Archives For New York City

We’ve been friends for a while now, right? And friends shouldn’t keep secrets from friends. At least, not this sort of secret. I should trust that I can be honest and open with you and that you’ll accept me.

It’s not easy to admit certain things, even when there’s no denying them. I’ve danced around the issue, I’ve deflected, I’ve misdirected. But in the end, the only person it hurts is me.

Sigh. This is so difficult, and I’m very uncomfortable. So please bear with me.

As many of you know, I’ve written a lot about being a New Yorker.

Well, the truth is, I don’t live in New York. In fact, I haven’t lived there for a while. For the past seven years, I’ve lived across the Hudson River. In…New Jersey.

There. I said it. I live in New Jersey.

A few bloggers already knew my shameful secret and kindly kept mum about it. Although I was mocked by one of them, who shall be nameless (but I’m looking at you, Mike Allegra), for not fessing up and embracing my residence in the Garden State.

But seriously, I can’t. I can’t embrace my residence here. I don’t care that Manhattan is literally a mile across the river from my apartment. I don’t care that it’s only a half-hour trip into the city. I don’t care that I still get to enjoy all that NYC has to offer. It pains me to live so close and yet so far away.

It’s a testament to Mr. Weebles that I uprooted myself from my beloved Manhattan, where I had a tiny, rent-stabilized apartment in Soho, and moved across the Hudson to be with him.

When I told my friends that I was moving to New Jersey, they all said, “Seriously? YOU???” I was fond of saying that 9/11 hadn’t made me want to move, and fuck you, Al Qaeda, the only way I’d leave NY was in a body bag. But ultimately the deciding factor was money; decent-sized, conveniently located apartments were a LOT cheaper in NJ than in NY. So I sold my soul and relocated to the mainland. The day I moved out of my apartment, I felt as if I were saying goodbye to my soulmate. Fortunately, Mr. Weebles understands my plight. He once told someone, “Every morning that she wakes up in New Jersey, a little part of her dies.” He’s not wrong.

A few years ago we were on vacation and someone asked us where we were from. Mr. Weebles said, “We’re from New Jersey” and I almost had a shit hemorrhage. I might live there, but I’m not from there. See, here’s a map of where I’ve lived:

The NY/NJ map according to me

It’s not that I have a hatred of New Jersey. I don’t. But I was born and raised in NYC and when I was growing up, Jersey was “over there.” The only reason anyone went there was for concerts or football games at the Meadowlands. Otherwise, it was flyover country. Or drive-through country. I had greater knowledge of world geography than of Jersey geography. You could tell me, “I’m from Vladivostok” and I’d know where it was. But if you said, “I’m from Morris Plains,” I’d stare at you blankly. Where the hell is that?

I can’t shake that mindset. I can’t help it. It’s not my fault; New York has always been about attitude as well as geography. Saul Steinberg wasn’t kidding when he created this map:

So for those of you tuning in from New Jersey, don’t take offense, and don’t start with me. Because I know where you live. Or, you know, I could easily find out if I looked on a map.

NYC isn’t what it used to be. It’s not as vibrant or as gritty as it once was and it suffers from extreme gentrification—I lamented over this last year. But I love the noise and the energy and the pace and the diversity and the subways and the dirt. I love the tap water. I love that so many places are open 24 hours—the city truly never sleeps. And as much as I loathe crowds, I need to be around them. When I set foot on NY soil after my commute, I feel better. I’m happiest in my native habitat. It makes sense to me.

So now you know my deep dark secret. And if you make fun of me for it, I’ll fucking cut you.

Mysterious windows

Madame Weebles —  January 24, 2013 — 156 Comments

One of my favorite books of all time is Time and Again by Jack Finney.  (He’s the guy who wrote Invasion of the Body Snatchers, by the way.)   Time and Again is a science-fictionish historical mystery set in New York City.  I say “science-fictionish” because it’s set in both 1970 and 1882.


My very well-loved copy of one of my very favorite books.

Finney set up a compelling time-travel approach: you can take any structure or locale that has remained unaltered and use it as a way of going back to an earlier time during its existence.  Time travelers must first immerse themselves in the everyday life of their destination era—the culture, current events, attitude, etc—as a way of “loosening” the mind’s ties to the current day.  Finney used the Dakota apartment building in Manhattan as a portal between 1970 and 1882.  The way it’s explained in the book, you can almost believe it could work.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about other places that would serve as appropriate portals.  I could use the Empire State Building to go to 1931.  The Brooklyn Bridge could take me to 1883.  Certain historic houses could get me as far back as the 1650s and 1660s.  You get the idea.

