I just got back to New York after spending nearly three months of it Los Angeles, a city not regarded for its well-functioning mass transit system. It is a sprawling beast comprised of several cities and municipalities. During my time there, I rarely attempted to traverse it on the buses or its subways. The latter doesn’t cross the east-west divide; the former gets stuck in the infamous LA traffic. Yet I suppose that one can still learn important life, love, and sex lessons while sitting in traffic, listening to Top 40 radio.
Archive for ‘Love Lessons From Mass Transit’
This was photo was taken in NYC’s very own underground meat market–a subway station. Though I have never dated anyone I’ve met on the subway, I do spend an inordinate amount of time staring at attractive men reading the New Yorker during my commute. Sometimes they notice me–and move to a more distant seat.
Anyway, the dude that posted this sign in the subway station is even more creepy than I am but perhaps more effective–who knows? I wish it had been one of those signs with the little tabs with numbers you can rip off so we could see how many people were at least interested enough to take one.
Not only does he provide not one but two numbers to reach him at (presumably a home and cell, which makes me think he ain’t that young because who under the age of 30 has a landline?), he also suggests several different types of dates–from coffee to ice cream to a walk to a smoke to a soda date. (Unless he finds an old timey diner with a soda fountain, I have trouble envisioning what a soda date would look like.) All of this is presumably foreplay for the one night stand that is the point of the whole evening and the sign he posted.
Is this strategy more or less effective than internet dating? Hard to say. It’s certainly harder to be “found out.” Your friends are unlikely to see your sign in the subway and figure out it’s you. No one knows their friends’ phone numbers by heart anymore (though I still can recall some of my childhood friends’ numbers). Whereas on the internet, since photos accompany profile, I have seen many of my friend’s dating ads, which I pretend to not have seen. It’s a favor I hope they will pay me by not going through mine.
Maybe papering the walls of the MTA stations with my phone number is the way to go. At least that would ensure that he’d have to call instead of message you endlessly online.
On Saturday evening, I gave a tour of my Fort Greene/Clinton Hill neighborhood to two friends who are considering moving into the area. In addition to pointing out the cute bars, lovely brownstones on treelined streets and parks, I noted that if you lived towards the south end of the neighborhood you had your choice of subway lines, especially if you lived within ten minutes of the Atlantic Avenue hub, which has no less than nine trains.
“I really don’t like being limited to just one subway line,” I told them. As I heard myself saying this, I realized that there was more than a commuting truism in there–there was a dating one as well. Sometimes the fear of settling on one person is about limiting yourself. Sometimes you need to get to the westside and sometimes east. The same subway line won’t take you to both places. And sometimes the same person won’t meet all of your non-transit needs. Or perhaps when it comes to entering into a committed union, it’s the concern that the other person won’t be the be all and end all that is most worrisome.
But even though I live within walking distance of several lines, I still rely on just one, the C, which is practically on my corner. And I haven’t just ridden this train regularly in the 2+ years I’ve lived in my neighborhood; it was “my” subway line during the two years I’ve lived on the Upper West Side. When I moved to Brooklyn, I merely moved south along the same subway line. This speaks to another tendency I’ve noticed in my dating life and those of others–though we frequently say that we’re open to all kinds of people, we all have a type. We’re not nearly as flexible as we claim to be. I guess I’m a C train girl.
It’s sort of like the cable television truism–so many channels and nothing on. But in this case, there’s really just one channel and it makes local stops.
Like dating, traveling by bus in New York City can be a frustrating experience, much more so than commuting by subway. In fact, the two share a few annoying similarities.
Exposure: You are forced to wait for bus outdoors, exposed to the elements as opposed to standing in cozy, pee soaked subway tunnels. While dating doesn’t necessarily entail exposure to the elements and harsh weather (though it certainly can in the winter when ladies wear short dresses sans tights to impress the men-folk), it does usually require exposure of the more emotional type, which is always more humiliating.
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Nearly every morning as I ride the C from Brooklyn to work in midtown, the train stops underground between stations and waits. “Sorry for the delay,” says the announcer since the C, in addition to taking so long to arrive that you despair of life, will also be one of the last lines in the MTA’s fleet to be fitted with new cars and an automated voice. “An express A train is passing ahead of us. Please be patient.”
It is at this juncture in my commute that the A (the express) and the C (local) become one with the same track. And the A always gets preference. The C always gives way.
Now stay with me but doesn’t this sound like some very fucked up relationship metaphor? Like the A is some alpha male and the C is some kind of Stepford Wife?
Always let him have the last word.
Always let him think he’s right.
Always wait for him to call you. (Or in the modern parlance — text you.)
Always let him pass in front of you on the tracks.
According to this logic, the C would never be able to call the A. Never. Not even if to prevent an accident because what greater accident can there be than to have him think you’re desperate? C train, you’re not desperate. Just a day late (give or take) and a couple of cars short.
Sounds like The Rules authors, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider write the MTA’s manual. (Come to think of it, they probably wouldn’t approve of this site.)
If I was in charge of the C, I would never let the A pass. NEVER.
Perhaps this is why I am single.
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