SEPTA GIRL: Public Transit Is For Lovers

septa.gifBY PHILLYGRRL SEPTA and dating do not always mix well. In fact, if you’re a female SEPTA rider, you may as well write off dating entirely. For one thing, waiting for the bus is not as glamorous as catching a cab. When you’re hailing a cab at the end of a date gone well, there’s a certain Carrie Bradshaw-like pose that is struck. A one-hand-on-your-hip, other hand showing-off-your-manicure pose.  There’s the shifting of weight, to highlight the stilettos. A toss of the hair, or two. Whereas if you’re a SEPTA bus taker, you have that whole exhaust-in-your-face thing. Not always sexy. And as much as I love the homeless man who lives at the bus stop, his ramblings can stop a first-date conversation in its tracks.

SeptaGirl.jpgThe worst part of SEPTA dating is the awkwardness of the “Thanks, but no thanks, I’m taking SEPTA,” routine which usually doesn’t go down too well in the evenings. Men who have cars will insist on dropping you. Men who ride bikes will insist on taking SEPTA with you. (And men who let you go without a word…well, maybe you shouldn’t be dating those men.) This precipitates what very well may be the first of many arguments.

He says “It’s too late to take SEPTA.”

You say, “It’s never too late to take SEPTA.”

He says, “The subway is dangerous.”

You say, “Life is dangerous.”

He says, “You’re stubborn.”

At which point you both privately decide never to see each other again. You see how awkward SEPTA dating can be? It’s even worse when you love SEPTA and you love him, but he doesn’t love SEPTA. I’ve started thinking I should just state my intentions upfront. “Hey fella, dinner is fine, but if you hate SEPTA, this ain’t going nowhere.”

I once dated a boy whose mother hated SEPTA. No matter how many times we used it for Phillies games, concerts or whatever, she insisted it was dangerous and that our lives were in very real danger if we stepped foot on any SEPTA vehicle. I didn’t think anybody paid attention to her. Unfortunately, her son did. One day, we were taking the Broad Street Line to Center City, when we mistakenly took the North-bound line to the Allegheny stop (that was before I was SEPTA-proficient). You would’ve thought that a full-scale race riot had just broken out. He froze. His face grew pale. He clenched my hand tightly. He grit his teeth. “I’m the only white person here,” he whispered.

“That’s okay,” I whispered back. “Nobody will bite you.” I found the entire incident hilarious. Especially since my house was only a few stops further north. He didn’t. That was the end of our SEPTA dating. But even after that, I ran into many a snob who insisted that a woman who regularly rides SEPTA, is careless and idiotic. In which case, SEPTA does some good when it comes to dating. It separates the men from the boys.

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