My favorite part of the story is when the protagonist, Si Morley, arrives in 1882.  He boards a Fifth Avenue coach and looks at another passenger:

…I sat watching him from the corner of my eye, tense, excited, almost frightened at my first really close look at a living human being of the year 1882….This was no motionless brown-and-white face in an ancient photograph….There he sat, a living breathing man with those memories in his head.

I still remember when I first read these lines.  I had goosebumps.  Because I get this.  I so get this.  It’s not about witnessing a historic event or meeting a famous historical figure.  It’s about being a part of that time, even briefly.  Like when you first visit another country:  “Look!  Actual Italians/Indians/Australians/Peruvians!  And this stuff looks just like in the photos!  Hey, they really talk like that!”  Except you would be visiting, say, 1862:  “Hey, Lincoln is president and right now they’re all living through everything I’ve read about!!”  It would blow my mind to see and interact with 19th-century people as live, Technicolor humans and not as static black and white relics.  To walk through streets with the old buildings when they were brand new.  And before they were torn down.

If you’ve read this or this, you know I’ve had some strange experiences with people who are no longer with us in corporeal form.  I’ve freaked out a few of you (you know who you are) by being able to sense things without your telling me.  So I wasn’t surprised when something else peculiar happened a few months ago…

I was on a train in New Jersey.  We were about to stop in Newark—the tracks go over the Passaic River and into the station.  I was looking out the window as the train passed over the railroad bridge. For a second or so, I saw the scene not as it is now, but as it might have looked in the 1830s or 1840s.  It was fleeting but I remember it vividly.  Lots of trees, low small buildings and houses, and boats.  What I recall most distinctly is a mill with a waterwheel near the bridge.  When I got home I looked for lithographs or maps of the area during that time, but no dice.  If I did a thorough archival search I might find some but it doesn’t seem worth the effort.  Maybe I imagined the whole thing, maybe I didn’t.  I’ll probably never know.

All I know is, I hope it happens again and that I’ll be able to verify it.  I would love nothing more than to peek through one of those mysterious windows of time again.  Until then, maybe I’ll entertain myself by thinking of going to Flushing Meadows Park to see the 1939 World’s Fair.

A great injustice

Madame Weebles —  January 18, 2013 — 221 Comments

I need to tell you about something that has bothered me for a long time.  It’s something that makes me want to start a grassroots movement to raise awareness and sensitivity about it so that people aren’t so quick to stereotype and condemn.  We all make snap judgments; it’s natural.  But we need to remember that our first impressions are not necessarily the truth.

I became aware of this particular issue when I was in high school.  I went to see Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  Great movie, even though Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan really is the best one.  This is the scene that triggered my epiphany.  Watch and listen closely:

Did you catch the accent on the one guy?  I’m sure it’s supposed to be New York.  The actor does a really crappy New York accent, but it’s evocative enough that I get the point.  He’s a blue-collar worker, so he has a blue-collar accent to match.  Despite the fact that this movie is set in San Francisco.

The other day I was watching a rerun of NCIS.  The episode involved mob guys in Virginia.  They had New York accents.  (Does the Mafia even operate down south?  I have no idea.)

Fonzie?  Motorcyle-riding greaser in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  New York accent.  Same for Lenny & Squiggy, Carmine, Laverne, and Mr. Di Fazio.  Apparently dumb punks and Italians have New York accents regardless of where they live.  It could have been the influence of Garry Marshall, a New Yorker with an accent so thick you could slice it, but still.

I won’t even get into all the other movies, TV shows, and commercials where the cop, bus driver, cab driver, construction worker, waitress, criminal, hooker, or [fill in your favorite non-white collar worker here] have New York accents—no matter where they’re supposed to take place.  You’re casting for a movie where one of the characters is a two-bit thug?  Make sure he sounds like he’s from Brooklyn, even though the film is set in Texas.

Everyone associates a New York accent with a certain type of person, with a certain socio-economic level and intelligence level.  People do it with other accents too—the southern accent, for example.  But southern accents aren’t often deployed like that in shows or movies set in non-southern areas.  (Or maybe they are and I just haven’t noticed them as much.)  And over the past 50 years we’ve had four presidents with southern accents: LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and W.  Not one who sounds like Joe Pesci.

