Bold statements of desire aren’t always taken well.

Katy Preen
Aug 20 · 3 min read
A photograph of the Metro newspaper header.
A photograph of the Metro newspaper header.
Yesterday’s news, on today’s train.

Metro is a free tabloid newspaper published Mon-Fri and distributed on UK transport networks. You’ll most commonly find a copy on the bus or train, probably already read by 2 or 3 other commuters. It’s non-partisan and has a little bit of everything: news, sport, entertainment, jobs and lifestyle. Its appeal is broad, and it needs to be if it’s going to cash in on that sweet advertising revenue. All-in-all, it’s not a bad paper, it does what it’s supposed to, and the ritual of reading it eases one into the working day.

But there is one section that makes my skin crawl: Rush-Hour Crush. This is where readers can send in messages about attractive strangers they’ve spotted on the transport network, with the hope of meeting up with them for a drink. It sounds cheeky and joyous on the face of it, but if I recognised myself as someone’s “rush-hour crush”, I’d feel worried.

I’ve had stalkers in the past, and suitors who refused to take my ‘no’ for an answer. The idea that one might write in to a national newspaper terrifies me. Even if someone intended it to be a nice gesture, not everyone is going to see it that way. For many it would be intimidating.

A photograph of the “Rush-Hour Crush” column.
A photograph of the “Rush-Hour Crush” column.
A typical Rush-Hour Crush section

There’s another, similar, column for readers to write in to, to thank someone who’s helped them while they were out and about – it’s called the Good Deed Feed, and it’s especially good for people anonymously thanking those who helped them and then had to go, or if they were incapacitated somehow and couldn’t thank them at the time.

And some people just want to publicly share their gratitude as well as thanking their saviour in person. And that seems nice – people are achieving recognition for their service to humanity. But Rush-Hour Crush; that’s just commending people for being nice to look at. It’s the printed equivalent of a wolf-whistle or yelling ‘compliments’ from a moving vehicle.

A photograph of the “Good Deed Feed” column.
A photograph of the “Good Deed Feed” column.
Good Deeds seem a lot more wholesome.

I know that not everyone feels this way and that there will no doubt be some fairytale endings to these very public love letters.

But I worry more about the effects on the vulnerable, than the dampening of the spirits of gossiping, horny passengers. Some people don’t want to be noticed, or not like this.

We excuse humiliating and controlling behaviour in the name of romance, and this is just another of those examples. You never know the story behind a Rush-Hour Crush, but you take a risk when you break the anonymity of the daily commute. A crush to you is harassment to someone else – be careful with your public declarations of lust.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

Katy Preen

Written by

Journalist, author, feminist. Reading the comments so you don’t have to.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

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