Some time ago, I decided it was time to eradicate the “glare” from my roster of habitual modes of communication.

Let me back up a bit.

I come from the sorta South, Texas. Between my southern upbringing and being a female, early-on I developed-through-osmosis the skill of passive-aggression.

Being that I grew up in a family of Olympian-level champion passive-aggressors, I became quite an expert-level practitioner this behavior myself.

Then I married a man who cannot tolerate passive-aggression. He highly values directness and being able to “feel” a person and match that to what they are communicating in words and actions. It is really important to him, for various reasons that are his own to explore and not mine to share.

He challenged this in me, and I rose to the occasion. I began to own this learned and honed behavior, to forgive myself for it, and then to make different choices.

In due time, I decided that I wanted to eradicate it as best I could from my palate of expressions. I decided that I wanted to be direct in my conflicts.

Gone would be the days that I would silently glare at someone, hoping that my glance would convey all that was burning within me.

Like all those times to the person who just cut me off in traffic. I’d drive by and give them “the look.” (Didn’t seem to really have an affect…but then again, I’d already passed by and was speeding off…) Now I also know that if someone is an asshole driver, nothing anyone else does is going to change them. If they could care about it, they would. The glare will never translate to them.

Or those times somebody is having a very loud (and annoying) conversation on their phone on the bus/street/train/restaurant. Boy, did I give them a look, and more than once, at that. (Yet they never got off that phone…) These people also fall into the category of being incapable of really “getting” it. If they could “get” why it is rude to do that, they wouldn’t do it in the first place. My glare? They won’t be able to take it in.

See the problem? That glare just doesn’t do it.

In such circumstances, it is time to use my outside voice.

To say, hey. You almost killed me there. Be careful.

Hey. You are making us all hostage on this bus.

Hey, man. You are man-spreading. Make room.

No more glaring, for this recovering PG’er.

Here I go.


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: glaring


That’s it.

No more.

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!