What is it about the New York City subway that is so romantic? Perhaps it's the heat, and how it turns the air into a thick, suffocating, wet, hot embrace. Maybe it's the smell, the body odor of the civilians, and the onions from that large man's hotdog mixing with the stale air. Maybe it's the music that gets people in the mood (I always turn into a feline in heat when 'Greensleeeves' is played live on the accordion and saxophone simultaneously). Maybe it's the act of sliding the Metro Card and pushing the body through the turnstile that is so arousing. Maybe it's the danger of standing too close to the tracks below, the speed of the train, or the sexy hypnotic voice that seems to whisper in your ear alone "Stand clear of the closing doors." Whatever the case, I have lived in New York and traveled on the subway long enough to know that underground public transportation makes people horny.
I've finally decided to take matters into my own hands. Yes, I've made up my mind. IT'S TIME TO GET SOME ACTION ON THE TRAIN. I'm sick of waiting for the subway to arrive while watching a couple make out against the trash receptor. I want that kind of relationship. I've dated men that bring me roses, pay for dinner, and write me poetry, but I've yet to meet a man that wants to take me up against the hard, germ-filled wall of the N train and have his way with me. I witness couples fornicating underground everyday. Where do women find these men? Is there a certain type of man that makes out underground? Is there a certain type of woman? I'll admit if I had to choose between the bowels of the city, or an air-conditioned, one bedroom, walkup, I would pick the latter. Yet, I can't help feeling as if I am missing out on all the fun. I can't help feeling as if I am not a true New Yorker due to my non-existent sub-life, and that all my fellow riders know. Therefore, I will find a man, and we will get it on underground.
We were finishing our frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity (the touristy, but adorable, dessert place on 60th and 2nd Avenue), and I was thinking that this guy was the one. We had a lovely dinner; the small talk was flowing like a river of white lies and fake laughter, his physical appearance did not make me forget I had a libido, he was in dental school (no worries about oral hygiene), and he wanted to buy me dessert. He was the perfect candidate. We walked out onto the streets and he held out his arm, "Let's split a cab home." "No!" I tried to play it cool. "Let's just hop on the 6 train, it's so close. I don't need you spending anymore money on me." He fell for it. He was putty in my hands.
We waited for the train to arrive. The voices in my head cheered me on. "Come on Mindy, be sexy, reel him in baby!" I spoke. "It's hot down here." I teased. I lifted all my hair on top of my head (while simultaneously realizing that I had sweat running down my back and staining the armpits of my white blouse). "Here, hold this." I grabbed his hand and placed it on my head. He held up my hair while I put my Metro Card away. Our faces were so close. He smiled and leaned closer. He was going to kiss me in the subway station! He was going to kiss me in the subway station until I pulled away and walked in the other direction. Okay, so I failed to get it up while waiting for the train, but I could still redeem myself on the ride ahead.
It was a semi-crowded car. I was getting off in three stops, so I had to move quickly. I ran my fingers up and down the subway seat seductively. I translated an advertisement for him in Spanish. I was on fire. I waited a bit longer, and then I moved closer to him so that our knees bounced together to the rhythm of the train. Two more stops. This is it. This is when I will stick my tongue in his mouth like a wild, urban animal. I lunged towards him, and then quickly rose to my feet. The voices scolded me. "Mindy, what's wrong with you? Stay in the moment. Focus. Go to your sexy place." I closed my eyes and suddenly I was on a deserted island with a man named Sven who fed me Krispy Kremes and sang me show tunes. That was the just the stimulus I needed. I had seconds to spare, and there was nothing between us now but a pole. Sven. Sven. Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme. Hello Dolly! Oklahoma. Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme. I kissed him! He kissed me back! I am making out on the subway! I am making out on the subway! I stopped moving my tongue. I felt a bit nauseated.
Mid-kiss I made the fatal mistake of opening my eyes. I don't know why I did it. Perhaps, foolishly, I wanted to reassure myself of my surroundings. I opened my eyes and saw a man in a business suit reading a book, a woman eating Chinese food, a mother with a stroller and three small children, a man ranting about religion, and five teenage boys with full body tattoos. I opened my eyes and thought about how many people had touched the pole between us. I felt cheap and unsanitary. I pulled away, the door opened, I thanked him for dinner, I told him I would call, and I ran out the door and up the stairs as if the station was on fire.
Now as I sit here, finishing a medium cheese pizza, I cannot help feeling like a failure. Public Transportation PDA was the one step I had left to take before becoming a true New Yorker. I tried to cheer myself up by inventing lame excuses: I got ill from the dessert, he was a lousy kisser, my suburban Midwestern upbringing made me immune to the subway's strong elixir of lust, but it was no use. Just as I was about get out my guitar and write a song about losers who can't get in on underground, I had a hopeful thought. There is something about the process of digestion, the preparation for future food consumption, that perpetuates hope. As my body chemically transformed my food into energy and waste, I realized that the subway is not the only potential spot for public intimacy. There are restaurants, street corners, department stores, theaters, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, cross-town buses, central park. . . Now I understand that the key to being a true New Yorker is not merely making out on the subway, but rather flaunting your intimate activities in as many public places as possible. So tonight I will sleep peacefully knowing that tomorrow I'll have places to go and people to do.