Class-based Car Seating

I’m not working class but men always sit in the front. They have longer legs, so it’s more comfortable. I had no idea anybody did it differently or that there was a class component involved.

6 thoughts on “Class-based Car Seating

  1. Clarissa ! In 1983 cars here in the US were much bigger than today, especially US made cars which were still dominant in the market. Being middle class teachers, my wife and I always sat together when traveling by car with friends. Even when my brother bought a Volkswagen Beetle in 1962, we still toured around Colorado with my wife and me in the back seat, and bro and his wife in the front. However, the story back then was certainly true, as far as working class (white people) always rode with the guys in the front seat. Interestingly enough, there were virtually NO Hispanics in Colorado then. As a grad student at the University of Colorado at that time, I worked construction during the summers, as it paid so well. There were no Latino workers, period. Our construction crews were always 90% white, and 10% black, with no racial hatreds or animosity that I was ever aware of. Today 95% of all construction workers in Colorado and Arizona are Hispanic.


  2. If the car is small and cramped and my fellow passengers are a lot taller, I’ll sit in the back to save them leg room, because I am short and so my legs are shorter.

    If the car is larger, I will gladly call dibs on the front passenger seat.

    I’ve always done this—I had no idea there was a class thing.


  3. This is, or at least used to be carefully taught. Cars were already small by 1983 but I was taught it in the 60s, and it comes from earlier. If you wanted to perform an upper middle class identity you had to do this. My mother would laugh at the uncouth people who had one couple in front and another in back, and considered the cars with the men in front exotic. Now, of course, due to car size, everyone puts the men in front.


  4. I can sit in the back so long as I sit behind a woman. She just moves the seat forward to increase legroom in the back. Very uncomfortable to sit behind a man though.


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