Communication

How To Be Assertive With A Neanderthal

I was on my way to music class this morning and the peak hour train was a little more crowded than usual. As I headed downstairs to find a seat, I came across a couple of men occupying two opposite-facing three-person bench seats. I wasn't keen on standing for a half hour while two guys occupied six seats between them, so I politely said "Excuse me" to the guy on the aisle end of backward-facing seat, and he kindly moved over to the window to accommodate me. [caption id="attachment_2084" align="alignright" width="200"] Closely Related Primate, Also in Genital Display Pose[/caption] As I sat in the newly vacant aisle seat, I felt constrained by the man sitting in the middle of the bench seat opposite me. He was sitting forward with his legs spread wide in the classic genital display pose that male primates evolved to demonstrate dominance to other lesser primates. So wide in fact that his left leg and knee were taking up almost half the legroom in my own individual seat. His behaviour may have been unintentional and unconscious; but it didn't feel good to have my newly acquired space dominated by another man's knee. I'm working on getting over my fear of conflict with strangers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to be assertive with one who was overstepping my boundaries; albeit boundaries that I had just stepped into by requesting the seat. I made eye contact with the spread-eagled man and politely asked: "Would you mind moving your leg over a little please?" (more…)

By Graham, ago