Thursday, September 10, 2009

How rude!

I don't really ask a lot of the general public. I am happy to pay for my own drinks, open my own doors, give up a seat for the elderly, and respect "no cellphone" policies wherever I find them.

But I am also seven months pregnant. I enjoy my 20-minute walks (more or less... used to be less, but now they're closer to 23 minutes) to and from Grand Central, but sometimes I just don't quite have enough time to make my train in the evening. Which forces me underground. Where all the otherwise chivalrous people who open doors and try not to knock over the pregnant lady turn into a mass of boorish pigs.

When I get on the subway and there are no seats, I actually catch the eyes of people (mostly men) who are rushing to appear as if they don't see me. They fumble with newspapers, they get out their blackberries, their eyes glaze over as they intently read the subway ads. Sometimes an older woman or a really, really old man will ask if I'd like a seat. Less frequently, a younger woman will offer hers up. And very occasionally, a black or latino man will stand in my stead. But virtually never will a white man between the ages of 20 and 50 give up his seat for a pregnant woman.

This phenomenon puzzles me. It happened last time I was pregnant, and I have observed it many times between pregnancies, when I find myself to be the only person on a crowded subway car to offer my seat to a pregnant woman. From time to time, I get elbowed out of the way on the Metro-North platform as it's time to board a train, but only on the subway is this behavior the rule rather than the exception. Why is that? An odd form of tunnel blindness? Is the subway lighting so very slimming that I look completely un-pregnant? Seriously, people, what gives?


The Ellis Family said...

Ooooh, that makes me furious! Some people can be so inconsiderate. I'm going to sit down and have a talk with Randy, since he's a white male in that age range, lol. I would hope he would give up his seat for a pregnant woman. Let's hope you don't go into labor on the train or subway. You'd probably have to deliver your own baby, lol.

Anonymous said...

That is awful! I found that people were quite considerate of me during my pregnancy, maybe because I looked like I was about to give birth any minute starting at about 5 months. Or perhaps it is that western courtesy in Colorado.

georgia said...

Oh my!!! Who would ever think that no one would give up their seat to a pregnant woman!! That is totally infuriating!

Marysol said...

When I was 7 months pregnant and commuting every day from Manhattan to Brooklyn for work (standing most of the way), I suddenly felt sick and faint and actually sat down on the subway floor (in my suit) and not one person even asked if I was okay. Commuting does not bring out the best in people, to say the least. I hope that you are having a good pregnancy.

Angie said...

@Marysol - That is definitely the worst story I have ever heard! I am mortified on behalf of all New Yorkers who were not on that train!

Joker said...

You should celebrate the depths to which we white men are willing to sink in order to observe and respect the equality of all citizens. I salute my cracker brothers in denying you those seats!