[Image credit: Kevin Dooley]
People say that New York is the best place on Earth to be single. I disagree. Being single in New York is not for the faint of heart, but it’s more than that; that there are so many singles running around like chickens with their heads cut off doesn’t make any sense. Because the landscape is an anomaly – usage of the subway/walking everywhere instead of driving = exposure to ungodly amounts of people in just one day’s time – you’d think most of us would be coupled up. There’s hardly any excuse not to be.
And yet, it’s just the opposite. I can’t tell you how many missed connections I both witness and am personally a part of on the subways and sidewalks of New York. You know what I’m talking about: the not-so-discreet guy in the corner of the subway car pretends to keep his nose in his book, when all the while, he’s really been distracted by you. So you play the cat-and-mouse eye f*cking game, and hope he’ll come over and strike up a conversation with you. Except he won’t, because even in a city so thick-skinned, men are still more motivated by the possibility of being rejected in front of an audience of fellow New Yorkers than they are to find a girl. So he’ll call it what it is – a missed connection – and go home. And you’ll wonder why he never came up to you, until it happens all over again the next day with a different guy. Rinse, lather, repeat; it’s a vicious cycle.
I understand subway platforms aren’t the most conducive environments to pick up women (or men), and that the first thing on your mind isn’t your next romantic prospect when you’re on your morning commute. But when is love at the forefront of our minds? Is it our “mission” when we’re standing in line for coffee? When we’re going to a movie on girls’ night? When we’re doing our laundry at the laundromat? Truthfully, it’s really only the sole topic of conversation when we’re with friends or family; non-romantic prospects. Love is always in the back of our heads, and it’s never more or less important than it had been before. We should treat finding love as an action worth pursuing in even the most mundane day-to-day activities.
The other day, I wandered into a Brooklyn bookstore with the sole intention of picking up a new read. While rummaging through staff picks, I noticed one of the employees was staring at me. He was physically just my type – tall, blond, handsome, had a penchant for reading – so I played the eye sex game back with him. I thought about going over to talk to him, but eventually left because I was late for a meeting with a friend.
An hour later, I couldn’t get the bookstore boy off my mind. I realized I hadn’t taken my own advice; I hadn’t stepped up, followed my gut and picked up a guy I thought I could have hit it off with. I left the company of my friend and ran back to the bookstore just before its closing to find him and try again – for real this time. When I finally reached, he was no longer there. I kicked myself for the missed opportunity, but made a promise I’d go back again and play damsel in distress in the name of getting his number.
If there’s one thing I learned, it’s this: always approach the guy you’re eye-banging. No excuses. If he responds with disinterest, or is just a straight-up d*ck, you’ll never see him again, anyway. I picked up a customer in the bar I worked at two years ago, and it turned out he’s a pretty special guy. We ended up dating for 8 months. Miracles can happen. Make them happen for yourself.
I look at all the couples that pass me by and wonder not only how they met, but how they keep their relationships going strong in a city fueled by career-obsessed people. Not to mention, this city inhabits the hottest men and women from all over the world, making it that much easier for someone to want to stray from commitment.
I’m still trying to find answers, so I consulted a group of wifed-up men at a bar last week. We collectively came up with the genius solution that New Yorkers should all wear “Availability Hats:” hats that have traffic lights on them, and that are lit red, yellow or green depending on whether the New Yorker is taken, emotionally unavailable/not looking for anything serious or single, respectively. What wonders these hats would do for subway pick-up culture. Imagine how much time we’d save by weeding out the weirdos, the crazies and the guys who just wanna “tap that.”
After all, the act of finding a man can be a chore. Now, keeping a man? That’s a whole ‘nother animal.