The subway is the epitome of the urban melting pot. People of all races, religions, genders and cultures join together to be in collective misery. It’s beautiful. That being said, given that the subway does not discriminate against anybody, you are bound to see your fair share of colorful characters. Some will have unsightly ensembles, dress in ridiculous garb, make you genuinely question the subway's (lack of) hygiene requirements and just generally scare the sh*t out of you. Yep, for every 10 normal people you see, there's bound to be at least one individual that looks like they do not actually exist on this same planet. You can ignore this person, silently stare at them when they seem distracted or do the right thing–document it for proof that such an anomaly exists in your shared city. Here are 15 photos that anyone who takes public transit will immediately recognize.
15 Wrong stop
Performers are no strangers to any major city's subway. Belting out a classic tune, busking with a guitar or doing some pole acrobatics are all popular money-making tactics in the underground. That being said, we have no idea what the f*ck this guy is doing here. Uh, we think you took a wrong turn on your way to Cirque Du Soleil, buddy. Without an epic soundtrack and other people in elaborate costumes performing alongside you, you kind of just look like something out of our nightmares. No, seriously, we think we've seen you in the deep, dark depths of our dreams. Please stop moving towards us silently with your head tilted in a weird angle, it's freaking us out. WE SAID STOP IT, DUDE.
14 The straddler
Is it just us or are things get uncomfortably intimate between this woman and her subway pole? We know it’s tempting to want to squish yourself anywhere you may possibly fit on a subway bench, but this is going a bit far, no? This woman is hugging her subway pole with the entirety of her body and it doesn’t look so much like a choice than an inevitable result from sitting there. Clearly, we were wrong in thinking that the bottom of a subway pole, the part that is too low to hold comfortably, would be cleaner than the rest of it. Now we know that no part of the subway pole is safe. Even the very bottom is susceptible to boob sweat and exposed feet.
As is the case any time large groups of people get together in a close proximity, the subway is often a place of judgment. Riders judge each other on their clothes, their hairstyles, their makeup, their demeanor and obviously their actions. While the good part is that you won’t run into most of the people you see on the subway, the bad part is if you do something TOO outlandish, it is the digital age, and people will document the incident and mock you forever. Just ask this guy who simply could not wait until he got home. Listen, buddy, the internet may not know your true identity, but you had to have taken that shirt off your face to get off the subway so, you know some people still have your face burned into their memories.
12 Just a comfy guy
We don’t know whether to mock this fellow or applaud him. Did he likely look like a doofus trying to set this contraption up? Yeah, probably. Did everyone get immediately jealous once they saw him in it? Definitely. When you think about it, this guy is actually spreading a pretty beautiful message. When the world doesn’t supply something for you, make it yourself. Instead of seeing a subway with no space for him, he saw an opportunity, a chance to create his own path (or in this instance, seat). This guy thought out of the box and reaped the sweet, sweet rewards for it. In fact, we may start carrying hammocks everywhere we go as a homage to this genius. Because when it comes to commuting, nothing trumps comfort.
11 Snake whisperer
WOAH, DUDE. WE DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS. We don’t know what your story is, be it that of a deranged zoo thief, petting zoo operator or general weirdo, but we want no part of it. If Snakes on a Plane had any impact, it was to remind us how much we all hate snakes. And the chance of having your plane overrun by violent snakes isn’t even that plausible! Snakes on a subway, though? New Yorkers wouldn’t bat an eye. After Pizza Rat happened, we’re pretty much prepared for anything. But that’s not even what this is. Pizza Rat was just one rat trying to survive the deep, dark world of the MTA (aren’t we all?) But this? This is just some sadistic dude who likes to see people painfully uncomfortable.
10 The Amazing Knit Man
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Knit Man! Here to knit your enemies into mittens so that you can make a quick getaway! Yeah, that’s right. There’s clearly a new vigilante in town. A man who hides his identity, probably lost his parents to a tragic event and is covered from head to foot…in yarn. Does he look particularly threatening? Not really. Can he do some major damage to people and most likely himself? You betcha. If you’re thinking to yourself “wouldn’t knitting a mitten around someone’s person take a while to do?” You’re right, the Knit Man works remarkably slow, as any knitter does, so the bad guys usually end up getting away. We never said it was an impressive vigilante, we just said he exists.
9 Eye candy
We’re just going out on a limb here, but it appears that this guy is not too happy with his subway experience. Maybe it’s the loud noises the train makes, or maybe there’s someone smelly sitting nearby. And now that we’re talking about it, it may just be this scantily clad fellow standing right in front of him. Yeah, now upon closer inspection, this guy isn’t wearing a whole lot of clothes, particularly on his bottom region. And still, there is an incredible amount of things to look at. Between the garter belt, the elaborate tattoo, the wedge boots…our eyes are starting to hurt. This guy clearly doesn't believe in the whole "less is more" concept. Let’s just say Tim Gunn would never let this walk the runway.
