Ass-aulted: Winning the Airline Seat “Butt Battle”
Don’t you wish flying was as easy as this?
Relaxing in comfort. Plenty of leg room. Nobody touching you.
Well, it’s not.
Air travel is multiple hours of torture. It’s being squeezed by a vise, with the screws twisting just enough to mash every inch of ass fat into an area the size of a shoebox.
And things are getting worse.
Years ago, scientists performed a study on chimpanzees. In one sample, the chimps were given plenty of space and resources. The chimps all got along well. But the chimps in the second sample were crowded into smaller cages and provided only limited resources. Those chimps became hostile and even turned violent.
We airline passengers have basically been reduced to rabid flying chimpanzees, forced to battle over pillows, peanuts, overhead bin space, and the most precious of all commodities when twisted into an odd physical contortion for several hours.
What’s the most precious commodity of all, you ask?
You’re looking upon the sacred territory we’re about to wage war over for the next few hours. It’s the dreaded middle seat on a long commercial flight. It is to airplanes what the West Bank is to the Middle East.
The middle seat.
This is the condemned parcel of real estate on airplanes left to the losers. The underprivileged who get funneled into the middle seats either lack frequent flier status or are too cheap to spend a few extra bucks on priority boarding. Or, they reach the departure gate too late and now are left with what amounts to the scraps of airline seating.
If you boarded earlier and you’ve already locked up either the highly-preferable window or aisle seats, you glare at those miserable clodhoppers coming down the center aisle late, praying they’ll just walk on by and pass up your row. You’re thinking, “go sit somewhere else,” while trying to beam off your best Charles Manson death stare.
Indeed, having the middle seat free is almost like getting upgraded to first class. Otherwise, you’re sardined into a tight row pressed against total strangers. You won’t be able to move arms and legs for hours. Say goodbye to your circulation.
Look at this toad.
I thought I’d get my faux “upgrade” on yesterday’s flight from West Palm Beach to Philadelphia. It appeared the middle seat next to me would stay vacant. I could then stretch out and place my reading material given the extra space. But at the last second, this lizard arrived on board and buckled his ass into the neutral territory.
Just to make things a bit easier to comprehend, here’s the man’s ass (see photo below). He’s got to squeeze into a space of about 24 inches.
Houston, we have a problem.
What happens when a man with a 42-inch waist wedges into the middle seat?
It creates a ripple effect.
The other two asses on both sides get inched over. Trouble is, there’s no more seat territory.
The two other asses on my row are: (1) ME, stuck in the window seat, and (2) GRANDMA, a 70-something blue hair who’s plopped into the aisle seat.
Here — take a closer look at Grandma. Now, imagine how peaceful our flight would have been without the toad coming and packing his ass into the middle seat. You can also see that Grandma’s packing her own heavy load.
The flight takes off late. We sit at the gate for 20 minutes and then wait on the runway for half an hour. During that time, everyone’s underwear apparently has wiggled its way up into a part of the body where it doesn’t belong, and by the time wheels are up, half the plane is jitterbugging in their seats.
Meanwhile, the rube’s pork shank is pressed against mine. And I can’t possibly move any further to my left unless I want to weld myself to the fuselage. So, it’s pork shank to pork shank for the duration of the flight. Man flesh to man flesh. The disturbing part is — I don’t know whether to be revolted by touching strange man for the next three hours, or be turned on by it.
Excuse me, Sir. Would you mind getting your ass off my lap? I don’t think us flying together should allow me to calculate the pulse rate of the person I’m sitting next to.
Accordingly, I hereby declare a new unwritten “man law.” When two men have pork shanks pressed together, the ass stuck in the middle seat has an obligation to try and steal a few inches of real estate from the person on the other side. I don’t care who it is, unless of course it’s another man. If that’s the case, the three of you might as well accept the fact you’re now in a flying bathhouse.
But the toad and I have an easy target. Grandma is completely defenseless. Man in the middle seat could easily inch over and take up some of Grandma’s territory. It won’t matter if she loses a couple of inches off her seat. She’s probably already got such poor circulation in her extremities, that if you squeeze her out of an inch or two, she won’t even know the difference. So, buttcheck Grandma into the aisle, or we’re going to be puckering pals for the next 2,000 miles.
Naturally, the man in the middle seat can’t figure any of this out. By the time we’re soaring over Georgia, the entire left side of my body is tingling. Above Maryland, I can no longer feel my right leg. It’s completely asleep. When we finally land in Philadelphia, get off the plane and stumble down the jet way like The Elephant Man.
I’ve never been so glad to land in the hell called “Philadelphia” in my life.
I resist the temptation to ask the toad if it was as good for him, as it was for me.
HOW TO WIN THE AIRLINE SEAT “BUTT BATTLE.”
Note: Tips apply to Southwest Airlines and other carriers with an “open seating” policy.
(1) Always board the aircraft as early as possible and then lock up either — an aisle seat (first choice) or a window seat (second choice).
(2) Once seated, open up a daily newspaper as widely as possible. You want to take up lots of space and look like a total jackass, so no one will dare want to sit next to you. Another option is to read and openly display the magazine cover of something like Guns and Ammo. However, this option does not apply to the South as it will actually make you a more desirable seat companion. Other options include pretending to be on the cell phone and using profanity or an occasional racial epithet. While doing this, be sure and give oncoming passengers the death stare.
(3) If steps 1-2 fail and it’s a full flight, try and coax smaller people into your row (but not kids). Otherwise when larger-size people approach, puff your chest and stomach out like a peacock spreading it feathers to look as big as possible. You want to ward off the other big people.
(4) If you’re unlucky and get seated next to a large person, try to wiggle an extra inch or so from their territory — in advance. This is called “a preemptive strike.” This travel insurance for your ass. That way, if the large person oafs his way into your seat later — as he most certainly will — you can just surrender back his original inch, which means you’ve lost no territory. Sort of like Israel giving back the Sinai after the Six-Day War.
(5) If two straight men are strapped in together, anything goes so far as invading the territory of an unsuspecting third passenger. You may resort to any means necessary to create proper airspace between the two male pork shanks.
(6) If an attractive female is coming down the center aisle and eyes the middle seat next to you, reverse all steps 1-5 above.
(7) If available, stuff pillows or blankets in between the pork shanks to create proper male-male separation.
(8) If middle seat passenger is sick or has body odor, request a seat change immediately. Then, look for available middle seats flanked by — women, old people, or Asians.
(9) If you know it’s a full flight in advance, go all the way to the back row and take the window seat. Not the aisle seat. Otherwise, you will have strangers’ asses in your face the next four hours because you’re positioned next to the restroom. If any middle seats remain empty, they’re likely to be on one the last few rows since latecomers will accept their misfortune and take seats way before reaching the very final option — which is the last row.
(10) If steps 1-9 fail, close your eyes and pretend that the thigh pressing against you belongs to Salma Hayek.