Home Subway Romance Finding love on the subway

Finding love on the subway

by Benjamin Kabak

Maybe there’s love to be found on the subway after all. (Photo by flickr user your pal Matt)

When Patrick Moberg set eyes upon the cute girl sitting across from him, he shared an experience with every New York male: He fell in love with the cute girl on the subway. As we know, Moberg was too shy to talk to Camille Hayton, and so he set up a Web site. Boy meets girl; boy sets up Web site; boy gets girl.

At the time, the media reported this story as though Moberg’s experiences were somehow unique. He had the guts to post his subway crush on a Web site; let’s get him on Good Morning, America. Of course, as anyone knows, Moberg is not alone. The Craigslist Missed Connections list is chock full o’ subway stories. And that is where we enter these musings on subway romances.

The subways are the great irony of the New York City dating scene. Single folk in New York would rather subject themselves to the pain of trying to find a date in a crowded bar or club than talk to that cute stranger they see everyday on the subway. The person in the club is bound to be just as unhinged as the early-morning straphanger heading to work. But at least you have two things in common with your fellow subway riders: You both ride the same train, and you both have jobs. That must count for something.

It would be easy to strike up a conversation with the guy in the suit or the girl with the curly hair, right? You see each other every day. You ride the same train at the same time; you get on the same set of doors at the same stop; and one of you must know at which stop the other gets off. Just take the plunge.

But it’s just not that easy, right? We live in an insular world on the subway. It’s a means of transportation, and we like to stay anonymous in the train. The people who ride the 2 with you everyday from 96th St to Chelsea, who are they? We see the same people on the same train day after day and never say anything.

Instead, on the trains, we are hide behind our books, our magazines, our iPods, our sleep. Why? It’s an ideal social situation to meet someone different. But the subways remind us that New York is very, very big. While we may see the same few people everyday if we’re on the same train at the same time, we also see hundreds of people once and then never again. It’s a bit daunting, and when a stranger breaks that code of silence, we have to acknowledge the thousands and millions of people we never will know or see again.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Look at those Missed Connections. This guy had an easy opening; the woman wanted wanted him to talk to her, it seems. This guy just feels dumb. This girl leaves a vague message on Craigslist and won’t talk to her crush while he reads The Blind Watchmaker.

Imagine how nicer New York would be if we started talking to the people who caught our eyes in the subway. Maybe just a friendly “hullo” to break the ice would suffice. You never know what might happen, and I’m sure it’s more successful than the myriad frustrations expressed in Craigslist. After all, as the MTA is wont to remind us, if you see something, say something.

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Carla March 19, 2008 - 10:17 am

I met someone on the subway once–ingratiated myself by bumping into him multiple times. It didn’t go anywhere, but I’m not giving up on underground (or elevated) love yet!

Tamas March 19, 2008 - 1:27 pm

It’s funny to read, because I had competely different experience. When I was in New York I was amazed how much strangers talked to each other on the trains. I spent a week there (I know it’s not much) and mostly I was hiding behind my iPod, but still I had at least one conversation per day. That’s really unique, in Washington, DC. or back in my home country, Hungary you can ride the train for years (OK, months) without being talked to.
The conversation topics were really varied, from complaining about the MTA to the cute little child who was giggling to everyone.

That one of the things I love about NY, don’t make me think I just had the luck to find all the talkative guys of the city. 🙂

Kid Twist March 19, 2008 - 1:36 pm

When Patrick Moberg set eyes upon the cute girl sitting across from him, he shared an experience with every New York male: He fell in love with the cute girl on the subway.

Well, not every New York male. Some of us New York males can’t help but falling for the cute guy across the car 🙂

And we’re also too shy to say anything.

Bean4000 March 19, 2008 - 2:11 pm

Last June, I jumped onto the subway with one of my friends, and a cute guy was standing there. I told him he had nice feet…and 8 months later we are living happily together. Sometimes it takes an assertive woman to get the job done!

George March 19, 2008 - 2:20 pm

Married guy here. I notice women are more flirty and ready to chit chat and get touchy when I’m wearing a wedding band than when I’m not.

Maybe they think I’m a homo when I’m not wearing my band, and don’t bother.

Journey March 19, 2008 - 3:06 pm

I’m one of those friendly new yorkers who does talk to people on the subway. In my youth I did manage to get asked out on dates.

The first was a really handsome shy guy in a business suit who kept checking me out and then would look away. After giving up my seat for an old gentleman I decided to approach him with the line: “How about those Yankees?” And we proceeded to chat for an hour, after which we exchanged numbers and he asked me out on a date. It was during our first date that he offered he was into sex clubs and that sorta lifestyle. Needless to say that is way out of my league, and told him so. We parted amicably as strangers.

A few years, I was riding the R train and sat next to a handsome Iranian grad student doing summer study at NYU. We had such a great conversation we decided to continue chatting while having coffee under the stars at South St. Seaport. It was a wonderful evening but I had to leave in order to visit my mother before leaving the next morning on a month long business trip overseas. Before leaving though, we made plans for dinner for the weekend I returned home.

Upon returning home I discovered my voice mail was jammed full of messages, 57 in total varying in length and tone. The first few messages began tender and sweetly. The next few were of cute stanzas and original poems he’d written to me. There were several calls made while he was drunk bordering on maudlin. While the last 30 ranged from increasing degrees of passionate anger to borderline psychotic and even threatening. After a few more calls to me, all which went unreturned, I knew I needed to take dramatic action.

