling magazines in a corner store has nothing to do with the Publishing industry. Consider that your first lesson!
M: You're absolutely right. (Holds up 'Men Explain things to Me') And, this is extremely relevant to you. You should read it. Mansplaining is...
H: Oh, no... Thanks, young lady, you can keep your book. I've never been much of a reader...
M: OK, right, not a reader... well, I'm going do some writing now. Because you've mentored me, and it has really inspired me.
H: Fantastic! What are you going to write about?
M: I'm going to write out this entire conversation, from my notes, and to the best of my recollection. I do that a lot. Then, I'm going to put it in my... Facebook... Book.
H: OK, great! Let me know if you need any more of my help!
M: You've already been really helpful. Thanks for mentoring me!
H: You write really fast.
M: Yeah, I use both thumbs!
H: Did you go to typing school?
M: Yeah, I went to a special thumb typing School. Because I'm a writer.
H: Yeah, I can see that you're a very good writer. You're also a very attractive, very sweet young lady.
M: Do you really think so?
H: Call me. I'll take you to dinner. I'll get your writing career on track!
M: Yeah, maybe you can get my Facebook in all the local corner stores... Next to the cola.
H: Sure! I can do that! I've got a lot of connections. I can do anything! Call me! You should put a photo of yourself in that bikini on the cover of the book! I bet you didn't even think of that! OK, don't work to hard, young lady. That's your first mentoring lesson from me, young lady! Don't work to hard! And, don't think too hard!
M: Don't worry. I won't. I won't work hard or think hard, at all. I never do... Thankfully, I don't really have too...
H: Call me! Number is in the card... Don't forget! Put that in your notes, young lady!
M: It's already in there. Believe me, I'm not going to forget anything from this conversation. I've written it all down! Thanks again, for mentoring me.
H: You're a good girl! You know, this pool is usually just full of nothing but old ladies. Not young girls, like you.
M: I'm 47 years old.
H: OK, I've got to go... Call me! Oh, what's your name, darling?
M: Gloria Steinem.
H: OK, Gloria, call me, I'll take you to dinner! I'm going to think of a new last name for you. Something less Jewish sounding. It'll be better for your career! We can talk about at dinner! Be a good girl, Gloria!
M: How about Betty Friedan?
H: No... I'll come up with something better than that... You look like a Chrystal or a Lacey to me... A good name is very important... Did you just write that down?
M: Yes, I've just written that down.
H: Good girl! Call me! For dinner! I'm your mentor, so you have to do what I say. Haha! Don't worry, I'll come up with your name. And, don't worry about the photo, because I have a good camera. Have a nice afternoon!
M: Oh, yeah, the bikini photo! OK. You betcha! Umm... John Williams. Great name! I've got your card... Wait, no email?
H: Nope, no email! First rule of business... Never put anything in writing! I do everything by phone. Write it down, young lady! Never put anything in writing! Call me!
M: But, I'm a writer.
H: Yeah, so write it down! We gotta get that photo done right away! Call me!
M: Yeah, the bikini photo... Well, I'm sure you know all about photography... Buh bye, John... Thanks again, for all of this great material. I've written it all down!
H: Good girl... Call me! Don't worry, Gloria, OK?! I know how to take care of everything, young lady!
M: Yeah, I understand... You can explain everything to me... About, everything! I got it... And, I'm totally going to be a good girl... Bye... !!!
(Writes out the entire conversation from the iPhone Notes app, onto her Facebook page, using Both Thumbs. Orders herself some absolutely HUGE 'noise resistant' headphones, from Amazon. Throws herself, head first, into the deep end of the pool.)
This was Lara B. Sharp's post on FB on August 6, 2017.
August 10, 2017