You guys, I am such a wuss. I don't know if it's because I'm a relatively smaller American width-wise or because as a person with a vagina I've subconsciously internalized society's secondhand status for ladies in the public sphere, specifically on the bus. Basically I shrink.
I always, ALWAYS, make sure to only take up the 16-inches allotted me, mentally drawing a line in the air that no part of my body crosses. I hunch in my shoulders, squeeze my thighs together, or even risk varicose veins (according to my granny) by crossing my legs. I keep my elbows in like a prize fighter.
But guess what? Dudes don't do this. At least not the ones who just so happen to sit next to me.
Last weekend, I spent four hours on the BoltBus to Manhattan with this guy's man thighs rubbing all up on mine. We were roughly the same size, but when I saw him strutting down the aisle toward the sweet window seat I'd just copped, I knew my ride would be cramped. He had that walk bodybuilders have. You know the one. Where they hold their arms way out to the side as if their bulging Hulk-like biceps can't be bothered to not invade everyone else's airspace.
He nodded a quick "Hello, I'll be taking it from here" in my direction and then proceeded to get comfortable by spreading his legs so far apart he might as well have been doing Yoga or Pilates or whatever ancient Jazzercise technique that's totally unacceptable on a four-hour bus ride.
But instead of giving him a side eye so tough it'd shame him into submission, I just scooched more and more toward the window on my left, letting the blasting air conditioner numb my wounded pride.
I won't even talk about how he spent approximately 45 percent of our inappropriately intimate time together having various loud conversations with his bodybuilding buds. They discussed "stacking ducats" and directions ("Just take a right then count to three and it's RIGHT there") and a bunch of other stuff I tried to block out. He ended every call with "one" and I contemplated how one is far from the loneliest number. It's the most comfortable.
When Senior Bodybuilder finally went to sleep (which is when I snapped these photos) I thought maybe he'd inadvertently lean in the opposite direction, giving me some breathing room -- literally. But no such luck. Instead he got really into it, even flipping over on his side at one point wherein his ass cheek was in direct contact with my hip bone. It was -- awkward. But obviously only for me.
Am I crazy? Or are men (sometimes) more prone to taking up as much literal space as, duh, we allow them to. Because in the end I never once told him to jump the heck back, Jack. I never politely tapped him on the shoulder with a sweet but firm, "Um, excuse me but could you please move over a little?" Sounds easy, right. But still I never do it. For whatever reason -- social brainwashing, maybe -- I think it's in poor taste. So I spent hours being uncomfortably squished into the tight space of the polite and quiet woman.
Is this an issue for anyone else? Do you allow someone with a penis more room because you don't want to be rude? Or do I just need to man up, which in and of itself is problematic pun-wise?