Read on esquire.com
So it appears that it’s now possible to get arrested for manspreading on the New York City subway. Manspreading, for those whose daily interests and concerns exist outside the navel-gazing bubble of Manhattan, emerged late last year as a catch-all term for taking up too much space on a subway bench. The action is used to describe the way a person, usually a man, slouches or spreads his legs wider than necessary so as to occupy more physical space than everyone else on the train, namely women. That is, everyone except his fellow manspreaders. Of which there are many. Some in the media would like you to believe that there is currently a manspreading epidemic sweeping the nation; that manners and basic human decency have faded into obscurity.
We’re slightly more optimistic.
Maybe the ever-casualization of the American workplace has spilled over into other forms of life, for better or worse. Maybe you don’t realize you’re texting during a conversation. Maybe you find thank you notes old-fashioned. Maybe you believe it’s no longer necessary to bring a bottle of wine or a six-pack to a party. Of course, we should all be doing all of the above, but maybe we’re doing (or not doing) many other things in an open setting that we’re merely unaware of. The following list is based upon observations from tens of thousands of subway trips, but its logic can also apply to buses, light rails, ferries, and just about any other mode of mass transit:
1. If you lean your entire body against the pole, you’re probably an asshole.
2. If you sneeze or cough without covering your face, you’re a germy asshole.
3. If you block the door to prevent others from exiting, you’re an asshole.
4. Likewise if you prevent others from getting on. Asshole.
5. If you stare at cleavage or short skirts while pretending to read a book, you’re an asshole.
6. If you pretend to be on your phone but are really just snapping a photo of said cleavage or short skirt, then you’re really an asshole.
7. If you have a resting bitch face and you make eye contact with a stranger, it’s probably not on purpose, but you’re a just-ruined-someone’s-day asshole.
8. If you listen to music without headphones, you’re an asshole.
9. Seriously, no headphones? Asshole.
10. If you play your music so comically loud through tiny ear buds that a person five feet away can hear it, you’re an inconsiderate asshole.
11. And a soon-to-be-deaf-asshole.
12. If you leave your headphones in all the way to your desk, you’re not an asshole, but you’re missing the little things.
13. If you wear a backpack on the train and you’re not on your way to the airport for a European adventure, you’re an asshole. A backpack, when worn in a crowded space and not shoved between your feet, suggests you live in a “society of me.” Like an asshole.
14. If you put your bag on the seat next to you, you’re an asshole.
15. If you sit on the outside seat hoping no one will step over you to grab the inside seat, you’re an asshole.
16. If you don’t instinctively offer your seat to a woman, child, or elderly person, you’re an asshole.
17. Most of the time, if you’re sitting at all, you’re kind of an asshole. Just a little asshole.
18. If you intentionally break wind, you’re the type of asshole your mother warned you about.
19. If it’s unintentional, and if nobody knows that you’re the asshole who did it, you’re a lucky asshole.
20. If you’re drunk and hold the door open for your drunk friends, you’re an asshole.
21. If you’re sober and hold the door open for a single mom and her kid, you’re a saint.
22. If you audibly sigh or curse when the train is delayed, you’re an impatient asshole. Think of it as five extra minutes you don’t have to deal with work email. Five extra minutes you don’t have to deal with assholes.
23. If you eat ethnic food inside a cramped, poorly-ventilated, temperature-wavering, jerky, moving cylinder, you’re an asshole.
24. Or any food, for that matter. Just wait until you get home. Or until you’re back on the platform. That’s only a tiny bit asshole.
25. Unless it’s pizza, and unless you open the box to offer everyone a slice.
Then you’re a hero.