Home International Subways ‘It just ain’t that big…’

‘It just ain’t that big…’

by Benjamin Kabak

That Guy, right, just doesn’t need that much space to air out his crotch. (Photo by flickr user strohchop)

Everyone can tell a story about the time that guy on the subway had his legs spread. You know that guy. He’s the one taking up space for three people because he either can’t close his legs or feels a special compulsion to share his crotch with a trainload of commuters.

No one elicits more groans than that guy. Boarding a train during rush hour in search of a seat, you run into that guy, and your commute home is ruined. You glare at him without making eye contract. You try to nudge your way into a seat with no success. It’s happened to us all.

Well, one more in Melbourne, Australia, is sick of this rude behavior and won’t stand for it anymore. Martin Merton, an American expert on subway etiquette, will soon be publishing a book in Australia called There’s No I in Carriage. The book, according to Dr. Merton’s Website, covers topics ranging from the obnoxiously loud cell phone user or iPod-headphones wearer, the rider unable to hold in a fart for the duration of the trip and of course the perennial favorite, the seat hog.

Now, I know what you must be thinking: Who in their right mind would write a book about subway etiquette? This can’t be real, right? O ye of little faith. Of course it’s real. Or at least that’s what Connex Melbourne, the company in charge of Melbourne’s subways, wants you to believe.

Connex is relying on viral videos produced with maximum kitsch featuring a fake psychology to drive home points relating to real-life subway etiquette. And they’re pretty funny. In the video relating to leg spreaders, embedded below, Dr. Murtin recommends releasing live chickens to attack the offending crotch.

I have to wonder if this could work in New York too. The subways could use a little more humility and etiquette and a little less pushiness. But considering that only 5.3 people a day see and say something, this viral campaign would probably just fall flat in New York. But the next time you see a crotch where three people should be sitting, just think chicken.

For more of Dr. Merton’s videos, check out the good doctor’s YouTube page.

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Adelaide Dweller August 28, 2007 - 6:00 pm

I overheard a 3 or 4 year old on a 5 train in the Bronx ask why the man next to her was sitting as he was, legs spread wide, his knee level with her face. Mother’s answer was “men’s bodies, they more macho than women’s. He HAS to sit that way.”

I guess only children are brave enough to ask aloud what we all wonder.

Quinn Hu August 28, 2007 - 7:34 pm

You know the London Underground, the train seats happen to have some magnetic stuff that interacts with the testosterone in a man’s testicles. This forces the legs apart whenever a dude sits on a Tube Train. According to Wikipedia. So TfL stop making those seats & then filling them with stuff.

Todd August 28, 2007 - 9:17 pm

Whenever I see Leg-Spreaders, I imagine them crying alone in the dark, wishing they had a penis that they could be proud of.

It’s that blubbering image that’s kept me from killing someone on the subway.

ruiner75 August 29, 2007 - 1:08 am

Ever wonder that maybe it’s the seats are too narrow? The seats on the nuber trains are ridiculous – the new buses are as well – poorly designed….. on the L there is little to hold onto yet it’s the most packed train there is…. seats are not any better on them with the bar right down the middle
if Melbourne has the balls (doubt it if they can shut their legs) to come to Harlem and tell guys to shut their legs lol more power to them and RIP lol

jeremy August 29, 2007 - 11:53 am

This is why I ride my bike. Humans weren’t meant to be shot through a tightly packed underground tube. Though there are some I wouldn’t mind leaving down there.

Does Eating Vegamite on the Train Count? « Trainjotting August 29, 2007 - 4:47 pm

[…] Does Eating Vegamite on the Train Count? Posted by TJ under Uncategorized  Transit blog Second Ave. Sagas (or is it Second Ave’s A Gas?) has the news that a man in Australia has written a book on subway etiquette. (For what it’s worth, Second […]

Krod August 29, 2007 - 7:46 pm

Ah! My husband forwarded me this post. Love it!
My hubby, and many of my friends, are always rather pink in the face when riding the NYC subway with me… I have no qualms with asking the many crotch men: “is your dick/cock/penis really soooo very big that it makes it impossible for you to close your legs while seated?”
I HIGHLY recommend this tactic. It usually produces applause or giggles. (And some entertaining responses from the crotch men.) Best part – someone always sticks up for me and tells the crotch man to give the lady some room!

Todd August 29, 2007 - 10:24 pm

Ever wonder that maybe it’s the seats are too narrow?

No. I’ve never wondered that. Ever.

I HAVE wondered why some people are so damned fat.

NYC EMS August 30, 2007 - 8:36 am

Im E-mailing this to all my friends.Thank you for making me lol this morning.

toomuch September 6, 2007 - 5:05 pm

What I wonder is why people care so much? Sure its a pain in the ass but just push back a little and shut up. Hey, anybody remember when New York had better shit to worry about than people taking up too much space on the subways? I have an idea why don’t you all call up Peter Vallone and have him make another law regulating everything people have to deal with in everyday life. Seriously I almost miss the 80’s when I hear this shit.

Victoria September 11, 2007 - 9:34 am

Hahahahahh “ahhh a chicken!”
Sometimes when the person sitting next to me has his legs spread too far apart, I just bite him in the thigh. That always does the trick.

A. January 8, 2008 - 9:15 am

Hm, I’m thinking some strategic water gun usage might be a possible solution…..


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