I mean, there’s nothing at all wrong with doing blue-collar work, but we can do other things credibly too, you know.  Imagine hearing a hardcore New Yorker take the Oath of Office as president, saying, “So help me Gawd”?  Doesn’t that instill massive amounts of confidence?  Wouldn’t you go all dreamy and swoony if you saw a production of Romeo and Juliet in which the two main actors spoke the Queens English?  Just think of how reassured you would be by a doctor who spoke in a Bronx lilt: “Ya got KEEAN-suh butcha gonna be foin.”

So please, the next time you hear a New Yorker talk and automatically think, “What an imbecile,” remember that we’re people too.  It’s just a matter of appreciating the unique beauty and music of our cadences.  As Shakespeare said, If you prick us, do we not say, “What the fuck, asshole?”  If you tickle us, do we not say, “Whaddaya doin’a me, knockit ooowahff”?  If you poison us, do we not say, “Shit, what the fuck didja put in here?”  And if you wrong us, shall we not cut you?  If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.  Fuhgeddaboutit.

But first, Happy Pearl Harbor Day!  I might have forgotten were it not for Sandylikeabeach, who observed that yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day Eve.  So thanks, Sandy!  Yes, it was 71 years ago today that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and facilitated America’s entry into WWII.  It wasn’t a good day.  Nor were the 828 days of war before December 7th, nor were the 1,347 days after it.  War sucks.

And this is a good segue to the subject of today’s post:  my Christmas list.  I would like world peace, but that seems to be a pretty tall order.  Santa’s good, but he’s not a miracle worker.  I’ll have to be more realistic.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • A Tesla death ray to eradicate the idiot tourists in Manhattan.  I will not rest until New York is free of loud, intelligence-free, giant map-wielding visitors who have not mastered the art of walking in a straight line.  They’re a plague.  Like locusts, except dumber.  I’d almost rather deal with the aliens from Cloverfield than maneuver around some dipstick trying to take a photo of the tree at Rockefeller Center without any people in the way.
  • The ability to summon a perfect cup of coffee from the ether by clapping my hands.  I realize this could pose a problem when I’m at an event where applause is involved.  But I’m willing to take that risk.
  • A magic middle finger.  You have now seen a photo of me flipping the bird—it comes quite naturally to me.  I want to be able to give the finger to people and things and have them automatically behave themselves.  How cool would that be?  Next time I encounter a douchebag yattering away on his cell phone, I can just strike the pose and he’ll magically shut the fuck up.  Car alarm wailing in the middle of the night?  No problem—I’ll just stick my middle finger out the window and presto: sweet silence.  Nasty bitch giving me attitude?  I’ll flip her off and she’ll feel compelled to apologize.  As a bonus, she’ll spontaneously gain ten pounds.
  • A calorie vaporizer.  We’ve sent probes to Mars and the far reaches of the solar system.  The Hubble telescope has revealed images of galaxies billions of light years away.  We have programs that allow me to hold my phone up to the speakers to identify a song I don’t know.  If we can do cool stuff like that, then surely we can invent something that will zap the calories in a piece of chocolate cake while leaving the cake intact.  What the fuck is all this technology for, if not to better our lives??
  • This guy.  I know what you’re saying.  You’re saying, “Madame Weebles, Robert Cornelius has been dead for 119 years.”  That’s true.  However, if we can build Tesla death rays, vaporize calories, neutralize idiots with our middle fingers, and conjure coffee out of thin air, then I can’t see why bringing someone back from the dead should be a big deal.  But listen, I don’t want to be unreasonable.  Santa Claus has enough on his plate. If it’s too difficult to get Robert Cornelius, I’d be overjoyed to receive this guy as a gift instead.

Now I need to know what to get for all you guys. Kindly tell me what’s on your list and I’ll go shopping this weekend.

Yeah, she paid us a visit. Dumb bitch caused a storm surge that flooded everything. Mr. Weebles and I had no electricity for a week and for several days we were trapped in the house.  Check it out: This was the scene outside my window the morning after the storm.  The Hudson River breached the seawall and ran apeshit.  We usually live about a half mile from the water.  I considered taking advantage of the opportunity to sell our house as a “riverfront condo” but the water eventually receded and ruined my plan.

For all of you living in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, I hope you weathered the storm safely and with minimal damage. May you all have much warmth, dryness, and comfort.

