The nasty shock of being offered a seat | Letters

The nasty shock of being offered a seat | Letters
Robin Burt and Margaret Fingerhut say they were mortified to be offered a seat, but Valerie Smith says that when offered one, one should accept

“Young people these days have no manners” is the sort of thing old blokes like me and John Crace say to each other (If you see me on the tube, please don’t offer me your seat, 1 December). But nobody in a social gathering would dream of suggesting we might be getting on a bit. So why is it that when we get on a crowded tube that young men offer us their seat? It’s worse than that. Young women do it as well.

What we need is a strategy. The grey hair doesn’t help, although I have enough to delude myself that I have achieved the suave, silver fox look. Maybe it’s the way we dress? I’m usually in “smart casual”, going home after an afternoon tea dance, buoyed up with confidence because an attractive young woman has asked me to dance with her or I am on my way to a jazz club. There’s not much scope on a crowded train to demonstrate that we can walk unaided so maybe it’s the way we stand. I have tried that Fred Astaire pose: one foot flat on the floor, the other crossed at the ankle, toe touching the floor (it’s harder than it looks, try surreptitiously holding the vertical pole). Then there’s how to respond: “No, I’m fine, thanks” or “It’s OK, I’m getting off at the next stop”. I’ve tried avoiding eye contact, then they get up and touch me on the shoulder. Suggestions on a postcard… no, not a postcard, that makes me sound old.
Robin Burt

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Source: Guardian Transport

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