You Know What Ruffles My Feathers?

You have no idea how many times I've attempted to write this post. Because Lord knows it needed to be written; I just haven't had the strength or the stamina to be the one to do it. Now I've dissected, studied and successfully attacked some of the most irritating people in our society—Red vests; Playfully Difficult People; Smug Pugs; Backpack Rollers; Meghan McCain—and biting words normally flow right out of my head and onto this blog at an alarming rate. However, every time I sit down and try to analyze those god damn Metro Pole Leaners, I become so overwhelmed with an unprecedented amount of confusion and anger that the only thing I can manage to do is mash my keyboard with clenched fists of rage, attach this picture and call it a post:

But that's not fair. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to you and it's certainly not fair to Metro Pole Leaners. Because they deserve to have new assholes ripped thoroughly and properly and who am I to deny them that?
Sigh. Look. What it all boils down to is this:

 Things that are appropriate to lean on:
- Sturdy walls
- Appropriately high safety railings
- Backs of chairs
- Counter tops
- Friends
- Family
- Bill Withers

 Things that are not appropriate to lean on:
- Plate glass windows
- Things made out of trick wood
- Jenga towers
- Stilt walkers
- A one-legged friend
- Me after a few cocktails

For the sweet love of all that is holy, you
can not lean on the poles in the metro during rush hour. You just. Can't. And the fact that people do everyday—morning and night!—boggles my mind and makes me question everything I've been taught about right and wrong and the definition of voluntary vs. involuntary manslaughter.

For those of you who don't live in a major metropolitan city with it's own subway system and have no idea what I'm talking about, allow me to explain. A subway (conversely called a metro, T, El etc.) is a system of transportation in which people are shot through a tunnel underground at high speeds. Having taken high school physics and shown up the day when Newton's First and Second Laws of Motion were explained, the metro car designers were savvy enough to install poles for people to grab onto in an effort to not go flying about and topple all over each other. Now I will give you this: it is genuinely more comfortable to lean against said pole than to just hold on to it with your hand. TRUE STATEMENT, yes. However, during rush hour, commuters are jammed into cars like cattle and there isn't enough room to keep your butt virginity, nevertheless enjoy little luxuries like leaning against the pole. Because when you do that, you render the entire pole useless from ass to neck for your fellow riders. And that, in a nutshell, makes you a piece of shit.

Case and point—check out this guy who graced my morning commute a few weeks ago at approximately 8:45 in the morning:

I mean, I feel like I could just post that picture and call it a day. It does all the work for me. The pole is quite literally being cradled betwixt this man's ass cheeks. Where in the name of Christ was I supposed to grab to steady myself? His ankles? The nape of his neck? I'm sorry, I wasn't aware I was on a third date, no thank you. Of course everyone around me was in the same predicament, so now not only are we all butt-fucking each other, we're also playing a massive game of human pick-up-sticks with arms going every which way, desperately trying to grab onto anything to steady ourselves. Unfortunately for me, by the time I realized Pole Fucker wasn't going to give up his precious pole real estate, it was too late and there was nothing left for me to grab. Suddenly I was in Lionel Richie's Dancin' on the Ceiling video and I had one foot on the wall, both hands on the ceiling and one leg wrapped around a total stranger, just praying to any and every god that will listen for the metro conductor to ease her into the next station and not jam on the brakes, sending me flying into an Asian man's lap.

Here's what really irritates me about Metro Pole Leaners: you could not find a more irritating, intrusive and inconvenient way to communicate to your fellow man that you just don't give a fuck. That's what MPL's are saying, by the way—"I don't give a fuck." And let me tell you something: in civilized society at 8:45 in the morning, crammed into a tiny tin can being shot through a tube at 40mph, genitals-to-ass and ass-to-genitals— you should give a fuck. I have very little hope left for society and even I feel like that's not too much to ask. I mean, you might as well whip your dick out and do pirouettes while pissing. Because that would communicate the exact same level of Dont-Give-a-Fuck to each and every individual in a 360-degree radius just as well.

