A meet-cute is that beautiful moment in a rom-com when a future couple meets for the first time and you just know they’re going to end up together at the end of the movie.
I’ve had some almost meet-cutes, but never a truly amazing one in a romantic setting like a park or an airplane. A couple of weeks ago, I experienced a very unexpected meet-cute…on the subway of all places.
I’m not a crabby New Yorker who never speaks to people.
In fact, I often initiate conversation with obvious tourists on the subway who look like they’re lost. I like to help. Tourists often tell me how friendly us New Yorkers are, and how we don’t live up to the reputation of being rude and self absorbed. I agree.
But I don’t make a habit of conversing with strangers. On the subway, I catch up on email, pray, play games on my phone, read a book…anything to transport me into a state of mind where I can pretend I’m not riding the subway. Even in my altered state, if someone starts talking to me, I’m game.
It is rare I find myself alone on a platform, let alone a deserted subway station. That’s exactly where I was when my surprise meet-cute occurred. There wasn’t a soul on either direction of the subway station. It was a bit eerie, but somehow I felt very fortunate to experience an utterly serene moment on the platform.
However, I was shortly joined by others as the train approached. A man standing next to me asked if the train stopped at Prince Street. I recognized an English accent (which some of my friends have accused me of being a sucker for…untrue) and turned to see quite a handsome guy. Of course, nonchalantly, I answered.
When the train doors opened, he stepped back and said, “After you.” Music to my heart. Together we checked the train map, then sat down. I was amazed by how polite this guy was, so I started a conversation with him. “Clearly you’re not from here.” I said. Indeed, he was a new transplant. He told me his story. He flirted…a lot. Quite quickly into the conversation, I agreed to marry him and give him three boys, only if he promised to move out of Brooklyn to Manhattan.
I know what you’re thinking…what a fast meet-cute!!! But alas, his stop came. He said, “I hope I see you again.” I wanted to scream that this is NYC and we’ll never see each other again. Instead, I pretended not to be put off by saying goodbye to this charming, handsome stranger.
An hour later, I found myself on one of the worst train rides of my life trying to get back to civilization, err Manhattan. I was in awe of the people trying to squeeze themselves into the train. I suppose they wanted out of Brooklyn as quickly as possible. We were all squished like sardines.
There was a man in front of me for a good 20 minutes, but I never bothered to look at his face. My friend and I were busy talking shop. I finally looked at him and immediately recognized him from a primetime TV show that ended about a year ago. I loved the show, and loved his performance in it. The bold Sarah that I have become, I tapped him on the arm and did the whole “Hey, are you from…?”
I couldn’t believe I did that. I have never been big on spotting celebrities…if anything, it has always annoyed me. They’re just like me. But for some reason, I wanted to tell this guy I loved his show and was sad when it ended. So I did. And then I told him he did a great American accent (he’s Welsh.)
I don’t know what had gotten into me. But I was talking to this guy as if we were the only two on the subway, not shoved up against a bunch of strangers. I wasn’t hitting on him at all…I just wanted him to know I liked his work.
As I exited the subway, I immediately felt self-conscious. For the next hour I was annoyed with myself for having talked to this guy. Numerous questions swirled in my mind: Did he think I was hitting on him? Did I come across as desperate? Did I embarrass him? Did he see my awesome boots?
I guess no matter how many cute guys I talk to on the subway, the uninhibited me wears off, and the sensible me bounces back. I can’t escape my neurosis, but I can ignore them for a little while…if only on the subway.
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