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5 September 2018updated 23 Jul 2021 12:02pm

Women doing make-up on trains is nothing on these male public transport habits

Some things men should stop doing on the commute.

By Anoosh Chakelian

Some old bores have written to the BBC to complain about women doing their make-up on public transport.

“There seems to be something so totally ‘in your face’ about females who insist on their dubious ‘rights’ in this matter,” fumed 60-year-old Gerard.

“Grooming is just not a suitable activity for a train, any more than leaky earphones, or bodily noises… make-up just falls into the same category of behaviour,” huffed Simon, 61.

While Michael, 59, was so offended by the sight he moved carriages.

This has resurrected the inexplicably divisive debate about whether women should be allowed to do their make-up on the train to work – the horrific societal evil practised by 62 per cent of women between 35-44. Because, y’know, they’re quite busy.

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To redress the balance, here are some things women would quite like men to stop doing on public transport:

1 Staring

Stop staring. Especially as a prelude to turning to your mate, saying something inaudible, followed by him staring at you too. Same applies to smirking, leering or winking.

2 Asking us to smile

Don’t “give us a smile love” or “cheer up, it might never happen” us, no matter how miserable we look on our commute. Why do you feel entitled to dictate our emotions? Why do we owe you a gracious grin?

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This is why the #SmileontheLines campaign announced a few days ago to get Londoners looking happier on the Tube was so unpopular with women online, by the way.

3 Talking to us when we have headphones on

Remember that horrific piece of dating advice by a blogger known rather ironically as The Modern Man in 2016, instructing men on how to chat up a woman who has headphones in? (“When she looks at you, smile and point to her headphones and say, ‘Take off your headphones for a minute’ and pretend to be taking headphones off your head, so she fully understands.”)

Well, from the strong reaction to that, you should’ve learned that no woman ever wants to talk to you if she’s listening to music. In fact, women are sometimes only wearing headphones as a safety tactic to avoid being chatted up.

4 Talking to us at all

Just don’t. You might think you’re just being friendly, but for reasons 6, 7 and 8 of this list, we have good reason to doubt that.

5 Manspreading

Men spreading their legs into other people’s personal space on transport is a menace all over the world – sparking an anti-manspreading campaign in New York in 2015 (“Dude… Stop the Spread, Please” read the signs) and other cities, and last year’s ban on manspreading on Madrid’s buses.

Stop doing it. We know it’s really to do with centuries of male entitlement and not because your balls are so massive.

6 Sexually assaulting

The number of sexual offences on UK trains has more than doubled over the past five years, according to the British Transport Police – and that doesn’t even include the estimated majority of cases that go unreported (on London Transport, 90 per cent of sexual harassment cases go unreported).

Whether it’s groping or rubbing up against women unnecessarily during rush hour (the most frequent offences) or masturbating and exposing yourself (more common on quieter off-peak trains), this is a hell of a lot worse than you watching me poorly applying mascara for five seconds.

7 Upskirting

Women report being “upskirted” – having photos taken up their skirts – on public transport. Upskirting is typically done in a public space, usually on public transport or escalators, and unfortunately a move to criminalise the practice was blocked by a Tory MP in June in Parliament.

Only today, a man on an East Midlands train was witnessed by other train passengers filming up a schoolgirl’s skirt, and in general girls as young as ten are being targeted.

8 Sending dick pics

A horrific public transport “craze” revealed in London three years ago has seen men sending women explicit pictures via the iPhone AirDrop feature, which allows users to send images over a Bluetooth connection. This feature includes a setting that means people outside of your contacts can send you messages, and images can be sent anonymously. The inevitable result? Women being sent dick pics by complete strangers on the train to work.

9 Following

If we happen to be standing on the same platform and step onto the same carriage, getting off at the same stop and then walking in the same direction, please overtake us as soon as possible after leaving the train, and cross the road and walk ahead of us if we’re heading the same way, and don’t walk close.

Vice’s article headlined “This is how to not be a douchebag to women on the street” explains the fear women have of being followed very well, and gives clear guidance to men on how they can make women feel more comfortable when walking or travelling home alone at night.