Who’s got the worst commuter etiquette? Men or women?

Sleeping in public, feet up on the chair. Two new sites are documenting commuter etiquette atrocities on the daily.

Commuters riding on a subway or bus

(Photo by Getty Images)

The battle of the sexes rages on, and on, and on. The reason being that men and women derive a great deal of pleasure from their fractious relations to ever quit trading pot shots and low blows. (I’m cooking up a few right now in anticipation of my husband coming home for dinner! Can’t wait to torment you, dear.)

The latest squabble has made its way online and centres on which sex deserves the title of most obnoxious public transit user. Each sex has taken their cause to the Internet, creating Tumblr pages venting their sexist spleen with catchy names such as Men Taking Up 2 Much Space on the Train and Move the F–k Over, Sis (via The Atlantic Wire).

On Men Taking Up 2 Much Space there are photos of various men, both young and oldish, riding transit with their legs spread wide in front of them, their elbows and knees rubbing up against the people beside them — physical postures that indicate a serious lack of consideration on the part of male riders for those who would presumably prefer not to feel a strange mans hairy leg against their calf.

But before the female population crowns the opposite sex king of the urban jerks, have a look at Move the F–k Over, Sis, which depicts female riders in an equally unfavourable light. Women, like men, take up a lot of space not only with their bodies (feet up on the seats) but their purses, bags and other necessities.

Taken together, the sites suggest that no single sex owns the rudeness franchise but rather share it equitably kind of like a co-op specializing in bad manners. (I can’t help but think it’s rude to photograph a stranger and post their pic online as means of outing their rudeness, too — irony alert! — but that may be because I was born before 2001.)

The lesson for us all, male, female, rude and polite: sexism is an amateur sport. Misanthropy is for those who wish to play in the big leagues.

What’s one thing people do on public transit or in airports that drives you crazy? Let us know in the comments. 

6 comments on “Who’s got the worst commuter etiquette? Men or women?

  1. What I hate is people who put their bags on the seat when the bus is nearly full. You shouldn’t have to ask them to move their bags! I keep my bags on my lap or in front of me by my feet, keeping them as close to me as I can. Even when I’m coming home with groceries, I try to take up as little space as possible to leave room for others. Npt all people are as considerate (and not to sterotype anyone here) it always seems to be the younger generation that does it.


    • Absolutely agree.


  2. I’m in my 30s and always give my seat to anyone older than me or overburdened with packages.

    But I was recently riding transit in San Francisco and was shocked at the number of teens and early 20’s folks who didn’t get up to allow even very elderly people to sit down. They were in the courtesy seats at the front, too! One fabulous lady in her late 70s or maybe 80s loudly ordered a young couple out of the seats – if it had been a movie the whole tram would have erupted in applause. I saw some broad smiles, though.

    Here in Vancouver the worst I see is people sitting on the outside seat as if to discourage anyone to squeeze past them to the window, and the bags-on-the-seat people, but even that drives me batty.


    • I agree! I say politely, “I can’t squeeze past you.” They then either scootch over, or get up so you can sit down. The bag on seat issue? I politely say that I’d like to sit there please. I think they’re just trying to get away with “seating” their luggage until someone says something. Vancouverites are notorious for not making eye contact or saying anything. Let’s change that. 😉


  3. Big Peeve Alert: Riders with their heads plugged into their iPods; very convenient when someone gets on that needs a seat, you can then zone out and make like you just didn’t notice. Oh and while you’re passive-agressively pretending you’re the only one on the bus/train, could you TURN DOWN your music? Listen I love music, all kinds seriously, but not when the tunes are filtered through your lug holes and all that’s left is a tinny cacaphony. More public tech nonsense: Dial down your voice when on your phone! We don’t want to hear you argue about what’s for dinner; or what that woman did in the office to you today.
    “I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand”. t


  4. It drives me absolutely insane when parents let their kids stand on the seats. What, they don’t think their kids’ shoes are dirty?? I certainly didn’t see them pull out a Lysol wipe and clean the soles first. No consideration at all for the next person who uses that seat…possibly some unsuspecting soul wearing white pants or skirt.


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