Why peole wont sit next to me on Bart

I am a tall black male weighing around 215lbs. I find that even when there is a free seat next to me on a packed bart train I am always the last option to sit next to. I carry myself very well, am polite and dont play my ipod at obnoxious levels. Most importantly I exercise good hygiene. Are people scared of me? Why does this constantly happen to me? Im in my mid 20s and am just baffled by this! I think its because people see the news and equate every young black male as violent rude and dangerous.A classic case of some bad apples ruining the bunch but If you would sit next to me-you would realize I am everything but!! Thank you fellow bart riders!


Hey, wait just a gosh darned minute.
You couldn't possibly be the.........
"Fuck it, I'd rather stand than sit next to him" guy.
You can't be that guy because I'm that guy!
It's funny, I'm not Andre The Giant. And, I don't smell either. And I'm polite.
Dude, maybe we should just come to terms with the fact that people hate US! And that's OKAY!!!
Say it with me now.....
"People hate me, and gosh darnnit, I'm okay with that!"
Finally I can feel my BART seat lonliness subsidding because people hate you too!
For what it's worth........

Instead of wondering if no one likes you because of your size or race, you should be delighted that you do not have to share a seat with ANYONE! I would love to be able to have an entire seat to myself during the commute.

Wondering is TOO strong a word I think.
Especially for a guy, like me, that has come to terms with the fact that people MIGHT hate me.
I don't waste too many concious thoughts WONDERING why it is people would rather stand than kick it next to me. I really could care less than two cat turds.
It's just one of those things......
"Things that make you go Hhmmm?"
Plus, I didn't want druski to feel so all alone.

I almost forgot the most relevant part of this post........
(at least mostly not.........er hopefully)

For what it's worth.......

Maybe you just take up too much space and nobody wants to shoehorn themselves into to seat next to you.

Please. People shoehorn themselves in EVERYWHERE on BART.

Druski, when have you observed two strangers striking up a conversation on a crowded BART train? Most people "tune out" when they get on the train. Seems they make an effort to decompress from their work days by not making eye contact with anyone, let alone conversation.

Keep your seat, and as the other poster said, enjoy not having to sit next to someone.

That's kind of what I meant when I said I was polite.
I'm polite, as in .........er
Jeez..I won the Mr. Nice Guy Award in the 6th grade for pete's sake.
I don't hog the lovely seat.
I don't "Spread 'Em Wide".
I don't even really speak. Just the polite hello nod and an occasional "bless you" after someone sneezes.
It's not me.....really...IT'S NOT ME!!!
And i'm pretty sure it's not because I'm black.

er......."What's the frequency Kenneth?"

For what it's worth.......

Enjoy you're open seat! It happens to me too. Don't stress.

-M. Delgado

Oh alright.......
Thanks for taking all the fun out of complaining and self loathing.
I'm deleting you from my Pity Party invite list.


Well- the comments pretty much speak for themselves- Its too bad in this Day and age that I have to just accept it. When will we as human beings accept each other for what we are.
And I'll forever save a seat for you!!

Thank you

And no I dont take up the whole seat!!

I find that I am also one of the last options to sit by, and I'm a clean-cut average build professional guy... I actually kind of enjoy/appreciate having the extra space.

Every few days, the same gigantic woman ends up sitting next to me at Pleasant Hill station, and it is excruciating having her oversized arms and thighs pressed up against me. It's days like that I wish I could develop rancid gas or some other deplorable social habit to make her leave.

I, too, appreciate the extra room and rather no one sit beside me. I have a commute of over an hour on the same train and when someone gets on downtown SF sits next to me, but doesn't move when seats are free, boy, it is hard on my back. Sometimes I have to say excuse me and tell them I have to stand up or move because my body hurts. Appreciate the extra space when you can. And to the original poster, I assure you it's not race. My husband is a big white guy, bald head, goatee, etc...you get it, but nobody likes to sit next to him either (which he doesn't mind) except black women. Now that's funny.