8 Darko look
Okay, this is about as disturbing as the Cirque du Soleil dude from before. We understand that people on the subway lead all sorts of different lives, and this guy’s life clearly requires the use of a terrifyingly giant, red-eyed rabbit head, but good lord, does he have to keep it on all day? No, seriously, we’re going to go ahead and bet that this guy is not keeping this thing on just to be courteous to his fellow passengers. No, he’s doing this cause he’s clearly a sadist. As adults, we obviously aren’t shook by this fake rabbit head, but think of the children! They are the ones who will be shaken to their core and subjected to many sleepless nights after seeing this horror. Yeah, this guy needs to be stopped! For the CHILDREN!
7 No shame
On the subway, everyone is an enigma. After all, you can’t deduce someone’s career, sexual preference, hobbies and diet just by looking at them. These are things only learned through conversation. The only exceptions to this, of course, are people who display their likes and dislikes prominently on their person. People love to show support for their favorite bands, preferred presidential candidate and anything else they want the world to know by wearing buttons, T-shirts with text or just screaming it out for everyone to hear. Take this very open-minded woman who decided to share her favorite pastime with the world via her shirt. Hey, what you do on your own time is your business, chica, just don’t expect us not to stare at you.
6 Identity theft
Woah, somebody get Flava Flav on the phone, this lady is trying to jack his style. No, but really, what is happening here? As profound of an impact Flav made on the fashion world, we are seriously doubting that this woman is trying to emulate his look. There must be some other reason why she decided that a wrist watch was just way WAY too tiny for her liking. Maybe this obsession started gradually. One day, she figured out how to zoom in on websites, then she finally found the font setting on her iPhone and then before she knew it, she was wearing giant clocks around her neck to see the time and buying an 80-foot TV. Things like this can get out of hand quickly. It’s okay, Miss. Sometimes, it’s hard to know when to stop. We’re just glad we had this talk.
Subway rides are such a drag. You’re trapped in a metal tube underground with a bunch of people you don’t know and no WiFi. It’s like something out of Saw. That’s why it’s incredibly important to plan something to do during your ride that’s moderately productive. Some people bring along headphones to listen to music or a podcast, others bring a book to read and a few people are like this guy and really want to get the most out of their commute. Yup, clearly this guy has taken note of the subway performers and decided that if they can fling themselves upside down without any repercussions why shouldn’t he be able to get some aerial yoga in too? His job is stressful and he needs to decompress!
4 Free the nipple(s)
In many ways, riding the subway is the perfect metaphor for living in an urban area. Most days are okay, you get from point A to point B in one piece, and everyone on the way is relatively normal—or at least harmless. On other days, you breathe in some questionable fumes, you encounter some really annoying individuals and you witness a homeless woman taking a dump. It’s all part of living in the city life, and everyone learns that there are simply some things that can’t be unseen. Do we wish this guy would put on a regular shirt and stop fondling his nipples for the whole train to see? Of course we do. But we also realize that it’s all just a part of the transit ~experience~.
3 Clinging for life
If you thought that woman straddling the pole with her boobs was disturbing, you must be truly reeling from this woman who decided to go hands free on this subway ride and just cling for safety using her butt cheeks. This woman is committing a double faux pas. Leaning on a pole with your back and preventing anyone else from grabbing on is pretty bad subway etiquette as is, but exposing people to these germs is just a whole new level of messed up. Just think of all of the innocent people who are going to grab onto this pole long after Lady in Red gets off? Hundreds! And out of those hundreds, about two are going to get pink eye from it. Not cool, man.
2 Hot mess
Someone grab an ibuprofen and a bacon, egg and cheese bagel because this guy is obviously hungover. We can think of no other explanation for this display. He’s too clean to be a homeless person and way too deep asleep to have gotten mugged. Maybe Sleepy over here lives near a subway station and was so drunk last night that he honestly thought he was home when they reached the last stop. Maybe he did that thing where you’re still dreaming but you think you’re awake and he was just getting undressed to climb into bed. Except the bed wasn’t so much a bed as it was a cold subway floor. Yeah, that happens to us all the time too, bro, don’t even worry about it.
1 Rough mornings
Mornings are hard. You have to spring out of bed at an ungodly hour, turn on lights despite the fact that your body prefers complete darkness and get yourself ready enough to appear remotely human. With all of these things on the to-do list, it’s pretty understandable if you don’t find the time to make a gourmet breakfast before leaving the house. Realistically, most people just end up grabbing a piece of fruit, a yogurt or, you know, a toaster with two slices of bread. We seriously don’t know whether to be weirded out by the fact that this guy thought this was a good idea or totally shocked that this guy found an outlet on the train. Where the heck did those come from?!