The Practical Gentleman’s Guide to Urban Insolence, no.10

Posted on April 6th, 2010 2 great comments. Room for one more!

Welcome welcome welcome!

Welcome once again, dear reader, to yet another instalment of The Guide! I must say it’s been far too long, hasn’t it? Since before Christmas, if memory serves. Too long. Too long. :(

I do, however, trust you had a nice Christmas / New Year / Valentine’s Day / Easter / etc. I certainly did, experiencing a whole gaggle of insolent behaviour that requires redress; just the impetus a practical gentleman requires to adopt some practical solutions.

For this edition we will be revisiting one particularly insidious form of urban insolence that appears to have thwarted repeated attempts at eradication: feet on seats. We will also be exploring farther afield where we shall encounter the land of the text-walkers, and we will be delving into the jungles of our neighbours’ flats to see if we can’t get them to hush up. And, as always, we will try to answer the age-old question: what’s the practical gentleman to do?

A great deal of wisdom has been written in many a travel brochure as regards these matters, but please allow me to at least get the ball rolling.

The Footsy Redux

As previously mentioned, this form of insolence appears to have gained a solid foothold throughout our fair metropolis. One can expect to encounter feet on just about any sitting surface these days. Sometimes even dining surfaces. :(

In a previous guide we explored the use of chemical deterrents to prevent the untimely soiling of our backsides. Unfortunately this technique is proving either too cumbersome or people are simply opting not to employ it. Either way the flow of malevolent feet has not been stayed.

So please allow me to suggest an alternative.

In this scenario we simply approach the subject and stare directly at their feet, motioning with our eyebrows (and sparkly eyes), that something’s amiss roundabout the region of their feet. If the culprit still doesn’t get it, we follow up with a helpful, “I’m sorry. Just wanted to let you know I think you stepped in something.” (pointing to offending feet)

When the subject pulls in their feet to examine the soles of their soul, the practical gentleman could simply swoop into the newly vacated seat. However, this would necessitate getting one’s coattails dirty and should be dealt with a bit more sternly. After all, we are now put out.

Prior to sitting, one could draw out the conversation, insisting that the subject had indeed stepped in something and should look closer. Closer. Get as close to some introspection as you can. Nothing? Do you want to know what you stepped in? My seat.


An indignant lady porting a bright newly-purchased ensemble may also devolve the conversation from there. Ladies will have an advantage over the gentlemen here, I’m afraid. Sorry fellas, we can’t win ‘em all.

The Noisy Neighbours

Some of us have ‘em.

The Guide’s own neighbours throw the occasional spontaneous rackets. It makes production of The Guide tritely taxing, to be frank. But we march on, don’t we? Even as the door slamming, banging of pots, etc., continues. (And they were bringing in what looked like baby furniture yesterday!)

One could, of course, resort to police. Possibly even asking to see if everything’s alright first; talking to them, in other words. But, if one or both of these options fail, or if you won’t wanna, consider billing your unruly neighbours for the time lost due to their negligence. Nothing exorbitant, of course; we are gentlemen here. But our time is valuable as are the works that we produce with that time.

The Guide would also like to suggest a nice letterhead for the bill and including an itemized explanation of each charge; the neighbours’ questions should be addressed up front. The document should be prominently posted on their front door to ensure successful discovery. Don’t want that thing getting lost.

Payment may be made to anonymous location in / around building if discretion is sought.

The *bump*TXT

Epidemic. That is the official word that The Guide has adopted to describe texting on the slick April streets of the city. Even with umbrellas and suitcases in hand they *clickity clickity clack*. Send –>

Of course, dear reader, The Guide must text from in the field in order to provide regular updates to the head office. However, we are quite careful to put the device down whilst in intersections, and frequent gazes up ensure that never has a collision occurred. Yet, reciprocation from others cannot, it seems, be expected. So how can we deal with this?

Allow me to suggest a simple sign worn at the back, attached around the neck. A customized t-shirt is an advanced option, but only for those living in problem areas. The text around this sign should be simple and direct (keep in mind the attention span), something akin to, “Mby U try look up frm fon, dildo!”

To employ the message, simply walk a short distance in front of the offending party and come to a sudden stop. Again, we are gentlemen, so ensure that had they been aware of their surroundings they would have had ample time to stop or go around. But presumably they won’t be and they’ll get a face-full of in-your-face.

The message may be changed, of course. The key is to include “dildo”, at least once. That is the crux of the message to be communicated. And don’t be afraid to cut out vowels left right and center; the window of attention will be brief so we must try to get through as quickly as possible.

If the offending party is cute, you could try wearing a nicer sign on your front and physically connecting in that way. Have fun with it; practical gentlemen need not be stuffy gentlemen!

And thus, dear reader, I leave you in the clutches of blooms and April swoons. This is the time to practice our skills as soon the promenades will be full of insolence of all manner. Take it to the streets, as they say. :) And I shall try to be less absent in the future. Unless my neighbours discover the source of those bills. :(

2 Comments on “ The Practical Gentleman’s Guide to Urban Insolence, no.10 ”

  • Grace
    April 8th, 2010 9:09 am

    Re: feets on seats – it appears that in NYC taking up more than one seat with either feets or other things will get you removed from the the train/bus and a ticket will be issued. Unfortunately due to the current financial fiasco people who exhibit this behavior at 3 AM in an empty subway car will also fall prey to these well meant but often misapplied regulations. I wonder how they are dealing with fat people?

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  • Patrick
    April 9th, 2010 2:57 am

    Haha! People who physically require two seats don't bother me, Grace. It's the people who make the conscious decision to, essentially, smear whatever they stepped in onto my clothes. It's almost punch-worthy rudeness, if you ask me.

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