I have a little list of rules I run though when I get on the train. notice no gender or race preferences:

1. empty seat. not that it ever stays empty. but it seems polite to do this first
2. co-worker. same rank as above
3. regular rider. someone I see on the 2nd car from the end every day. you know who you are
4. a small woman / man for more elbow room, flops with above depending on my mood
5. anyone who is not reading a paper. I'm short enough I tend to get whacked in the nose.
6. anyone who seems to mostly be keeping to their own space, including people with excess baggage, carried and otherwise
7. anyone who is not overtly dirty or smelly
8. any open seat that isn't going to be a problem to get the person to move
9. stand

so don't feel bad for being right above the smelly guy. Nothing personal, it's just easier this way.

Have you ever noticed that you may be alone in a car and someone boards and inevitably sits next or very close to you? Drives me nuts.

Yeah, that's really creepy. Someone posted a video link on this site showing a guy doing just that. He was mastubating and sat down next to a woman when there several vacant seats in the train car.

I want this guy to be my new best friend. Maybe then the bill collectors will stop bugging me, and people will get the point of the sign by my front door "No Solicitors."

Then again, I'm old, cranky, and just don't give a crap what people think of me. Since I am still in my (late) 40's my adage is not to trust people under 40; as 50 approaches I wonder if I'll trust anyone under that age.

youth is wasted on the young, and old age and trechery will overcome youth and skill.

Stop breaking wind and maybe someone would sit next to you. I often find that if I hold my farts in people will sit near me. Also, stop eating Mexican, the less beans the better.

Doyle Dishower

you should be happy those crackers dont want to sit next to you. they're annoying.

It's not that there is anything wrong with you it's the fact that you occupy so much space. Have pity on the 100 pound female office worker, suffering in her dress shoes all day she can't reach the bars overhead but when she finally gets an open seat she's guarenteed a wingman every time she sits.

I dont take up that much space. As ive said before my 215lbs is spread evenly across my 6"4 frame- The seats were designed to sit a man of my size as when I do look to see if Im accidently taking up the seat next to me- Im not. In fact There is enough space for a 300lbs man to sit next to me.

Well living in the city in very close proximity to the Fillmore and Western Addition I'd have to say that it's the other way around for young black men in their 20s. It's the bunch ruining the few good apples.

You are right about the few ruining the bunch - however you cant just live your life assuming that we are all like that! Its not fair to people like myself and your doing your self the injustice of not broadening your horizons- learn to tell the good away from the bad and I'll save a seat just for you-deal!

You are lucky.

I like having space and I think I somehow give off the "leave-me-alone" vibe since I'm usually chosen towards the end. I get chosen, but usually one of the last 5 seats in the car. I am also the person who always gets asked for directions first by hapless and lost tourists. I'm not sure how this all works, since these seem to be contradictory trends.

Don't suppose I don't understand the sting of getting chosen last, though. I always got chosen last or near-last when they were choosing kickball/baseball/soccer/any-sport teams in elementary school, though that was probably for good reason. I couldn't help but feel bad, even though I didn't really care which team won or if I was on it. Maybe you feel the same way about the seat.

I agree about the first choice going to a small woman or someone you know or have seen before as a seat mate. Small women are generally less stinky and space-invading than most men. People you know or have seen before also seem safer (both for danger and and space-invading and stink factors). Plus if anyone is obviously coughing or sniffling I try to stay away from any seats immediately surrounding.

I had friends who had the curse of being the people that got sat next to in empty self-seating eating establishments. They'd pick seats somewhere and inevitably some middle aged women, family with screaming children, or angst-ridden teens would sit at the booth directly next to them in the empty restaurant. I never figured out why they invited this specific curse, either.

But if you want a seat mate, I'll keep an eye out for you. I can tell you stories about being chosen last for sports teams and you can tell me about getting chosen last on BART teams. It will be fun.

Druski, you're on to something. I have also wondered why people don't sit next to me when the rest of the seats are full. And I'm white, considered handsome, clean, and well-dressed! When I find nmyself thinking about it, I usually pass it off as my being too self-conscious or paranoid. But it is fascinating to think about the decison making process that goes on with people about where to sit. Everyone has different criteria, I guess. But really, I wouldn't want many of the people I see sitting next to me anyway for a lot of reasons. I look forward to retiring so I don't have to do this anymore. In the meantime, hold on to your self-respect and integrity, that's what matters.

