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Really? You don't want this seat?

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posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:04 PM
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Personal space. I get it. We as Americans are used to a relatively vast
degree of personal space. On my first ever contract in my career, I worked
with a man who was VERY good at when we both do. He also had decades
of experience on me. But, he freaked the crap out of me.

Why?

Whenever standing and holding a conversation...he would get easily within
two feet of you to talk to you. It was EXTREMELY invasive feeling. I found
it so difficult (at first) to cope with, I dreaded discussing anything with him
unless it was while sitting. I just didn't understand.

A few months later, I find out it's because he had worked for several branches
of the Saudi Gov't in the past. Spent close to twelve years working in Saudi
Arabia. You see, in the Middle East, personal space is a concept that apparently
pretty much doesn't exist. Once I understood this, and understood that it
was something he simply had become accustomed to, it was far far easier
for me to accept.

I am a large man. At 6'3, I weigh about 345lbs. Broad shoulders, large hands
, etc.

I find it amazing how almost anytime I am sitting in a public situation people
will sit next to me only as a last resort, if the seating is somehow bench style.
In other words, where they may possibly come into direct physical contact with me.

On airplanes, although I do find it insulting, it almost always guarantees me a
bit of extra room unless the flight is packed, as if that is the case, you can bet
cash on the fact that the seat next to me will remain unoccupied.

Last Friday, I was in a car accident. Radiator and fan-clutch blown
as well as a few other "truck-no-go" items broken. Luckily, my
employer provides everyone with an EcoPass. This affords us the
priviledge of riding both Bus and Train public transportation for free.
So, I've been taking the Bus and the Train on a daily basis for the last
week. The bus I get on is ALWAYS packed to capacity. Yet, if I am sitting
towards the front of the bus, folks will actively look beyond my row
to see if another seat is available.

EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Just yesterday morning, a middle aged woman actaully started to
take the seat next to me, but then realized she had seen a seat
behind me that was open, and immediately darted towards it.

Yes, I am a big man. Yes, on a bus or an airplane, sitting next to me
means chances are you're going to be making physical contact with
me as the seating is usually designed for toddlers yet implemented
and intended for adults. Am I overflowing into the seat beside
me? No. Am I taking up 2-3 or more inches of the space you (and
don't forget, I ) so dearly paid for? No.

Is anyone other than folks under 5-10 and 150lbs truly capable of being
comfortable in these seats? No. And I've got news for you, neither am I.
I usually take the window seat, I do this on airplanes because of the
concave shape of the body of the plane, and it allows me a smidgen more room.
Also, regardless of transportation mode, I do my damnedest to make
sure I am not invading on my neighbor. Arms cross, because otherwise
considering my shoulder width, my elbows would be in your crotch. I do
my damnedest to keep my knees and feet close together as well no matter how
uncomfortable or cramped I may be. Again, I do this for you. To be polite.

I do what I can to put your comfort above my own in this situation.

These things being said, is making physical contact with someone you
might not know truly such a bad thing?

Or is it merely the fact that regardless of all of our sacred cows (ie, it's not
PC to make fun of people because of race, religion, belief, handicap, etc),
being fat is still a social taboo.

John Candy, and that girl from the Pitch Perfect movies... Rebel Wilson.
Both rely on the sight gag quality of jokes that can get away with. And
we laugh it up.

It is still the last and best thing movies have to pull out o their hat for
"humor". A comedian at an open mic night might be having the worst
night possible...but, pull out a fat person joke...and viola!

Laughter exists where none existed before!

So, I am not here to simply lament or bemoan the fact that I am overweight.
I've been that way since I was a preteen. It's taken it's toll on me, but,
I do not expect a pity party nor will I ask for one. I am merely looking to
point this out about our culture.


So, here's the crux of my point.

Is it merely the social taboo of being overweight, or the idea of coming
into physical contact that would drive someone to stand rather than
sit next to another person?





edit on 3-10-2015 by nullafides because: Ran out of my OCD meds...had to make it look perty...

edit on 3-10-2015 by nullafides because: ...it was...incorrect...had to...fix it....ARGGGHHH!!!!!




posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:15 PM
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I dont think its specifically being bigger thats the problem, the real problem is being "Different"

I get the same responses that you get every so often, but its got nothing to do with size, its because of my hair!
You see, I let my hair grow until it becomes a nuisance to me, then I get it cut short, and I notice the things you describe when my hair is long.
Over here (UK) the vast majority of the older generation have short back and sides, so when people see me with long hair?....well, I'm "Different" and that bothers them.

