As many of you know, although I am unmarried, I wear a stacking of rings on my left ring finger—yeah, you know that finger. I can’t recall why I first slid them on, but the rings have been a sort of a metaphorical place holder for the past 3-or-so-years. To be quite honest, I have spent the last four years in two different relationships so I have been technically “taken” just not exactly married off in the big white dress amongst swans, a violinist, and members of my family I wish I didn’t have to invite. I also liked the feeling of being in a different category, and in that way inaccessible to men whereas in the past I felt like the male attention aimed at me made it seem like I was somehow too available. I liked the feeling of being mysterious, unattainable, and in a sense safe from looks, advances, and the daily douchebag encounter—or so I thought.
This brings me to the topic of today’s post: Married Subway Sneaks. Feeling joyously free from a lot of the unnecessary attention I used to get from random men, these days I sit quite confidently and relaxed on the subway—well, unless there are creepy peeps or crackheads making a racket or acting psychotic. On one of these typically peaceful subway rides whilst listening to my iPod at full blast I started to feel that unmistakable wolf stare, you know that hungry look that strangers give you on public transportation to let you know that they’re interested? As I gradually looked up to see whose radar was on me, I was shocked to notice that it wasn’t a sleazy construction worker teeming with testosterone, nor was it an aggressive baby thug full of feigned bravado. Nope, it was a quintessentially normal married dude in jeans, sneakers, and a blazer whose insatiable gaze had disturbed my once-peaceful subway ride into Manhattan. When I got off at Chambers Street I could still feel him watching me walk away, his eyes burning a hole into my ruffled mini dress, his visual appetite pulling the zipper down.
Once I noticed this married F-Train Romeo stealing glances at me I began to see that this wasn’t a one-off encounter. The closer I paid attention, the more I realized that myriad married men were looking at me on the subway. All types of hitched former bachelors were making eye advances at me. Was there an unspoken agreement between spoken-for urbanites that I wasn’t privy to? Was this a worldwide phenom, or just a New York thing? Does this happen to other ring-wearers fully immersed in the married life or was I merely an easy target because I haven’t truly crossed over to the other side yet? Whatever the case, I felt like I had definitely tapped into a secret world of stolen subway glances between outwardly coupled parties and it made me wonder why it feels strangely safe and OK for these men to express interest and attraction to someone else in their same marital status. Does it somehow make it right to eye-stalk someone who is also skirting the line of adultery?