I seriously show the above picture off to everybody and anybody who'll look at it like I'm a proud new mother. I am that desperate for someone to explain it to me. I was just showing it to my sister last Sunday at brunch when she brought up the point that most Metro Pole Leaners tend to be tourists who don't know any better. I personally think she's giving MPL's way too much credit because a.) I have experienced many an Executive Metro Pole Leaner in my day and b.) New York is just as touristy and I feel like when I lived there I never experienced this problem. You would have to be fucking suicidal to lean against a subway pole during rush hour in New York. This begs the question—is this yet another commuting problem unique to DC? Are we that much a city of nerds that we can't even get the courage to ask MPL's to ackrite?

It's a complicated question with an even more complicated answer. Because yes, I think we, as a city, are way too easy on MPL's. However, it's been my experience that even if you do point out to an MPL what they're doing, they still don't give a fuck. In fact, when I ask an MPL to move, 100% of the time (and I am in no way inflating that number just to get my point across) they get offended, as if I'm intruding on their space. In their minds, that's their pole and you have no business tryin' to get all up on it. MPL's are a strictly Pole Monogamous people. And that in and of itself is more mind boggling than the fact that they're on the pole to begin with! Because the metro is a mode of PUBLIC transportation. PUBLIC! Meaning for the people! You don't pay rent, asshole! GAHHHHH IT'S JUST SO FUCKING INFURIATING!!!!!1

Which is why I feel no remorse in having sucker-punched an MPL in the back of the head and urge you to do the same. Well, maybe don't punch them, but certainly don't be afraid to stand up for yourself when encountering an MPL! And if they give you shit (and they will give you shit) don't back down! Odds are everyone around you is thinking the exact same thing as you and if Jerry Seinfeld's career taught us anything it's that people have a soft-spot in their hearts for people who say what you're thinking. They'll have your back, don't worry. And even if they don't, I do. FIST PUMP OUT!


Westie said...

As a Bostonian I can assure you that unfortunately this problem is not unique to DC. I deal with MPls by finding the least awkward place to put my hand and just shoving it on in there. Then when the MPL turns to glare at me because my knuckles are suddenly and painfully jamming in the small of his/her back or ribcage I simply make direct eye contact, smile sweetly and then return to my book. It only works 45-50% of the time, but as you said, we have to stand up for ourselves!

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing that Westie mentioned -- I stick my hand in the small-of-back area with knuckles aimed to cause the most possible discomfort. Again, I smile and shrug with a look that says "what? where else did you want me to put my hand?"

Dan C. said...

"you might as well whip your dick out and do pirouettes while pissing" = I spittake

As a tall individual (6'4"), I usually make a point (when possible) to stand in front of pole leaners, extend my hand and hold the pole directly over their heads so they are forced to (1) keep their head in my armpit region, or (2) move. That usually makes the point quickly (maybe 50-60% effective). I think the other 40-50% really love Old Spice swagger because of LL Cool J.

I'll start doing it more often though to help out my fellow Metro pals.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... I'm another "fuck them, I'm grabbing this pole" kind of person. They'll either get the point and move their ass to another pole -or- they won't and they'll get to have my simultaneously freezing cold and sweaty palm all up in their neck area. Brr asshole. Better move!

Anonymous said...

i lost my butt virginity in Philly because of a MPL. People who don't wash their smelly ass hair, pits and clothes should also be sucker punched.

K$ said...

The D is my new hero.

Anonymous said...

The Bill Withers comment was the most hilariously subtle comment I have seen yet on this blog. I was into the next paragraph before catching it and laughing. Kudos (the congratulatory saying, not the delicious snack bar) to you.

Brendan said...

Nice work, Meg. And I do as the D does, make it as awkward and irritating for them as it is to you. Though the ol' knuckle-jam works, I really don't like touching "people." I put in quotes as I'm not 100% MPLs are actually people.

Unknown said...

One time I told off a MPL. It was a young-ish woman. Some poor guy was standing nearby and fell over-- like to the ground-- because she was taking up the entire pole. It still didn't occur to her to move. Finally I was like, "Um, excuse me, would you mind not leaning on the pole? It's really inconsiderate to take up the entire pole when there are other people who need to hold on."

She exited the train at the next stop. I like to think it was because she was embarrassed by my public shaming.

Josh said...