We were very lucky.  We had no property damage and lost power for a week—a loonnnnnnggggggg week, but still just a week.  There are many who are still waiting for heat and power, and I am incredibly sad and concerned for them.  Not to mention the people who experienced complete destruction of their property.  Awful.  Just fucking awful.

So my week sucked, but it could have been much worse.  And despite having no heat, I was warmed by the good wishes of you guys.  Margarita, Honie, Maggie, Nigel, Cathy, El Guapo, Mike, La La, Rollergiraffe, Sweet Mother, Michelle, Brian, Meizac, Fish, The Ringmistress, and of course, Le Clown—thank you so much for emailing. I was so moved by your kind thoughts and your offers of help and support.  And to all of you who posted to me on Facebook or sent along your good wishes via other bloggers—I can’t tell you how much the outpouring means to me.  It never really occurs to me that my absence might be noted, as pathetic as that may sound.  You are fantastic, caring human beings, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  As always, your kindness humbles me.

And you know, going through an experience like this teaches you a few things.  I want to take a few minutes to share some of the lessons I learned.

It is not a good idea to use your butane lighter to heat up your microwave popcorn.  Unless you really, really, really love those burnt kernels.  And setting your hair on fire.  And turning your house into an inferno.

Do not use your butane lighter to warm up your sex toys or your lube.  I cannot emphasize this enough.

It is considered rude to use a hospital ER waiting room’s outlet to recharge your laptop.  Okay, so they were on generator power.  But it’s not like I was pulling the plug on someone’s respirator or life support, for crying out loud.

Men really do need to have at least some light when they’re using the toilet.  If you choose not to heed this advice, do not go into your bathroom barefoot.  Consider yourself warned.

Pioneers weren’t better than we are, they were just bored as fuck.  That’s why they invented so much stuff.  Forget everything you’ve heard about our forefathers having enterprising spirits. These people weren’t driven by grand visions or a desire to create things to help humanity.  They were driven by mind-numbing, soul-crushing boredom.

Oh, little electrons, I will never take you for granted again.  Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever.

NOTE:  Let’s all send our love and good thoughts to Brigitte.  She also experienced power outage, and it’s quite possible that she hasn’t had her power restored yet.  In this cold, snowy weather, I wish I could do more than send virtual hugs.  

Weeble Storm Warning

Madame Weebles —  October 28, 2012 — 144 Comments

We interrupt our regular blogging to bring you this special bulletin:

Frankenstorm/Storm of the Century/Stormageddon will be hitting the NYC area tomorrow night and into Tuesday.  Until it hits, I’m going to be spending a lot of time shopping for tiny little life vests for all my Weebles.  Because Weebles wobble but they sink like a stone.

There’s a nearly 100% chance that I’ll be without power for at least 24 hours after the storm hits, and I’m already going into Internet withdrawal just thinking about it.

To everyone living in the path of this little weather phenomenon, stay safe!

[Disclaimer: This is not aimed at my Republican buddies here, who are intelligent, thoughtful human beings.  This is for the members of the GOP who are hell-bent on fomenting hatred and encouraging discrimination, among other things.  Anyone who is offended by this, however, is exactly the type of person I’m referring to below and should be offended.]

[Note: I’m not generally a politics person.  I will probably never write another political post, so I wanted to make this one count.  I’m coming out swinging.  I might lose some readers, and that’s okay.]

Hey, wingnuts.  You don’t know me but you hate me.

I’m from New York City.  To you guys, that’s just another name for Sodom.  Y’all hate us city slickers because we’re not honest, hard-workin’, church-goin’, “real” Amuricans.  Yet my city, along with 3,000 people, took a big hit for you 11 years ago.  Fuck you.

I believe that a person’s race, religion, or sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  You, on the other hand, cloak yourselves in your “Christian faith” and use it to justify your perverse views on humanity.  And you’re fine with people enjoying freedom—as long as they’re white, Christian, and heterosexual, and as long as they think exactly as you do.  You’re fucking hypocrites.

I care about the earth.  I know global warming is real.  I oppose drilling in the Arctic, fracking, and everything else that messes with our fragile environment.  I support the Kyoto Protocol and I’m ashamed that we are one of the few nations not to ratify it.  You hate that hippie shit.  As long as you make more money, who cares what happens to the planet, right?   You clueless fucking idiots.

