That’s Turkish for “Close Your Legs” – you’ve probably seen it or at least heard of it over the last several days. Thanks to some tough Turkish travelers, well, tough female Turkish travelers, the very real and very pervasive male practice of spreading one’s legs on public transportation is getting some air time. It goes like this: you race to the airport after posting instructions all over your house for what has to happen and who has to do it during your, what, 24 hours away from the place….trip your way through security, board your plane, and plop yourself into your seat ready to enjoy a little solo time. Male seatmate arrives, sits down, and promptly spreads his legs, fully and completely encroaching on your space.
It happens on planes, trains, subways, buses; it can even happen in a cab. It usually happens between strangers, but I’ve had it happen with colleagues.
So, what to do? I’ve tried a lot of things and sometimes you actually just have to say, “You’re invading my legroom space.” That’s not the easiest thing to say, so you may want to practice it beforehand. They say when you practice saying things out loud, it isn’t so hard when you actually have to say them. (I read this when researching how to ask for a raise.)
You can also try spreading your legs right back at him. I’ve done that. Problem is, it isn’t very comfortable to sit like that. It’s hard to sustain and you know what, he knows that. If he does close up his legs with that move, he’s just buying time and waiting for you to falter. He’ll be back.
Two weeks ago I was coming home from Seattle on that awful “overnight” flight when my seatmate pivoted on his side, pushing both his knees sideways into my leg space. We’re gonna spoon on this flight? Uh, I don’t think so. I quickly and efficiently pushed his knees back and said, “oh, no, that’s not done.” It was late, I was tired, I didn’t care how it sounded and guess what, he moved.
If you have tips for getting your seat neighbor to close his sitting stance, please share your story!