Oh, they are still here in NYC, believe me. And while some are tourists, many (most) are not. I have pushed MLS to grab a hold of the rail, only to have them lean ON MY HAND like a motherfu@#%er. The only thing I hate more than MPLs are the dudes who sit with their legs at a 90 degree angle taking up too many seats.

Britty said...

For the record, I have neeeever seen this happen during Rush Hour in NYC. This makes me want to move back to DC just so I can bitch slap some MPLs.

Chase said...

Meg, you've done it again. I'm laughing like a fool amongst my otherwise silent cubemates.

"The pole is quite literally being cradled betwixt this man's ass cheeks."


Jenn- wizard of words, queen of the universe and all around great time! said...

Meg-you've out done yourself. This is god damned hilarious.

Anonymous said...

"Are we that much a city of nerds that we can't even get the courage to ask MPL's to ackrite?"

yes. yes we are. and i'm a really petite nerd who is terrified of asking an MPL to move for fear of getting squashed. or sucker punched back.

Ashley said...

Ahhh yes...MPLs. Where I live we don't have metros, but I've visited DC enough times to know exactly what you're talking about. Even as a tourist I knew better!

Margo said...

PREACH!!!! i will give you an amen, because it is my life's work to take Executive Metro Pole Leaners down. And down hard. They annoy me the most. Oh, I'm sorry, I realize that you are SO MUCH more important than me because you have a suit on, and you simply must read your newspaper, blackberry, watch, etc and couldn't possibly be bothered to USE ONE OF THOSE HANDS TO HOLD THE FUCKING POLE YOU GAPING ASSHOLE- STOP LEANING!!!!!1

Do what you have to do Meg, we've all got your back.

Anonymous said...


First off, I should probably tell you that you have a HUGE following in the Chicagoland area. My friends and I read your blog... every day. We make our mothers, sisters, friends in Ohio and the dreaded state of Michigan read your blog every day. We call you Meggles, talk about you with We-shared-Obombs-last-Saturday-night-BFF familiarity, and actually contemplated flying to DC for the Jager Ball. Your blog might be the only reason why we get up in the morning, go to our various dead end jobs where we make no money, and manage not to staple our coworkers to the floor during the depths of Chicago's winter. It is depressing. We have to cling to our amusements when we can.

Second, I have an MPL story for you. Unfortunately, MPLs are not unique to DC and roam wild on the trains of Chicago's CTA. Earlier this month, I had my own personal encounter with a MPL at 9:15am. Not only was he a Metro Pole Leaner but he also was a Mexican with a Mullet. Thick, curly, dark brown and filled with dandruff. Now, this is not me being racist by identifying all Hispanics with the closest South American country to the United States. Not only was his (dandruff filled curly haired) mullet less than 2 inches from my face, his track jacket from 1997 had a Mexican flag TAPED to the shoulder was inappropriately pressed up against my arm offering an excellent view. My hand was already on the pole, he proceeds to lean up against it and just ignores the fact that my knuckles are digging into his back. For 20 minutes. And may I just add, who wears a track jacket in January in Chicago??? I hope he freezes to death in the frozen tundra.

That Kind of Girl said...

Oh my god I love you. When I'm commuting in Boston, I run into the dreaded MPL all the time. Unfortunately I've already had a ton of bad experience on the T, trying to scrape up the last fucking dregs of our civilization, so I've learned you can't politely request anything from anyone on public transit.

Fortunately, I'm an unstable enough human being that when a MPL bogarts the pole I need to keep from hurtling to the floor, I punch 'em between the shoulder blades, worm my hand in behind their backs, and avoid eye contact until they're so uncomfortable they leave. Yeah, what of it.

2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

The Bill Withers comment was the most hilariously subtle comment I have seen yet on this blog.
I honestly appreciate you catching that.

The only thing I hate more than MPLs are the dudes who sit with their legs at a 90 degree angle taking up too many seats.
Don't even get me started...not today. I just can't.

Chase & Jenn - You're welcome/thanks!

and i'm a really petite nerd who is terrified of asking an MPL to move for fear of getting squashed. or sucker punched back.
Someone would have your back. Plus it would probably be totally liberating.

