To the Men Who Actively Take Up Extra Space

Gillian Sisley

You’re not entitled to have more than your already privileged load, no matter how important you may think you are.

Photo by Thomas Le on Unsplash

A couple of years ago, in the times before the pandemic, my partner and I used to go out for date nights. This particular night recently came to mind.

We had tickets to a local show known as the Songwriter’s Circle. Four artists are on a stage in the middle of a hall, in a circle, where they go around and acoustically play a song they wrote, and offer the story behind the song.

I’ve been enjoying these shows for years with my Mum, and this was the first show my partner had ever attended.

It was a pretty fabulous lineup, too.

Bruce Guthro, the organizer of the Songwriter’s Circle, is a Canadian folk darling, who knows just about every artist under the sun personally and invites them to come join him for these shows.

Matt Minglewood, a blues and folk legend in Canada, who is best known for hits such as, “Can’t You See”.

T. Thomason, winner of the second season of the show The Launch, who is a rising star in indie/pop music. His first album is soon coming out, and his most recent track is on the radio at the moment, “Hope”.

And Ben Caplan, lead singer of The Casual Smokers, an absolute vocal powerhouse with hits on popular Spotify Playlists such as “Down to the River”.

Fabulous lineup. Fabulous evening. That is until some entitled men came in thinking they were extra special compared to the hundreds of others in the room.

To the man who bought his ticket last minute.

Like I said, we were in fantastic seats. Front row, on the right side of the aisle.

When my fiance and I arrived, and counted the seats to where we were meant to be, there was a man sitting in my seat.

He explained that he and his wife were from out of town, and had bought their tickets last minute.

There were only seats in the back of the hall available beside each other, other than Seat 1 and Seat 10 in the front row.

They expressed that they were hoping everyone would move down one seat so that they could sit next to each other. We said, “Sure, but you have to explain to all 12 people who come why we’re moving the seating order.”

The second couple to arrive had arguably the best seats in the house. The out-of-town couple re-explained their situation, prompting the couple to move over one seat.

The wife, in particular, did not want to move. She popped down in her assigned seat and stood her ground.

For the next 10 minutes, the out-of-town couple muttered and complained to me about how this one couple was ruining their plans.

“They’re being so uncooperative — what’s the point of that? It’s not a big deal, just to move over one seat…”

Well, turns out that couple had a really solid reason for standing their ground and not moving from their spots, beyond just having the best seats in the aisle.

Their son, T. Thomas (winner of the first season of The Launch) was one of the four artists performing in the Songwriter’s Circle.

Sorry, Entitled Guy from out of town who bought his tickets last-minute when most people bought them four months ago, you’re NOT important enough to force a mother to move from a prime location where she gets to watch her baby boy perform with some singing legends.

To the two men who snuck in near the end of the set.

We don’t know where they came from.

We don’t know how they got in.

But they were two drunk guys who just casually walked in during the middle of a song and popped down into two unoccupied seats in the front row.

And good Lord, were these guys ever obnoxious.

They seemed convinced that we were at a rock concert, when this simply wasn’t the case.

They completely threw off the intimate, coffee-house, acoustic lounge vibe that was in the room.

Two men, in a room of hundreds of people, managed to make everyone else in the room scowl at them and glare in frustration.

With the whooping, the failed attempts a rousing enthusiastic clapping for every song, to the obnoxious off-key singing, I wanted to get out of my seat and smack both of them across the face and tell them to shut the f*ck up.

Excuse me, wasted dudes, but I came to hear Matt Minglewood sing, “Can’t You See”, not your entitled, pain-in-the-a**es.

I sat there hoping, PRAYING, that security would come in an remove them. Or the artists on the stage not 10 feet away would call them out.

But I couldn’t, oh no, I couldn’ say anything, because I have been trained my entire life to not take up too much space. To stay small, and quiet.

As the Matron of the debutants said in the movie She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes, “When debutants disagree, we do so with our EYES”.

In other words, keep your mouths shut, don’t draw attention, and remain polite at all times.

Final word.

I find, time and time again, that this entitlement to take up space not only exists far too much in privileged men, but it is often at the expense of women that his additional space is taken.

Women are expected to be the ones to gracefully sacrifice space so that men can take more.

Do I wish I’d interrupted the entire set to tell a couple of guys to f*ck off, or told the guy from out of town to get the hell out of my seat? Well, no.

  1. I wasn’t interested in taking up space myself simply to satisfy my desire to express my personal frustrations at some drunk/high dudes.
  2. The seat I got bumped to actually gave me a better view of the stage, so I wasn’t too sour about that.

But I’m glad the mother of T. Thomason stood her ground and kept her seat. I’m glad she didn’t waver at the demands of a man to hand over her rightful space, solely for his convenience.

Maybe I should have defended my own space, and my assigned seat, for the sheer principle of the thing…

Regardless, I have a wonderful evening overall.

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