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DEARSUGAR NEEDS YOUR HELP: Please Respect My Public Space

DEARSUGAR and Anal Annabelle need your help. Is it alright to confront someone who is oblivious to infringing on your personal space when you are both travelling on mass transit? They are really making your travel experience unpleasant, but they are total strangers. What do you think?

Dear Sugar
I have to travel often for work and so I’ve come to accept having to share close quarters with strangers on airplanes and trains. Most people are respectful of your personal space because they want you to be respectful of theirs; but every once and again you get stuck next to someone who has no concept whatsoever of common courtesy.

For example on my most recent travel adventure I was seated about an inch and a half away from a rather bulky, muscle-y guy on a seven hour flight who had no sense of spacial relations. He conveniently used both armrests, chewed and popped his gum loudly for hour stretches at a time, and listened to blaring music on his headphones. Even worse he sat with he legs parted so that they would often drift into my seat area and we would constantly and awkwardly skim each other’s thighs.

I definitely know that I have a low tolerance for people like this, but I was really going nuts. I was constantly checking my watch and the seven hour flight seemed like seventeen hours. What’s the protocol on public misconduct? Do I have the right to say something to him about his behavior or will it make me look like an over-anxious and irrational psycho? Anal Annabelle

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