I’m a woman.  I’m everything you dislike in a woman, too.  I am child-free by choice.  I didn’t take my husband’s last name.  I have my own career.  I believe all women should be able to live without the government dictating what we can and cannot do with our bodies.  You think we should be smacked around and put back in our place.  A lot of you don’t even seem to believe rape is a real crime.  That’s how much you hate us.  Fuck you, you sick misogynist bastards.

I say women should have equality in the workplace and get equal pay for doing the same work as men.  You hate that idea with a passion.  Let me tell you something, wingnuts.  The first women in my family to work outside the home were my grandmothers.  They were working their asses off when Lilly Ledbetter was still just a gleam in her daddy’s eye.  My grandmothers worked because they had to.  One of my grandmothers was an immigrant from Sicily.  You would have hated her just for that.  The other was a Rosie the Riveter—she worked at Fairchild Camera, manufacturing bomb sights and reconnaissance camera equipment for the war effort. (You’re welcome.)  They had difficult lives and few options.  Today, American women have opportunities that my grandmothers couldn’t even have dreamed about.  And you can’t handle the fact that women are now outclassing you and challenging your authority, can you?  Fuck you, you deserve it.

One of our greatest Republican presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, was a champion of women’s rights.  He also spoke out against racism.  His unorthodox views didn’t endear him to a lot of people, but he was a very forward-thinking guy.  I suspect that if he were alive today, he would have been just as open-minded on the subject of gay rights.  Meanwhile you halfwits are trying to drag us back to much darker times.  You’re a disgrace—not just to the Republican party, but to the whole country.  TR would kick your sorry asses back to the Stone Age.  Fuck you.

You disgust me.  You’re vile, arrogant, and pathetic.   I hate how you’ve given my country and my people such an awful reputation around the world.  Because the Americans I know—immigrant, American-born, gay, transgender, hetero, black, white, Latino, Asian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, whatever—are decent, kind, open-hearted souls.  They’re better Americans and human beings than you will ever be.

You’ve rewritten history to suit your agendas.  You’ve twisted the truth to such an extreme that it’s not even recognizable anymore.  Some people say you’re insane.  I disagree.  You’re not insane, you’re just evil.

The only good thing is that the more you talk, the more you reveal yourselves as hate-filled, ignorant troglodytes.  And the more that happens, the more people will want to stop you.  Because you need to be stopped.  You need to go back to your caves and pick bugs off each other, and leave my country alone.

Fuck you.  Fuck you all.

I still got nothing.  This is a recurring theme.  It vexes me.

So why don’t I just pour some coffee and tea for everyone and we’ll have a nice chat, shall we?  The cookies will be out of the oven shortly.

Since I have nothing interesting to say, I’ll tell you a bunch of uninteresting things.  So if you’re already bored, I urge you to click away from this page now.  It’s only going to go downhill from here.

For starters, I think Hurricane Isaac is a dick for hitting the New Orleans area.  Come on, dude, haven’t the people in the Gulf suffered enough??  And Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005—-nice 7th anniversary gift, asshole.

Ah, there’s the buzzer, the cookies are done.  I’ve made a few different kinds.  Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, and maple prune.  Those last ones were an experiment but they don’t look very appealing.  I’d give those a pass if I were you.  Careful, they’re heavy.

The other day I heard “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys for the first time in a while.  I really don’t like that song.  This is the best you could do as a tribute to your hometown, dude?  Because if so, your best sucks.  As a native New Yorker, I’m offended.  I could make a recording of subway trains coming to a screeching halt, with Joe Pesci’s voice dubbed in, and it would still sound nicer than that song.  I want the ghost of Frank Sinatra to come down and kick the shit out of Jay-Z for writing that earsore.

Would you like coffee or tea?  Personally, I like my cup of coffee the way I like my men: strong, hot, and bottomless.

Now where was I?  Right.  Rambling aimlessly.

You know what I’d really love to do?  I’d really love to have my own old-fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain.  With tin ceilings, marble countertops, wrought-iron fixtures, and the type of soda fountain they used to have in pharmacies back in the day.  Like these:


Except I’d have much more comfortable tables and chairs.  And I would serve fancy ice cream sundaes, sodas, phosphates, and all kinds of other wacky concoctions.  But I’d add a bakery section too.  This way if you’d rather have cookies, pastries, or cake (hi Sandee!), or if you want ice cream and cake (and who doesn’t??), you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.  I think that would be nice.  A nice 19th-century-style confection emporium.  But to give it a little twist, the staff would all be dressed like saucy Victorian whores.  Including the men.