But I dont let it bother me, I make the most of it and so should you, sprawl out on those seats and enjoy the space



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:20 PM
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originally posted by: VoidHawk
I dont think its specifically being bigger thats the problem, the real problem is being "Different"

I get the same responses that you get every so often, but its got nothing to do with size, its because of my hair!
You see, I let my hair grow until it becomes a nuisance to me, then I get it cut short, and I notice the things you describe when my hair is long.
Over here (UK) the vast majority of the older generation have short back and sides, so when people see me with long hair?....well, I'm "Different" and that bothers them.

But I dont let it bother me, I make the most of it and so should you, sprawl out on those seats and enjoy the space


I hear you.

I do what I can to not let it bother me. I do what I can to turn around and enjoy any extra bit of space I might get as a result.

But at the end of the day, it is still a slight. It still registers as an insult. As if I offered you something with my left hand. Or as if I had an infectious disease.

I go so far out of my way in such scenarios to be mindful of others, that even if I am sitting next to someone and a "better" seat opens up, I do not take it. I find it to be rather rude, actually. When I see others do it, as they almost always do to me, I cannot take it in as anything but a "what, do I stink?" kind of moment.

I would be Buddha if I could let go of this. But as Oscar Wilde (Go NEIL!!!) said..."I can resist anything but temptation..."



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:24 PM
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a reply to: nullafides

I doubt it's being fat that people have issue with. Hell, most of America is fat. But being as large as you are to where someone has to share space with you possibly touching against you might be it. I wouldn't take it personal though exactly, I think most people just like to have a little space between them and a stranger. Even just a couple inches as personal buffer space, ya know.

I get the same thing a lot for how I look. I have long hair and goatee that I can braid. I often wear a bandanna on my head to keep my hair from looking too crazy but I end up looking a bit like a biker or something I think to a lot of people. Middle aged white women especially I think are a little scared of me sometimes. They will always choose somewhere else to sit and tuck away their purses and things like that. I had one women while at a train station when it was just the two of us walking down the tunnel start mildly jogging away from me, stuff like that. Personally I kinda like it when on the bus or train because it means I'll have extra room unless they have to sit next to me. What's funny is that I'm just a nerd computer guy and very nice to strangers but I just look a bit rough sometimes.

But I think people would just prefer that buffer space between them and others in most cases.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:33 PM
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Sharing space in a public area requires snap judgement about where you're going to put yourself that gives you the most comfort. We all do it when getting on a bus or entering a crowded elevator and having to seek comfort in such a short amount of time will cause people to quickly judge their surroundings. In my opinion, many people associate being overweight with bad hygiene and your appearance alone will satisfy the perception of a weak mind.


edit on 3-10-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:37 PM
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I'm sorry that you've been treated this way. As for me, I guess I'm different than most. I'm 5 ft 3 in and about 110 pounds. Back when I was a single girl I would look for the biggest meanest looking person on the bus or in the room to sit near. Less likely to be bothered by others if they fear my seat mate. Then I found my very own big and mean looking man. My husband is 6 ft 2 in and about 250 pounds. He has a look most of the time that causes people to steer clear. That's not his personality though. He is very gentle and loving.


Don't let them bother you. The people you want in your life will get to know the real you. It's terrible that we all judge others based on the first look.
edit on KAmerica/Chicago10310000002015-10-03T15:38:30-05:00k15Octpm by Kentuckymama because: Spelling errors



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:40 PM
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originally posted by: nullafides

But at the end of the day, it is still a slight. It still registers as an insult.


Thats the programming we've all received.
We've been programmed to "fit in" and its hard to break away from it.
I used to think "Well f'you" in those situations, but now I just smile because I know the fault isn't mine, its not theirs either, they are just doing as they've been programmed to do.
Go sit in a public place and watch all the people milling about, it doesnt take long to realise they are all doing the same thing, all behaving in the same way, all buying the same stuff, all trying to be the same, why? Because of the programming, and they are frightened of becoming different.

You are different, that bothers them, when my hair is long that bothers them too.

The programming is very powerful!



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:44 PM
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a reply to: nullafides

I am sure it is impossible not to take it personally. How you feel about yourself is bound to be reflected in the choices other people make. Turn it around, how about you? When you see an empty seat next to someone and there is a less intrusive option elsewhere, where do you sit? For me, I am claustrophobic. I prefer to be in open spaces whenever possible, which is why you will never find me in a crowded area, unless I am absolutely forced to.

