I just got picked up on the subway

Strange, but true.

I’m a single hetero guy in my early fifties, nothing much to look at but not run-away-from,screaming either, I think, and this young woman sitting next to me sneezed, I said “Gesundheit” and she started blabbing about how she’s had a bad cold and she’s going into work as a waitress, and I voiced my opinion that working with food when ill is maybe not such a fabulous idea, and she explained that she just started this job and really doesn’t want to seem unreliable and…anyway when she got off the train, she jotted down her phone number and asked me to call her soon so we could finish our conversation.

That’s a little strange, if you’re not familiar with the rarity of human contact on the NYC subway system generally, but it’s much stranger when I tell you that this was a young woman (somewhere in her twenties, I’d say) and rather attractive and well-spoken. She had emigrated to the U.S. from Canada a few weeks ago, and is originally from Tibet. She explained that she was working two jobs (waitress and housekeeper) because she was sending money to her family in Tibet. Since I don’t really have any use for a waitress or a housekeeper, I could only express polite concern for her plight, and I don’t think I looked like a likely source of employment or other financing to her, so I’m wondering what her interest could be in me at all, and why she gave me her number, unprompted.

Since my divorce in the early 1990s, I’ve mostly had steady girlfriends, any one of whom would have made me feel uncomfortable about exploring this in any way, but since I’m (quite happily, thanks) between girlfriends now, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t call this woman up just to see what the hell is going on here. It’s an adventure, I tell myself. What could be bad? You’ll call this woman up, see if she wants to have lunch and maybe explicate what she’s looking for in furthering her tenuous relationship with me.

Anyway, in typing this out (thanks, SDMB) I see that I need a little adventure in my life (this whole subway ride got started because yesterday I had nothing better to do on a beautiful Saturday than straighten up my office and pick up the laptop that I’d left there on Friday) so I’m definitely going to call. Any guesses how this will turn out, or what her deal is?

Hmmmm… A struggling young female immigrant meets a kind older man and …

Well… If I were in your position I’d suspect either
1: She has some alternative agendas beyond the sheer pleasure of your company

2: She’s a little clueless about the need for prudence in big city life

3: You are the hotness!
I’d go with #1, but that’s just me

You could be kidnapped by Tibetan freedom fighters/terrorists, taken to their base camp in India, and ransomed for a sizable sum of monet, which would go to buy AK-47s, railway sabotage equipment, and butter.

Or you could wake up in a rooming house in the Parkdale area of Toronto (which has a sizable Tibetan population).

Or you could have a whirlwind romance but prove unable to learn Tibetan, thus squelching any chance for marriage.

Or you could have a whirlwind romance, learn Tibetan, get married, and your eventual child could be the next Dalai Lama.
It could go any way, really.

I totally vote for Sunspace’s last idea.

Well? Call her already!

Lots of water lilies?

You should give her a call. Say “tashi delek” to her, which means sort of a “happy good luck” hello.

How did you forget to list, the waking up in atub filled with Ice and missing a Kidney?

pseudotriton ruber ruber, in the wise old words of many male friends in many smart and dumb circumstances over the years, I would just like to say:


Keep us posted. At best a whirlwind romance, at worst a great story. We (by that I mean the readers of the saga) can’t lose.

Lunch at 3 today.

Since she lives a few neighborhoods away, I told her I’d come by for her in my car, which only makes sense for me, but frankly if my daughter were to tell me she was being picked up for lunch by an older man she had had a brief subway conversation with, in his car, I’m pretty sure I’d be in touch with the FBI’s kidnapping division by now. I mean, I know how harmless and well-intentioned I am, but if it weren’t me, the best counsel I could give this woman would be “NEVER get into a strange man’s car on a first meeting, NEVER!”

I’ll keep you all posted.

Actually, she said she moved here from Toronto. (I told her that my dad was born in Hamilton, but I’ve only visited Canada a few times and have very little contact with the Hamilton branch of my family.) She didn’t recognize the name of Hamilton, which is what suggested that she hadn’t spent all that much time in Toronto. How come there’s a sizable Tibetan population there, do you know?

They come for the film fesitval & they stay for the poutine.

Forgive my naivete, Astro, but what might some of these alternative agendas be? From how I was dressed on the subway (jeans, sneakers, and T-shirt) she had zero reason to assume I’ve got money to burn. I told her I was going into my office, which meant I have a job, but other than that, all she knows is I’m a guy who goes into work dressed like a slob, which frankly doesn’t scream out “SUGAR-DADDY.” Elaborate, please?

I have no clue about her immigration status, but US citizenship via marriage is a powerful draw for many people, and 20 something females handing out “call me” phone numbers to 50 something guys they meet on the subway is enough of an anomaly that some degree of heads up-ness is usually a prudent posture.

That’s a good question; I don’t know. I’d seen the Tibetan restaurants on Queen Street as I went by on the streetcar, but it never really clicked until the Dalai Lama came to town last year and he visited City Hall, but his home base, so to speak, was in Parkdale. I’m sure there’s a great story there.

