If Philadelphia can have anti-man spread PSAs, so can New York City

anti-man spread psa
What’s truly rude is that Philly beat us to it. Photo by Meghan Stephens

We don’t know what it is about dudes and their professed need to sit with legs spread so wide they start taking up two seats at a time on the subway. Yet it happens so often that Saving Room For Cats never seems to run out of material, and amNewYork did an entire report on the shithead behavior. Newsflash: Your balls? Not that big. Yet while we persist in thinking Tumblrs and outraged commuters interviewed in newspapers will make a change, it turns out that Philadelphia is just going with the pure public shaming route, with the above signs plastered on their trolley system. If these PSAs are good enough for Philadelphia, they’re certainly good enough for New York City.

No one should sit on the subway like they’re sitting on the couch at home. It’s rude and entitled and if you really needed a doctor to tell you it’s not medically necessary to protect your precious balls, amNewYork got Dr. Marc Goldstein, a reproductive medicine doctor at Cornell, to confirm that spreading out isn’t a biological requirement.

“Oh but it makes me comfortable,” you whine. If something feels good on public transportation, it’s probably selfish or illegal, so stop it with your “I have to.”

How do we stop the practice though? We don’t see how an intense public shaming campaign couldn’t help. We just went through 12 years of Bloomberg-era PSAs about binge drinking and literal fat being poured out of soda bottles, so don’t tell us the government doesn’t believe PSAs are useful. Looking up at a poster calling you an asshole for a behavior you’re doing right then and there has some power.

Look at that graphic up there from the Philly trolley: simple, to the point and aggressively staking out its position. We are loath to say anything nice about Philadelphia, ever. It pains us to say they’re getting it right here and the MTA, in its refusal to consider a public shaming campaign is getting it wrong. But here we are. Give it a New York spin. Get Derek Jeter to solemnly look out from the posters telling guys that being a Captain on the subway means sharing space and having #RE2PECT for other commuters. Get John Turturro to cut some voiceovers for the train, telling guys to close their legs, that spreading out is “Bush league stuff. Laughable, man.” Passengers asking dudes to make room for them hasn’t worked, Tumblr hasn’t worked, this amNewYork story probably won’t work. It’s time to take the public shaming campaign to the next level.

Follow Dave for more thoughts on subway etiquette at @DaveCoIon

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