Someone is Manspreading? Easy. Just Say ‘Excuse Me.’
When women would complain about manspreading, I’d scoff and say “well, you could just say excuse me.” I mean, imagine living in a world where social media makes us so asocial that we would rather voice our grievances in tweets but never in person. So asocial that we can’t even give a simple ‘excuse me’ in a seemingly easily-solved moment of discomfort. Right?
Wrong. Politely saying ‘Excuse me’ doesn’t always work for manspreading.
Because culprits of manspreading don’t grasp the concept of politeness and etiquette in the first place. You think they don’t notice the people that want to sit down? They know they’re being rude. They don’t give a shit. Politely saying ‘Excuse me’ to a manspreader is like politely asking your cat to not claw the couch. There is an element of force needed. Verbal cues alone won’t get the job done. This just-say-something dismissal is the reductive attitude men have toward women’s complaints for things like catcalling, manspreading, and others. In reality, a woman saying no to a catcaller on the train could get her killed. It can happen. Actually no. It has happened.
Watch this Hood Storytime about how I almost got into a fight over manspreading.
Thankfully I left this situation with my life in tact. My ego? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of female bagspreaders taking up benches on crowded trains. But men have especially fragile egos when it comes to violence on the train. In my experience, women yell at each other for entire Naruto-episode-length altercations on the train. They will keep it to their words. But the moment a man hears something like “Suck my d*ck” or even “Oh AIGHT” it’s on. And the fights men get into often ends in fatality. We could severely hurt each other over a seat. Or tolerate each other’s existence for the mere 15 minute ride. Argue the subjective principles of courtesy all day. Or move on and let it go. Fragile masculinity clouds simple solutions with convoluted conflict.