Monday, 1 August 2011

Public service announcement

Dear men on the Jubilee line circa 4:30pm last Monday,


I was that lady struggling with one buggy, two babies, and three flights of stairs. The one throwing you the ojo for being a bunch of - to borrow from California's illustrious former governator - unhelpful public transportation girlie-men.

Remember, yes?

As I've recently discovered, the tube south of the Thames is a buggy-accessible paradise:  ramps, lifts, angels singing. North of the river, the tube is a syphilitic horse-drawn trolly accessible only by descending a gazillion stairs into the pit of Hades. Sadly Monday found me on the Hades side of the river.

It wasn't that the station was empty. About fifty of you swarmed past me, all fiddling importantly with smartphones because presumably that's what you do when you are a male impersonator with no actual cajones.

But I know you saw me because you stubbornly refused to make eye contact (an activity known in Britain as 'observing'). Finally a fellow mum came to my rescue.

Men on the Jubilee line circa 4:30pm last Monday: WTF? Seriously?

I can only assume that you are the same lot who wouldn't give me your seat when I was eight months pregnant. And I'm guessing you're the ones who go running home to furiously comment anonymously on message boards that if women want to be all equal now they'd better learn to stand on trains and enjoy it.

Girlie-men on the Jubilee line circa 4:30pm last Monday: take an example from my wise other half. He once held the door open for a well-respected professor of ours at university, a woman with famously impeccable feminist credentials.

She turned to him and demanded to know why he'd opened the door. Was it because she was a woman and therefore incapable of opening it herself?

My other half shook his head.

A hush fell. Boys cowered. Girls looked on for guidance in the manner that my toddler does when she's trying to decide if she should kiss her sister or punch her in the kisser. Then my other half delivered a response that  sent boys and girls alike scattering along the corridor, holding doors open for each other willy-nilly.

My other half said: 'I did it because my mother taught me to.'


  1. Brilliant response.
    Good manners. Cannot be overrated.

  2. I find all people on the Underground are ignorant shits when it comes to travelling in London with children. Doesn't make your experience any better but it's incredible how unpleasant it can make life.

    Brilliant response to the feminist too :) x

  3. Briliant resonse from your OH, one to teach my boys for later in life...

    South of the river is always the best place to be....

  4. Great post! Always amazed my mummy how many super-important things were going on in papers and phones that meant they didn't notice her waddling along with me as an 8 month bump. She hasn't dared venture back to London with a buggy for that very reason. Awful, isn't it?
    I too am loving your OH's response to the prof!

  5. Oh I love that comment from your OH - brilliant. Sadly I feel manners in this country are dying rapidly and that's such a shame.

    Oh and 'cajones' haha not heard that in a while. Let's hope those men grow some sharpish!

  6. I'm hoping my constant reminders to my children about good manners will have the same effect :)

  7. Good for you! If not, confiscate their smartphones ;)

  8. Amazing how callous people can be to heavily pregnant ladies, isn't it? Commiserations to your mum - I hope those public transportation girlie-men haven't put her off London forever!

  9. Must agree FP, south of the river is growing on me in a big way...I reckon there might be fewer coiffed poodles around there too.

  10. I totally agree - folks on the underground are a walking dictionary of obscenities. Trouble is, after two interchanges, two kids and one buggy, I run out of flipping obscenities and have to resort to things like 'jerk' and 'girlie-man'.

  11. Thanks lady, I effing agree :)

  12. what a lovely response he made. I do empathise with trying to travel on the underground. I just cannot do it with a pram as too scared to ask for help. As for pregnant women I think non pregnant women are equally liable and equally guilty...!

  13. Good manners...something that seems to be disappearing in the world today. It's good to see they still exist...and wonderful to read your cute story about them!

  14. Thanks Jenny! Judging from the quantity of ketchup that gets thrown around in this house, our manners could use some work too ;)