I wouldn't read to much into the actions of other people where you are concerned.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: nullafides

That's funny, I have the opposite problem. I'm one of those people that despises touching strangers and I refuse to invade people's personal space unless I'm too damn tired to stand at the end of the work day... yet, even if there's room on the bus or train and plenty of seats, someone will sit next to me... which makes me go into shrink mode, arms crossed across my chest and legs squeezed so that I could crack a walnut between my knees. It drives me crazy. It's great for muscle tone


Crowded public spaces are always going to be weird.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:47 PM
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a reply to: VoidHawk

Again, I hear you



Let's just put it this way....

Remember when you were a child and your parents told you "Don't let them push your buttons!"

Well, my response to that is..."But I've got my buttons on my forehead and they're huge-assed ones just like the number buttons on phones for older folks who have a hard time seeing!!!"....

To be honest, it's the kind of thing I struggle with every day. I've gotten MUCH better about it in my 46 years...but, it still registers. It still stings.

It's still something I'd strive to NOT do to someone else.



Just me. Not perfect, just me.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 03:52 PM
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I usually take the window seat, I do this on airplanes because of the concave shape of the body of the plane, and it allows me a smidgen more room.


So you yourself prefer a place with more room but don't understand people preferring to sit in places where they can move more instead of sitting next to the one filling more volume?



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:04 PM
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a reply to: nullafides

On a packed bus, I will sit wherever there is an open seat. If the person next to me, in forward facing seats, is noticeably larger, I will turn my knees into the aisle a bit for the sake of that person's personal space and mine. If it is inward facing, bench style, I guess there will be a 10-15 min slight snuggle with a stranger, lol.
(I will get up if someone noticeably older than myself needs a seat though, especially females or men with canes. Oddly, men have to be older than women for me to stand or show some type of difficulty standing.)

I take busses a lot, so one gets used to it. I do not avoid sitting next to larger people on purpose. Or 'different looking' people. I find that to be odd behavior. But, I do believe it is the physical contact for those who do that.




edit on 3-10-2015 by reldra because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:07 PM
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a reply to: nullafides

We are so disconnected from one other.
If we can only realize that we are all in the same boat, and are the same in more ways than we differ, we'd have a much better experience as a people.
In answer to your question, it's likely both.
-social taboo/avoiding proximity are stemmed from the same stigma. It's a societal 'fat shame'.

I've avoided sitting next to people on the bus for many reasons before; if they look particularly creepy or dirty, are acting strangely or intoxicated.
That avoidance is because I feel uneasy, uncomfortable, unsure or afraid.
Afraid. Uncomfortable.
That's the same reaction from people refusing to sit next to someone who is overweight.
Or unattractive. Or even too attractive.
It could be paranoia or nervousness, shyness or straight up stuck-up...ness.
It instills a negative emotion we would rather be without, triggered by our misconceptions about each other.
That shift character in the corner probably won't try to stab you, the overweight lady in the back hasn't been anything but an absolute angel to everyone she knows, and snakes aren't slimy.
Like putting words in mouths, we put fears, shame, and useasiness pointlessly in our own minds.
I think the key is understanding.

I was always a skinny kid, and didn't appreciate people I considered fat. Even those with a bit of belly were 'fat' to me.
Until I hit 11 and got fat. Visibly very chubby.
Into my mid-teens, I'd thin back out, but not before feeling many years of deep embarrassment and depression over it.
Left psychological scars, social anxiety, and a cripplingself-consciousness that lasted even somewhat into early adulthood.

I believe that experience made a very important difference in my life, in that it taught me to sympathise with more people and understand the emotional impact we can have on others, even without realizing it.

People run on emotion.
This critical point is far too often overlooked or totally forgotten, but it's probably the single most important aspect of our species!
We need to treat each other better, and stop being so s#itty about petty differences.

TL;DR:
Fear is the cause, understanding is the answer.
The key or best way to instill that understanding is to taste it for yourself.
Takes one to know one, so to speak.
edit on 3-10-2015 by ADAMandEVIL because: Grammatical correction



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:08 PM
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originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: nullafides
I take busses a lot, so one gets used to it. I do not avoid sitting next to larger people on purpose. Or 'different looking' people. I find that to be odd behavior. But, I do believe it is the physical contact for those who do that.






