Have you ever seen someone on the subway, and your heart melted instantly? Yeah. Me too.
The colloquial way to refer to this phenomenon is “love at first sight.
This is an instruction manual for talking to someone on the subway, a process that has very specific guidelines which need to be adhered to exactly. One misstep could lead you to get labeled as crazy, or worse... creepy.
Follow these steps right, though, and the possibilities are limitless. What's that? Did someone say, “You might fall in love?” Yeah... thought so.
You might be panicking right now. You might be thinking, “But what if it doesn't work out?” But let me ask you this. What if it does?
1. Decide you want to talk to someone
I fall in love on the subway like six times a day, which is definitely an exaggeration.
A more accurate count of how often I fall in love on the subway would be like... three times a week. But anyway, sometimes you just see someone and you can't help it. He or she is just... adorable. And there's nothing you can do about it.
You're so helpless in your cone of solitude, shrouded in your canvas of social acceptability. You can't exactly go up to someone and say, “Oh my god, you're adorable!” No matter how much you want to. I promise, I want to do that all the time too. All my bleeding heart homies, pleaes represent.
2. Decide to breach the barrier of urban solitude
This is not a decision you should take lightly - the implications here have gravity.
Let's face it-- we're all aware of the social contract that exists on the subway, and those who don't abide by that social contract live on the other side of an unspoken barrier of, like I said, creepy or crazy.
There are definitely lots of creepy and crazy people in NYC. You also shouldn't breach this near impenetrable barrier without a careful consideration of the consequences, or else you might have to spend the next half hour listening to someone drone on about their career or the weather or something.
Once you've started talking to someone, going back to sitting in silence is difficult. It certainly can be done, but, like I said. It's difficult. And awkward.
3. Find an “in”
This is the most imperative step on the list. Your “in” can be anything from the sweatshirt the person is wearing, the book they're reading, a purple streak painted on hair-- but this step needs to be taken with caution.
You cannot come on, as they say, “too strong.” It has to be done gracefully. “Oh! You're reading The Grapes of Wrath? I just finished it!”
For instance, that could work, but only if he's reading The Grapes of Wrath and you've actually read it. “I like your backpack,” could work too, if you like his backpack.
Context clues will guide you. A good rule to keep in mind is that if it feels right, it probably is. This step is sort of like social skydiving, but be brave, and even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
4. Start a conversation
So you've gotten your “in,” clutched close to your chest.
If we can look at this from a metaphorical standpoint, your “in” is your ticket to the show. Without it, you're left standing outside in the cold.
You're left imagining the conversation in your head rather than actually having it. Once you've gotten a successful “in,” you're “in” the building, you can go to any room you want. So conversing, in this step, is necessary.
Wittiness helps. Saying stuff that makes you memorable helps too, unless it's ridiculous stuff. Again, feel out the vibes on this one. Intuition is your friend.
5. Maintain the conversation
Don't panic. Eye contact is important, making eye contact with someone makes them trust you instinctively.
It also might make you even more astounded by the person you're talking to-- most people have truly amazing eyes. Actually, we all have amazing eyes, they're so technically complicated and the fact that they even exist is truly astounding. But I digress.
Finding things in common with the person you're conversing with is great, and getting excited about them is great too. Be yourself. You're phenomenal and the only you that exists in this big wide city - this person is lucky to be meeting you.
To quote the brilliant poet Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
6. Exchange contact information
This is the second most imperative step on the list.
Without this step, your chance encounter on the subway will stay just that-- a chance encounter on the subway.
Without exchanging contact information, this encounter will stay in your memory, gradually accruing dust and nostalgia.
Exchanging cell phone numbers opens up an entire universe of possibilities that will remain dormant without the existence of this step. The move here? Ask for his or her number. That way, you'll have all the power if and when you decide to text him or her, which is preferable to the anxiety of wondering when they'll text you.