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When a coy look becomes creepy leering

Even though I’m in a happy, committed relationship, I have to admitthat lately I’ve been spending a lot of time pressed up against othermen … and women.

Even though I’m in a happy, committed relationship, I have to admit that lately I’ve been spending a lot of time pressed up against other men … and women.

Like many urbanites, I spend more than an hour every day crowded inside packed trains and buses, dutifully riding to work with my fellow commuters. In fact, as you read these very words I’m probably desperately clutching onto a subway pole nearby, carefully balancing on my not-so-sensible heels.

While I might start every journey with a small sense of pride (I’m eco-friendly and saving money on car insurance!), I inevitably emerge from the underground a sweatier, crankier version of myself. It’s uncomfortable, overcapacity and there is always some guy standing beside me with his iPod turned up far too loud.

Public transit is certainly not sexy. But for some people — and these are probably the same folks who think the gym is an appropriate pick-up locale — the daily commute is prime time for serious flirting.

I’ll admit, there are some attractive people riding transit. But when a brutal combination of signal delays and construction holdups have left me standing on a platform for 20 minutes, I am in no mood to strike up a conversation.

Yet, I can see the potential for romance happening every day in the stolen glances across the aisle and the hands brushing against one another as they clasp at the same subway pole. Just spend five minutes on Craigslist browsing the “missed connections” page and you will find plenty of commuters hoping to reunite with a rush-hour run-in.

The more time I spend on public transportation, the more I wonder how many real relationships blossom out of these fleeting encounters. I assume that for every successful hookup there are about 100 awkward and embarrassing rejections. Sometimes it’s hard to know when your subtle eye contact has turned into creepy leering. Here’s a hint fellow riders: Glancing up from your book is coy; undressing someone with your eyes is inappropriate.

So good luck to all you single travellers, but remember to practise picking up with caution. In the words of 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, you can do some serious flirting on the subway before you realize the guy is homeless.

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