Friday, January 31, 2014

Subway Flirting

A man waves at a total stranger. He is Jewish and has a short, plump body. His voice is nasal and high-pitched. The stranger is an attractive Asian woman who is statuesque and sleek. As a New Yorker she has her trusty shield up and it quite clearly reads 'fuck off.' It's Friday and it's been a long week of polar vortex, soul-crushing winds, penetrating temperatures, slush, street salt so thick that the subway floors have turned a chalk white, and mid-winter blues. Everyone wants to go home.

The man walks over to her. He starts asking about her Kindle, pricing, and if he should buy it. He launches into a soliloquy about different iPads, different choices. He then states that he would like a total stranger's opinion on the matter before he makes a purchase. The woman is clearly not having this very clumsy attempt at flirting. If avoidance were tear gas he would have been blind and coughing on the floor.

The man continues to talk at a decibel slightly above appropriate. Convinced that the woman's unresponsiveness might be due to a hearing problem, his voice becomes even more shrill. The woman buries her head in the Kindle screen. When it's her stop she quickly departs as he waves goodbye. The subway car collectively exhales as the awkward squeamish scene has ended.

The man stands there and masochistically mutters to himself, 'great...yeah. God job scaring her away.' He shakes his head and gets off at the next stop.

I feel bad for both parties. How many times a day must she deal with these terrible unprompted slightly aggressive invasions of her space? Must she really humor every unsolicited stranger? Because she's attractive? Can't a gorgeous mofo just live?

On the guys end: you didn't scare her away. You just intruded in upon a total stranger's space. You acted like you were in a sitcom or bad romantic comedy? As a matter of fact, you probably learn this technique from TV and society: be aggressive. You have convinced yourself that it's not that the woman was clearly not interested in hearing you, seeing you, giving her opinion about Kindle, or your very existence on this planet. You think the failure in this exchange lies in your approach. As a result you will continue to try to invade the space of New York women who have experienced a grotesquerie of horrors from the opposite sex and have thorns wrapped around their aura for self-preservation.

They both need a hug...but I fear that would encourage him and horrify her. 

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