It took a police officer friend of mine visiting him, playing back some of the messages for him and explaining to him how many federal and local laws he was breaking and that if I chose to press charges he would not only lose his scholarship, he could also be deported. Thankfully I never heard from him again!

Now I make it a point to only talk to women and children and smiling unsuspecting tourists.

Marc Shepherd March 19, 2008 - 5:37 pm

Journey, that’s definitely bad luck, but the same could have happened regardless of where you met the person.

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Whitey Fjord March 20, 2008 - 10:25 am

The subways are a GREAT place to meet girls (guys, whatever, of course). YOUNG people here are just too shy, I think.

Once (in another country, I wonder if that’s meaningful), I saw a guy and a very pretty girl exchange a very quick word about the flyers the guy was handing out. The girl moved on, and the guy called after her, “you’re lovely, by the way!”

That’s what’s missing here. When you see a beautiful girl on the subway, and you both exchange a second or two of eye contact, can’t you just say “you’re beautiful?” Just as a compliment, for heaven’s sake. Not as a pick up line, just a compliment, with no expectation of anything? It’s sad that people are too shy for that. I think most recipients of the compliment would take it just fine, even if they weren’t interested.

Mush Face Dating » Blog Archive » Finding love on the subway March 21, 2008 - 1:59 am

[…] thegodguy wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhen Patrick Moberg set eyes upon the cute girl sitting across from him, he shared an experience with every New York male: He fell in love with the cute girl on the subway. As we know, Moberg was too shy to talk to Camille Hayton, … […]

id September 27, 2008 - 3:54 pm

I ride the NY subway from Monday to Friday. I take E and then change on Queen Blvd to take the R or V to go to my job. For the past 15 years I have been doing the same and I see the same faces over and over. Yes and I do hide myself behind my dark glasses and ipod. The reason for using the dark glasses is because I do enjoy looking at people’s faces. But my most enjoyable feeling is to look at handsome me. I usually scan the men from top to bottom. I love seeing well dress men in their suits and enjoy smelling their perfumes when I get close. Over the years, I have seem these men disappear and new come along, and I continue to do the same.

I see these men standing or sitting across me, and I wonder what would it be if I decide to break the ice by just saying Hello or Good Morning, but I hesitate, and continue my journey to my destination. Maybe someday, I will, but for now… I will continue loving them from a distance.

Glen May 1, 2010 - 4:51 am

There are many opportunities on the subway trains for mals and females to hook-up in NYC. The problem is that it’s so silent on the trains. If I was to say something, so many people would be listening. unfortunately, the trains are full of so many perverts who are probably all men. They make breaking the ice difficult because too many women seem to have their guard up to avoid anyone who might want to do them harm. It’s sad.

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On Valentine’s Day, the romance of the subways :: Second Ave. Sagas February 14, 2011 - 2:36 pm

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i was heading uptown with collegues on July 26th past 9PM, got into the train there were 2 completely soaked wet, and cold because of the train's AC(because of the rain I presume) young ladies...one of which caughtmy eye, she smiled I smiled back (she had July 27, 2011 - 11:36 pm

Was heading uptown with colleges on July 26th past 9PM, got into the train there were 2 completely soaked wet, and cold because of the train’s AC(because of the rain I presume) young ladies…one of which caught my eye, she smiled I smiled back (she had amazing eyes), I did not want to stare, even though she was cute, and got this weird feeling..of somehow knowing her… so I begun to chat with my colleagues (and they said she was looking at me all the time), so i did look back…she smiled, so did I ….couple minutes later the 2 ladies got of the train,…and she turned around smiled and waved to me….I was …just frozen(couple hours of sleep in many days do that, + it was my first time…of such a thing happen to me on a train…anyhow…)..so the only thing that came to my mind was to wave back…should of gotten of the train….what an idiot :(….now been looking online to somehow find her…NY is a big place…:(…..why did i stop thinking at that time 🙁

Sigh « subwayshorts October 12, 2011 - 8:47 pm

[…] Will I ever find my subway crush again?  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

Jess12 January 26, 2012 - 9:59 am

Living in nyc, its true, you see a cute guy on the train and would never expect a conversation or to ever see them again. Last week my two friends and i had just left the bus and we headed up the stairs to take the train home. This station, like few others, has a heater you stand by while the train arrives(NYC winter is harsh). We always take up the closest spots near the heater but that day a very good looking guy was standing on one side so us three gathered up on the other and continued our conversation. He nicely asked what high school I was attending and he mentioned he has a friend who went there. The train was then approaching so the conversation was cut short. He sat across from us and put he’s beats (huge headphones popular in NYC). My friends and i continued talking and i figured he’d just be another cut guy on the train. I soon got up to get off the train and we glanced at each-other. A few days later my friend tells me that he gave her his number to give to me. We’re just texting, getting to know each other. He seems nice. What do you guys think, should i continue to talk to him or is it weird since he is a complete stranger?

Adama August 14, 2012 - 10:36 am

Yesterday I was on the E train riding home and this handsome guy with bright green eyes just comes in. As he’s fixing his shirt I look up and thats when he notices me. He starts to look at me and those eyes of his just get bigger. I look at him and he looks back. I felt like that was interest he was showing. Sadly I had to get off the next stop :-(. I was so bummed out that I didnt get to talk or give him my number. I promised to myself the next time I ever see him I will do so. What are my chances of meeting this same guy again on this train??


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