Etiquette: A code of behaviour that delineates expectations for social behaviour according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class or group. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
To me etiquette means so much more, especially Tube etiquette.
I like to think of the Tube as a big dinner table and we (the commuters) are the guests. Like any dinner party, there are certain ways that one must and must not act.
Rules of Tube Etiquette:
1) It’s always a touchy issue when you see someone ‘large-ish’ on the Tube and think to yourself… ‘Are they pregnant?’
By offering them your seat you may run the risk of unintentionally offending them but if you don’t offer them your seat they will assume that you were raised by an unruly pack of wolves. This, simply put, equates to ETIQUETTE HELL. My theory is to offer them your seat regardless and if they don’t end up being pregnant, just smile and say ‘I’m getting off at the next stop anyway!’
2) I never really understand why people have head phones on when they are only going to have their music on the highest possible volume! If I wanted to listen to music rest assured I too would have my ear phones blaring! But unless it’s ‘I Would Do Anything For Love’ by Meatloaf, I don’t want to hear it- so TURN IT DOWN!
3) Chewing Gum is a great idea! However chewing gum like you are a cow in a field- not so much! Chewing with your mouth closed is the polite and proper thing to do… no we don’t want to see your tonsils, no we don’t want to see your fillings and NO we don’t want to see you blow gum bubbles!
4) Reading the correct sized newspaper.. and yes there is a correct size! We’ve all been there, whether its sitting in a seat or standing up during rush hour.. someone passing the time whilst reading the most massive broadsheet newspaper, all the while it’s smacking you in the face or resting on your arm. I have one thing to say to these people… read Australian Times and avoid making people feel like they are a fly being swatted.
When I was asked to be godmother to my little cousin Louis, I remember being told that my role would include things such as guidance, support and teaching the important stuff like shouting your mates a beer at the pub and helping little old ladies cross the street.
So at the same time, there are many other fundamental rules of etiquette that should also be included under Tube Etiquette:
5) Waking sleeping people up as everyone else leaves the carriage once the train has terminated is also a very kind gesture. A small nudge on the shoulder or yelling in their ear usually does the job – you choose which.
6) And most importantly, when offered the opportunity to become the ‘shoulder pillow’ you never thought you could be — accept it. Because let’s face it, no one wants to be a human bobble head in public!
Now, there’s nothing Disney about me but I do think these simple rules of etiquette will make that small difference to people’s overall Tube experience.
Maybe next time you’re at the ‘dinner table’ remember a few of these simple rules and transform yourself from ladette into lady!
Read more: Testiquette (Tube Escalator Ettiquite) and putting the wow back into London