Express Spooning

There’s a certain comfort in close physical contact with a special person. The feel of hot breath on your neck. Your bodies fitting together like two spoons. It just feels so nice and secure. At that moment, life couldn’t be any better, right? But NOT if you find yourself spooning a complete stranger on public transport in London.

The London Underground is notorious for being overcrowded at peak times. Personal space is at a premium, so you learn to make allowances. Did she mean to brush against my butt cheek? Surely not. Does he mind me reading his text message over his shoulder? Okay, he does mind that. Sorry.

When the train carriage is packed and the doors close, sometimes you just have to accept that you have extremely limited personal space and you try to make the best of the one inch gap that you’ve managed to acquire for yourself with some subtle jostling. But there are still rules. These rules are not written down, nor are they legal requirements. But everyone knows them.

At least almost everyone. Every so often, some people seem slightly too comfortable with the close proximity. Most girls I know have had some experience of this. I always feel quite subconscious when I am towering over a girl on a crowded Tube train, like a bear hugging a tree. A tree that smells nice. Surely she must feel uncomfortable with her face in my armpit? But then, just maybe, I could be the lucky recipient of a girl taken over by the Lynx effect. Damn it, need to get that thought out of my mind quickly, she might notice

But I had never been on the receiving end of such unreasonable, and slightly disturbing behaviour, until Friday. I only had a short one stop journey to make and just managed to squeeze myself on to the train, squashed up against a middle-aged, overweight man with his back to me. The doors closed and I expected the communal shuffling to open up some more space for me. But he didn’t move. I was left cupping his ample butt-cheeks with my front gentleman’s area, my chest made a pillow for his head and my arms were stretched around him to grab a metal pole for support. No, I don’t mean a Polish Iron Maiden fan, I meant a bar made of metal.

Whenever I’ve been faced with such a scenario, no matter how cramped the carriage was, I always managed to shuffle forward a little, even if it was centimetres. Why wouldn’t you? This guy had a couple of inches spare but seemed reluctant to move closer to the lady in front of him.

I couldn’t move. When I tried, it seemed like I was ‘grinding’ with him. The more I thought that this situation was wrong, the more I kept hearing R. Kelly’s finest song in my head and I felt like I was going to vomit on his shoulder. Bet he would have moved then.

Finally, my stop arrived, and our unwarranted spooning embrace had to end. That was the longest three minutes of my life. It was not the kind of morning glory that I would wish for.

12 thoughts on “Express Spooning

  1. It is even worse in the middle of summer, a lot of people seem to forget the meaning hygeine!

    • Yes, although some of the lines are like ovens so you can’t blame them too much.

      • In England? Ovens? Rubbish. Try being on a crowded train in 43 C heat – ThaT is an oven. Consider yourself lucky. 😛

        • The Victoria Line in London regularly tops 40C in the summer, regardless of the outside temperature, I kid you not.

      • I meant 43 C OUTSIDE. Imagine what it is INSIDE when the aircon fails and these trains do not have windows you can open!

  2. haha. I have a low tolerance level for ppl invading my personal space. This is why after so many years I now live in a small town on top of a mountain. Great post.

    • I’m used to the lack of personal space, but it was just the fact that he didn’t move at all that bothered me. It should have felt uncomfortable for him too!

  3. It’s been too long since I’ve been spooned. A train at peak hour it is then. Thanks for the heads up!

    • The only problem is that you may not have a choice who spoons you…

  4. If that man has enough space to read a book (in the pic) you could fit more people in! Sorry, but I come from a city where the trains are just NOT coping with the population growth and the scenario you describe is all too common.

    I understand your discomfort totally. The question is – what do we do about it?

    • The cities are over-populated so I guess we can all help by not having children. I’ve not had children for years so far.

      • Between my husband and I, we have over populated then. We have six between us, my ex had another two with his new wife and his ex has at least another 1 to her new husband. so that is 9 between 6 adults – actually not too bad really – 1 each plus 0.5 per person spare (replacement insurance).

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