Manspreading: A Symptom of a Growing Plague

This post comes with a very heartfelt preamble:


To all the gentlemen in the world, including almost all the men in my life, this rant does not apply to you! I treasure your kindness, your thoughtfulness, and your generosity of spirit. Carry on being amazing. A big shout out here to my dad, the original gentleman, who has driven my mom door to door for their 51 years of marriage!  

The Rant 

Ladies we’ve all been there; between busses, airline seats, and movie theatres etcetera we’ve been a victim of the dreaded Manspreader. The Manspreader is a rather oblivious and brutish creature. From my experience he is usually incapable of normal human communication and appears to think he holds title to all the space around him. I’ve recently encountered two of these creatures. Boarding a recent domestic flight I made my way to my window seat, quickly stowed my gear and buckled in. Minutes later my seat mate arrived. He was a well dressed middle aged man – I didn’t spot any signs of Sasquatch or primordial man. Alas, that changed as soon as he was buckled up. Despite my pleas for him to lean into the aisle (there was no middle seat on this aircraft) I spent the next two and a half hours defending my beverages and snacks from his invading elbow, his albatros-like shanks forcing my gams into a pretzel to obtain some level of personal space. Sure, I get it – when you fly there will be a time when some poor schmuck ends up in the middle seat with no place to go. As my dear mom would say, ‘Well that’s just life, dearie’. But why should I be contorted like a Cirque du Soleil troupe member while he commandeers space that I paid for? He could have made the appropriate effort to lean in to the aisle, as I tilted towards the window! And yes, to reiterate, I DID politely request that he respect my space. 

Recent case number two – it was NOT a crowded movie theatre. However, it was a movie theatre! Ahh – the enjoyment of a great film, getting lost in a story for a couple of hours; a brief vacation from your own reality! Except when the brute sitting next to you has his elbow in your ribs as his fidgety leg keeps bumping in to yours. I’m not the sort to just sit there seething – heck, some people don’t know when they are being rude! Smiling and pointing to his outstretched foot – ‘do you mind staying clear of my space’. For two hours Mr. Crinklecoat fidgeted, cracked his empty water, kicked (annoyingly, not hard) and elbowed me. As noted earlier this was NOT a crowded theatre. He and his lady friend had many seat choices upon arrival. Assuming he didn’t wake up that morning like Tom Hanks in the movie Big, suddenly a full grown man, he knows just how much space he needs to be comfortable. That’s his issue and not mine. I paid for my seat, the whole seat, not some portion left over after the person sitting next to me gets comfortable. 

If I sound a little angry and cranky it’s because I am. I’ll own that! But somehow I think I have a right to be… 

I paid for the same access to the same experience or service as the Manspreader. Manspreaders, your girth, imagined alpha male status, social standing, or athletic prowess do not entitle you to my personal space. KEEP OUT!! 

As a devout watcher-of-people I’ve seen it so many times – Manspreader gets on a bus, sits down next to a woman and does his thing. Why does he sit next to the lady? Because there is the heinously misguided assumption that then he will have ‘more space’! Guess what dear sir, the jig is up! You don’t! Get your knees, elbows, newspaper, smelly sandwich, and backpack back in your zone!  

So why is this exasperated rant getting posted? As noted this is a symptom of a greater issue! Our society is rapidly degenerating in to an entire breed of ‘Manspreaders’ – people who act without considering or respecting those around them. First, just start by applying the Golden Rule here; do unto others as you would have done unto you. For the master class; aim to leave every situation just a little bit better than you found it. The civility I grew up with, which was the norm then, is now only visible in small glimpses; like the sun seconds before it sets! Being respectful, considerate and thoughtful are the final touches on a civilized society. Canadians especially have always been known worldwide for our polite and courteous demeanour. (Maybe even to a fault, tourists may think ‘sorry’ is our official greeting.) Reasonable consideration of others cannot get lost in the shuffle of life! Smile at strangers you pass on the street, be patient and wait your turn, look people in the eye, say please and thank you, and respect the space of those around you! In other words behave like a Canadian!! 

Stay in your lane buddy!!