First off, I should probably tell you that you have a HUGE following in the Chicagoland area.
I love you guys! And thank you for pimping my blog out! And there's absolutely nothing worse than when the hair of the offending MPL elegantly drapes across your knuckles. It's legitimately one of the most foul things I can think of. Oh Chicago...

Anonymous said...

okay i thought the blog couldn't get better. but oh was this worth the wait. thank you meg, but seriously when are you writing a book?

and to top it all off - freaking <3 The D - dude you are my hero.

joe said...

I live in Chicago, and have to say that the MPL syndrome isn't as bad here. Most Chicagoans know how to commute efficiently except for a rare breed of species who I can't comprehend....people who use the seat next to them for their personal belongings during rush hour. Too many times I see people standing during rush hour because they are afraid to ask the dickhead taking up two seats one for themselves and the other for their purse/grocery bags/backpack. These people infuriate me to no end, you're really going to make someone else stand because your northface backpack needs its own seat?

MD said...

Word. It's bad enough that to use the upper bars your zipped-up coat or button-down shirt gets pulled uber-taut, even as a 5'-8" chica in 3" heels.

Spinning Ninny said...

That would seriously chafe me rright where the pole is nestled on that guy. I wouldn't hold around him, or avoid contact, I'd just say, "Dude, you have to move. It's rush hour and unless you're paying rent on that pole, you're gonna have to let other people hold onto it. If not, let me know which part of your body I should grab."

The Bookinist said...

YES. SO MUCH RAGE. That happened to me this morning. I was grabbin' my pole and listenin' to my Pod when suddenly an MPL came up and leaned her entire body - including her HEAD - against the pole I was holding onto. The only way I could comfortably stay there was if I twined my fingers intimately in her hair. WTF is wrong with people? If you're so tired that you can't support any of your own body weight, you should stay at home.

(By the way, I live in Toronto, so it's definitely not limited to DC or even the States. It's an international epidemic of pole-leaners.)

Anonymous said...

This makes me excited to passive aggressively bitch slap a MPL on my commute home tonight.

The Kuh said...

I don't even GET pole-leaning. If the train lurches to an abrupt stop, you are going to go flying along with everyone else you are preventing from holding the pole! The pole is not of an adequate...girth...to hold your ass up if things go awry. It's much more efficient to hold on. Here in Dallas, we have a rail system in relative infancy, and people STILL know not to lean against the pole. And this is TEXAS for christssakes, where people are usually stupider than the rest of the world. I'm kind of proud of us right now.

We aren't free of other stupid transit behavior. My favorite are the able-bodied men (and women, really) carrying one tiny briefcase or nothing at all, who are seated and refuse to get up for people who are disabled, elderly, wearing really, really high heels, mothers with babies, and people with a LOT of stuff (as long as that stuff doesn't include the roller-backpack). You know, people who NEED a seat. It bugs the old-fashioned girl in me that men don't offer their seats to women in general, but I don't bitch about that. I understand it's a brave new world and we wanted to be equal and all that. But if you are sitting your skinny executive ass down when there is a woman trying desperately to hold her baby steady as the train twists and turns, there is a special hell for you. I'm jussayin.

Sarah said...

"I mean, you might as well whip your dick out and do pirouettes while pissing. "

First time penis envy here. Thanks for that.

Hails said...

1) butt virginity. it's my new facebook status.

2) another near choking gum instance with lionel richie dancing on the ceiling

3) I am another chicago fan and I make the smart (dumb?) decision to commute to work 365 days by BICYCLE. but sometimes I get sick and have to take the EL and let me just say, it's not the damn pole leaners that suck because really, we don't have straight up poles on the good ole CTA.
It's the damn people who don't MOVE TO THE BACK. yes let's all just cram in right by the door when a perfectly good, ass-less free spot is a mere two feet away down the aisle.
One time I had an appt on the north side and had to take hte brown line at rush hour.

a man in a HUGE BRIGHT FUZZY BABY BLUE JACKET was in between me and the only available place to hold on.
I literally bent my knees, widened my stance, and basically pinballed my way around the train.

ugh. I love my bike.

Holly said...

"you might as well whip your dick out and do pirouettes while pissing"

effing awesome.

Lydia said...

