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To the men brave enough to offer a seat

I salute you

You are the commuting gods – standing head and shoulders above the rest of the carriage, aloft on the moral high ground of having been the one to stand up and be counted

With the papers full of cautionary tales of women getting upset by the implication that they are not strong enough to stand and the risk of mistaking a bump for a belly bulge with dire consequences for the seat offeror I admire you for taking a stand for good old fashioned courtesy

You probably don’t know just how much that offer of a seat means to me even though I try and express it with a heartfelt thank you and a you’re so kind

Nothing matches that sinking feeling when you stagger onto the train at the end of a long day and realise the commuting Gods have been cruel and there isn’t a seat free – I’ve started travelling one extra stop in away from home in the hope that I’ll be on early enough to get a seat but sometimes even that doesn’t work. As I lumber down the carriage I can see that people catch a glimpse of my big belly (helpfully located at eye level thanks to the twin advantages of being short and having no stomach muscles left to hold it up) and then bury their eyes in their laps desperately hoping I won’t be brave enough to tap them on the shoulder and ask for their seat

I know that standing for half an hour will mean I will feel faint about halfway along but am then caught between desperately wanting to ask for a seat and years of English programming that make it really, really hard to break into a stranger’s personal space and actually, directly ask for something – sometimes fainting is the easier option when things are busy, generally it makes people leap up and give you somewhere to sit but it does make me feel utter rotten for ages afterwards

Please don’t stop doing this – please remember that karma is a great thing and for this good turn you do me hopefully someone else will do the same for your wife, mother, sister, daughter when they need it most

As to those of you who refuse to even consider standing, telling me that I chose to get pregnant (oh if only you knew the back story…), that ‘in THIS day and age’ that sort of thing is outmoded or even that you got there first, do remember that karma can be a bitch (oh and, without wanting to sound threatening, I am still carrying those knitting needles….)

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9 comments to To the men brave enough to offer a seat

  • I LOVE this post! I went to a blogging event last week in London and by the time I had got my train back later that evening, I was exhausted form all the tubes/event/walking/running to catch that train. I got on breathless and just couldn’t wait to collapse in a chair. Upon getting on the trains all the seats were full and I stood by the toilets which had two little flop down chairs, on these chairs were two men. Despite being obviously pregnant they didn’t give up those chairs. I was so angered, it then made me think about the whole gentlemen giving up a seat for a lady. This is one value I believe in despite all this ‘sexist’ stuff that goes around.

    Discussing it with the husband that evening he said how he would of gave up a seat for me being a woman even if I wasn’t pregnant, because he knew this to be good manners. I hope my boys grow up to have their fathers thinking, that this is the one little piece of respect you could show a woman. We both may be old fashioned in ours thinking but then they may be giving up that seat for a woman who is pregnant but not in a position to not be showing or evening wanting to share this piece of information with anyone.

  • Oh, the memories that this post has brought flooding back! During my 2nd pregnancy I was lucky enough to befriend a fearless, immaculately dressed older lady who caught the same train as me. As soon as she found out I was pregnant, she made it her mission to make sure I got a seat. She was an absolute godsend. Nobody dared argue with her and she could work an entire day, commute into London and back, and her white wool coat was still spotless. She was amazing (sorry, slight sidetrack into immaculate dressing and white winter coats there!)

  • I saw a pregnant woman yesterday wearing a Transport for London “Baby on Board” badge. Not a bad idea, then there is no excuse for saying you weren’t sure….

    When I was pregnant I remember deliberately unbuttoning my coat so that everyone could see my huge belly on the tube…

  • Aaahhhhhhhh, how did I miss that?!?!?! Massive congrats to you and the bump, fantastic!! I always wore my baby on board badge on the tube. And even tapped a few shoulders. Bloody foreigners… ;-) Dxx

  • Oh that brings back memories, I also rather fainted than asked for a seat. And I’m not even British. And now I complain about people congratulating me when, ahem, I’m actually really not pregnant.

  • Candace

    Memories… I was commuting in San Francisco while 8 months pregnant, got on the BART and it was packed. I asked a young man if I might sit in his seat and was rewarded with a tirade on racism and how it wasn’t his baby, etc. A kind old man gave me his seat and I felt terrible but sat in it, cheeks burning the rest of the trip. Oh, the horrors of commuting while pregnant… you have my sympathies.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Oh gosh that sounds horrid

      I guess a lot of people don’t realise just how debilitating pregnancy can be – I’m not sure I can stand for half an hour even if not on a hot train any more

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