I actually tried this in the 1980s as a teen after reading about an identical experiment (I think it was in Psychology Today.) Not sure if things have gotten better now, but I remember when I tried it keeping this up for about 10 blocks in a big city (I think Philadelphia) in a business-y area. It was incredibly hard to go against all my instincts and upbringing, and I was quite shy and timid then as well. I forced myself not to step aside for anyone and I remember none of the men moving and some of them yelling at me. Can’t remember how many times I was slammed. Women got out of my way. Would be interesting to see if I get different results here in New York, but I probably won’t because walking around already has enough irritating moments.

A few times in the subway when there was a narrowed passageway that only a single line of people could get through, it was clear that one direction would have to have the right of away for a while, and then the other. I watched as a never-ending line of people came through the passageway from the other direction while I waited my turn, and I realized that unless I “rudely” shoved in front of someone I would literally be waiting there all day. Not to mention that I was the front person for my direction and people behind me were starting to get impatient. I counted as 50 people came towards me without anyone stopping to let me go and I just shoved right into the next people and pushed through them. They got irritated looks on their faces, but literally no one was ever going to let me through so I had to do it.

Linguist, philosopher, lover of history, wordhound, 21 year New Yorker, searching for meaning in the universe

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