My friend shared a funny story with me with the other day. She and a couple of girlfriends had gone to a food festival where the only tables were tall round bar tables with no stools. It was a day-long event, and started to get more crowded as the day went on. After a few hours, a group of men approached the table and asked if they could rest their drinks on the table for a moment. My friend’s group agreed.
After a while, one of the women left briefly to go to the ladies’ room. As soon as she left, the men crowded in and commandeered the table, leaving a small slice for my friend and the other woman she was with. When the friend came back, they didn’t make room for her. Instead, they spread out, nearly edging the women out entirely.
Eventually, my friend had enough. In her sweetest voice, she asked the group if they minded sharing the table. She pointed out that as a woman, she might not take up as much room, but given the crowd it wasn’t a good time for these guys to be “manspreading.” Instead, she offered to share the table equally. The men finally noticed that they’d taken up so much room and sheepishly apologized, moving back to their side of the table.
I’m glad my friend said something. I often notice men taking up as much space as possible, a.k.a. manspreading, while women tend to make themselves smaller by crossing their legs and hunching their shoulders. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve their own space, especially when they were there first. Ladies, speak up and assert your claim!