It began with a question. A question on tube etiquette.
Posits Roundel Ramblings member Gemma:
The Victoria line has rather large 'bum rests' at each end of the carriage. I was resting my bum (well, my back, because I am quite short) against one on my commute home this evening. A lady got on the carriage and proceeded to rest herself right next to me, uncomfortably so.
Now, am I being weird about sharing my bum rest, and this is a standard thing which I hadn't realised? Or was the bum rest mine, and she was being unnecessarily pushy? Is the bum rest a two person space?
Indeed, most tube stock has these 'bum rests' (of varying dimensions) at either end of the carriage. But was Gemma right to assume that her posterior had squatting rights on the entirety of one bum rest?
"What a cheek!" Exclaims one response, another suggesting: "Depends how busy your train was". Good point. Turns out that Gemma's carriage had plenty of standing (if not sitting) room. So surely that bum rest was hers, all hers?
That's the view of some. "The bum rest is only for one however small the bum... cheeky madam indeed," says Deborah, instantly siding with Gemma.
"How rude! Bum rests are for one bum only!" chips in Meryl.
However, the controversy flares up, with numerous people then suggesting that Gemma WAS being selfish. "It’s a two person space so you had to yield," informs James.
"Of course you can’t have the whole bum rest — that's selfish," remarks a disgusted Margeaux.
"Multiple occupancy space." says Ian, bluntly.
Gemma yields, saying:
Thank you all. I shall work on my own attitude towards the situation, and not use the rest until I am ready. Or just use the ones on the Central line, which are clearly one bum wide.
Except is Gemma yielding prematurely? Because maybe other factors come into play.
"I suppose two very thin people could share one, but I have always thought of them as only really being big enough for one," observes Christopher.
Similarly, Rocio says: "All depends how big are the two bums."
And perhaps Gemma isn't being stubborn enough in her endeavours to score her bum the VIP rest she thinks it deserves. Says James, "You need to learn how to use your elbows better. I’ve sharpened mine for this reason.", adding, "always carry a rucksack as a space claiming device."
That's very naughty, James. And a whole other conversation to be had...
Care to weigh in? For transport chat — bum rests or otherwise — join our Facebook group, Londonist Roundel Ramblings.