Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Rude Subway Girl,

Your hair feels like corn silk. I’m sorry, that was a weird way to start this letter. But really, my hair has never felt that soft. Considering your Burberry coat and classy boots that were most definitely NOT bought at Payless (even though they have great boots there at reasonable prices, but whatever, lady), I assume you can afford to spend the equivalent of my rent on hair care products.

I know that you don’t feel this way, but it is your fault that I know how your hair feels. Maybe you think you’re above touching the germ-infested subway pole with your fancy lady hands—or maybe you just mistook the pole for your model friend, Heather. Perhaps in the movie of your life that you construct in your head, you are a more interesting and intriguing individual because you wind your arms around the subway pole rather than hold it with a single hand like everyone else.

Your perception of yourself.

But the fact is that on a crowded subway, the pole can serve as a substitute seat for about six people. It keeps us steady while the train veers this way and that. In a packed car overflowing with ladies with strollers, college kids lugging suitcases, and elderly dudes with canes, how can you think that the subway pole belongs to only you: A twenty-something girl carrying nothing but a comically small purse?

Everyone else's perception of you.

I’ve met your kind before. And I’ll have you know that I didn’t allow them to rob me of a pole to hold during my forty-minute ride. I’ve rested my knuckles against the backs of men fatter and smellier than you.

So I held that pole in defiance, bringing my fingers in close contact with your Burberried shoulder and your soft, soft locks. You gave me a dismayed expression, like I was the one being unreasonable here, and refused to loosen your vice-like grip on the pole. But I was happy to stare you down and wear your hair like a silky glove the whole way home.

You didn’t say or do much before you got off the train at Broadway-Lafayette—you mostly just looked progressively more and more annoyed that I was invading your personal space. But I hope I got through to you, just a little bit. I hope you realized that, wow, I’m making this pole really hard for even just one other person to hold—maybe I should rethink my selfish pole-hogging behavior.

Remember, New York can be disconcertingly small when it comes to the MTA—this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of each other. And if I catch you hogging that pole again, I will be more than happy to make your life very, very mildly awkward for the next forty minutes.

You’ve been warned.


  1. YAAAY! I literally squealed when I saw that you posted. I know you say you think you are bad at drawing but your posts with drawings are always the funniest ones.

    1. Well thanks, doll! I'm so glad you guys enjoy my shitty doodles--I hear learning to draw for real is super hard and time-consuming.

  2. This is amazing. Have you ever read Hark a Vagrant? Your drawing style kind of reminds me of it.

    1. Thank you, a million times thank you. I actually link to Hark, A Vagrant! on the right sidebar and was lucky enough to see Kate Beaton read her comics in person a few times when she was living in New York. She's a full-fledged artist, though, whereas I'm just a writer who posts mediocre drawrings from time to time ;)

  3. Hmm. I never thought of the hazards of pole-hogging strangers on the subway. Obviously subways are not my natural habitat.

    I particularly enjoyed the second drawing.