Some of the folks who have avoided me...I have realized are part of the "click" of the daily riders....the folks who have ridden the bus for years every day...grown to know each other, talk openly during the trip, etc.

So, these are folks who have ridden for a long time.

Yet, still...they avoid close proximity



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:12 PM
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a reply to: nullafides

It could be a combination of both things: true, some people consciously don't want to sit next to a large person because of their own bias, but others (like me) just want to sit as far away from everyone as possible.

Some people, when they initially assess a situation, might be unconsciously swayed to steer away from you *simply because* of the way the mind judges space: regardless of how much space you *actually* take up, and regardless of if you encroach on the space/seat next to you, people will generally, and automatically navigate to the place they perceive as having *more* space (near a smaller person, or an empty seat), unless they're weird and just want to be as close to people as possible so they can annoy them with mundane small talk so they can avoid solitude.

Don't take it personal, if you can.

Or maybe you smell funny?
Just kidding.

Personally, I *try* to keep the seat next to me occupied by leaning over onto it or putting my things on it, unless there are no other seats available for people to sit, or if it's an elderly person or a female. I will walk to the very back of a bus if there is more space and more free seats than sit toward the front if there is an available seat next to someone. So, I would pass you by but it wouldn't be because you're big.

As far as space, maybe it has to do with culture. We have a HUGE land mass, which likely factors into our perceptions of space, versus small countries, which also factors into their comfort with closeness. Then again, we're Americans. lol


edit on 3-10-2015 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:14 PM
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originally posted by: nullafides

originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: nullafides
I take busses a lot, so one gets used to it. I do not avoid sitting next to larger people on purpose. Or 'different looking' people. I find that to be odd behavior. But, I do believe it is the physical contact for those who do that.






Some of the folks who have avoided me...I have realized are part of the "click" of the daily riders....the folks who have ridden the bus for years every day...grown to know each other, talk openly during the trip, etc.

So, these are folks who have ridden for a long time.

Yet, still...they avoid close proximity


I don't generally talk to people on the bus. I take different busses though, my work takes me all over the place, so it is rare that I see the same person twice. I do see a happy woman in a wheelchair often though. She has it decorated with multi color duct tape and a yellow flower connected to the back. I have taken to smiling and saying hello to her.
I know what you mean by 'bus cliques' though.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:23 PM
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And you are complaining about this? Welcome the extra elbow room, I certainly would. When I'm on public transportation I try to pretend like.... I'm not. I shrink down until I can almost believe I'm invisible. Then spring to life again when I get off.




posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:27 PM
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a reply to: Liquesence

I don't remember asking anyone for ways I could feel better about it.

I find it a bit pedantic that such advice is being offered.

I asked, what you think the actual cause of the situation might be.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 04:49 PM
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originally posted by: nullafides
a reply to: Liquesence

I don't remember asking anyone for ways I could feel better about it.

I find it a bit pedantic that such advice is being offered.

I asked, what you think the actual cause of the situation might be.


I wasn't being rude, and there's no need for you to get your panties in a wad in your response.

I gave some possible causes for it, but you didn't address those.

And since you started this thread and based upon things you said in your OP, you obviously take some issue with the fact that people seem to steer clear of you more than you'd like.



posted on Oct, 3 2015 @ 05:25 PM
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originally posted by: VoidHawk
I dont think its specifically being bigger thats the problem, the real problem is being "Different"

But I dont let it bother me, I make the most of it and so should you, sprawl out on those seats and enjoy the space


That's what I would say. But, I think there is more, the OP starts off talking about this guy being close up and to him...personal, while he really wasn't, so the problem is/was really the OP's, but then he transfers his space outlook to other people, which is probably true, but not because of physical contact, but just that they want their space too just to relax, or scratch their horlicks..whatever. Airplanes are crap for space for just about anything, anyway. Coaches vary a lot. Surprisingly enough, it's restaurants that give the bigger insight, a four seater table with two occupants usually stays that way until those two leave!

There's even more though, usually me and the fork-and-knife go out to dine with another couple and we are great friends, and at the beginning the two boyos would be together with the two missus's on the other side of the table, but I discovered early on that I was sitting beside a six foot three hunter-gatherer who feels the need to protect his grub with his arms round the plate, and this fecking great elbow stuck in my side...so now the fork-and-knives sit beside their hubbies...job done.




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