Credit: The Standard

Raayan Zafar Credit: The Standard

‘We are losing our etiquette’ — Raayan Zafar

We hate to paint all men with the same brush but, by and large, y’all gotta do better.

At one point in time certain things were standard gentlemanly behavior — opening doors, letting a woman walk in a door first, offering up a seat — but when it comes to the latter, one man on the Victoria Line Tube in Stockwell wasn’t having it, not even for a pregnant woman.

According to Raayan Zafar, 32, a 40-something-year-old man became irate when another man gave up his priority seat to her one morning on the train. The tale is almost unbelievable, so it’s best to just hear it in her words:

“It was a long commute and I suffer from severe morning sickness – I’m on medication already,” she told The Standard.

“I feel dizzy and out of energy, which makes standing in the Tube quite difficult when there is not enough ventilation.

“I got the Victoria line from Stockwell and requested the priority seat. The man sitting there was a gentleman and gave me his seat, but then a lady who was already standing in front of him tried to take the seat, so I made her notice me by saying ‘excuse me’.

“That lady realized I was going for the seat, but the person sitting beside it started arguing with me, saying the lady wanted to sit there and asking: ‘Why are you taking the seat?’

“I showed him my ‘baby on board’ badge and he then rudely asked me: ‘Where is the baby?’

See point A about men having to do better.

“I was shocked – is that the way to speak to a pregnant lady? Do I have to carry my maternity notes with me all the time?” Zafar said to the Standard, adding “It’s early days so that’s why I don’t show, but that doesn’t mean I’m not pregnant or tired or sick all the time.”

It’s sort of funny the stranger would have the back of one woman but not another, particularly one sporting a “baby on board” badge. The whole purpose of the badge, launched in 2005, is to make fellow commuters recognize pregnant women and give up their seats automatically since many of us who live in cities with mass public transit know it’s hard out here on a daily for a woman trying to get a seat and the chivalry often doesn’t tend to be much better for expectant mothers, as evidenced by this situation. What’s funnier, though, is the nosy, irate commuter doesn’t appear to have gotten up to give up his own seat to the woman whose comfort he was initially so concerned with so, again, I say, men, y’all gotta do better.


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