“A gentlemen never crosses his leg.” Martin Scorcese
“JFK was taught to sit with his legs crossed because it exhibited composure.” JFK Cabinet Member
While I was growing up, you saw some who did and others who didn’t. You saw those who cross at the ankle and those who cross at the knee. The former is considered more manly, while the latter is considered more feminine.
Sometimes it felt like this issue crossed everything from culture, financial, age, sexual, and comfort lines. You see businessmen do it, but not construction workers. You see older men do it much more than younger men. You see gay men do it more than straight men. You see some ethnicities/races do it more than others. So confusing!!!!!
While I was growing up, I was never told that I should sit this way or another. But, taking the train everyday and attending quote unquote “cultured” events and family functions, you notice how most girls/guys sit. And at every setting I got even more confused. Sometimes you saw the most “macho” men sit like a “girl” and others who refused to ever sit like that and looked at you strange if you did.
So one day I decided to try it at out of all places a party for my friend Jenny. I was dressed in my usual stylistic attire (what a bragger) and my friend David called me out on it after a few minutes. He said: “Stop sitting like a girl.” All the other guys repeated the same thing. I resisted there notion despite the fact that I changed my leg stance within 15 seconds so it did affect me somehow. The other day, my boy Bryan said he saw someone sitting like that but couldn’t remember. He then went: “Oh S***, it was you. You Latinos love crossing your legs.” I started laughing.
Throughout the next week, I went home and sat in front of the mirror (really) a few times and sat with my knee over knee and immediately thought it looked feminine. I guess because I was so used to seeing women dominate that position. So I decided to ask girls about it – I asked some of my female friends who all happen to be Latina and Black and they said they would never date a guy who “sat like a girl with his knee over the other.” I asked my girlfriend: “I’m not a big fan of it” she said. They thought it looked “gay.” But how can the way you sit determine your sexual orientation? I felt like Kanye and how people relate what he wears to his sexual preference. Next day, I went to work and asked some white women the same question and out of 6, I’d say one had a problem with a man sitting that way.
Alot of what I heard from women whether they didn’t mind it or did is: “How can it be comfortable to sit like that? Doesn’t your man region get squeezed?” That was my main complaint from sitting that way the first time I did it. But, I’ve had knee problems all my life (basketball career) and sitting ankle over knee bothers me for some reason. I’m much more comfortable in the knee over knee position. I just noticed I used the word comfortable; isn’t that the whole point of this at the end of the day? Isn’t it about how comfortable you feel whether you are black, white, yellow, 40, 80, gay, straight?
So i’ll be honest – I’m still fairly conscious of this. I tend to sit like this more often when I’m dressed up than casual. When I’m in Mezlan’s instead of Air Max’s. On the train, I find myself sitting knee over knee when there’s barely anyone in there and ankle on knee when its packed. I’m a punk – I know. It goes to show you how powerful general opinion can be when “you” let it affect your actions.
I guess there’s just too many rules. Its cool for Barack to sit that way, but not Joe the plumber. Its cool for a guy from Paris to sit that way, but not a bloke from Manchester. Rules, rules, rules…just follow your own.
I’m still working on blocking everyone’s opinion out of my mind when it comes to this. I hope one day I’ll be man enough to not give a hoot about what everyone else thinks, but only care about what works for me and not for others. For God sakes, my dad sits like that and he’s pretty much the blueprint to everything I do and is a man’s man.
Well, i’m not here trying to make leg crossing cool. Actually, I kind of am. It’s just about time it didn’t make people do double takes or think any different of you. But you and I both know that day will never come…