I was on the M train going home after work, alternately watching and pretending not to watch—in an intentionally visible way—an attractive twenty-something woman talking to her friend about her sex life. It was hard not to keep looking at her, which was fine with me since I had no intention of not looking at her. She was somewhat short, but not really. She had sort of curly dark hair, thick dark eyebrows—but not really all that thick—and a face that I guess I would call a Jewish face. This is probably a wrong thing to say, but I say it with true praise and warm feelings. I'm just trying to give you a ballpark picture of her appearance, so make of it what you will. She might not be Jewish at all, who knows? Also, she wore browline glasses, which never look less than fantastic on a woman, I think. As she spoke, her facial expressions were wonderfully expressive. (Strong eyebrows are always such a help in that area.) However, I should admit that her face was not exactly the first physical aspect of her that drew my attention. When she had boarded the train, I was reading a book, and so my eyes were what you might call downcast. It was from this perspective that my gaze landed instantly on her legs and her perfectly wide and shapely hips, which were encased in the most exquisitely formfitting pair of beige(?)-colored Capri(?) pants, above which was an inch or so of bare skin followed by some sort of magenta (wild guess, I don't remember) top, and eventually, yes, her face. Although I find the word annoying, I will go ahead and say that she had a general look you might characterize as "hipster", if that helps you. (Contributing to this vibe was her suggestion to her friend that they pick up some PBR at the store later.) In other words, she was a hot, nerdy, cute, hot, beautiful Brooklynite, aged 21-25 or thereabouts. Just my (stereo)type!
Meanwhile, I was listening as well as looking. I couldn't hear every word, but she mentioned that she'd been with a guy the night before, and that it (it = sex) had been good but not as good as she'd been hoping. "How so?" was the approximate question asked by her friend. "Oh, just that he was only into the same old positions..." began the approximate answer, which trailed off more or less exactly as that ellipsis indicates, according to my memory. But in general she sounded quite pleased with the experience and was in a quite cheerful mood. The two friends talked a little more about this, that, and the other, and soon it came time for them to switch to the J train. I followed them as they exited the M, went down the platform a little way, and boarded the waiting J.
By this time my heart was pounding out of my chest. Having made brief eye contact already, I knew it was likely she had noticed me following them on to the train. The sex talk also contributed to my accelerating pulse. Standing very close to her, I was about to speak, but the timing wasn't quite right, so I waited until they got off the train, luckily just one more stop.
"Excuse me," I said as we stepped onto the platform together. We continued walking.
"Yes? [or a word to that effect]," she replied pleasantly, seeming not in the least surprised.
"I wanted to ask you..."
"This isn't something I normally do, but..."
"That's okay, ask away." (I don't really think she phrased it that way; I don't remember any rhyming. But it's as close as my memory will permit.)
"Well, I was just wondering ... if there's any way I could buy you a drink sometime."
Now she did seem surprised, which surprised me, but neither her surprise nor my surprise was bad surprise. Smiling, laughing, possibly blushing (I never know how to spot blushing—I feel like it's a myth), she said, more or less, "Oh, actually I'm dating someone right now but that's really flattering, thank you!"
I acknowledged her reaction with an appropriate expression of good-natured gentlemanly resignation, smiling right along with her and saying, "Yeah, I just saw you and had to ask."
"It's very flattering. Thank you."
"Have a good night," I said, gracefully taking leave and heading back in the direction from which we'd come.
"You too!" she said over her shoulder.
After waiting a minute or two for them to leave the station, I turned around again and continued toward the exit. I crossed to the opposite platform, as I had to go back one stop to catch my M train.
I was sad that she wasn't available, but I'm glad I made her feel good, and that she had a friend there to witness it, which I'm sure made it all the better for her. I'm not a person who goes around doing nice things for people, so hopefully this doesn't sound like bragging. It's just that it feels good to be able to do something like that every once in a while. Quite the adrenaline rush too. I chugged a tall cup of water when I got home.
And that's the story of the second time I've asked out a stranger on the subway. (Sorry if that's anticlimactic.)