Man spreading was an issue that was brought to awareness before. When men sit with their legs spread out far apart and take up too much room on subways making it difficult to find a place to sit. Man spreading was just making others uncomfortable for a man to be sitting so exposed in the first place. Now it’s gone to winter spreading. Everyone takes off all of their winter garments when they go into restaurants, bar, a car and taking up too much room. So what’s the discussion all about?
I experienced this recently at the laundry mat. A young couple was reduced to sitting on the cold concrete floor uncomfortably in weather that was in the teens just a few feet from the door. While the man with the only two available seats next to him had a newspaper on one chair and his winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves on the other chair. Spreading has not been the norm but it’s become the norm for some people. Stop making everyone around you deal with your items all over the place. If you are carrying too many items that you need to take up space where another person could sit you are winter spreading. Maybe the idea is to leave some of it at home. But even a homeless person knows not to take up too much room and encroach their belongings into someone else’s space.
It’s not that the man couldn’t see the young couple they were no more than ten feet right in front of him. He seemed to set there with a sort of entitlement as if his belongings were more worthy of the position of taking up the space of two chairs where two human beings could sit. Restaurants and bars are complaining most about the phenomenon. Rather than placing your coat on the back of their chair or on the table with them and are taking up the extra chair space with their own belongings making the chairs unusable for patrons who are there to dine or sit at the bar.
In the case of fast food all manners probably go right out the window. But some manner of decorum is still needed. Not all places you will venture into will have a coat check. It goes without saying that you should still keep your items to you not with everyone else.
Moms with babies is probably the only time winter-spreading becomes a non-issue. A new mom has many things she needs to keep within reach for the baby. Baby will need at some point blanket, diapers, a bottle, winter outdoor clothing, items for cleanup. Plus the new mom has all of her normal and maybe not so normal items she may need .
Check your coat when you go into a restaurant or bar if they have one. Your coats are hung up by a coat check and when your meal is over you can retrieve it. Taking your coat off and putting in an empty seat beside you is not the thing to do whether you are in a place of fine dining or a diner. It is table and restaurant etiquette and a mild manner that often goes unchecked. When you are with friends or on a date a nice thing to do is to help someone on with their coat or jacket who may be struggling. This is a nice pleasantry even when there is no struggle taking place. Proper manners when dining out and depending on the type of restaurant, would be to not bring your coat to the table. It’s a hazard for the wait staff and bussers. Not removing your coat at the table will leave for not knocking over drinks or anything off the table, your table or other people dining next to you. Your space is not other people’s space it but a certain amount of grace not perfection is nice.