Men who do not squeeze their knees together while perched on the uncomfortably hard and small plastic seats offered by the MTA to its customers are now being shamed by a civility campaign urging them to sit with their privates squished so other subway riders have more room.
In one of the pictures that accompany thisNY Times article, a man committing this act of public indecency while a woman clings to a pole in front of him is being subject to the glare of the media, while right across the car door from him another woman, by virtue of her size and winter clothing and the fact that she is sitting with her knees apart as well, is occupying more than one seat, too.
No criticism is directed at her, because she cannot help being large and cold, but that man is being ignorant by sitting in a naturally comfortable manner. Of course this is true, and I commend the MTA for its campaign to improve the behavior of men, which is a logical continuation of the one women started about a million years ago in the Great Rift Valley of Africa. Men had just invented the sharpened stick back then, and, in their enthusiasm with that breakthrough, were stabbing anything that moved with their sticks, including each other and women, just to work out any bugs in the new technology.
The invention of weapons led to a long period of rape, pillage and murder, mostly carried out by guys enthusiastically. Any one or all of the above was considered an excellent career choice over hunting and gathering by the bros of the Neolithic period. Very gradually women, using the weapons available to them, which were withholding sex and comparing penis size, did not get men to stop any of their general rampaging. But they got them to tone it down a little, and act like they were ashamed of it, sometimes.
This success encouraged the girls to get men to modify other male behaviors that they regarded as disgusting, like wiping their noses with their forearms and farting at church services. It has culminated in the rise of the modern Western man, who pays at least lip service to the values women demand of men, like personal cleanliness and not building pyramids of empty beer cans on the coffee table. Even a thoroughly domesticated creature such as myself is constantly supervised with an eye towards improvement, however. For example, I just surrendered in a skirmish over toilet paper. My girl at all times demands that we have enough toilet paper in the house to survive a collapse of civilization, whereas I have always maintained that an ample supply of paper towels was more important, because in an emergency, paper towels can perform the function of bath tissue, whereas wiping up spilled ketchup with toilet paper is a gloppy mess. I know this because, being a man, I naturally have tried it, and by it I mean both.
My logic was met with the derision it usually deserves, and I was only able to restore peace in the house by buying a Costco pallet full of Charmin.
So my advice to the manspreaders of New York is to give up. Eventually you will all be sitting on the subway with your legs crossed like a celebrity guy on a talk show, ignoring the sweatiness, the itching and the panicky suspicion that you may be incurring permanent structural damage that the position entails.
It’s for the common good. Makes it harder for you to stick your gum under the seat, too, you pig.