A cranky opinion for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
I just learned a new term…Manspreading. Manspreading is intentionally taking up space on a train or bus depriving others of a seat and forcing them to ask you to make room, something many people are loath to do.
I learned this term when I read that San Francisco was contemplating a law to make Manspreading illegal and a fine-able offence. Ordinarily this is the kind of government interference that I find silly. Not this time. I commuted by train for forty years, and though we didn’t have a name for it, Manspreading used to piss me off.
There are several Manspreading techniques. Some just spread their legs wide or cross them so that they invade the space next to them. When a passenger approaches looking for a seat, the Man spreader will dig his nose in the paper or concentrate on the Penske file he brought home from the office. He will not make room unless asked, and when asked will act as if the requestor was the one being rude.
Elbows out is another space taking method. Extra annoying is when the Manspreader plops his briefcase or other object on the seat.
The end-seat sitter used to really shrink my shorts. This asshole would sit on the end leaving the window seat blocked. The Manspreader relies on making others uncomfortable with asking them to not behave like an animal. I was not one of those “others.” I wanted to make the Manspreader as uncomfortable as possible.
“Excuse me, did you pay for a ticket for your briefcase, cause I’ve been on my feet all day and I did pay for a seat.”
“Oh…ah sure” as the asshole tried to make it seem like making room was an imposition.
If it was just legs and or elbows taking up space, I would just take the seat and let elbows or legs be damned. I refused to politely ask for him to make room. Rudeness does not deserve manners…fuck him!
I asked the end sitter, “Excuse me, is someone sitting in that empty seat.”
Sometimes the asshole would not say anything and just move over. REALLY? Could you be more obvious that the only reason you sat in the aisle seat was to block the window seat? Asshole!
The Manspreading technique I could not defeat was the coughing, sneezing asshole. I know sometimes the cough was just a fake, but I also know some assholes will go to work half dead, I’ll be damned if I’m going take a chance and suck in their germy exhales for forty minutes.
So yes, I hated Manspreaders. I am in favor of giving drivers and conductors the authority to fine Manspread violators. Maybe it is time to start cracking down on all bad manners. Feet on a seat…that’s a fine. You smell because of poor hygiene…that’s a fine. Cough or sneeze without covering up…FINE! Talk to a stranger who is reading or otherwise occupied…FINE! Talking loud on a cell phone…FINE! Cursing out loud just to make others uncomfortable…FINE!
There are so many examples of poor manners that perhaps should be fine-able, but we have to start somewhere.
I say we start with Manspreading. GO San Francisco GO!