Two days ago Esquire.com‘s John Hendrickson posted a piece called “25 Ways to Know If You’re an Asshole on the Subway (or on the bus, light rail, ferry, or any other mode of public transportation).” It caught my attention because I’ll be back on the New York subway by tomorrow afternoon. Most of it is spot-on but I have some disputes and qualifications.
No. 16 says, “If you don’t instinctively offer your seat to a woman, child, or elderly person, you’re an asshole.” HE response: “Kids and old people, okay, but are we living in the 1880s? Is Lillie Langtree the biggest female star of the day? Women can handle standing just as much as guys can, and I would imagine that some might feel pleasantly insulted if I offered them my subway seat. Lizbeth Salander would probably sneer and ignore the gesture; ditto Lena Dunham. Are we all trying to shoulder the burden equally and play it even-steven or not?”
No. 19 says, “If you break wind unintentionally and if nobody knows that you’re the asshole who did it, you’re a lucky asshole.” HE response: The average person farts between 10 and 20 times a day. You’re talking thousands if not tens of thousands of “lucky assholes” on any given day within the New York subway system.
No. 23 says, “If you eat ethnic food inside a cramped, poorly-ventilated, temperature-wavering, jerky, moving cylinder, you’re an asshole.” In response to this an Esquire commenter named Brigid Bjorklund said, “If you refer to smelly food as ethnic, you’re a racist asshole.” In response to Brigid I said, “No, you’re not. Smelly is smelly. Keep the curry and the other spices inside the tin foil, Arjun. Wait until you’re on the street or back home.”