Commuter Etiquette: A guide to the Does and Do nots for the unaware. A simple guide to ensure a relatively civilised commute.
- No manspreading – yes, I am sure the family jewels could do with some airing out at times but please do not take up more than one seat. If you want to feel like a King controlling all that you survey, save it for the loo.
- If you have multiple bags, place said bags either on your lap or if you’ve run out of room, in whatever the questionable substance is that is covering the floor. Yes, some people feel the need to bring half the house with them when they commute, it really isn’t necessary. Answer: work from home or drive.
- Personal hygiene, is something that sets us apart from animals (although some animals groom themselves with far more care and precision than most Homo sapiens). Deodorant is a must, non negotiable. Just because you aren’t bothered by your own musk, doesn’t mean that the rest of us are cool with it. Which leads me to…
- If hanging onto the strap or bar while standing, please be mindful of the direction your armpit is in. As a shorter person, I know that absolute thrill of being face-to-armpit. Apart from holding my breath and leaning as far away as possible, know that I will be closely examining the foliage in said armpit and rating on a sliding scale based on amount of hair, length, colour and texture. Bonus points if you have managed to plait it, or, the pattern of hair resembles anything – cloud gazing is for amateurs.
- Loud conversations on phone or with friends will always attract attention. If you don’t want everyone listening in while bopping along to silent music (cough cough… guilty), then please keep your noise to a reasonable level. The person you are communicating with is not on the Moon, so unless they are hearing impaired, shut up and if hearing issues persist, texting is way harder to spy on.
- Cuddling a stranger is not usually considered socially acceptable in most circumstances but you can bet your butt that when the aircon is on full in the middle of winter that I will be finding a nice “normal” to share body heat with. Survival is key after all. It is good manners to at least share an awkward smile with your co-surviver in this instance.
- Eating and drinking is definitely against the rules, they even have those lovely often graffitied stickers to remind us. Most won’t mind if you quietly sneak a snack, however, if you open a tin of tuna and then spill half the liquid down the wall of the carriage, or on the person next to you – your life is in your own hands. No one will have your back.
- Application of makeup – you will be looked at with shock and awe by anyone in the carriage who is unable to apply eyeliner while stationary without touching eyeball. Even if you have applied with a trowel or are taking contouring to such extremes that you look like an extra for Gotye in his “Somebody that I used to know” video, we will remain quietly impressed with your skills as long as you keep to your own space and don’t drop any makeup in our lap or on the seats.
- Kids are a delight, or terror, depending on your mood. Although it can be interesting to have conversations with toddlers, when the little darlings start wanting to compare boogers by reaching sticky little fingers towards a strangers nose, they should probably be entertained in another manner.
- Playing my favourite game of “Guess the Serial Killer”. A delightful family friendly game that is good for any group of people, or people watchers. Best done so quietly so that a stranger, who may well have never gone on an axe wielding killing spree, isn’t accused of such in public by the little twerp next to you that has overheard the game.
- Rearranging yourself should be done discreetly if you are unable to wait until you are off the train and out of the public eye. If your boob is hanging out (they do tend to have a mind of their own at times), hide behind your handbag while you jiggle it back into the cup. If belly bar is caught on inside of shirt or waistband, release it slowly and with minimal fuss so that it doesn’t appear you have an alien exploding from your abdomen. If you are unable to do so quietly and you do look like John Hurt in the movie, provide sound affects to more amuse your fellow passengers. They will thank you for it.
- Loud audio – whether music, Netflix or anything in between. Either your music is clashing with my music or the sex scene you are watching is loud. Oh god, please let it be a Netflix movie and not porn in public places…
- Germ warfare – please keep your germs to yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough. Wipe your nose instead of letting it drip. There is something oddly fascinating with watching watery mucous dribble out of a nose and be pulled by gravity, but I really don’t want to see it in person. Most people over 50 usually carry tissues with them, I am sure they will be obliging if you ask for one. Walk up to a mum and she will probably offer to hold the tissue while you blow (not bad if you want to keep your hands free). Please do not use your sleeve. The crust left behind is never as invisible as you hope it is. And under no circumstances, use the skirt or coat tails of the person next to you. They may be sleeping but they do not want a snotty surprise to wake up to.
- Crowded carriages are not pleasant for anyone. If seats are available, spread out. Do not sit on top of me when there are multiple empty seats for you to choose from. I will attack if provoked. I have been called feisty. Do not anger the tired commuter…
- Underwear should always be worn. If you find it is uncomfortable to wear undergarments, or they do not fit into your belief system that is fine. Please refrain from displaying that you are enjoying the breeze.
- Rainy days can be tiresome and difficult when relying on public transport. To make travel more comfortable for those around you, please refrain from placing wet umbrellas onto seats. The same applies to directing your wet umbrella into the crotch of fellow travellers. Yes, it may be funny to see someone with a wet patch but you won’t find it so hilarious if they choose to insert said umbrella in your rectum.
I hope these hints are useful for you if you choose to partake in public transport. Please feel free to comment if any additions should be included.