Anyone who will have encountered a guy taking up more than his allocated room on a train, plane, bus or cinema seat with his legs at needlessly-wide right angles to each other will also be grateful for the word ‘manspreading’. The portmanteau was created specifically to show how some men either feel the need to consciously assert their existence in a space, or have an unnoticeable stirring from deep within their soul which tells them that all space is their space, so why shouldn’t they fling their limbs wherever they like?
Recognising that manspreading is a dick move (as in, done by a dick, not done to liberate the penis - no penis needs two feet squared of space and if it does then that particular manspreader needs to be in an ambulance not on the 7.52am train) is crucial, too. Why? Because one study says it makes people - both men and women - more attractive!
The study, conducted by Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk at the University of California, used video footage from a speed dating event to show that both men and women who had more ‘expansive’ postures had more partners request a follow-up date. Vacharkulksemuk then ran her own experimenting, getting three men and three women to pose for photos to be used on a Tinder-style app. Each of the subjects had two sorts of photos done - the first pose showed them as open; leaning back, legs outstretched, arms out wide, while the second pose showed them as ‘contractive’, so hunched up, legs crossed and arms folded. The profiles were then uploaded on two separate weekends and Tanya recorded which profiles fared best. The result? The more open postures resulted in more requests to meet up, benefitting men a bit more than women, too.
Writing the results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (FYI their website is called PNAS.org, we had a big lol about that one) Vacharkulksemuk said: ‘Based on our results garnered from thousands of single persons at an actual speed dating event, and using a dating application, it is evident that postural expansion can dramatically increase a person’s chances of making a successful initial romantic connection.’
But but but but but BEFORE we go back to silently ignoring and allowing men to spread their legs into our own spaces, because it feeds into some mythical notion of what is natural and attractive, let it be known that this study was comparing people all hunched over and foetal to people who were spreading limbs about. Of COURSE whoever doesn’t look like they’re about to pick ingrowns out of their pubic area is more attractive than whoever does.
And as for the people doing the speed dating who were more likely to be picked if they had their bodies in what Vacharkulksemuk calls ‘dominant, open non-verbal displays at zero acquaintance’? Maybe the reason they were so confident in their body language was because they were all incredibly beautiful, and that was the main reason they were selected for further dates?
We don't wish to debunk what Vacharkulksemuk and her team have found, because body language is obviously important in finding a date, whoever you are, wherever you are. But as The Guardian has shown such a clear bias in support of manspreaders (their headline was ‘Looking for love? Man spreading could be the key to success, study suggests’, it is our downright duty to defend the legions of people intruded upon daily by the errant legs of a man convinced his entitlement to space is more important than anyone else's. May the anti-manspreading movement continue, free from this leg-war denying propaganda!
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.