It’s 8.20am on a weekday morning and like most Londoners, I find myself squeezed onto a tube platform waiting to be herded onto the train like a sheep on its way to the abattoir.
This time I’m lucky. This time, as I enter the train, I see a free seat. A luxury on a morning commute on the Victoria Line. A luxury on any line for that matter. I take my seat and gloat at those behind me, the standers. Those who like myself on most days must grab hold of the handrail for balance whilst looking like they’re being led off to a public hanging. I look up for one last gloat whilst pulling my book out of my bag. “So long, standers” I think to myself, “enjoy the ride”.
As I look up, a woman just manages to squeeze her way onto the train and slowly barges everybody out of the way to finally arrive at the seated area. When she gets closer I notice she’s wearing a badge that reads “baby on board”, the badge that identifies pregnant women on the tube, and with that observation I assume my regular morning status as a stander. I offer the lovely woman my seat, for which she obliges.
“You’re a nice guy, Jordi” I think to myself as I clutch the disease-ridden handrail. I look over the others that are sitting with their “Beats by Dre” headphones engrossed in their Stylists and Metros without even looking up to see if there’s anybody else more deserving of their seat. I pity them all and their lack of social awareness.
As I scan the people sitting there I see quite an attractive girl glancing at me. You know that glance, the one where they look at you, you look at them, then they subtly look away. I stay fixated on this beautiful girl wondering why she’s looking at me. Did she witness my selfless act of kindness? Is it my rugged good looks? Do I still have toothpaste smeared on my face? The mind boggles. Either way, I decide to play along.
The thing with flirting on the tube is to always remember that you are in the presence of others, which is also half the fun. You don’t want to get caught, but at the same time – you do.
As we pull into Kings Cross a large contingent of the train starts to move. A seat right across from the beautiful girl becomes available and I take it.
I always like to look at what people are reading, as I feel you can really gauge their personality (unless it’s a Kindle, then you’re screwed). I notice she’s reading a copy of Grazia. I have nothing against Grazia personally, but it was my ex girlfriends magazine of choice so I’ve never really held it in high esteem since we broke up. I manage to catch her eye as we stop at Euston. More people get on and once we’re ready to head off again we are now divided by an old man’s mid section. I have his crotch in my face, she has his bum. Hard to say who got the better deal.
I try to peer around his crotch without making it too obvious. I fail. I don’t want to seem desperate. She could be trying the same thing with an equal amount of success – or lack there of.
We pull into Oxford Street and the old man gets off. I can only assume he wants to beat the rush at Top Shop. This frees up the space between us and I smile at her. She smiles back. This whole flirting on the tube thing is great. She smiled back. She didn’t rush off to press that red emergency button next to the door, that in itself is a win.
I push the boundary and stick my tongue out. She laughs. The guy next to her looks at me. At this point we realise he’s caught onto us. We arrive at Green Park and thankfully he gets off and we both playfully laugh as he looks over his shoulder at us.
I have to get off at Victoria, the next stop, and this leaves me in a dilemma. Do I say something or do I just leave everything to chance? I decide there and then that if she gets off at Victoria I’ll definitely speak to her, if not I’ll leave it to serendipity.
As we pull in closer to the station I look at her and start to get up. She stays seated. I give her a look implying that I’m getting off and “it’s now or never, and I could be the love of your life that you’re letting go of”. She stays seated giving me her own look implying “stay on, you know you want to, let’s ride this baby all the way to Vauxhall”. I realise at that point that I should leave it to chance. If it’s meant to be, it will have to be at a later date.
It could have been something beautiful, but that’s the best thing about flirting on the tube, due to the law of averages – there’ll always be someone else tomorrow.