I did contemplate adding this in the being female in public thread but that thread is already full of bullshit being male while *.
Hopefully this is not more bullshit.
Background: Today I had to travel somewhere by train for work, this meant catching a bus first, something I don't do often. I cover only the bus journey because the train journey is boring, it was not my money so I was in first class with a pre-booked solo seat. Inspired by tyrannosaurusbataars post I decided to pay attention to the stuff I was doing and why.
First, I don't actually know how much the bus fare is, so I let the two old ladies who had been stood waiting with me go on first. The driver looks annoyed that I do not have the correct change after telling me the price, he gives me an IOU to redeem when I get off.
The bus looks fairly full no fully empty seats, I'll have to sit next to someone. I'd prefer a woman because they smell nicer. I rule out the old women, too chatty which leaves me with two likely candidates one woman about my age wearing smart business clothes fiddling in her bag, one not long out of school by the looks of it wearing what look like everyday clothes staring out of the window with earphones in, the noise will likely be irritating. There's a kid in school uniform behind her sitting with his back to the window and legs up on the seats, he's staring at me. I head for the businesswoman, it's less likely to cause drama, but once I'm close the smell of her perfume is pretty overpowering so I carry on past her and ask the younger woman if the seat next to her is free, she shrugs and I sit down. From here I can see that the businesswoman was fiddling with a cigarette in her bag, heavy perfume plus fag ash would not have made for a pleasant journey, bullet dodged.
I get my kindle out and start reading, after a while I notice that I cannot hear the expected tinny-scratchy whispering from my companions earphones. I try to surreptitiously glance over to see what brand they are, hopefully without seeming like some sort of ear fetishist. They are just cheap earbuds, she is not listening to any music, boy behind us is staring daggers at me, not sure I like having him there, might move him. Go back to book.
The little bugger is kicking the back of my chair, told him to stop, might have done a bit of looming. He did.
Read until we got in to the station. Stood to let my companion out, she does in fact smell very nice this close, some sort of herbal shampoo I think. Sat back down and let everyone off ahead of me. Handed my IOU to the driver who looked unhappy but eventually produced change.
The rest is just a half mile or so walk to the train station and several hours of relative comfort.
Now probably a bit of the difference between the two accounts can be down to a rural British bus service as against an urban US mass transit system. Quite a lot, probably most, of the difference between a journey where the main concerns are petty annoyances as against one where the journey is conducted in a state of dread, must simply be down to the different expectations and experiences of the genders.