I Found Love On The Subway: Why You Should Not Let The Big City Scare You From Love

by Elisha Hartwig

I know what you’re going to say... it’s impossible to find a good guy, or a good girl in the city. There’s a reason the pessimistic adage has become so popular: “No one has enough time, and everyone thinks they can do better.”

This lament has been played out recently in books like “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.” by Adelle Waldman, and articles that try to comfort you with “20 Reasons You Should Be Single in Your 20s.”

But let’s face it, there are plenty of us out there who would really love to find someone we connect with, are uninterested in going on one more OkCupid date and are tired of having repeated, meaningless sex.

When I moved to New York City two years ago, I was in a long distance relationship that ended a few months later. After recovering, I was buoyed by the seemingly endless possibilities of people I could meet here — after all, there are millions of guys, I should be able to find one good one.

I briefly dated a few people, and it was wonderful to get out in the dating scene again, but I eventually got that nagging feeling that none of them were right for me.

Jump forward a few weeks to a typical Saturday night with my best friend. We were planning to go out, but were completely broke, and figured we would spend our last dollars on some gigantic margaritas at Dallas BBQ to get us through the night (duh).

Then, in a last-ditch effort to see if maybe we could squeeze one last drink out of our measly checking accounts we realized — we got paid that day. Hallelujah!!

As we got onto the subway with a pep in our step (and a subway drink in hand), I was excited for what the night had in store for us.

As we snuggled into one of the little two-seaters, I looked across the aisle from us and saw an extremely attractive man looking at us. My first thought was “Where does he live? There’s no way he lives here — there aren’t guys like this in Washington Heights.”

As the long subway ride commenced, I not-very-subtly kept making eye contact with him, and eventually he walked over to us.

He proceeded to ask us, “What are you girls listening to?” My roommate responded by saying, “Just some techno, why?” And he said, “You girls look like you’re having so much fun, I just wanted to join the party,” in this gorgeous, lilting Spanish accent that makes you think he could make the weather forecast sound sensual.

In full disclosure, I should say that I previously lived in Madrid, but I was dating the aforementioned ex-boyfriend at the time and didn’t get to enjoy the pleasure that is dark-haired, light-eyed, tan, smooth-talking Spanish men.

So, just to confirm my suspicions of his origin, I asked, “So where are you from?” And he said, “Madrid” — but it sounded more like mad-reeeth. 

And here’s where I kind of lose my mind. One giant Dallas BBQ margarita in, and a subway drink making its way through my veins, I turn to my roommate, look her in the eyes, and declare out loud, “Mine.”

Um, what? MINE!?! REALLY?! Who am I? I just met this guy maybe 15 minutes ago, and now I’m openly declaring ownership of him? He’s going to think I’m insane. For sure. I’ve blown it.

But alas, I wouldn’t be writing an article about finding love in a big city if this scene ended in total embarrassment. Instead, it marks the first day that I met my current boyfriend, and love of my life — and we’re celebrating our one-year anniversary this week.

Instead of immediately exiting the train and leaving me to my intensely-felt shame, he laughed and invited us to grab a drink with him and his friends.

You never know where you're going to meet someone you click with. I know so many people who see other people on the subway they wish they could talk to, or wish would talk to them.

Isn't that why they give us stacks of thousands of business cards anyways? If you're too shy to strike up a conversation with someone, slipping a business card in is an easy way to get the message across.

I do think there has to be that initial, mutual attraction. You don't hear many love stories that start with "Oh when I first met my boyfriend, things were kind of meh, average, kind of okay -- but now we're completely in love!"

As I hear countless stories from both my male and female friends about their overwhelming frustration with dating in different cities, I just want to tell them: Please don't give up.

Keep your hearts and your eyes open because there are so many amazing people out there who are looking for love too. Just because there are also a ton of jerks and manipulative women doesn't mean it's not possible. Keep putting yourself out there, and keep trying.

You never know, maybe try your luck with a Dallas BBQ margarita and a subway ride -- it worked for me.