Public Transport Propositions - Rules Unspoken and Broken

on Tuesday, 30 April 2013. Posted in Sugar and Spice

Public Transport Propositions - Rules Unspoken and Broken

Ask a family member, a friend, a colleague, and you're bound to find someone that found their special someone in an off-chance meeting; be it at a bar one night, at a friends party, or even amongst the rush-hour traffic of commuters, all vying for a spot on their choice of public transportation in order to make it home to the comfort of dinner, TV and trackpants. In fact, more people take public transport now than those who drive their own vehicles to and from work every day - Okay... I totally made that "fact" up, but it seems like it could be likely. So with the growing number of passengers on these pleb transporters, it should be no surprise that these are now becoming places of courtship.

Yes that is right, it is now commonplace to see people chatting up fellow passengers on the bus, the tram, the train, the subway...why what else is there to do on that half hour train ride home then make your best bedroom eyes at the person across from you, who is pretending to be uninterested by playing with their tablet and taking phone calls from who we can be sure is their "fake" partner asking what time they'll be home. So with this new courting arena, surely going alongside this, there are new rules to govern how one conducts their advances, especially given the nature of this hugely public setting.

Well alas, I am sure the rules exist, but perhaps these aren't spoken of just yet and for that reason, I am seeing the rules being broken through both my own experiences and as a first-hand witness of others, and although it can be amusing to the casual observer, once you encounter one of these situations yourself, the inelegant and awkward nature of the ordeal will have you second guessing the entertainment factor and agreeing that perhaps there do need to be some rules, some boundaries, to how someone goes about flirting in transit. Allow me to present: Public Transport Propositioning 101.

Rule Number One: Discretion

What does a city train at 5pm, a hospital emergency department and Disneyland have in common? They are full of people waiting, and what do people do to pass the time? They watch. That's right, it's called public transport for a reason and you'd be hard pressed to pick a more public arena to enact your best moves. Therefore, keeping this in mind, discretion is key. There is nothing worse for both the flirter and the flirtee, than an audience.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't go for it, because what are the odds of running into the object of your affection again - actually they are probably quite high if it is during the 'work commute', but nonetheless you probably don't want to take that chance, therefore one must advise DISCRETION! This means at least trying to make an effort to avoid drawing the attention of everyone onboard including the driver, by keeping your voice to a minimum volume so at least the majority of fellow passengers can't decipher the exact dialogue and thus the situation that is occurring. This not only saves your beloved from feeling incredibly uncomfortable, but can also spare you the embarrassment of an entire carriage of people witnessing your rejection.

In fact, this exact situation was what inspired me to write this post as my hubby and I giggled amongst ourselves as we listened to a chap a few seats over try out his best moves. Admittedly, his best moves were fairly rubbish, and just to be clear - I am not making this up, he did use the line "Well you don't look like a bogan", and sure it was 'sort of' in context, but come on! 

Rule Number Two: Location

There are so many variations of public transport these days that the chances of someone hitting on someone else in the vicinity is practically a 'sure thing', but sometimes you need to think more practically about the location you're in and whether it really is appropriate. Yes you can use discretion, but that doesn't make every situation okay!

Let me provide some context... You've just taken your seat on a twelve hour flight and after you've done the necessities of taking off your shoes, selecting a movie to watch once your entertainment system is relinquished from the safety demonstration videos, and planning out your choice between the terrible in-flight meal options, and after maintaining polite conversation with the fellow in the seat next to you, you are ready to nestle down when the conversation takes that turn... it is no longer friendly chit-chat but a strung together sentence of innuendo's coupled with an amorous look of consequence. Now this might be fine if you, or your subject, is interested, but if not... well then you've got a nice twelve hour plane ride to drown in the air of awkwardness and keep one eye half open to ensure the arm rest remains down.

Where else might be inappropriate? Anywhere you are physically pressed up against the person, because no one wants to remain in proximity to someone they've just rejected or been rejected by - which brings me onto my next rule: Timing. 

Rule Number Three: Timing

Let's revisit the previous in-flight example for a moment. Now without taking that conversation turn from inductive to seductive, the plane ride will remain pleasant and devoid of social discomfort - why, you might even develop some chemistry that wouldn't have occurred had you come in all guns blazin! Which immediately suggests, and rightly so, timing is everything. Even looking at the proximity example above, one can apply the same hypothesis; save your power play for the end and the results are sure to be better all around.

Rule Number Four: Know When To Desist

We get told throughout life 'never to give up', but you know what, in this instance sometimes you need to do just that. There is flirting and then there is just plain harassment and when you are attempting the first but it turns into the second and you're under the watchful eye of forty other passengers, I can say with some level of assurance it's not a good look, and it most likely will not end well.

I say this speaking from not only first-hand experience, but also the 'bogan' fellow I mentioned earlier, who when told by the girl of his affection that she had a boyfriend, he proceeded to ask a series of inquiring questions about the boyfriend and their relationship. Look, maybe she did have a boyfriend, but we've all done it, conjured up 'Charlie' or 'Sam' to save us from the advances of someone else, and if we are doing this, we are trying to spare you the humiliation of a more public and obvious form of rejection. And it is at this point that one needs to follow the 'know when to desist' rule. You can try to find the holes in our story, but this is inevitably going to lead to us simply admitting... WE ARE JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU!


I realise looking back over this, that I'm coming across fairly pessimistic, as if I am predicting rejection and flirting failure. As an ever-optimist, this is not my intent at all! I am simply suggesting that to achieve the best result, it's best to adopt a few procedures... It's not text book stuff, but in the public arena, there are always a few unspoken rules. 

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