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The S.Y.D.L. Manifesto
by j.d.

This is my manifesto. One woman's personal plea against the inconsiderate behavior perpetrated by nearly 90% of male NYC subway riders. I'm taking a stand.. I shall remain quiet no more. This rude and infuriating behavior must come to an end.

Let me begin by saying that this particular behavioral infraction is perpetrated by men in all walks of life. It cuts across class, race, immigrant status, and job title. I've seen men in business suits, jogging shorts, and casual wear; tall men, short men, skinny men and fat men; White, Black, Asian, Latino, native born, recently arrived, and tourist men; old, and young men, straight and gay men -- all of whom are guilty of this offense. Due to the unlimited pass MetroCards and my more frequent use of public transportation, I have further discovered it occurs on every single subway line at all times of the day and night.

By now, you must be wondering, what could she possibly be ranting about? What could these men be doing? Are they making lewd comments, sexually harassing women, exposing themselves?

While I certainly have fallen victim to the above mentioned offenses during my interborough train travels, this particular plea is toward an unrelated subway sin: men who sit with their legs spread wide open as if they own the entire bench or are in their personal arm chair in their living rooms.

I first began to notice this particular ill mannered masculine display while riding the subway one morning about two years ago. I was not feeling very well, but decided to be a trooper and go to work anyway. During my five block walk to the subway, I repeatedly begged the "powers that be" to kindly reserve a seat for me on the usually overcrowded subway. When the train stopped in front of me on the platform, I quickly ascertained that the train, while crowded, seemed to have ample space for at least one tired, sickly passenger to place her weary rump. Much to my dismay, when I entered the train, I saw there were no actual spaces between people. I began to panic; sweat: how was I going to make it all the way to work standing? I began to seriously reconsider my decision to be noble and avoid a sick-day. Upon a more detailed inspection, however, I began to see a pattern emerging. Of the thirty or so seated passengers in the car, approximately two thirds were men. That, in and of itself is a harmless fact, until you further notice that not one was sitting with his legs closed; each had his legs spread much wider than the width of his shoulders, thus, taking up much more space than necessary. I politely mentioned to one male passenger that I was not feeling well, and asked if I could be seated. He sat up, closed his legs, as did the man next to him, and suddenly a seat appeared before my eyes. On that particular day, I was simply grateful that a space could be created for my fatigued frame. However, after numerous travel days since then, I have seen this rude and inconsiderate conduct repeated all too often each time I have entered a subway car, and I've had it.

I began to wonder, why do so many men sit this way? Is it simply more comfortable, or is it some instinctual need to "stake out his territory" - claim a large area for himself that he as a man has the right to? Maybe there is a more Freudian reason? Are they all afraid that they will somehow damage their "manhood"? Let me now clear up any misconceptions that may exist in order to expedite the solution to this heinous breach of subway etiquette: If your member is so massive that you are rendered physically impaired from keeping your legs shut -- seek immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency room! Keeping your legs shut while riding the subway will not cause infertility, nor will it interfere with your libido, okay boys?

I now urge every woman to demand that men shut their damn legs and make room for the rest of us. The next time you see a man spread-eagle, taking up too much space, call him on it. Wiggle your ass in there next to him and make him shut them. They must be stopped. Their legs must be shut!

you can contact me oh-so-easily by sending mail to:

i'll be sure to forward comments to other authors (like j.d., here) on to them!!