What's your problem?



I feel I should give a personal opinion to your answers to the lady complaining about male thigh room in trains a few weeks ago. Most males find it uncomfortable to sit with their legs together, as the lady requested, and underground train-seats give the absolute minimum of space. She obviously hasn't thought about male physiology: we are not male rats or women with our reproductive organs within our abdomens. We males, like females, are not uniformly endowed, but whereas females have their bra sizes, which require no seatroom, the designers of male underwear have obviously found no answer to deal adequately with male physiology: waist sizes don't take account of the configurations of the area of the Second Chakra. Some men simply need a little more leg-room. It must be emphasised, of course, that a 90-degree span isn't really necessary.

Michael, Switzerland

He says:

Is that really true about male rats? That's the most fascinating fact I've heard all week.

She says:

Oh, come on. I can't believe that so many men are so well-endowed that they need to take up a double seat-quota. And if that were really the reason, we would all be applauding and giving up our seats voluntarily. If sitting down is so uncomfortable for all you poor souls, why don't you make a habit of standing and leaving the seats to the more neatly- designed female of the species? Also, persuasive and attractive as your theory is, it doesn't explain men's other spready propensities: grabbing both arm rests and unfurling their newspapers for yards around.


I was interested to read Keith from Dover's problem last week, about not appearing too enthusiastic about fatherhood in front of his colleagues, and found your replies rather useful from a work-related point of view. I am in a similar position to Keith and I wonder if you have any further insights to add that are more related to one's social life? I have always enjoyed going to the pub after work with my friends, but lately I have found it a very empty experience. Sitting there in a companionable fug of fag smoke (of course I've given up myself) with a brimming pint in front of me, all I can think about is how much I want to be at home with my wife and baby. But I don't want to look like a wimp who can't hack it with the lads any more.

Theo, Lancaster

He says:

You must not allow the fact that you have become a father to completely obliterate your masculine personality. It is very unlikely that this desire not to go to the pub will last the 18 years until your baby can go with you, so do not risk alienating your drinking companions. By all means cut back on the number of your visits, but when you do go, force yourself to sit it out and have a good time - you'll soon get back into the swing of it!

She says:

I'm afraid that your whingeing about whether or not you actually enjoy the pub cuts absolutely no ice with me. Where is your wife while you are sitting there agonising about wanting to be at home? Presumably stuck at home and quite possibly wishing she was in the pub. Worrying about being in the pub but not having a good time is something that many mothers would see as an unimaginable luxury.


I work in an office where there is a core of permanent staff and a number of freelance and casual people who come in at various times. These non- permanent bods have to use the desks of the permanent staff when they are available, and recently I have been getting increasingly annoyed with their behaviour. It started with small things: all my Biros would disappear. Then I would notice that someone had eaten all my Polo mints and devoured an entire pound of grapes that I had left out over the weekend. The final straw was when a book that I needed to refer to simply disappeared, and someone reconfigured my computer screen and dumped all my icons. Could you suggest some rules of etiquette for "hot-desking" that I could photocopy very large and pin up prominently in the office?

Vaughan, London SW1

He says:

I'm afraid that this boils down to more than you losing the odd packet of Polos. It is all about territory. Human beings are very territorial animals in their way, and desks are very personal places. This is a very fundamental conflict of interests: you see your desk as your own personal space and wish to keep it that way, while their natural instinct is to customise it to their own standards and obliterate your traces, in much the same way as some animals scent-mark their territories to warn others off. It is a contest that neither of you can realistically win, given your company's policy of desk-sharing.

She says:

With a bit of give and take, you can sort this out. Hot-deskers have the right to expect a reasonable amount of working space to be left for them, even if it's not possible to have entirely clear desk, so do start off on the right footing by leaving your desk tidy. Now, down to the nitty gritty. It's fine to change your computer settings as long as they change them back afterwards. It's fine to read your book as long as it is left in situ. It's fine to eat your Polos and grapes if you leave them out in full view, as long as they replace like with like, and it's certainly fine to use the company ballpoints if they are working for the company (it is not, however, fine to ferret through your desk drawers in search of edibles or equipment). Their basic tenet should be to leave everything exactly as they find it.

world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

    £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

    C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

    C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

    £60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

    Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

    £75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice