Social Question

chyna's avatar

Is an extra wide stance a sign of dominance?

Asked by chyna (40002points) February 3rd, 2013

I know guys sit with their legs apart, but is it necessary for them to sit with their legs so wide apart that it looks like could go into a split? Is this to show dominance or is it something else?

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30 Answers

ucme's avatar

I think I read somewhere that it’s posturing, an animalistic instinct to show off ones “package”, much like the blue arsed baboon.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No. I’m secure enough I’m not sending any messages. I’m doing it right now because it’s easier to work the keyboard on my laptop.

thorninmud's avatar

It’s part of what’s called an open posture. It reflects a feeling of power and being in control of the situation.

Kardamom's avatar

Former Senator Larry Craig might be able to shed some light on this subject.

Though it never meant this in the past, after Craig’s little incident, it came to be equated with being gay. Which seems a bit silly, to me. So instead of saying that someone is a “little light in the loafers” some people say, “He has a wide stance.”

cookieman's avatar

Some of us have something impeding our ability to fully close our legs.

Sadly not me, but “some of us”.

Jeruba's avatar

Interesting Q. I’ve wondered why that is. In a narrow space such as an airplane seat or a seat in a theater or on a bus, what makes some guys think they’re entitled to spread out into half the space of the person on each side of them? Guys, do you do this consciously, and if not, would you pull in if the person you’re crowding requested it?

@chyna, I hope you don’t mind my adding this question to your thread. It seems to me to tie in.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I figure they’re incontinent and need to air out their pee pads.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@thorninmud Very interesting. By contrast, so many women have what might be called a “closed posture”—slouching, crossed legs (sometimes doubly crossed, at the knees and again at the ankles), and covering the torso by gripping each elbow with the opposite hand. It’s as if some women try to fold in on themselves and disappear. Or, put less dramatically, it’s a very appeasing stance.

josie's avatar

It’s more comfortable than squeezing the knees. Do people really believe it means more than that? What a world.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’ve never even noticed.

chyna's avatar

@Jeruba Good addition to the question.

glacial's avatar

@ucme You may be on to something there. I know that when I see a guy sit with his legs wide open, I automatically think “He certainly looks like a blue-arsed baboon.” Especially if it is in a situation like @Jeruba describes, though not necessarily.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s much easier to fight off unwanted, unplanned erections, with knees pointed to opposite poles, 90 degrees. At 45 degrees, it’s a toss up, never know when one of those nasty buggars might pop up unexpectedly. Pointing both knees in same direction for prolonged periods of time, especially amidst slightly low humming warm vibrational events (like train rides), and I assure you someone’s going to have embarrassingly rosy cheeks soon thereafter.

rojo's avatar

Either that or a bad case of crotchrot.

zensky's avatar


tom_g's avatar

two things:

1. If you’re over 6 feet tall, you’re likely to find yourself sitting in furniture made for little people. This lowers your but and your knees are higher than your lap. When this happens, you’ll either have to use a tremendous amount of muscle to keep your legs together (without hurting your lower back), or just let those legs fall apart.

2. Ummm, it crushes all of those sensitive parts to squeeze the legs together. Right? I’m an average(ish) weight guy, and I find it terribly uncomfortable (and unnecessary) to crush stuff for no reason.

dabbler's avatar

It’s a sign of tight pants. Stupid fashion.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I was just sitting alone at the kitchen table in my own house wearing long underwear and jeans. I reread this question I noticed my knees were about 1 foot apart. When I tried to close them, the scissor action squeezed my bits in an action not unlike a nut cracker on walnuts. I am now sitting with my knees one foot apart again – “displaying dominance” to no one but myself.

mattbrowne's avatar

Could be hydrocele testis.

dabbler's avatar

Depending on the guy’s anatomy he may be able to close the legs IF he’s reached down and hoisted his bits above the clamp level. But that hoisting thing is not well received most public places except rap perfomance and football games.
The default level of the naughty bits is unfortunately right where the legs come together.

glacial's avatar

@LuckyGuy Perhaps, but would you do this on a crowded bus? I don’t think so, and I don’t think it would require physical pressure from your immediate neighbours to either side. I think the self-control is there when it’s wanted.

tom_g's avatar

Fascinating question. I’d like to add to my first comment by asking how many people who view it as an offensive or powerful stance are taller than 6 feet? And what do you do with your junk? I mean, where does it go? Do you have some secret junk-shifting move that you can do in public?

Jeruba's avatar

You know…it takes a certain amount of muscular tension to keep your legs together when sitting. So understandably it’s more comfortable to let them spread. Girls learn to keep their legs together for reasons of modesty. Guys apparently don’t learn the same practice for reasons of courtesy.

I don’t know how it is for young people now, but I think young women used to take it for granted that a lot of choices they made for the sake of propriety, custom, fashion, and personal attractiveness were going to involve some discomfort. High heels. Bras. Remember girdles? We used to sleep on rollers, for goodness’ sake.

In contrast, I think young men tended to assume that comfort was their natural-born right, and if something was uncomfortable they didn’t have to do it. Such as tucking their knees in if they were taking up half the space allotted to the person next to them.

Maybe that part hasn’t changed.

Or am I wrong?

glacial's avatar

@Jeruba Well put. That is the way I have seen it as well. I am interested to hear the responses to your comment.

augustlan's avatar

What an interesting question, and some really good answers, too. @LuckyGuy I wouldn’t consider having your knees about a foot apart to be a very wide stance. Your legs would likely still be mostly in your own personal space, and I have a feeling that if your leg brushed up against the stranger in the seat next to you, you’d pull it back in out of courtesy.

I do feel for the tall guys…my husband is 6’2”, and probably does have to squeeze himself into uncomfortable positions sometimes. Still, in small spaces, he does keep his body parts to himself.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Jeruba Here here!! You put it so well.
I ride the subway every weekday and when this happens it is very annoying! It means that for no good reason I am forced to A)Forego sitting down because the man is taking up more than his fair share of space B) Sit down and deal with unwanted intimacy C)Sit down and hope he is considerate enough to reposition himself with or without being asked to I would never ask because it would be too awkward, although I suppose I might say excuse me in extreme cases

chyna's avatar

I think anything more than a 1 foot stance means the guy is wearing his pants too tight or he has a huge package, or he thinks way to highly of himself. Either way, he is being very selfish and I think @Jeruba hit it on the head too, so to speak.

cookieman's avatar

@chyna: Could you say “huge package” again… slowly?

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