|Posted by rebecca.mcswain on April 9, 2015 at 5:55 PM|
I read a story in the New York Times yesterday about an apparently growing issue with Orthodox Jewish men who do not want to sit beside women who are not their wives on airplanes. I guess they're just afraid of us, our boundless power to seduce, contaminate, corrupt and otherwise destroy them, or afraid of themselves, because the proximity of an unrelated woman (and "proximity" is the word in Economy these days) will cause them to lose control of themselves, think lustful thoughts, get hardons, attempt an assault? What? Granted, the way some young women (and not so young women) dress to travel these days, all belly buttons and boobs and buttocks, is pretty disturbing, but it's not that much more revealing than the way the female news anchors dress on Fox and even CNN, so we should all be used to it by now, no? So what's a girl to do, when some guy in a black suit who has a lot of hair is looming beside her in the aisle, refusing to take his seat (even though it's a lovely window one and she's stuck in the center), 50 people stacked up behind him, and the whole stinking metal tube vibrating with the urge to take off? Some women, according to the NYT story, agree to move. Others do not. Eventually, apparently, an accommodation is reached. But really? really? Are we going to accept this? Do we have a choice? I suspect fundamentalist Muslim men could have similar issues. Surprising, really, how much those two religious extremes have in common, considering that they are hell-bent on obliterating one another and, perhaps, taking the rest of us with them.
But if I refuse to move, I'm imposing my beliefs on those ridiculous men, right? My views about gender quality, my feeling that religion should intrude as little as possible on public life, etc. But either women are equal to men, or they are not. Either men and women are sufficiently in control of their sexual lust to have civilized discourse in the office, on the street, and in public transportation, or they are not. If they're not, well, maybe it really is just time for me to leave this planet and try somewhere else.
One airline source commented that they try to provide for all passengers' comfort (not that one can tell, but so they say), and so it sounds like a conservative man could specifically request, when buying a ticket, not to be seated next to a woman. I feel sorry for the airlines who have to try to work this out, and feeling sorry for an airline is not something I do very often, but I can see this would be a royal pain in the ass, and probably costly, too. Although maybe there's an algorithm for it, so a computer does the arranging, which would probably be cheaper, and as we know, when things are arranged by computers, nothing can go wrong can go wrong can go wrong. So I've got a few stipulations for my next airplane seat. I will not sit next to anyone eating any type of sandwich that drips any greasy substance or contains raw onions. I will not sit next to a 6 foot 6 man whose elbows will be in my ribs and whose knees will occupy half my leg room. I will not sit next to anyone weighing over 300 pounds, because I'm fat, myself, and there isn't room for the both of us. Let's see, what else? I will not sit next to anyone whose speech decibel level is over 80, and I'd appreciate it if the airline would determine that in advance by testing each passenger's voice loudness at Security. Thank you. Now, I'm comfortable.