This post was absolutely hysterical. I started legitimately LOLing at Bill Withers and didn't stop until I got to the end of the post. And then I laughed some more at the comments, especially the brave soldiers who are doing their part and fighting against the selfish MPLs. I especially loved Marcus' public shaming and Spinning Ninny's, "Let me know which part of your body I should grab."

Anonymous said...

At least the guy didn't have a ponytail hanging all over your hand!


Unknown said...

You put into words how I feel most mornings/ evenings on my commute. How can people be so blissfully ignorant to what a raging pain in the ass they are being?! It's like they have no concept of what is going on around them, and that my friends, is a problem when you are crammed onto a metro train with 100 strangers who don't want to touch you.

Stephanie said...

BILL WITHERS! BWAHAHAHAHA. I'm afraid the hilarity of the rest of the post was somewhat lost on me because I was just too, too busy loving the Bill Withers reference. I'm going to have to reread the rest of the post. I'll be randomly chortling for the rest of the day thinking only 2 words: "Bill Withers". It should be interesting during the faculty meeting this afternoon...

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ! New York most definitely has its share of MPL's, and they are of the breed that not only doesn't give a damn what you have to say about their affliction, but take highly confrontational offense to it. Like other posters, I make a point of holding the pole anyway, knobby knuckles as prominent as possible, and slowly inching in to more tender areas every time they shift their weight.
New York also has Metro Door Standers MDS), people who stand in the door of the subway car, often with backpacks or a collection of shoulder bags, and often refuse to even acknowledge that the door has opened, let alone move or turn, to offer some hope of getting by. To my shock (and endless rage) they often occur in pairs, and act like plaque in arteries, restricting the potential flow of the citizen blood cells. Worst of all, they often get enraged when someone bumps them as they try to squeeze past, yelling things like, "Say excuse me, mother fucker! I should kick your ass!"
I'm generally a calm and peaceful guy, I even run a medical non-profit, but I have to admit to ugly fantasies that include brutal and heartless damage to these people! I love the idea of subway vigilantes that mete out the justice that the police don't seem interested in.
Unfortunately, I have little hope that other unhappy citizens and commuters would step-up in the event I felt in the mood to confront one of these offenders- I've had my share of situations in the New York subway where I did the right thing (breaking up fights and the like) and NOBODY helped or even looked up.
I'm happy that there are others who resent the MPL's, and I hope you're on my train when I decide to "go there".

Cat said...

I'm on the same page as everyone else. When I was in DC I would just grab the pole wherever I damn well felt like it, their asscheeks be damned. You want to lean on something my tax dollars pay for? OK, then I own whatever part of you is touching it. kthxbai.

Anonymous said...

I like to grab the pole in a manner that simultaneously pinches the person so they move their mother-fing bodies off of the pole.

I'm short so sometimes I have limited poles to grab on to. I can't reach the overhead bars so I WILL NOT tolerate MPLs.

Denise said...

I was going to write and say that here in Boston the same unfortunate thing happens all the time, but I see Westie beat me too it. And Westie even employs my passive-aggressive manner of dealing with it, which is shoving my hand in there anyway in an especially uncomfortable spot for the person and positioning my knuckles just so.

T said...

Akin to the MPLs are the Metro Pole Hoggers (MPHs). These fuckers average about 5'11" and yet INSIST on taking up precious pole space with BOTH of their hands even though they could easily reach the ceiling bars. I understand that at 8:30am it is a lot to ask of you to raise your hands above your fucking head but seriously? I'm 5'3. I could put on plastic stripper heels and still not reach that bar.
This morning I got stuck between two giant MPHs and couldn't get a handhold on a pole without handfucking someone else and so I ended up bouncing around like a fucking ping pong ball with two ugly douchebags with ill-fitting suits and BO for paddles. My purse fell off my shoulder and when I went to pick it up I was momentarily at crotch-level. When I stood up MPH literally clears his throat and WAVES HIS WEDDING BAND in front of my face. Asshole.

Unknown said...

i love your frustrating blogs. i was pissing myself laughing. I don't live in a big city...but I can see this happening on the subway and it would clearly piss me off royally as well....great blog meggers

Unknown said...

