I will no longer silently do nothing when there is rampant manspreading happening on trains, buses and subways. Uh-uh, no way, no how.
(I know, I know. There are many more pressing issues to fight for these days. But indulge me, please. It’s really bugging me.)
Why is it that we, as a population, are so accepting of this practice?
Countless times I have watched as two manspreading guys sit side by side while someone who could also use a seat stands nearby, seemingly helpless in the face of such audacity.
It’s palpable. These guys are oozing entitlement. As if what lay between their legs was so special that it literally required extra seat space.
Seriously?! Not buying it. There are plenty of men who sit in ONE seat, many of whom I am willing to bet are more than amply endowed. How is that they can survive bringing their legs close together but these special men cannot?
I have suffered in silence too many times as a manspreader has pressed over into my seat space. I have felt at a total loss as to what I could possibly do about it.
(And I am not speaking against anyone who needs extra space because they legitimately require more space due to actual body size. That’s not who gets to me.)
It’s those men (and women!) who insist on keeping their legs spread wide, thereby using up to three seats at a time.
It suddenly occurred to me the other day that it is up to me to speak up. No amount of passive-aggressive pressing back or giving the evil eye or sending messages via mental telepathy is going to register for these guys.
If they have the balls (no pun intended) to just spread their legs like that without a care or a thought for the world, they ain’t gonna “get” subtle hints. Nope. I gotta get vocal and put it out there.
So I’ve actually been practicing my approach.
My first attempts were way too apologetic and seeped self-doubt.
“Excuse me. I’m sorry but could you please…you are sort of over in my area?”
“Excuse me, may I please sit here?”
“Um, excuse me, maybe you didn’t notice, but, um, you are taking up more space than is fair?”
I’m reminding myself of that hilarious but all-too-sadly-true video from Amy Schumer’s “Inside Amy Schumer” Season 3, Epsiode 4. “I’m Sorry” takes place at a “Females In Innovation Conference” hosted by a male moderator. As the discussion unfolds, the number of times each panelist apologizes increases, for more and more absurd reasons. Buy or rent this episode (or all of them – she is one of my favorites) and laugh (and die a little inside) as you recognize yourself or someone you know.
As if I am the one who needs to apologize!
I’m working on the wording. Here’s my fav for the guy or gal who is pressing over into my seat:
“You’ve manspread into my seat space. Leave now.”
And for those who are taking up multiple seats, as I go to sit:
“I’m sitting here. You’ll have to stop man spreading and make space for me.”
And what about the woman who manspreads? They do exist. For her, I might use:
“Excuse me. I’m sitting here.” (The women intimidate me more than the men, for some reason.)
It’s time to take up the space I need in the world. I’m not looking to take more than I need. I’m just
asking, no, telling the world what I need.
I have to believe it is possible to re-teach the world in regards to this, one human at a time.
Who’s with me? Come on!