OK enough is enough, for two days in a row I have finally got a seat after standing for a while on the tube only to be immediately faced with the dilemma of a potentially pregnant women standing in front of me. And almost seconds after I have just got the seat!
I say potentially, and loosely, because, seriously how do you tell? Is it how they stand, how they hold themselves,are they just fat, is it just a bit of a belly? Well no one else is standing for them, so why should I. Especially when for the most part the sitting people are always men: men who absorb themselves in a newspaper, their phone, i-phone, or close their eyes, being oblivious to the fact that women are on the tube, or anyone else for that matter at all.
However, back to the question how do you tell for sure and what is the etiquette behind it? How exactly do you ask? Would they be offended? What do you do if they are offended?
Do you just casually stand and ask if they would like the seat? This is probably the best approach as then no real harm can be done, you didn't say anything damaging. Even better to stand up not say a word then have them sit down. If you do say something, most likely in that case they'd say yes and just take the seat offered.
However, as women, and I most definitely would do this, they would then start thinking, "why is that woman, when I am a woman offering me her seat?" Automatically following that you'd be thinking...."oh my god she thinks I am pregnant...oh crap back the gym it is!".
So then, you'd be standing, they would be sitting and they would be giving you dirty looks, or embarrassed ones, once the little conversation played out in their heads. You might get the seat back even if they are that offended. Though highly unlikely, out of, again, punishment or embarrassment...and generally on your side and theirs.
Moral of the story, faced with the dilemma, think like a man; absorb yourself in a newspaper, your phone, i-phone, or close your eyes being oblivious to the fact that anyone is on the tube................