I say have fun! Don’t let her near your money, even if you think you don’t have any (my uncle who makes 9 bucks an hour somehow managed to spend over 100 grand on a girl last year before she dumped him - credit can be a bitch), but you’ve got a lot more to gain than to lose.

Have fun on your date, and let us know how it goes.

Wow, you didn’t waste any time, did ya (I probably would’ve waited a day out of pure anxiety).

Best of luck, P.R.R. :slight_smile:

I’ve been to the Philippines (my “homeland”) several times, and over there, I always see older white guys holding hands with younger Filipinas.

I’m not saying I know what the girl’s intentions are, but I’m just saying this to add to what astro was saying.

Nothing bad with meeting her, of course. I think you’d be able to recognize her desperation if it were there, right?

pseudotriton ruber ruber, I met my ex-boyfriend on the subway. He was reading a book that I’d just finished, and he was hot, so I sat down next to him and asked him how he liked it. When we got off the train, I told him that since he was cute, and funny, and clearly literate, we should get together sometime, and asked for his number.

For the record, at the time, I was 25, and he was 38. I had no ulteriour motive, I just found him attractive. We were together for nearly ten years.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Interesting afternoon. We just chatted over lunch, which she mostly displayed little interest in ordering and little evidence of hunger for (I’ve been out on my share of first dates where my companion basically ordered the whole menu, mainly I suspect to gauge what my reaction would be to such gross avariciousness) about her family back in Tibet (and India and Nepal), about her career and other such chit-chat. I was careful not to assume we were out on a date, but rather waited for some signs from her that she considered this romantic rather than anything else, and I got two pretty good signs: she said she was glad I had “asked her out” which implies that we were on a date (unless her command of English idiom is much weaker than I think it is) and when I dropped her off, I offered my hand for her to shake, which she did, but then she plainly stuck her cheek out for a kiss. Normally, I wouldn’t be quite this obtuse, but I usually date women closer to my age and culture where I can pick up signs of interest much more easily.

She asked if I’d ever been been married, or had kids, and I synopsized my situation (divorced 14 years, two mostly grown kids), which she seemed okay with, but when I asked about her marital status she said something I didn’t quite get about having been common-law married “but that didn’t work.” I hope I’ll get some more details in the future. The most interesting bit of info that I gleaned over lunch was that she gets asked out almost every night by guys in her restaurant (which I can believe) but she “doesn’t trust them.” Hmmmm, I thought, so what I have I done to earn your trust?–or have I?

Sunspace, I did ask her about the number of Tibetans in Toronto, and she said that Canada has a much more liberal policy towards religious refugees (or some such phrase) than the U.S., which I can believe, and also the relative ease of getting social services in Canada (she said a healthcard, whatever that is, paid for most of her medical expenses).

As to her immigration status, astro, I found out that she is (she said) a legal worker here, but needs to return to Canada every three months (“just take a step across the border, get acknowledged by Canadian authorities, and then I just step back.”) I’m not sure what that makes her, but obviously she’s not a citizen, so your comments are worth noting, thanks. I don’t know if I’d recognize desperation, VoL, if it clubbed me like I were a baby seal, but I don’t think she was giving off those vibes that I could see. She was concerned that she get from our lunch to a job interview in Manhattan, and she accepted my offer to drive her there, but without either obsequiousness or desperation, as far as I could discern. And so far, Cisco, I plan to keep good distance between her and my money (of which there’s very little, and virtually none in liquid form, other than whatever’s in my wallet at the moment). But all good warnings, I agree.

Most encouraging is DianaG’s tale–I actually have a good friend who’s married to someone he met on the uptown IRT, so it can be done, but the subway is the least concern in this tale at this point–it’s the age and culture part that disorients me, because I think I’m fairly good at reading American women about my own age (and often running from in the opposite direction at top speed, but that’s another story)–this woman is virtually unreadable. I get no confirmation that she’s as sweet and decent as she seems and I get no confirmation to the contrary. Usually, I’ve done some serious sizing up even by the early stages, but I’ve got nothing so far. More, I’m sure, to come.

It was definitely a fun afternoon, definitely an adventure, and definitely worth doing. Thanks for all the encouragement, and all the things to ask about. I’ll try out the Tibetan “howdy” on our next date–I couldn’t remember it on this one.

According to the CIA World Factbook the per capita GDP of China is $6,800 per year. There is no separate listing for Tibet but I am willing to believe the per capita GDP there is quite a bit lower.

By virtue of the fact you are an American with a job in NYC you almost certainly make at least ten times as much money per year as the average Tibetan. To say nothing of the citizenship angle astro mentions.

Not to be too cynical here, by all means you should go forward if your gut tells you it is OK. Just have realistic expectations.

I am glad you had a nice time.

Sometimes, it’s just really nice to have someone to chat with on the subway/ in the gym/ waiting in line. I think that about half of the times I’ve been on the NYC subway I’ve had a conversation with a random stranger, without assigning nefarious undertones to it.