gfish: (Default)
gfish ([personal profile] gfish) wrote2017-02-21 02:46 pm

Personal space

About once a year, I'm struck by the urge to knit something. Sometimes this is triggered by a coworker having a baby.

I often knit on the bus when I'm working on a project. And that has lead me to an interesting observation: other men will sometimes give me far less personal space if I'm knitting.

The archetypal situation has me sitting in the back of the bus, my feet on up the seat in front of me. (I, of course, am ready to contract the space I'm using as the bus fills up, but I see no reason not to be comfortable until then.) Normally, when other men get on, they will naturally space themselves around the back seats, leaving large gaps between each other. Having another man sit next to me -- even counting seats in the row perpendicular to where I am -- is basically unheard of unless it's filling up and they have no choice. Yet when I'm knitting, and only when I'm knitting, I've had someone sit right there when the back of the bus only has 0-1 other people in it. This has happened enough times I lost exact count, maybe half a dozen now. It's very noticeable, because I have to jerk my feet back as they sit down. And then I look up, thinking I had been rudely unobservant and let the bus get more crowded than politely allows the feet-up position. But no, it's still super empty.

The thing is, I don't get an aggressive vibe from these dudes. They aren't trying to punish me for acting insufficiently masculine. (Trust me, it's been a few yearsdecades since high school, but I know what that looks like.) And they aren't then looking up, registering that I'm male, and looking disappointed/disgusted/whatever that I'm not a woman they wanted to hit on or anything. As far as I can see, I'm just not being seen as someone whose personal space needs any consideration. I don't think it's conscious, I just don't entirely register any more. They won't sit on me, quite, but other than that I have no claim on any personal space around me. They don't apologize for making me move my feet, they don't even pause when sitting down. I might as well be a potted plant. All because I'm engaged in a stereotypical female activity.

So that's interesting.
loree: (Default)

[personal profile] loree 2017-02-22 12:44 am (UTC)(link)
Does it happen with too much variety to consider it may be an awkward attempt at cruising?
darkoshi: (Default)

[personal profile] darkoshi 2017-02-22 03:09 am (UTC)(link)
Is it even obvious that you are knitting - is it not mostly blocked by the seats, and your feet being up? Could it simply be that as you aren't paying much attention to your surroundings, they feel that you aren't much threat and don't need to be given distance?

I don't think I've ever seen a man knitting. That would be a cool sight. I might sit a little closer than usual, just to get a better glance to see "is he really knitting?" Then again, I can't remember the last time I've seen anyone knitting, since the 4th grade when it was being taught in one of my classes. I've always thought crochet was easier; only one loop to keep track of.
tylik: (Default)

[personal profile] tylik 2017-02-22 04:13 am (UTC)(link)
This surprises me a lot less after seeing how much people's reactions to me changed while I was presenting as a monk. I think a lot of the coding isn't conscious.

[identity profile] 2017-02-22 02:38 am (UTC)(link)
That is really strange. [ profile] amaebi might find this interesting.

[identity profile] 2017-02-23 11:09 am (UTC)(link)
That is interesting.

DID YOU MAKE THAT BABY SWEATER?! Cause it looks amazing.

[identity profile] 2017-02-23 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I did. Thank you! :)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (cflute)

[personal profile] callibr8 2017-02-25 06:33 am (UTC)(link)
Here's a possible alternative motive: some people find knitting fascinating, kind of hypnotic even. Hence being drawn to sit close enough that they can see exactly what's going on.

My experience with knitting on a bus is that on most trips, at least one person will ask me either what I'm doing or, more commonly, what I'm making. I'm totally fine with knitting as an icebreaker! Times when I've been reading, or just looking around, there's almost never conversation unless I start it.

When I went to pick up meds today, the tech held up a clear, 8x10 inch "ziplock" type bag, and asked if I was okay with getting the meds in that, or if I wanted a different type of bag. I brightened up and said I'd be *very* happy to have that one, as it's a perfect size for small knitting projects. She expressed interest in knitting, so I showed her what I was making, and encouraged the interest.

Okay, I'll stop needling you now. :-)