Has it ever occurred to any of you that the seating thing might be a matter of a person's etiquette? You guys will understand this: If there are four urinals and one man is standing at the one on the far left, which one do you use?
If there are five stalls and someone is in the second from the left, which one do you use?

Understand what I'm trying to say?

Enjoy your free seats.

I don't know if this thread is still active, but here's my question to Druski. Are you a window or aisle type of guy? If someone is on the aisle with an open window seat, I think many people would rather stand instead of engaging someone(anyone) in dialogue.

I know I kinda tend to look around for a pretty female to sit next to for the ride home... :-)

Im a window guy and quite frankly I dont understand the logic of people wanting to sit in the aisle when the window seat is free on a packed train! Sure I understand it on an empty train but its just plain rude to me when people sit in the aisle when there's a window seat on a packed train!And if your argumentis that your stop is coming up, then vacate the seat and stand near the doors! Whatever happend to etiquette?

Schleprock's picture

Exactly! Who are these douche bags who sit on the aisles like that? All I can think of is what a (bad word) you are for having your fat ass sitting right on the edge like that. I agree...stand next to the doors and wait for your stop...get some manners or get off.

I don't understand the mentality of the aisle seater either, but i have found that you don't need to engage in any conversation to get them to move. i just walk up fairly close to them and make a hand gesture in the direction of the empty window seat. i don't even need to make eye contact in most cases. the aisle person always jumps right up and lets me through or scoots over.

I pay for my ticket so I'll sit where I want. Aisles are nice.


Women are weird on bart, they only sit next to other women. Even if the guy is totally unthreatening they freak out!

That's because they can see the guy's invisible horns.

People sit in the aisles I assume because they dont want to be bothered and having to be asked to move over. How many times have you seen someone ask another to move over to the window so they can sit down?

BARTsurfer's picture

Personal experience? I'm one of the last options too. I can't say that it's race or size. I WOULD theorize that it's sex. Guys don't usually want to sit with another guy if given a choice, and women tend to do the same due to stereotyping men riding public transit (perverts copping a feel on a crowded train, etc.) or they're, for a lack of a better word, dykes. And I don't mean to use that as a condescending, sexist remark. Since one of the greatest crimes in the evolution of the English language is the ommission of a word that is equivalant to mysogynist, what other word is there? But I digress.

For me, I think it's equal footing on the race issue. As I've grown older, I feel like I'm being judged as a mini George Bush since I'm not a gen-y twenty something white "guy". Who the hell would want to sit next to that? Save Ted Nugent. Probably as many as those that would stereotype you for being black and the liabilites that that may seem to include.

215 isn't much bigger than I am (195). So size MAY be the issue as we share the same silver lining phenomona. But it isn't like we're so big we take up a seat and a half! I have a hunch it's nothing more than the fact that we're males.

boopiejones's picture

i usually sit in the quad seats. today (and many other occasions) went like this: i was all alone in a quad seat - no one in any of the other three seats - for about 90% of the ride. the entire train fills up except for the three seats by me.

a guy about my age (30ish) finally breaks down and takes the seat diagonal from me. as he is approaching he has this look on his face that says: "what's wrong with this dude? why is there such a large buffer around him? does he smell bad? no. hmmm... maybe he'll try to grope me? he looks normal, but something must be wrong with him. there are even old ladies that are electing to stand rather than sit across from him. i must proceed with caution."

at this point there are about 5 people standing by the door, but none of them go for the two remaining empty seats. eventually two people take the seats, but only after about 3 stops with an otherwise standing room only train.

this happens to me quite a bit, and i can't figure it out. wouldn't normally care, except it kinda makes me self conscious and i start going through all the possibilities in my head: did i forget deoderant today? is there a booger hanging out of my nose? is my fly unzipped? etc.

Schleprock's picture

I'm dying to be a fly on the wall for this ride on BART! Some people get the creeps from the BART seats so it may not even be you at all...it's probably just a weird coincedence. Unless something smells like pee or worse most people will go ahead and sit.

Ok- I can understand the stigma of males not liking to sit with other males. However why is it that I am 90% of the time the last person.
I hate to sound like im complaining-its just fascinating, mind boggling and ridiculous at the same time!!
It feels weird being the boogey man!
I guess thats the better of the two extremes though!!