5 New York Subway Pick-Up Tips That Will Never Work on SEPTA

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I can’t imagine what drove Brian Robinson to look for dates on the subway. In the age of Tinder and Match.com — when anything from a hook-up to a minivan is a click away — he prefers to meet women on New York’s subway.

In an aggressively weird profile in the New York Post, Robinson claims to have gone out with “about 500” women thanks to his “smooth” pick-up lines (which, in reality, seem to be plucked from Saved by the Bell drafts). He’s writing an advice book, How to Meet Women on the Subway, despite the fact that most reactions The Post witnessed during a ride-along were somewhere between almost pleasant and politely annoyed — although he did walk away with at least one business card.

Salon is not amused, and neither is Hollaback!, a nonprofit that works to end street harassment. I can see why, as Robinson — who mostly seems like a harmless nerd — comes off a little predatory when he says things like, “There’s always beautiful women down there — tons.”

But I live in Philadelphia, where I don’t have the luxury of being outraged by the Brian Robinsons of the world.

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The Harrisburg Porn Email Scandal, Translated by a Woman

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As a human with a computer, I expect people to mess around on the clock a bit. Amazon, Buzzfeed, Facebook, The Daily Puppy (just me? fair enough): I don’t care if my taxes are paying your salary – desk captives all deserve a little Internet candy.

Noticeably not on that list? Sending misogynistic, pornographic emails to your Harrisburg broworkers.

As an optimist with a naive streak and that pesky liberal tendency to enjoy learning, I’ll listen to arguments against equal pay — there are one or two I almost buy. And I like to think that there are at least some reasonable, benign explanations for the lack of women in leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. The idea of a glass ceiling enforced by the men I’ve studied and worked with — many of whom have hired, promoted and supported me — isn’t, on most days, a satisfying answer.

And yet, the degrading emails sent and/or received by top state officials — including the former head of the Attorney General’s criminal law division, the State Police Commissioner and two members of Governor Corbett’s cabinet — makes me think otherwise.

These weren’t simply inappropriate for the workplace. “Inappropriate” is drinking too much at the Christmas party, pushing gift wrap for your kid’s fundraiser, microwaving salmon at 11:30 a.m. – annoying, sometimes worth a reprimand, but not threatening or humiliating.

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Is Philly’s (or Pittsburgh’s, or Scranton’s) Accent Really So Ugly?

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Bracket via Gawker

Today, I’m pretty proud to be from Pennsylvania.

Not just because we’re now well on our way to expanding the state’s inadequate hate-crime laws (although really, really nice job on that one, guys).  And not simply because we have the most charming autumn this side of a Norman Rockwell canvas (although holy hell, we do — adopt a friend in Berks County and go outside). Our adorable baby steps towards legalizing weed probably has something to do with it, but that’s not why I’m getting all warm and fuzzy today.

You see, three of our fair cities – Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton – made it into the second round of Gawker’s “America’s Ugliest Accents Tournament.” The only state to have more than one accent nominated, we swiftly took down Memphis, Atlanta and New Orleans during the preliminary round in an impressive display of Yankee linguistic dominance.

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Women-Only Coworking Space The Hive Is a Great Idea

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Like a lot of people who freelance, I’m writing this post from my couch. My company for the morning? A clearly annoyed cat, a news anchor who has no business looking so perky, and a not-so-modest amount of toast crumbs.

Right about now, The Hive is looking like a wonderful idea.

Opening this fall in Old City, The Hive is a coworking space that follows in the footsteps of Indie Hall and Seed Philly (among others — plenty of us are getting sick of the crumby couch). This time around, however, it’s girls-only: billing itself as a “chic coworking space for the self-made female entrepreneur to learn, network and thrive,” this gorgeous 900-square-foot office is strictly for “queen bees.”

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The Problem With SlutWalk’s New Name

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As a woman pushing 30, I’ve been called a slut more times than I care to think about.

Most women have. Cruelly by partners. Casually by gossips. Playfully by friends. Randomly by strangers.

I’m not sensitive to many words, but this one has always bothered me, has always lingered in the air a couple extra seconds. Drop the dreaded “C word” on me and I won’t blink, but “slut” — a tidy little package of judgment, shame and manipulation — has always felt unusually heavy.

