Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend a NHL pre-season game, here in Halifax, a game bringing together the Bruins and the Canadiens. Unsurprisingly, the former won because they had put experienced players on the ice, whereas the latter used this game as a "test" for potential new players/rookies. In any case, it was fun, and I don't know if it's the game itself or the atmosphere at the Metro Center that made me happy. The cheers, the "boos" (not to mention the booze), the music... even if you didn't want to, you'd end up filled with enthusiasm and excitement.
It is also a very nice break for overused brain cells, to hear "dialogues" such as this one:
- Chara sucks!... Chara sucks!... Chara sucks!...
- Chara is a SUPERSTAR!
Unfortunately, amongst all this fun stuff, something was annoying me big time. It was not loud, no, it was subtle, but it came close to ruining my evening. It is something I have experienced in the past, in crowded university amphitheatres or public transport: the lack of personal space respect by the guy sitting next to me.
When space is tight, you keep your limbs to yourself, right? Well, turns out you need a specific diploma to figure that out. This creates frustration for lots of women (and probably some men), as apparent from a simple Google search.
The Chicago Transit Authority has published an article on the topic. It's worth a read, especially for all the comments. There's also a good rant about this common problem on this blog. Here's an excerpt:
Why do men sit with their legs wide open like they have the biggest package on earth anyways? For e.g if I was sitting in a two seater and I joined a guy on the seat, he wouldn't close his legs to give me a little room. Noooo, he just leaves em opened while his leg touches mine, while I'm cramped up next to the end of the seat, trying to move my leg away from his. I don't want my leg to be touching some random guys leg regardless of how good looking he is! On the other hand, if a guy was to come and sit next to me on a two seater, I would move so he has more room. You know what? I have learnt my lesson, and I refuse to move for any guy now. Cause once I give him some room, out goes his legs. Screw that for a joke. I'm gonna sit with my legs wide opened for a change!
It puzzles me how those men don't seem to have a clue they're invading our personal space, or don't seem to give a sh***. How could my "neighbour" not notice that while he was using BOTH armrests, left and right, I had none? How could he not realize he was hitting me with his elbow or shoulder with every movement he made? How did he end up positioning his feet so wide that one was in the middle of MY space, forcing me to pretty much glue my knees together in order not to be in constant contact with him? I mean, I do understand that male morphology calls for spreading your legs a little bit, but come on! There's no way his "lunch" was THAT big!
My main problem, however, was not this guy's behavior. It's HIS problem if he was never taught good manners/appropriate sharing of available space with other human beings. My role was to find a way to let him know, nicely (telling him politely) or harshly (screaming at him, pushing him away). But as much as I tried, I just couldn't find how to tell him what displeased me in a way that wasn't rude nor coarse. And if I tried to regain my space by subtly stretching a little bit, would he move? Oh no. He stayed right there. Probably enjoying the way our thighs touched. Horny old goat.
Maybe I should have changed seats. But who knows what was awaiting me on the other side?