Cute Netbook, You Emasculating Harpy

Cute Netbook, You Emasculating Harpy

Metafilter's uproar of the day is over this post on the Shapely Prose blog.  I thought this blog post by Phaedra Starling was so awesome that it would be better served by being broken down into three or four separate posts.  The "15 emails a day" guy deserves his own article, that's for sure.  

The article seems to have been precipitated (or exacerbated) by this recent XKCD comic.  I love XKCD except when the topic turns to romance, at which point it inevitably gets heavy-handed.  I also regret that "sudo make me a sandwich" has turned into a "smack my bitch up" kind of remark, instead of the scathing and hilarious comment on the ridiculousness of the sudo command.

Anyway, the remarkable thing about this particular XCKD comic is that, after thinking about it for a long time, I can't remember ever having heard a friend say "I wish that cute guy on the bus would talk to me."  I'm not saying "this never happens," I'm just saying "I haven't observed it to be so."  Anecdotal evidence, caveats thereof, et cetera.  But I suspect - I can't prove, but I suspect - that this scenario exists solely within the mind of XKCD's Randall Munroe.

 I don't think I would be as strongly against this particular comic if it wasn't set on the daily commute.  (In this case, on the train.)  If I'm on a bus, I'm on a regular commute. You will be able to board this exact same bus tomorrow and find me there. I am trapped, both literally and metaphorically.

If you sit next to me and say "Cute Netbook," I have no way of knowing if that's going to be the end of it.

For all I know, when I say "Thanks" you will take this as "Please talk to me non-stop about your personal life for the rest of the ride, and every morning from now until the end of time or I find a new job on a different bus line."

For all I know, when I flash you a polite smile and turn back to my book, you will start screaming at me for being a BITCH ALL HIGH AND MIGHTY WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM BITCH I'M A NICE GUY WHAT, and everyone else on the bus will stare at us blankly, and finally the bus driver will have to ask you to leave. (True story.)

For all I know, if I eventually give you my email address, you'll send me 15 emails a day regardless of whether or not I ask you to stop, like the guy Sweet Machine mentions.  Which let's just say is a scary and indicative behavioral pattern.  

I actually think that the dynamics of "the commute on public transportation" would rule out the potential of romance completely.  On top of the safety/"is this guy going to stalk me now" issue, you have an even bigger problem: everyone is going to and from work or school.  Striking up a conversation with someone under that circumstance is almost doomed to fail, is it not?