There is a point in every woman’s life when she has to deal with a Crashing Bore™. Usually this comes when your best friend, on the rebound from the one that was The One before he dumped her, has taken up with the first semi-solvent individual she could find on Tinder and is now insisting that you come for dinner with them because “Patrick has lots of thoughts on how you should handle that work problem you’ve got”.
You then find yourself spending four hours with a man who has no experience or understanding of your industry but knows that if he was in your shoes he’d be doing everything differently and much, much better. There is no point you interrupting or pointing out why his opinions are not just misinformed but actually moronic because the Crashing Bore™ genuinely doesn’t care what you think. He doesn’t really care what anyone thinks but he definitely doesn’t care what you think because you are a woman and not supposed to be speaking at all.
It is this life experience that sees me having some level of sympathy with Theresa May this week. Admittedly not that much sympathy as she is quite old enough to recognise a Crashing Bore™ when she sees one and should have known better than to invite him into her house but nonetheless he is here now and she is already suffering from it.
Before he’d even said a quick hello to his host for the next few days Donald Trump was busy tellingThe Sun that May’s Brexit agreement wasn’t how he’d do it and that in fact he’d told her the best way to do it and she just hadn’t listened. The Sun hailed this as a huge scoop but any woman who’s ever claimed a paycheck has had that moment of nodding and smiling as a man tells them how to handle a situation in a way that would almost certainly cause a diplomatic incident.
And perhaps this is our problem, we’ve been nodding and smiling for so long that the Crashing Bores™ have taken up all the air space.
It would be tempting to think that Trump having to spend a couple of days in the company of Theresa May and the Queen would be a bit uncomfortable for him. After all, here are two powerful women, women who are used to being listened to when they speak. Well, at least one of them is. This isn’t how Trump, or any Crashing Bore™, is used to experiencing women so perhaps tea with the Queen will change his mind on how much respect women should be given. And perhaps pigs will fly along with blimps. If there’s anything spending time with a Crashing Bore™ will teach you it is that some people simply do not want to change. And when you give those people the keys to the most powerful job in the world for two years (how has it only been two years??) they will only become more entrenched in their own beliefs.
The reality is that here in the UK we can’t leave it to two women to shout down this particular Bore. After Trump’s election hundreds of thousands of women across the world took to the streets to protest his presidency. This week protests against Trump’s visit have sprung up across the UK, including a Women’s March today.
Featuring anyone of any gender, the march wasn’t simply about opposing Trump or protesting against the policies he’s created, policies which promote bigotry and hatred. It was also about standing in solidarity with women everywhere who have had their lives dictated to them by a man who thinks he knows better. Now, more than ever, we need to take a woman’s hand and say, I’m sorry I dismissed that man as a Crashing Bore™ when in fact he is a dangerous racist. I’m sorry I let him speak over me and in doing so allowed him to think his views had some value. I’m sorry I let him sign away your rights to your own body. I’m sorry I didn’t listen when he bragged about sexually assaulting women and dismissed it just as “locker room talk”. I’m sorry I thought he was just another Crashing Bore™ who would have no influence on the world, I should have spoken up sooner.
This week women and men are marching to protest Trump’s visit to the UK and it matters. Not because these marches will change how America votes but because finally this is a time when we stop assuming that the man who speaks the loudest is the voice which matters the most. It’s a time when all of us, regardless of our gender, start to notice the women being spoken over and make space for them to speak. And if it takes marching to do that then hand me my boots and let’s march.