When SlutWalk Philadelphia debuted in 2011, I didn’t necessarily like the name. It made me, like a lot of people, uncomfortable at first — and it should have. Like the word, the SlutWalk has pretty uncomfortable origins: A protest march that eventually went global, it began in Toronto after a police officer advised women to “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Instead, women decided to take a little stroll together in fishnets.

I have no real interest in “reclaiming” the word – you can keep this one, among others. But if it’s going to be used against us, I’m personally in favor of harnessing its power to call noisy, unladylike attention to the idea that what we wear somehow determines that it’s OK to harass us.

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SheRides, and 5 More Taxi Services Philly Needs Now

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Shutterstock.com

For as much as I avoid driving and exercise, I take a cab maybe once a month. Although most tend to think that this is the safest option for a single woman on her way home, at the risk of sounding like a paranoid cat lady, I’ve always thought that getting in a stranger’s car is a convenient way to end up in a stranger’s trunk.

Personally, I just feel safer on the El or the Green Line, where we have seemingly made a city-wide contract to be as weird as humanly possible during our time together, but to do so fairly harmlessly. (That is, when we aren’t attacking each other with hammers or kicking each other’s teeth in. I get it — it’s flawed logic, but it’s working for me.)

Would I feel differently if I was in New York, where SheRides is scheduled to roll out this week? Probably. An Uber-like cab service, SheRides (renamed from SheTaxi due to regulations in NYC) exclusively employs female drivers, who exclusively pick up female passengers. The idea is two-fold: Employ more women in an industry long-dominated by men, and make customers feel at ease — whether it’s religious or cultural norms that prevent them from getting into a cab with a man, or having seen too many Quentin Tarantino films.

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Wait, People Are Still Victim Blaming Janay Rice?

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

In case you missed it, Janay Rice has already apologized.

At a May news conference, she sat next to her husband and said she regretted “the role that she played in that night” – that night being the one during which she was attacked in an elevator by a professional football player, knocked unconscious, and dragged away.

It was awkward then, when the simple assault charges against her had already been dropped and we only strongly suspected what the first half of that Revel Casino surveillance tape showed. Now that we know – now that we have seen what happened before Ray Rice dragged his then-fiancée’s body out of an elevator – do we really want her to explain herself again?

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Four Lessons Philadelphia Can Learn from The Simpsons

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A scene from The Simpsons, “Jury of the Damned.”

I’m not (necessarily) proud of it, but I spent most of my weekend with The Simpsons. At best, I’m a casual fan, but on a rainy Saturday, FXX’s 24-hour, 552-episode Simpsons marathon proved to be a pretty seductive mix of cozy nostalgia, surprisingly timeless writing, and non-judgmental hangover company.

Then, things got weird. After six or so uninterrupted hours in Springfield, it became apparent that the allegedly fictional town is based on none other than Philadelphia.

Officially speaking, series creator Matt Groening claims that Springfield is inspired by a number of generic small towns, and the ambiguity of where, exactly, it could exist is a long-running joke on the show (trust me — I haven’t got off my couch in days). Briefly, the honor went to Springfield, Vermont, when Fox held a contest promoting The Simpsons Movie.

However, Philadelphians will recognize the mix of casual corruption, enthusiastic alcoholism, rabid fandom, and blood-sucking, soul-crushing monopolies as, well, home sweet home.

Personally, I’m OK with this — I can get down with a place where my jeans stay in style for 25 years. My issue is that Springfield has, over the years, figured out how to do Philadelphia better than Philadelphia.

Here’s what we could learn, or at least stand to remember, from our four-fingered friends.

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Three Things About the PW Gender Discrimination Suit

I should start by saying that I don’t know Tara Murtha. We tumbled around in the same circles when I was at City Paper and then at Metro, so I’m familiar with her work — and have nothing but respect for it, especially her excellent animal rights coverage — but I don’t know her. I also don’t know what her day-to-day job was like at Philadelphia Weekly. It very well could have been a hostile, litigation-worthy, oh-hells-no discriminatory environment.

What I do know, however, is what it’s like to work in a noisy, messy, inappropriate newsroom around the clock for no money. This is part of the job. Some days, it’s all of the job.

Some thoughts on her suit:

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