“Manspreading.” No question, the act is inconsiderate. Even downright rude. But the word, itself? I find it almost more offensive. It nearly makes me cringe.
If you’re not familiar, “manspreading” is something that men do all the time – in public and mostly in settings of mass transportation. (Think, ‘on the subway, the train or on the bus’.) They sit with their legs open to the widest possible position so as to claim space equivalent to what two or more adult human beings would occupy while seated. In cases of tall men, or those with unusually long legs, this can measure up to four feet!
You see it all the time, yet you’re unfazed. Unless, of course, you’re standing during that long streetcar ride while Mr. VeeLimbs owns a row. It’s hardly new behavior. Men have been extending themselves (not in the good way) for years. But now, manspreading has become “a thing” – with its own word/name. In 2016 in New York, the Transit Authority launched an entire public service campaign to discourage it. It was a hot topic for awhile in late-night comedy. Even the New York Times was writing about it!
To me, the behavior is certainly irksome, but what can you do if Mr. Gargantuan wants to splay in a way that maximizes his personal space? I mean, if the thought to offer his super-sized spot to an aged, feeble, or disabled rider doesn’t occur to this guy, do you really think limiting himself to one seat is ever going to register?
And even what they call this is icky. “Manspreading”! Just the word evokes a visual of some guy sowing his seed. An unpleasant word and an even more unpleasant thought. And there ain’t nothing we’re going to do about either.
Next time: “Mansplaining” – when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending, patronizing way. Now that’s obnoxious behavior worthy of a public service campaign!