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The Meet-Cute

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. 

This interaction must have broken down my inhibitions. Maybe flirting with strangers on the subway is my alcohol, because a week later I started a conversation with yet another handsome man.  

Last Saturday, I was in Brooklyn having brunch with friends. I have no idea why we trekked  all the way to Brooklyn for food…it’s not like Manhattan is short on restaurants. But this diner had great food for real cheap, so I kept my complaining to a minimum. 

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.

Featured Image by Isaac Cabezas on Unsplash

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Angela Spann

    November 5, 2012 at 2:15 am

    was it jason isaacs?? this is who i’m picturing in your story. and your hair is curly and you’re wearing a scarf. hmmm.

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