Sunday, July 16, 2017

In defense of man spreading

"Manspreading" is a term invented in recent years for what men have traditionally called "sitting." Manspreading refers to the way some men spread their legs while riding on public transport, in what I like to call "airing lotus" pose. Cities have even created ad campaigns to admonish men not to take up too much space on buses and trains. 

This is like asking terrorists to only blow people up a little.

A man, at birth, is wired to spread. The taking of domain is a primary instinct, be it via land conquest by tank, yardage on the gridiron, or extra seats on the bus. An ad campaign cannot roll back the muscle memory of a million years of successful spread age. 

Experts say if you encounter a mountain lion on the trail while hiking, make yourself appear as big as possible. Men basically go through life as if they are practicing, at all times, how to fake out predators. It is an entirely unconscious activity, like when women bond.

Some men make the argument that it is uncomfortable to sit with their legs together, for "obvious reasons." This is a ploy to blame anatomy, for which we can blame a lot of things, don't get me started, but these things do not pertain to bus travel. 

The real reason is that sitting with your legs together looks feminine. The only thing men try to avoid more than looking feminine is kale; not so much because it is healthy, but because it is fashionable.

A man riding on the subway with nobody around him, and his legs held together deferentially, sends a signal to society that if you are hiking with him you are on your own. You are cougar bait. Society, like it or not, prefers an oaf to a cougar baiter. 

You may be irritated when wanting an open seat on a bus, but when the invaders come over the hilltop, you will want the manspreaders, legs planted almost comically far apart, to meet their charge. 

I am not a manspreader. Faced with a mountain lion, my enlargement tactics would probably induce a feline eye roll. On a sliding masculinity scale from “Hulk Hogan” to “Oscar Wilde,” I come down somewhere in the “David Niven” range. But I do not equate keeping my legs together with femininity. I grew up with an older sister, and I learned very early never to leave an open target. 

. . .

1 comment:

  1. Hysterical! I laughed myself silly. But not as silly as sitting next to a man spreader on a bus.