Augh!!! How is this comment thread about pole-holding not a smorgasboard of "That's what she said" jokes?!?!?! I'm so frustrated right now!!!

Shelley Senai said...

This is one of the rudest, most infuriating things you can experience as daily public commuters. And as others have said, NO, it is not unique to D.C. It happens on Boston's T every single day.

Know what I do? Wiggle my fingers in, right around the arch of their back where there's a bit of room, and then make a tight fist so they can feel my knuckles pressing up against their back. At that point they usually, turn around give me a look that ranges from quizzical to downright angry, but then hold on with one hand instead of their entire back.

Other irritations:
-People who cross their legs during rush hour (on the T this can make a huge difference in terms of standing space).
-Young people who don't even offer their seats for the elderly, disable or pregnant women!

Grant said...

I see pole leaners on the C train all the time. Just chiming in with my experiences.

2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

okay i thought the blog couldn't get better. but oh was this worth the wait. thank you meg, but seriously when are you writing a book?
I need a literary agent and I don't know how to make that happen. WAMP, WAMP.

"Dude, you have to move. It's rush hour and unless you're paying rent on that pole, you're gonna have to let other people hold onto it. If not, let me know which part of your body I should grab."
SHIT. You're good.

1) butt virginity. it's my new facebook status.
That made me laugh out loud. LOL, if you will.

BILL WITHERS! BWAHAHAHAHA. I'm afraid the hilarity of the rest of the post was somewhat lost on me because I was just too, too busy loving the Bill Withers reference.
Seriously, again, thank you so much for appreciating that. I was afraid it was going to fall on deaf ears.

Augh!!! How is this comment thread about pole-holding not a smorgasboard of "That's what she said" jokes?!?!?! I'm so frustrated right now!!!
Wow, even I didn't go there. Well played, James.

bethany barton said...

Thumbs UP UP UP on this post.

(Warning: very long sentence ahead)
Although I haven't experienced any MPLs whilst visiting DC, and don't have to experience any MPLs here in Philly (due to the lack of P's on the Subway), I DO have to deal with assholes on the BUS during rush hour, when the bus is packed as HELL, who sit on the outter of two seats, preventing anyone from sitting on the inner seat. The see tons of people swaying and bumping around in the center aisle as the bus brakes, but nooooooo, they never budge.

Long story short- I feel your pain.

Laura said...

Personally, I hate when people put their hat or their book or their gloves or something else not at all heavy or intrusive on the empty seat next to them during rush hour. And then when the train is packed they get all offended when someone asks them to hold their gloves on their lap so that someone can use the seat. As if now we're actually being inconsiderate to their property which is obviously just as deserving of a seat as a human being...

Unknown said...

Thank you for shedding light on this important issue. Hopefully commuters everywhere are paying attention. I have to say as a long timer New Yorker, YES THIS DOES HAPPEN! And it drives me insane. My method in dealing with them is to be as passive aggressive as possible. I go right up to that pole and wedge my fingers between it and their most likely fat back. It does in deed work most of the time. Then I hold my ground, or in this case, the pole.

ryan said...

hahahahahahahahahaha. to think that new yorkers would somehow be MORE courteous on the subway than anyone else ever.

allow me to present my collected evidence:

Pole Leaner - http://iamselfimportant.blogspot.com/2009/02/breakfast-time-21209.html

who is quickly outmatched by...

Barefoot Relaxer -

Freck said...

I love that you posted this. There's nothing worse than a pole leaning douchebag. Enter one of my coworkers blogs: poleleaningdouchebag.com. I give you PLD. Enjoy :) Fugg*n PLD's..

Anonymous said...

Same thing in London on the 'tube'! (Are we the only one's who call it that?!) I like to angle my rather pointy elbows so if there is a sudden carraige jolt i get the pleasure of elbowing them in the back. Generally they get the jist after a few pokes.

Have been on the tube in DC, seems public transport ettiquette is lacking globally.

Love your blog by the way!

MadVet said...

Yeah but waht about those guys that stand inappropriately close to you when it ISN'T even busy! Grarg, nothing creeps me out more. I find "accidentally" falling back & jabbing my elbow into their gut seems to work best...

Laura said...

