It’s been awhile since I last posted instructions on how to make yourself an authentic New Yorker. To those of you who have been waiting for months with bated breath in anticipation of my ill-informed guidance… I am amazed at your patience, but more so, your breath capacity. That has to be some kind of David Blaine-esque record. You should get examined by a medical professional. You might be an X-Men. And I’m sorry for the delay.
So, Step 3: Be a Creeper. For me personally, creeping is a craft I’ve cultivated in the bottom barrel of suburbia because there was really nothing else to do. Since I’ve been in New York, I’ve been extra, extra sensitive to creeping. I’ve observed/experienced/partaken in a variety of effective creeping methods that are employed in order to meet the man or woman of one’s dreams– just long enough to establish a superficial connection that justifies wildly elaborate fantasies of marriage, worldwide travel, and progeny without the dangers of confrontation or a restraining order. The vibrant culture of New York City allows for many distinct forms of creeping to thrive, like a petri dish of insecurity. Here are a few of the most popular methods:
- The Subway Creeper – You know this person. Heck, it might even be you. This creeper is the one whose stare burns into the cover of your book, the back of your head, or even more awkwardly, your chest, willing you to make eye contact. This is one of the most effective creeping methods if you are the creeper. Alternatively, should you be the unfortunate crepee, you are trapped under three or more stories of bedrock and asphalt in a steel Twinkie with creeper filling for at least six blocks. The express trains are the most effective subway lines for this method because, at optimal creeping, you could hypnotize individuals with your soul-seeking gaze for up to seventy uninterrupted blocks!! There is no escape. Rarely does this ever result in anything more than psychological discomfort for all involved parties, but this style of creeping works especially well in tandem with…
- Craigslist Missed Connections – For those of you who have never experienced this bite of creeper decadence, Craigslist Missed Connections is an online bulletin service that allows you to post anonymous personal ads for a specific person… except you have no idea who the person is beyond a fleeting, profound meeting you had with him or her, typically on the subway, in Trader Joe’s, at Barnes and Noble, or wherever else desperate people hang out. Sounds silly, right? WRONG. DEAD WRONG. This is a sacred institution of creeping. The brilliance of this creep cesspool is the variety of ways one can go about the creeping. The obvious creepers are, of course, the sorry individuals who post their sad and silent siren calls, beckoning the “sexy papi on da 2 train” or the “cute Asian girl with the sketchbook” to “hit me back” or “be with me forever.” But an extra, secret layer of creepdomi is comprised of the people who, on a lonely Saturday night, or perhaps every night before bed in her adult sized footy pajamas with a trap door bottom, browse the missed connections in the hope of finding herself mentioned. Perhaps this person never posts on Missed Connections, but by being on the site, she too has become a creeper of the passive kind. In this way, Craigslist has revolutionized the world of creeping. The creepee has become the creeper. The student has become the master. The world has become just a little bit more uncomfortable for everybody.
- Horn-honking Creepers – It’s expensive to keep a car in the city, and I’m pretty sure it’s because those who do must pay some sort of excise tax for the luxury of vehicular creeping. This is a very cowardly form of creepdom considering there is at least a mobile casing of steel and glass protecting you from the glare and projectiles of your creepee. I look down on this kind of creeping, especially in high volume traffic areas like Times Square. It seems as if I hear someone being a creeper every ten seconds whenever I’m there! I secretly flattered to be so popular, but this kind of creeping is really dangerous, especially in trafficky areas– if they are too busy honking trying to get my attention, how can they inform other cars to stay out of their way? Jeepers.
- Street Creepers – This is the form of creeping I approve of least, dislike the most, and rarely never do. From what I’ve seen, street creepers are typically men, and they assume that walking by a stranger on the street is an appropriate justification for brief face to face creepdom. The two second love songs of these creepers usually come in the form of rhetorical questions that will never be answered, like “Hey baby, where you goin’?” Sometimes, they try to woo you with comments that struggle to be clever. For instance, if a female were to walk by eating a sandwich, a street creeper might say something like, “Damn girl, I want some of that!” followed by a lip-licking motion. Also annoying are the random love songs that make no sense, like “Miss, you dropped your Metrocard” or “Can you please spare some change?” or “Ma’am, you’re not allowed to loiter here.” Silly men, I do not like your comments! While annoying, this kind of creeping is acceptable to me considering I am painfully unaware as to how well-groomed I am on a daily basis. When I used to have to catch the D train every day at 125th and St. Nicholas, I’d know it was a good hair day when I got at least two “Hay baby, hay”s. And when I got none… I was secretly devastated. And probably extremely hideous.
So what does it all mean? I could go all philosophical on you and write about the human need for companionship and the level at which our impersonal, technology driven world has reduced the art of courting to an instant, twitter-like exchange. But I won’t, mostly because I don’t know what any of the words mean in that last sentence. What does the prevalence of creeping mean about the unique nature of New Yorkers? Well… nothing. No matter where you go, there you are with a creeper close behind you, I believe the old adage goes. Next time you’re at your job, in your dining hall, on the train, getting your haircut, in the bathroom, at the mall, on a date, I’ll– I mean, a creeper will be there waiting, It’s just that, like most things, New Yorkers do it better. And creepier.
As always, thanks for reading. See you later. Literally. I know where you live.