(I’m quoting someone on this title, maybe even a blogger? Lilysea? But I couldn’t figure it out on Google.)
On the train back from London today... I had the window seat. A man, looked like a middle aged business man, took the aisle seat. He arranged his stuff, I arranged mine. I wanted to read. I wanted to use the middle armrest. I put my elbow on it, not taking up the whole width, not taking up more than a third of the whole length. Just there.
A two-hour battle ensued in which he did everything he could to dislodge me from that armrest short of actually saying something out loud. It was a truly bizarre instance of public transport passive aggression. He shifted. He put his arm on the front part. He slid his elbow back so it hit me. He squirmed around in his seat so that, more than once, he was actually leaning his whole torso against my arm. He even dropped a piece of paper once so that it hit my leg and fell under the seat in front of me.
He was not a big man. It was not a small seat. I can only assume that he was experiencing a woman asserting arm-rest equality as loss.
I could have let it go. But honestly, I’ve done enough stupid things in my life because I was worried I’d make a man feel badly. (Letting my best friend take me to the prom before I came out to him—not a good idea, for him or for me.) And I’m feeling way too cocky these days not to take up the challenge and see just how much discomfort I can cause an overprivileged dude, just by taking up my own space.