The Tomato

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Male population still remains oblivious to social phenomenon

Photo: Rémi Yuan

An unidentified offender known as the “uOttawa man-spreader” has been raising hairs and turning stomachs all around the University of Ottawa campus.

The serial space occupier has been known to settle down, spread out his legs, and prominently display his manhood with no regard for the fellow sitters in his proximity.

This individual’s behaviour has been dubbed inappropriate, distracting, disgusting, and utterly offensive by many female students around campus.

Jennifer Bennett, a third-year law student, was riding the bus on her way to Campus station when she first made contact with the subject.

“I wasn’t paying attention. I had my music on and was reading a book. He slid into the seat next to mine and spread his legs. His thigh overlapped my seat. Our legs were touching. It was really gross.”

For Kim Slider, a first-year engineer, it happened at Morisset Library.

“I was trying to study. He chose an empty couch across from me and sat down. His pants were so tight, and he spread his legs so far, I couldn’t help but stare.”

Following months of awkward and frustrating encounters with the anonymous man-spreader, female students are petitioning for tighter seating rules around campus and elsewhere in the city.

The #stopthespread campaign is taking social media by storm, at least among female students. Males at the U of O appear to have no conception of what the fuss is about.

“I’ve seen all these tweets about this guy, but I don’t get it,” Brian Splits, a second-year communication student, told the Tomato. “To me, that’s just a dude sitting down.”

In response to this wide-spread male obliviousness, female students held a demonstration at the University Centre on Monday afternoon to educate their fellow students about the impact that man-spreading is having on their lives.

Dr. David Bowler, head researcher at the Man Angle Institute at the U of O, spoke at the event. After months of exhaustive research, he and his team say they have found an explanation for this phenomenon.

Dr. Bowler’s team concluded that man-spreaders have been a problem in the human race for centuries. To ensure the preservation of the species, some men throughout the ages have felt an inherent need to find a nesting place for their testicles. Driven by this need, they have spread far and wide, causing mayhem for the opposite sex.

“Many times the man-spreader is not aware of what they are doing,” said Dr. Bowler. “It is not intended as an offensive gesture, but one of preservation. Because the need for ball preservation is much more dormant in the average male than it is in a man-spreader, the act of man-spreading is not as easily observed by them.”

Despite the work of people like Dr. Bowler and student activists, the U of O’s serial man-spreader may strike again at any time and any place on campus. As such, students should remain vigilant, if not utterly terrified.