Yesterday, the New York Post interviewed Brian Robinson, 48, who bragged about dating 500 women after picking them up on the subway. Explains Robinson: “My late Uncle Minor was a big womanizer — maybe that was part of my gift,” he said. “He got kicked out of nursing homes for pinching the nurses’ bottoms.’
I’m honestly not sure what’s queasier, Robinson’s pointers re: how to pick up women on the subway-- “No matter what place she says, say, ‘Wow, I’ve always wanted to visit your country/city, etc. . . . do you have e-mail?”—or the Post’s writer, Gary Buiso’s insistence on humorizing the story by deeming Robinson’s creepy pick-up handbook with euphemisms like “railway Romeo” and “subterranean seducer.”
I know, I know. “It’s just a joke.” Or, wait, what’s the other one. “What’s wrong with a little attention?” Oh, hold up, don’t tell me. “Come on, a smile won’t kill you.” A man who prides himself on having a history of womanizers in his family is not the person you want to take date tips from. In its own weird way, this story is pretty much promoting sexual harassment.
“Harassers walk around with a sense of entitlement, believing they are owed something. This sense of entitlement recently led to the murder of Mary “Unique” Spears in Detroit and the violent attack of a woman in Queens because they rejected verbal harassment,” Debjani Roy, Executive Director of Hollaback! an end street harassment non-profit told me via email. “There are many stories like this and it is nothing to make light of.”
This isn’t a situation where you’re on the N train and all of a sudden you look up and see someone cute reading "Gone Girl" and you both start talking about how the movie was so not as good as the book, and then all of a sudden you realize that you both go to NYU film school and WHAT you both are going to the same History of Film event at Cinema Village and maybe you should sit together and never be apart again.
It's worth mentioning that the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) recently launched a sexual assault page which asks women to name their complaints about sexual harassment specifically on the subway. Or that two weeks ago the MTA announced 940 subway cars will be outfitted with cameras to combat sexual attacks. In fact women filed more than 3,000 reports of sexual assault and forcible touching between June 2008 and June 2013, according to the NYPD’s Transit Bureau.
The New York Post knows that Robinson is gross. Look at the picture of Robinson that goes along with this story: his tie is slightly loose around the neck, like he’s been partying. Has a five o’clock shadow. He’s a little pale and sweaty. The New York Post is telling us a story through this photo of him: This guy is a creep and we’re in on the joke.
But then there's the side bar at the bottom of the page that lists “Robinson’s tips for meeting women on the subway.” One gem is a tip that’s lifted from a 1990s dating playbook: “Wait 60 hours before contacting her.”