The Blue Line was incredibly packed this evening. It was one of those rides where the operator warns everyone not to overcrowd the train or else she'll stop it and force everyone to get off.
Which made it somewhat off-putting to see this guy draped across an entire seat while a few dozen riders were standing up. (Just in case people didn't get the message that he didn't want anyone sitting next to him, he had a bag on the seat for good measure.)
You know the type of chivalrous man (often seen in movies, but not real life) who would go up to a total stranger on a train and politely suggest he move over so a woman might sit, in a tone of voice that's pleasant, but at the same time has a distinct "Listen, friend, I'm smiling, but you really don't want to fuck with me" edge to it? That's not me. I'm more of the "I'm going to passively observe this so I can write about it on my blog" type of man. Which is to say, not really much of one.
The guy stayed like this for a few stops, as more and more people got on. Finally, someone asked if she could have the seat next to him. And...he moved over.
This annoyed me on two levels.
First, if he'd refused, this post would be so much better. Because while people on the Metro may be reluctant to risk a confrontation by asking someone to move over whose body language is absolutely screaming, "Go fuck yourself, I'm not moving over," if he'd been the one to make things ugly, I have no doubt that everyone on the train would have turned on him. Safety in numbers and all that. There would have been a lot of mocking and trash talking until he either relented or got off the train.
But also, if you're going to be the kind of asshole who goes to great lengths to make it clear you don't want to share your seat, be that asshole! Commit to the bit! Don't fold the second someone asks you to move. It makes no sense, what this guy did.
Consider your seating options when you sit down on the Metro:
1) You occupy one seat and make the other one available for someone else. Pro: No one thinks you're an asshole. Con: You only get one seat.
2) You occupy both seats by stretching out or putting something on the seat next to you. Someone asks you to move over. You refuse. Pro: You get both seats. Con: Everyone thinks you're an asshole.
3) You occupy both seats by stretching out or putting something on the seat next to you. Someone asks you to move over. You move over. Pro: None. Con: You only get one seat, but more importantly, everyone still thinks you're an asshole.
Look, be a seat hog or don't be a seat hog. But decide which one you are, and stick with it. Don't half-ass it. It doesn't do you or your fellow riders any good.