Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
Photos of attractive riders featured on a British site are trending in Guangzhou and Shanghai.
A friend of mine met her now-serious boyfriend on public transportation, when she saw him at a bus stop and initiated a conversation. That's one way to go about dealing with an attractive person on a bus or a train. Another, less well-adjusted way is to take a smartphone photo of that person and submit it to a website that showcases cute commuters.
That's the schtick of tubecrush.net, a British site that features photos of handsome men taken with or without their permission on London's metro. The site has now caught the fancy of people in China, according to the BBC Trending blog:
What is the appeal of these London commuters for Chinese internet users? "When Chinese people think about British men, we think they're true gentlemen, because of their good manners and politeness," says Ruhua Xianyu of the BBC's Chinese Service. "It's more about the perceived quality of the man himself, than how he looks."
Well, how they look is definitely a part of it. One of the comments the BBC translated from China's microblogging site Weibo makes that clear: "Handsome people really look good in anything."
Whether it's the outer or (perceived) inner beauty of these commuters that's drawing crowds, a bulk of the admirers are from China. The co-founder of tubecrush.net told the BBC that China is the third-biggest source of visitors to the site, with "most traffic coming from Guangzhou and Shanghai."
The site might even help improve the desirability of the London tube system. One of the commenters has been translated as saying: "I want to take Tubes everyday!"
H/t: BBC Trending