New York’s subway buskers will typically play a quick song, ask for money, and move on to the next car in search of fresh ears. The guy in the above video, however, has a, uh, novel routine.
It starts out innocently enough. “The white lady standing behind me is … my girl,” he sings, while slappin’ da bass to the Temptations’ “My Girl.” Indeed, there is a white lady standing behind him, and she’s kind of smiling but doesn’t seem to be enjoying the attention all that much. The affable busker continues cracking jokes (“My name is Justin Bieber”) and engaging the commuters in a “guess this song” trivia game. It’s pretty damn entertaining, for free subway entertainment.
But White Lady’s discomfort seems to greatly increase once the busker vows to kiss her. “If anybody can tell me the name of the person who made this song, I swear I will kiss the white lady behind me,” he says, smacking the pole for emphasis. White Lady gets off seconds later, either because that was her stop, or because, you know, she didn’t want a random guy on the subway to kiss her.
The busker decides that he needs a new “victim.” He gets up out of his seat and approaches the video’s camerawoman, who, according to her YouTube description, was enjoying her “first experience on the NYC subway.” Out of view of the camera, we can’t see if he actually kisses her, but she’s laughing. Laughing because she was having fun, or because she was incredibly nervous?
As a dude who has never had to worry about being kissed by strangers on the subway, we turned to our female colleagues at the Cut for their more relevant views on where the busker’s behavior falls on the Inappropriate Continuum, a thing we just made up. Their answers ranged from “a little over the line” and “uncomfortable but not the worst of subway behavior I’ve experienced” to “TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE” and “ughhhhhhhhhh this makes me want to die.”
Update 6:56 p.m.: The woman who filmed the video tells Daily Intelligencer that there was a kiss, it was on her forehead, and no, she didn’t mind. “I thought I was hilarious,” she says. “It was my first time in NY and first time in the subway.”
She added, “I’m Canadian, I thought it was humorous. He seemed harmless.”