How to Ignore a Man Who Is Trying to Pick You Up on the Subway

A 48-year-old New York City Man by the name of Brian Robinson has penned an instructional manual called How to Meet Women on the Subway. In a recent interview, he claims that during his time in the big horny apple, he’s guilt tripped and bullied persuaded 500 women he met on a subway platform into going on dates with him using a simple, foolproof method. A method that all women should learn to ignore.

After speaking admirably about his uncle, a “big time womanizer” who got kicked out of nursing homes for “pinching the nurse’s bottoms,” Robinson divulges some of his subway pickup secrets to the New York Post.

He calls step 1 “The Approach.”

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.

Step 2 is “Contact.”

“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.

Step 3 is “The Close.”

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?”

Robinson is currently single.

When I arrived at the point in the Post piece that quoted a woman who described Robinson’s techniques as “persistent,” I suddenly realized that this all sounded very familiar. I was holiday party drunk heading home on a train. It was my first December in New York City. Despite the fact that I wore an engagement ring at the time, a suit wearing train passenger engaged me in conversation and then asked for my email address, and I was tipsy enough that a lie about “not giving it out” for “privacy reasons” sailed smoothly out of my mouth, and I just kept repeating it over his multiple attempts to “close.” (Kate Dries thinks I’m having a phantom memory, but I can even tell you where on the train I was sitting when it happened and what coat I was wearing.) Look at what I could have missed out on.

When you’re a woman out in public and you’ve brushed your hair and put on something that isn’t shaped like Ariel the little mermaid’s sails n’ ropes dress, men sometimes take your attention to personal hygiene and grooming as an invitation to engage you in social interaction for which you didn’t sign up. From the time our itty bitty bee sting boobies pop out of our tee shirts at age 10 or 11 or so until the day that our breasts sag to our waist and the only looks men give us are of contempt or annoyance, women can bank on being viewed as up for critique. Up for comment. There for the talking to, there for the taking.

Robinson and the mystery train email requester obscured by my drunken memory probably don’t mean any harm by approaching a woman who is just trying to stand there and get on with her fucking day. But that woman has likely lived for years fending off the creepy affections of men who each mean no harm. She’s likely read plenty of news accounts of men who approached women with stated innocent intentions, only to pull something terrible. Maybe it’s happened to her.

Regardless of her reasons, she’ll keep him away for sure with the following counter-subway pickup steps.

Step 1: The Retreat

If you see a man approaching you while you’re waiting on a subway platform that is not very crowded, simply move away from that man. He might not want to talk to you, but it’s a lot easier to assume that he’s going to and take preventative measures than to give him the opportunity to ask you an inane question about whether or not the F train runs under 8th ave. Look at the map, fucker. You’re wearing a suit. I’m assuming you can read.

Step 2: Avoiding Contact

This is why I always wear headphones and sunglasses at all times while using public transportation solo. If it were socially acceptable to also smoke an oversized corncob pipe on the subway platform as an additional way to convey social unavailability, I’d do that too. So dedicated am I to being left alone in public places that if I’m traveling late at night, I never listen to anything more raucous than a gentle podcast so I can hear what’s going on around me. Often, I’m listening to nothing. Headphones in. Nobody ever talks to me now, because in my quest to turn my entire life into Amtrak’s quiet car, I look borderline unhinged.

The key to deflecting a subway platform pickup attempt, in my experience, is to make yourself look as occupied and shut off as possible. A conscientious man will not hit on a woman who looks uninterested in talking. But for those men who cannot take a hint, a lady truly dedicated to the craft of avoiding subway pickups can shrug and point to her ear in the face of a truly oblivious dude. In a real pinch, she can pretend she doesn’t speak English. No matter what she does, she should not not engage him in conversation.

Step 3: The Excuse

At this point, the subway pickup artist has failed to recognize signs that normal humans with normal social skills would understand as rejection. So it’s time to take out the big guns.

Your excuse shouldn’t be benign like “I don’t have time” or “I’m busy for the next forever.” Be bonkers. Spread your crazy wings, like a butterfly. “Technology is against my religion.” “I’m legally barred from email.” Just stare blankly ahead and let him talk to a person who appears catatonic so that he looks like the crazy one. Get off the train. Get into another car. Don’t feel guilty for saying no to a Nice Man. If he doesn’t respect your desire to be left alone, he is not really Nice, anyway.

Image via Paramount Pictures

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