Jessica Gross

Refusing to Be Social

In people watching on September 19, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Two women, strangers, were walking their dogs on the Upper East Side. As they passed each other, their dogs sniffed each other and said hello. The women did not make eye contact. They stood there for a full minute, refusing to acknowledge that there was another person present. It’s all about the dogs.

But it’s not just an obsession with dogs. It’s an obsession with being antisocial. New Yorkers refuse to speak to strangers. I’ve smiled at people on the street, I’ve said hello, I’ve waved, and the ratio of “Good morning!” responses to startled faces is one to 43. I don’t think it’s fear — I think it’s a cultural norm. If you’re from the Midwest, you think saying howdy-doody is super-friendly and cool. But true New Yorkers? They know it’s a loser thing to do.

Seriously, though. If your dog is slobbering on another dog’s face, can’t you at least smile at the other leash-holder?

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  1. […] Truly, though, it angers me. I do not like when strangers speak to me at the gym. It’s not a hatred-of-socialization thing — it’s just a gym thing. The gym is a place for being smelly, looking ugly and […]

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