There are always others in greater need of seating – the elderly, those with injury or disability, families trying to sit together…….but most of the time I give up my seat for a lady.
Not because I’m sexist or believe women to be the weaker sex, but because I think it’s a nice, polite thing to do.
If I was travelling with my Wife, I would not sit down and let her stand – so I find it weird that some men will sit down and watch women standing when they wouldn’t dream of letting their girlfriends, wives or mothers do the same.
This is not a generational thing – yesterday I saw an elderly gentleman give up his seat for lady on the tube, a teenage girl did the same on the mainline train. In both cases, many more women were left standing by seemingly fit, able bodied men.
I realise that women have to bear some of the blame here – for decades fear has been instilled into men that by offering kindness to women they may be instantly labelled sexist and publicly humiliated – but I’m pretty resilient to that kind of nonsense so here are my top tips if you feel like developing some manners today.
If you cannot make eye contact first (while standing and gesturing at the now empty seat), then stand up, walk over the person you want to give you seat to, smile and say “There’s a seat there if you’d like it”.
Almost always, they will say “Thank you” and take it.
If not, the two most common objections are “No thank you, It’s OK” or “I’ll be getting off at the next stop”
Here are some things you can say in that situation……
On mainline trains this usually means you’ll be spending the rest of the journey at the end of the carriage, with a bunch of other people who cannot work on their laptops or spend all their time buried in their smartphone.
An unexpected bonus of this behaviour is that you may find you’ve started a conversation in the near silence of the modern morgue/library environment of the public transport system – and the journey will pass much more quickly.