Great post! I think the pole huggers are almost as bad ... you know the ones who wrap their arm and whole side of their body around the pole so they can use both hands on their blackberry or newspaper.

Nova said...

I feel like we could devote an entire blog solely to trade MPL stories and the techniques we use to piss them off. this was amazing.

Anonymous said...

MPLs, personal space invaders (PSIs, if you will), and the I NEED TWO SEATS BECAUSE MY CROTCH WONT LET ME PUT MY LEGS TOGETHER (aka, the spread eagle kid slumped in the two most central seats on the metro).
i mean, listen, if you have such issues "down there" that you cannot put your legs neatly together like a lady, than frankyly, you should not be on the subway, sir. i should not have to sit down next to you and physically swing my legs up onto my other neighbors lap just to avoid your baggy-ass neon kick-clad legs. i just. don't. understand. aghh
and please, don't get me started on the people who set up camp in the aisle seat with all their shit, leaving the window seat completely empty and unaccessable. in one surreal twilight-zone moment, i was being uncomfortably ass-fucked in the center aisle as commuters forced their way into the train. noticing that there was an empty seat on the other side of the woman holding her groceries in her lap, i politely asked whether i could sit down. she looked up at me and proceeded to PLACE HER GROCERIES ON THE EMPTY SEAT…what the fuckkkk
i still can't…i mean seriously?!

Rayanne Graff said...

My least favourite is when women with long, straggly, frizzy, slightly greasy -- it's never clean, glossy-haired women who do this. Maybe when they were taught to shower they were also taught not to lean on the pole -- lean on the pole and rest their hair on it.

Because even if you avoid the hand-hair contact, as in Meg's Excuse Me Mister post, that scalp grease will sit there all day, just waiting for an unsuspecting traveller to grab on to it.

Brittan said...

okay, so, i cried reading this. cried. in the middle of work i laughed myself to tears. then i emailed the link to everyone i know with the subject: I DIE.

now i'm composed and can comment.

as a new york metro rider this is somewhat rare but when it happens i definitely grab the pole, only i do it slowly and kind of low so my fingers brush creepily across their lower back. that'll get someone to move.

SGM said...

The pole leaners just kill me. I blindly reached for a back-of-seat-bar and instead used a woman's face/hair one time for stability on the metro in paris. yeaaaahhh.

Anonymous said...

Definitely not a DC thing. The London Underground is full of people who just don't give a fuck. :)

James Conneely said...


vKAYb said...

GAH!!! I once tried to explain to my boyfriend why I hate MPLs so much and actually burst into tears of aggravation instead. I hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

Erin said...

So I'm a bit behind on 2b1b reading, but OMG I AM SO GLAD I READ THIS TODAY.

This post is the most true, heartfelt thing I've ever read.


Fritalian Foodie said...

Only thing that grinds my gears more than MPL's are the people who seriously have no idea how to stand to the right, walk to the left on the escalator. REALLY?!?! REALLY. really. How long have you lived in this city?! How many rush hours have you been through?! Ugh, between your amazing post on MPL's and left escalator standers (LES if you will) my blood's boiling...

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Noodlepress said...

Gotta see this rider getting a firm grip on the pole- with her butt. http://twitpic.com/489n6i

Anonymous said...

This post is dangerous because it helps me validate my extreme commuting rage at that exact behavior. I dealt with a MPL this morning by practicing my stink eye into the back of his head while he shimmied his back up and down the pole, oblivious to the huddled commuter masses grabbing at other, less-convenient poles around him. It made me marginally feel better to imagine the germs and hand grease he was spreading all over himself.

It only took one vehement "GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!" from a stranger in the NYC subway to realize I had to be more efficient and aware in my commuting travel! DC needs to borrow some offensively direct NYers to beat the commuters into submission!

Great post.

audrey said...

i live in brooklyn and sadly, the mpl is thriving here, too. and it's not just for tourists. this happened on my commute home from soho the other day - a girl was all up on it - so i just grabbed the pole right between her shoulders and made my fist extra-knuckley. she didn't move, but i'd wager she was much less comfortable for the rest of the ride.

Anonymous said...

often i carry a large backpack and have extra special inner laughs when i hit the MPLs with my bag.--jordan grove--

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