More coffee?  More tea?  No?  You suddenly don’t feel well and have to go home immediately?  Oh, what a shame.  You didn’t try those maple prune things, did you?  That’s a relief.  Why don’t you stop by tomorrow?  Oh, you’ll be busy.  Okay.  How about Saturday?  I see.  That’s so nice of your dentist to be open on the weekend.  Good luck with those root canals.  Want me to come over on Sunday to see how you’re doing after the dental work?  A silent retreat at your church after Mass, how interesting.  Isn’t that funny, I thought you were Jewish.  My mistake.

Well anyway, it was great to visit with you, we’ll have to do this again soon!

Yesterday afternoon I was waiting for the bus.  Nothing exciting there.  But then I saw a man wearing in a black minidress, black go-go boots, and a huge blonde wig, walking up the street.  He carried a gold lamé purse.  The whole look was truly fabulous.

He stopped at the ATM in front of the bus stop.  While he was at the machine, a woman got on line behind him.  I’m not sure if something transpired between them because I wasn’t really paying attention.  But all of a sudden the guy was ranting at this chick.  He gave her a bunch of attitude and wagged his finger at her, and concluded his tirade with, “I’m just glad I’m gay!”  And he blew past her in a huff.

I have no idea why he went off on her—maybe she said or did something to set him off (she did kind of look like she could be a bitch), or maybe he just decided he didn’t like her for reasons known only to him.  Everyone around me looked at him like he was contagious and gave him a wide berth.

I didn’t get a crazy vibe from him—raging drama queen, maybe, but not crazy.  I found him interesting.  For starters, he looked fantastic in that dress, with shaplier legs than I’ve seen on most women.  That’s not fair.  Secondly, I wondered why he was wearing knee-high boots in 95-degree weather.  Maybe he really was out of his mind.  But the boots went well with the dress and he really worked it.  He looked like Rupaul but with darker skin and less makeup.

As he passed me we made eye contact and I smiled at him.  His whole face smiled back and he said, “You’re beautiful, honey.”  I said, “Thank you, so are you!”  That seemed to make him very happy.

But I couldn’t help myself, I had to know:  “I hope you don’t mind my asking but aren’t those boots really hot on a day like today?”  He laughed.  “Oh no, they’re actually a lot more comfortable than you’d think!”

As he sashayed away he looked at me over his shoulder and yelled, “You have a beautiful weekend, honey!”  I thanked him and wished him a beautiful weekend as well.

He made my day a little brighter.

It happens to me at least once a week: I end up sitting on the bus or subway next to a guy with exceptionally large genitalia. How do I know they have exceptionally large genitalia? Because they sit like this:

Their packages are so massive, so bountiful, that they’re physically incapable of keeping their legs together while seated. Every so often I’ll notice one of them move his legs closer together by an inch or so in an attempt to allow someone to sit next to them. But it seems that most of them are at the mercy of their enormous manhood and have no choice but to give their boys the space they need.

Just this morning a woman tried to sit next to one such gentleman, who made no effort to close his legs because it would cause him too much injury. She looked pissed, but I leaned over and explained to her that I’m sure he would make room if he could, but his physical condition prevents him from doing so. She nodded her head in sympathetic understanding and proceeded to squish herself into the remaining one third of the seat.

Where things get really ugly, though, is when two of these guys try to sit next to each other. Neither of them can spare an inch of room, so it turns into a contest to see who has the more fearsome junk. It’s fascinating to watch them jockey for the dominant position. Ever watch a nature documentary where they show two stags locked in battle, bashing each other in the antlers? It’s kind of like that. These guys duke it out knee vs knee, leg vs leg, all while maintaining the illusion that they’re paying no attention to each other whatsoever. Eventually the alpha dog emerges and the bitch retreats, crossing his legs in defeat. Imagine how painful that must be.

What we really need is designated seating for these poor guys, roomy enough for them and their family jewels.  How can we expect them to use seating that simply isn’t designed for them?  How is that fair?  Our society doesn’t take into account the needs of these men, and it’s not right.  What’s worse, we judge them unfairly.  Everyone automatically assumes that they’re selfish douchebags when really, they’re just differently abled. I was guilty of this stereotype as well; whenever I saw a guy crowding his seatmates by sitting with his knees three feet apart, I’d think, “Asshole.” But no more. Now I know better.