New Yorkers have come up with so many creative ways to find dates in the city—offering free eye procedures, plastering poles with flyers, sharing six packs on the SI Ferry—that pickup artists offering advice on meeting women on the subway seems quaint and old-fashioned. It's also the kind of "advice" that sounds creepy and patronizing no matter how you try to package it. But that will never stop some people: today's benign source is Brian Robinson, who claims he's gone out on 500 dates with women he's met on the subway since 1999.
The 48-year-old Robinson, who has written a book titled How to Meet Women on the Subway, offered the secrets of his trade to the Post and Fox5 this week. As stated before, it's all rather benign and harmless tips on how to talk to women, but it doesn't take away from the fact that the vast majority of human beings, female or male, using our mass transit system are just trying to go from Point A to Point B without having a rat crawl all over them or a used condom waved in their face.
But at the very least, it offers women a chance to learn exactly what kinds of stupid tricks men will attempt to use on them. His "secret," it turns out, is to act like a tourist. From the Post:
Robinson’s time-tested approach is to pretend he’s lost and ask for directions.
“I would always say, ‘Is this local or express?’ and then say, ‘I hear an accent: Where are you from?’ It’s an awesome door-opener — 97 percent of all NYC women are from someplace else,” he said.
“No matter what place she says, say, ‘Wow, I’ve always wanted to visit your country/city, etc. . . . do you have e-mail?” Robinson suggested.
The trick, he says, is to have a quick conversation where you express interest in who she is and what she does — not trying to overtly hit on her. Then use the deadlines of the subway as an advantage: “I have to get off at the next stop and would love to continue this conversation. Can I get your e-mail address?”
Again: asking a stranger for their e-mail address in a non-threatening manner can theoretically be welcomed by the other person and not come across as creepy. But unless you're the kind of person who thinks it's charming to tell women to smile on the street, you probably shouldn't expect positive results the majority of the time. And turning it into some sort of macho pickup game—and then offering some sort of unified theory of bothering other humans in a public setting, a cramped public setting that is already infuriating enough without the added pressure of chit-chat—is where he really loses us.
He also lost us when we noticed the video of him impromptu breakdancing on the Q train.
And also dancing with Hare Krishnas.
For what it's worth, Robinson seems to have hung up his dumb tourist act shtick when he got married last year. As for us, we think we'll stick with flyer guy.