Mechanical problems, a lack of funding, and inconsistent schedules can make public transport a nightmare. What's worse, on the off chance you're blessed with a seat, you're probably running into more manspreaders, people (guess what kind) who decide their self-confidence requires more seat than they paid for. If you're sick of it, there are a few ways to combat the problem with panache.
Image credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr
Often overlooked in favour of silent brooding and introspection, a simple request to move will most likely reap the results you're looking for. A polite "excuse me" and "thank you" is enough to get me to notice I'm taking up a little too much room, apologise, and adjust my posture accordingly. (And in the anecdotal experience of other Lifehacker editors, is often enough to get someone to scoot in and make space.) In a charitable view, the average manspreader suffers from a lack of self-awareness above all else.
Ask Less Than Politely
If the carrot didn't work, it might be time to use the stick. Trying to sit in a manspread-adjacent seat? Strongly indicate your intent to sit, give 'em a good stare, make your voice heard with a strong "pardon me", and fill your allotted space. It's definitely uncomfortable, but less uncomfortable than shrinking away. If their bag is in your chair and they're unresponsive to your requests, don't be shy about moving it yourself. It's your seat, too.
Make a Scene
Got a bag with you? Pop a squat, open it up, and dig around. A lot. "Where is that comically large feather duster I own?" You should mutter to yourself while your arms and legs shift about, letting you widen your personal space under the guise of looking for your props.
Don't forget to use your arms to your advantage! You might have to throw a few elbows to get the offending manspreader to adjust his posture. If they move, you've won. If not, you've easily gotten a few "accidental" blows in while trying to reclaim your space. Consider it a taste of justice.
Sometimes the best defence is a good offence. When the opportunity to live like a king and flex those hip abductors comes around, why not indulge? Being the first to manspread won't win you any friends, but often a preemptive strike is required to secure the resources bestowed by your $4.94 ticket. The burly guy eyeing the seat next to you probably won't be crossing his legs, that's for sure. That being said, when the train starts to populate you might want to reign it in.
Some manspreaders are just arseholes, so your mileage may vary. If you're uncomfortable with confrontation, or feel your ride might take a turn for the worse, extricate yourself immediately. No seat is worth a fight, and no manspreader is worth the threat of violence. Besides, there's probably no room to swing your arms anyway.
If none of these tactics work, you can always just sit on them.