Recently I’ve found myself more and more wound up by men on public transport. Not all men do this, but at least half, and they sit with a staunch, stubborn entitlement and refuse to shift their position regardless of who might be challenging them.
You know what I’m talking about here. The men who take up more space than they need. Men who make a potential free seat an occupied seat by sprawling a knee over half of it. Men who sit with their legs sprawled open, their manhood prized in their laps like a trophy following an awards ceremony. Men who need space, goddammit. Men who deserve as many seats as they can get. Men who lean their legs against yours as if you - tiny little girl - are taking up far too much space as it is in that one seat with your legs snapped tightly together. You’re also probably breathing far too much of that oxygen whilst we’re at it.
I get that some men are super tall or built. I sympathise with men that are, and I accommodate as much as I can for them just as I’d accommodate to women that are, but not all the men that do this are particularly tall or well built. They just want to pretend that they are. They’re men, and thats enough. MAKE SPACE FOR THE BIG MAN.
I just had to block one such nuisance from my Facebook (which, I suppose, is probably about as useful as air slapping an opponent). I should have known he was a man of that ilk. A man who thinks is he entitled to the World and as much space as he can use up within it. A man who couldn’t possibly hate women because he has hundreds of female friends. Sometimes the worst women haters are the ones who are incapable of recognising how deep their hatred actually goes.
The other week I’d posted a stupid ass video on the timeline of a friend who appreciates stupid ass videos. It was of a 10 year old girl performing at a dancing competition in what I think are pretty standard dancing clothes - a crop top and a pair of shorts. Her entire schtick hinged on the fact that the medley she was dancing to was a glorious mixture of queer dance anthems by drag queens and that she was fierce as fuck - voguing like a champion and moving in a smart and cartoonish replication of women twice her age. One or two of the moves could be considered risque, but the girl is 10 and as such the moves are harmless. When I was 10 I went through a phase of replicating the Foxy Lady dance from Wayne’s World - crotch thrusts and all - and didn’t once think ‘oh, this must mean something sexy’. It was a dance. I like to move it, move it.
And of course, one of the problems with Facebook is that we willingly make our conversations public. I posted this video on my friends timeline - not in a private message - because I wanted some of our mutual friends to enjoy it too. This 10 year old girl is spectacular, for fucksakes! Within minutes of posting it, this guy - this gremlin, this troll - already had something to say about it.
So, this is basically child pornography? He said. She shouldn’t be dressing and dancing like some stripper whore trying to make a couple of quid for her unwanted baby at home.
My blood immediately boiled. Where to start?! Shocked and not wanting to wage full on war, I replied with a terse but simple:
She’s 10 years old. She should be able to dress and act however she wants. If people see something sexual in a 10 year old girl’s dance performance then they’re the ones who have the problem, not the little girl.
NO DICE. He responds, as though he’s schooled in this sort of rhetoric and I should shut up and listen the fuck up to an expert:
I understand the need for girls and women to express themselves however they want but at 10 years old thrusting your vagina at an audience whilst dressed as a young prostitute isn’t right. It’s giving out the wrong signal to predators that this young woman is sexually available.
No and no.
I took my rings off my fingers and cracked my knuckles and wrote back, Firstly, people who sexually attack girls, boys, women and men don’t give much of a shit about how a person’s dressed, they’ll do it with or without what you seem to see as being a ‘sexual invitation’ and secondly, yes she’s thrusting her vagina at the audience. Is that sexual? If you find that sexy, that’s your problem, I see a little girl DANCING. That part of the body is where wee comes out. That is not sexy.
And then I proceeded to send him the clip from the end of Little Miss Sunshine where the 10 year old girl performs the risque striptease dance to Superfreak much to the horror of the beauty contest she’s trying to win. The contest organisers scream that it’s inappropriate but her family see it for what it is, a little girl just having fun and they cheer her on.
I deleted the video, eventually. You just know that some arguments can only end in one of two ways: either in murder or never.
So I dropped it. I should have deleted him there and then, but instead I held off and was rewarded a few days later with more of the same.
The status he’d posted was a full on rant addressed to a pregnant woman who must have been on his bus. He had a seat - possibly even two seats, judging from the way that men like him behave on public transport - and made it clear that he would not under any circumstances be giving up his seat to a pregnant woman! Why should he have to suffer just because she ‘couldn’t keep her legs shut’? Why is her ‘slightly swollen middle’ more important than his build and his height? NO! He said. This ends now! I’m keeping my seat! Fuck you pregnant bitch!
His friends seemed to share in his hatred. These pregnant women, eh? Always storming onto the bus and stealing all of the goddamn leg space. Whores! One and all!
They weren’t aware of the swollen feet that most pregnant women get during pregnancy which leaves some women so tender they can barely walk (Hey! Big men get sore feet too! We’re tall! We’re heavy! We eat a lot of steak!) or the nausea that ensues whenever the fuck it wants to. They didn’t consider that maybe carrying that sort of weight around your middle might be killer on your back (Hey! What about our beer guts? WHO WILL TAKE THE WEIGHT OFF OUR BEER PAUNCH!!?) or that most mothers to be are nervous about that one bad jolt on the bus that knocks another commuter into them and harms the unborn child.
I’m not one for sanctimonious pregnancy blabber. I don’t rejoice at the news of mothers to be or delight in pictures of ultra sounds, but I do give up my seat to pregnant women on the bus.
And next time I do, I’ll look around me for the bloke still sat, legs sprawled, enjoying his manhood and his entitled space and probably seething about the complete and utter slag who dared to have sex and make a baby and expect him to offer her a seat. I’ll find him, and I’ll take a seat on his goddamn lap.