What I’m about to describe has happened to me in similar iterations hundreds of times, thus provoking this ranty post. I’ve just been to London for the weekend and both train journeys were miserable affairs because of people (in this case they were all men) misbehaving.
Taking up SO MUCH SPACE
We all know about ‘manspreading’ and in recent years it was bequeathed its fabulous name. On this journey, the man who sat next to me encroached on my space so much that within minutes of him sitting down I had to ask him to move over which he did. Minutes later, he moved back and then either went to sleep or pretended to. I felt bad about asking again so didn’t, despite the fact that I was getting a crick in my elbow from being hunched up.
When he awoke, he decided it was imperative to floss his teeth aggressively RIGHT THEN as I desperately tried to avoid flicked out masticated food. Grim.
Rowdy and intimidating
The rest of the carriage was taken up with a stag do drinking and singing loudly at one end. And a male rugby team doing the same at the other. As a solo female traveller at times it was quite intimidating. I needed the toilet but there was a group of drunk men at the toilets at both sides and I just didn’t feel comfortable going incase they harassed me. This is what past experiences plus their inconsiderate behaviour told my gut instinct would happen.
Drunk and disorderly
On the train from Newcastle to London, as I was getting on the train a stag do was getting off. As myself and the other passengers got on the train we were all commenting on the stench of booze. The stag do staggered off, one with his entire arse hanging out his jeans. At this point I chuckled, not taking it too seriously. As we were halfway down the train an extremely inebriated man was trying to get off but couldn’t even stand. We had to help him out. I told his group to help him but as he fell off the train they just cheered. It was clear that he would be getting laughed at and not helped. I worried about him in a busy train station next to tracks.
Vomit and mess
I moved down the train to take my seat but as I got there, there was a bit of a commotion. I was sat where the stag do were. There was vomit EVERYWHERE. 9 seats were out of action because of it. There was vomit all over a table, the floor, several seats, including the one next to mine. Then there were cans, bottles and beakers everywhere. I could barely move for sick to my left and debris to my right.
I’m so pleased I didn’t have my children with me!
There weren’t any cleaners on the train and we had to wait an hour until York before a cleaning crew could be brought on. They had to clean the carriage before it set off delaying an already delayed train further, to the extent that every customer on the train can now claim compensation. I was moved to first class at York after an hour of sitting next to it.
Ruining it for everyone
Why do some people act like this? I’m averse to fun but you ruin it for everyone when you behave like this. I was speaking to a steward who said football matches etc get like this often and she refuses to travel on services near football games now. Why should some people have to change their behaviour because others can’t control theirs? Why do we tolerate it? It wouldn’t surprise me if travel companies began banning booze. I guess the bottom line is that the clean up isn’t so costly yet that it is negating the profits from alcohol sales.
Men behaving badly
I probed the steward on the issue and she told me that it’s men, not women 95% of the time. This has been my experience too. I’m sure that 5% of women behave just as badly but it doesn’t seem to be as a pervasive. Most men are great. Some help others with heavy bags and look after those who need support but too some men are letting the side down. Enough to give men overall a shitty reputation. I think some men just aren’t as aware as they could be about how much space they take up and power they have, and how much of an impact that can have on others. As much as it isn’t fair on women, it’s not fair on considerate men either.
Top 10 tips to avoid being a dick on public transport
Anyway, if you reading this and wondering if you are the problem then here are my top tips to avoid being a dick on public transport. They apply to men and women (and everyone in between):
- Be considerate and kind. Help others and try not to do things they may not like.
- Don’t encroach on other’s space. Keep your elbows to your own seat. Stop hogging the arm rest or at least don’t spill over it into your neighbour’s seat. Don’t man-spread. We all know it’s not THAT big.
- Be aware of your privilege and how others around you may be feeling.
- Don’t be too noisy.
- Don’t floss your teeth on trains (you absolute savage)
- Don’t get so drunk that other people feel uncomfortable or intimidated
- Don’t harass other passengers
- Don’t party next to the toilets in a group
- Don’t leave the toilet seats up
- Don’t leave a mess for others to clean up. Dispose of your rubbish.
Pretty simple actions of common courtesy I think you’ll agree. And if you are a considerate and well-behaved man reading this, thinking you don’t want to be tarred with the same brush as the minority that misbehaves, hold other men accountable. We can’t affect change without you. You can make a huge difference in holding other men accountable and we need your help.
What do others do on public transport that annoys you? Do you have any horror stories? I’d love to hear them in the comments!