Have you ever noticed that there are so many rules to adhere to and follow when on public transport? I’m not just talking about giving up your seat for a pregnant woman or the elderly, (but I will come back to that later) I mean everything from staring, to deciding where to sit, to positioning yourself in a such a way that you’ll still be able to see that hottie you spotted before the train entered the station.
You may think I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but honestly I’ve noticed there a gazillion unwritten and unsaid laws to keep commuters in line. They say that 90% of what you say is revealed by your body language and in a situation where talking amongst strangers is almost forbidden, communicating with your body is the only tool necessary.
Now going into the entire dynamics would take me forever, so let me provide you with tips for when you find yourselves in certain situations to help you survive transport politics so that you, your friends and family can reach the desired destination unscathed.
1. The hottie alert situation
Remember the days of seeing a really good-looking person on the train and not doing anything about it apart from admiring from afar? Well, those days are over and now not only can you secretly take a picture of your object of affection (make sure you’re always discreet about this, bright flashes and loud clicks will almost certainly make you look like a stalker, fitting really because at that particular moment in time you are indeed stalking) on your phone, but ladies can now send pictures of said gorgeous gentleman to a website called Tube Crush where they’ll be uploaded alongside an accompanying description.
With a New York partner site, the London address goes by the motto of “See, Snap, Share” advising women to take snaps be it secretly or being brave enough to ask to take a photo. Users can then comment, rate and share pictures with their friends. Can you imagine; legalised stalking at its best!! Nonetheless all in good fun.
2. If you must stare then at least learn to do it properly
Many or you seem unaware that if you are going to stare at someone, regardless of whether you find them attractive or you’re intrigued by their choice of outfit, or you just like to stare in your spare time, for the love of money you must do it effectively. The key is to understand and know who your target is.
If you’re staring because he/she is attractive get a good look the first time so you’re not repeatedly going back for more. If you are really taken by them then smile or say hello. At least that way you are giving them the chance to accept/reject your attention to which then you can move on with your life, instead of looking without saying anything and in turn making them feel very uncomfortable.
If you’re staring because you like their shoes/dress/blazer/chinos, admire and move on. Yet again if you are compelled or dazzled by the item I always say, much to the chagrin of many, just ask them where they got it from. Trust me they’ll be flattered.
But, if you just stare because staring is as much a part of your life as is your face, then all I can say is chose wisely who you are staring at. We have enough drama on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube and don’t want any brawls on our journey to work please.
3. Giving up your seat for those who need it
I am one of those people who gets incredibly angry when a pregnant woman/elderly person gets on the train and no one offers to give up their seat, thus why I always offer. Perhaps that’s just the African respect for my elders filtering through but it remains one of my pet peeves. I know that some may find it patronising though.
I once offered my seat to a pregnant woman on the jubilee line to which she kindly rejected my offer saying, “Thank you dear, but I’m fine as I am.” Fair enough. She deemed the situation perfectly fine to remain standing, but at least I offered and didn’t completely ignore her like other commuters.
But on the flip side respect good manners is a two-way thing. Telling me to move or ‘get up quickly’ as I have been told before by an elderly passenger, is not really going to make me or any one else for that matter move for you, now is it. I appreciate you have to sit down, but you must appreciate I’m not a dog and don’t respond to being barked at. I do not expect you to ask me to move as I am always ready to first offer, but if you insist that I move, at least do it with courtesy. The last time I checked, manners did not cost a thing…
Anyway, those are my three main tips for having a safe and comfortable journey while using public transport. I hope they serve you well and your hot crammed and claustrophobic journeys are made a little bit cooler.