Manspreader on Train Prompts Creative Solutions to Recoup Personal Space

by SharonKurheg

A while back, we wrote a piece about how to stop a manspreader on a plane in 3 easy steps. It was written good-naturedly but still reflected an ongoing issue: be it physicality vs. misogyny vs. lack of personal space awareness or caring (or maybe a mixture of all of them), some men have a tendency to manspread.

a group of people sitting on a subway

PC: Richard Yeh / WNYC / flickr / CC BY-NC 3.0 US

And unfortunately, manspreading encroaches on the personal space of whoever is next to him. That space is also space the “manspreadee” (as opposed to the manspreader) has paid for.

According to her Twitter page, Dr. Neena Jha is a GP/Urgent Care Dr/ Breast Physician for the NHS (the National Health System – the healthcare system in England). On May 28th, she was traveling – it looks like via train – and apparently was stuck next to a manspreader.

With over 27,000 followers, the comments began almost immediately. Here were some of the better ones that offered solutions (and I do have to say that some of them were SO British LOL! [I mean that as a compliment!]):

  • Perhaps a calm and polite “Whilst I appreciate that some may crave the annexation of their personal space by a random half naked leg, I prefer the freedom of uninhibited movement that comes with a desire to kick my presumptuous neighbour in his rapidly encroaching bollocks. Ta.” — Nitin Sawhney
  • nope, classic method is…. leave his leg there, but un sheath your foot and start having a go at any dead skin, toenails, pickety pick, flickety flick, then see how long he lasts then with foot debris cascading down his manly intrusion! — Spiderkebab
  • You can amputate the whole leg and be within your right — You know, thaaat Colin
  • If there’s a next time dart your eyes to his crotch then straight back to his face, sympathetically say ‘elephantiasis’? Continue & say ‘yeah I heard there’s been an surge in elephantiasis of the b**ls’ ‘Sounds painful’ ‘sorry to hear – d’yer mind if I tweet – so fascinating’ — Zora Suleman
  • Pretend to sneeze and flick water onto him… — Tom Lawton
  • I would ask him to close his legs and be mindful of your personal space — Jay
  • No. Just start waxing it.. he will soon move. — Jason Elsom
  • I would of put my feet on his leg. If he’s entitled to comfort, so are you. — Victoria Peach
  • Would he have to move if you repeatedly had to get up to get things from the overhead storage, from the kiosk, use the loo? — Chris Eilbeck
  • Kick it away — Khalid Minhas MD FACC
  • I asked a man to move his leg once (he had window seat and his leg was halfway in the middle( my seat) he said but I’m very tall and need to stretch my legs and I said but I’m only 5.1 and paid for this space he moved his leg and sat hunched up through the flight — Dor
  • Start coughing — Suzanne Olsen
  • I’d put my purse under the seat and need to pull it to my lap to get something out of it every 2 min …Then cross my leg the other way and tuck my foot under the left corner of the seat in front. Then smile. It sucks he’s tall, but he knew he was tall when he bought the ticket. — Sonder (Note from Sharon: Sonder apparently read our blog post of what to do LOL!)
  • Obviously dressed by Sports Direct, so not much chance of any etiquette from him. Elbow, slap and sharp kick to the ankle should suffice! — DB
  • Had a similar situation on a flight. Just casually conquered my space by stretching my legs and was like “oh sorry mate”… What can they say? It’s the same with arm rests… — Joao Barata
  • Spill something on him — Stephanie deGiorgio
  • I need to remember to carry a large piece of cardboard to wedge a nice boundary wall, lol. – Lifeisbutadream
  • Got on a bus one day, packed to the gunwales, one seat left, manspreader; I said, “sorry buddy, move your leg, so I can sit down,” smiled, quite loud too! He did-embarrassed — Dave
  • I remember doing this to a lady on the Tube once, when I was young, rude and quite obnoxious. She put her big bag of frozen grocery shopping on my lap and just stared at me until I moved my leg back into my own area. Lesson learned. — que?
  • As a formerly frequent flyer (female if it matters) I had this happen several times. Lots of people with zero regard for others. And I have “accidentally” stepped on their feet before. Passive-aggressive? I prefer to think of it as a strong hint for them to assess their behavior. — Yes, Vasser is my first name
  • Spills hot coffee on leg “oh terribly sorry” — Michele Colvin McKenzie
  • Happened to me on a long flight. Only he was wearing even smaller shorts and kept his hands in them too. I told the stewardess that it made me feel uncomfortable and was promptly moved up a class. — Corinna Martin
  • Phantom phone call Yes mum I saw the doctor… Yes mum he gave me the cream Yes he’s taken skin scraping to test for mites Yes mum he thinks it’s contagious but only with close skin contact. Then start scratching your leg absentmindedly … — geraldine King
  • I always put a bag there and it always claims my space. — Izabela
  • Put your tray table down. Ask for a coffee and then knock it over the left side of your tray. Or a very very cold glass of soft drink with ice. Coke or orange juice are nice and sticky. — priscilla goulding
  • I am a short guy and this happens to me all the time. I usually move my legs a lot, get my bag out and back a couple of times and if that doesn’t work, I ask them if their leg/arm paid for my ticket cos they’re in my space. — TST
  • I would literally tell him to move his leg. Period. God help him if he doesn’t listen. Because it is quite easy for me to be my lowest pettiest self for as long as I need to. — Sunday’s Child
  • I have hay fever so I just loudly blow my nose into a tissue when I get a space invader. I’ve also faked a hacking cough too. Share my space, share my germs. — TheBirdLeaf
  • I find tipping a hot drink into the “happy sacks” region works – Great Aunt Augusta
  • I have always found that pretending to be about to vomit clears a lot of personal space very quickly and with little risk of violence and yes, I’ve done this a few times and yes, it’s been when men encroached my space aggressively (and I’d do the same if women encroached) — Jenna Luche-Thayer
  • My uncle (who trained military and first responders in weaponry) once taught me how to make weapons from coffee straws. Let me know if you need a tutorial. — MJ Banshee Flo
  • In these situations I just fart as much as I can — lovely
  • You may compliment him on his leg and the choice of his socks – EPoPs
  • I once asked with a loud voice whether there’s no room on his side. Was helpful. He hated the stares of others — Against Contagion

There was a happy ending to this saga, by the way.

Feature Photo: YMMV/Sharon

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