An Open Letter to Dudes Riding Public Transportation

Gentlemen. There are plenty of reasons I feel resentful during my daily commute. Sure, on a good day, I get to sit on a train and read a book for forty minutes, which is pretty damn delightful. On bad days, however, I may end up standing on a crowded platform awaiting a more crowded train due to delays involving mechanical issues, suicides, and sick customers (and just what the hell are these people suffering from, anyway?). I may have to inhale the ugly aroma of brake fluid (I can’t breathe through my nose), risk being trampled by tourists in patriotic apparel (forgive them, Father, they know not what they do!), and get a few dirty looks from women in less cute shoes (Rest assured, I dirty-look back).

I can suffer through all this because there is one thing I loathe more than anything else about my commute: when able-bodied men take seats on crowded vehicles while numerous women stand. Some women tell me this sentiment goes against feminism. Screw it. Feminism has only gotten my sex so far and it has not made sufficient progress to render chivalry obsolete. You should let me have your seat.

First of all, seating priority dictates that seats should be made available to seniors and persons with disabilities. Aged men, this letter is not meant for you. Men without AARP cards, listen up: pregnancy is considered a disability and can you say with any certainty that I’m not pregnant? Maybe I’m not showing, but you haven’t witnessed me peeing on a stick, either. And you certainly wouldn’t want to ask or I could cry. Or I might be experiencing dreadful cramps that are only exacerbated by having to stand. I know the same is not true of you. Stand up.

Moreover, standing is really uncomfortable when you take into account women’s fashion. Patriarchal norms require us to obsess about our looks, resulting in constricting dresses and skirts and, worst, heels that are not meant to be stood in for long periods of time, especially on a very jerky mode of transit. It’s very likely that we may cause mass collapse if the conductor hits the brakes and our tiny stilettos make us tumble. Do everyone a favor and give us your seats.

Then there’s the financial consideration: we all pay the same amount for fare, even though it’s a proven fact that women can expect to make considerably less in their careers than men doing the same tasks. So, in a sense, our ride cost more to us than it did for you. Stand up; we deserve first class.

And, if none of this convinces you, look at your own self-interest. We love chivalry. You don’t have to want to screw the woman to whom you give your seat. A more appealing onlooker may notice. I always smiled at men who gave up their seats to other women when single. Now that I’m attached, I get a warm feeling when my husband stands to give his seat to any woman who boards. Such a turn-on! Married men, you have no excuse.

I’m willing to forgive all the weird come-ons (that’s a post in itself) and sometimes condescending conversations when I read Bill Bryson books during my commute. Let me and my kind sit and ya’ll can offer me roles in your movies or follow me home all you want. It’s easier to say no from a comfortable perch.

Love and kisses,

You can contact Betsy, the author of this post, at

One thought on “An Open Letter to Dudes Riding Public Transportation

  1. This is one of the many downsides of the utter lack of shame people have these days. It’s not chivalry that inspires me to get up, it’s the fear of being judged as shameful by others. So get to judging, people!

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