Gender Politics at the Coffee Shop

Vivien Grace
5 min readAug 7, 2019

“You’re about to find out who I am!”

A random encounter with a stranger in a coffee shop led me down an emotional rabbit hole.

I am 36 and single, never married and no kids. On my better days, I am proud to describe myself as an entrepreneur, yogi, world traveler, good friend, supportive family member and overall decent human being.

While waiting eagerly in line to pick up a cold brew coffee and locally sourced croissant at my favorite hipster coffee shop, an older man in front of me struck up a conversation.

Apropos of nothing, he offered me a “buy 10 get 1 free” coffee card which I could have just as easily obtained at the register.

Then, the mansplaining began. Dictionary.com defines mansplaining as: the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

“When I was your age, this is how I got ahead,” he began, “I saved money and was careful and that is how I got where I am today.” Where he was today, aside from in line for organic cruellers, was not clear but the subtext read that I should be impressed.

I grew increasingly impatient, pasting on my most patient, Waspy, well-mannered smile while he droned on. The seemingly ordinary gentleman, somewhere in his mid-to late 70s, launched into a rant aimed at “people my age,” do not know how to interview for jobs.

I tuned him out from there, but if memory serves there were snippets about a lack of work ethic and a bevy of unwanted advice as to how I can get ahead in life and get a good job.

Yikes. My blood begin to boil as I realize how patronizing this little interaction had become.

As it happens, I run a successful Recruiting business and have made my living helping people prepare for interviews and land jobs for the past 15 years.

Mansplaining typically does not involve listening or asking the other party any questions about him or herself. Had this gentleman let me get a word in edgewise, I would have certainly offered him a few “interview tips” of my own.

In my pink J. Crew jean skirt and ponytail that Saturday morning, I may have looked a bit younger than my 36 years…

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Vivien Grace

Solo Female Traveler & Writer Wellness Junkie | Allergy Queen 🌎🛍️✈️ 5-Star taste on a 2-Star Budget.