Look, you really shouldn't hit on women in the subway. It's a cylindrical, magnified, fast-moving faux-pas; where even the slightest wrong move could make her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. So, if you feel like it's a bad idea, don't don't do it.
However, if you're facing a do-or-die, "I gotta see about a girl" situation, then here's what you should do to inflict the least possible amount of creepiness into the air.
We enlisted legendary body language and communication expert, Dr. Lillian Glass (no relation) to guide us and ensure you don't ruin a nice woman's morning commute and your subway pickup doesn't get... derailed.
For the love of God, don't be a creepy idiot
Unlike the traditional setting of a bar or club, a train offers little chance for a woman to escape from a rogue romantic aggressor. That aggressor becomes you if you mess up and act like the kind of guys you see on the front page of Gothamist.
You definitely do not want to make her uncomfortable or awkward with intensely sexual or suggestive statements -- actually, you shouldn't do that to any woman anywhere.
So, act in a calm and collected way by being a normal person and saying something simple and harmless along the lines of “I like your necklace” or “You remind me of [beautiful celebrity] from a [really good movie].”
If she shrugs you off or makes a disgusted face that suggests you remind her of a walking, talking piece of human garbage, call it off and mind your own business. Pro tip: being ignored is a great way to indicate that you've overstepped your bounds. If they're not into it, just put your headphones back in and forget anything ever happened.
Be confident, but not like, weirdly overconfident
Dr. Glass suggests that confident body language is the key. “Shoulders back, head up, and don’t hunch over. People are attracted to confidence.” It’s fair game to smile at someone, just make sure they’re cool with your advances. If your face makes them vomit, then you're probably doing it wrong.
People are shy and apt to believe that a stolen glance or pair of bedroom eyes is intended for them... so don't be a weirdo and stare at a person until they become noticeably fidgety. That’s the kind of behavior for dudes who iron their jeans. If they don't smile back and seem weirded out, that's another solid indicator that you should back off.
Be beyond respectful of personal space
“Don’t touch them, because they might not be aware you’re around,” says Dr. Glass. "Be respectful of their space and time." Touching a person you don't know on the subway is a truly uncool thing to do and it'll hopefully earn you a well-deserved groin kick.
Glass suggests finding common ground to talk about. Luckily, common ground on the subway is easy.
There’s plenty to talk about on the train, but make sure you aren't disturbing them. It sucks to be interrupted during the best part of a song or a really suspenseful book. So, if you're debating ruining the last 10 pages of One Hundred Years of Solitude to talk about train stuff... end the debate by just keeping to yourself.
However, if you wrote a thousand-word paper on Gabriel García Márquez, maybe think about taking your shot.