So, here's a question from my inbox that I'd like to get some feedback on:
Frequently I’ve seen overweight and obese people insist on squeezing themselves into subway and bus seats that are too small for them. This results in their arms and legs landing on top of the people sitting on either side of them. This is very uncomfortable for the riders being squished, who often just get up out of their seat because it's too awkward to say anything to the person with the weight issue. Nobody seems to know how to handle this. What do you suggest?What are your thoughts? I've got a few of my own (don't I always), but I'd like to hear from readers, as well. I'm getting increasingly interested in issues of obesity and prejudice against the overweight these days, from a social and scientific perspective, and really wanting to move into listening mode and hear people's thoughts and experiences. So please write (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me what's on your mind. A few ground rules:
1. No hating on fat people. If you think people shouldn't sit in seats that are too small for them, say so. But do so with civility. None of this "But if we treat overweight people with dignity, they will have no motivation to lose weight, and will continue to be fat at me!" idiocy that comes up every time I mention courtesy to the overweight.
2. No hating on me because I'm not fat, or because I'm only recently starting to think about the issue of prejudice against the overweight. Nobody figures all of life out overnight.
3. No saying "Subways and buses should have bigger seats." Yes, they probably should, but they're not going to anytime soon. (And airplanes? Fuggedaboutit. That's the least of the airline industry's problems.) It's easy to behave well in a hypothetical well-engineered future. I'm interested in how people deal with the imperfect present.
You can e-mail me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
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Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.