Saturday, December 27, 2014

On Manspreading and Subway Etiquette

The Smug Smugness of a Classic Manspreader

So, Manspreading. It is a scourge among subway riders in need of a place to sit. If you're a frequent subway rider, it's likely that you've already encountered this situation.

For those of you who don't know what it is, check here for a brief explanation. Check here for many very funny, but very real visual examples. It basically refers to people (almost always men), who spread their legs so far apart that they take up enough space to fit two or three people, while other people in need of a place to sit wish death upon them. Manspreading is basically just one of the many manifestations of douchebaggery, or jackassery; both of which go hand-in-hand.

Yes, I'm talking to you, mouth breathing frat-boy. And you, too, self-centered but not self-aware guy of any age or race. I don't care if you're the second coming of John Holmes or if you're Shane Diesel's doppelgänger, your junk is not big enough to warrant spreading out beyond the width of your shoulders.

Aside from the fact that Manspreading makes the culprit look like a complete jackass, it's mostly a big deal when there is a train full of people and there's nowhere else to sit; and those empty spaces are being taken up by the guy who thinks his balls deserve to breathe more than people standing need to sit. For people who've been walking or working all day, a seat on the train is treasured. Not that these idiots care.

For those of you who would like to avoid being one of these lowly, despised Manspreaders, here's a solution. A simple, definitive, easy to remember rule of thumb:

If the outside of your knees are in a position that is wider than your shoulders, YOU ARE MANSPREADING.

Although there are some guys who are legitimately so huge/wide that they take up the same space as two people, the simple rule of thumb above can still be applied to everyone. Since each person's shoulders will usually take up the most width when sitting down, keeping your knees at least parallel to your shoulders will ensure that you are not encroaching into seating areas that could be used by another person.

It's all about common courtesy. Easy, right? Apparently not so easy for Manspreaders. Let's all try to raise awareness among these dummies. They apparently are in desperate need of some etiquette training, empathy training, not mention a few IQ points.

Thankfully, the MTA in New York City is attempting to address the problem.