Love in the Time of Rush Hour
Perhaps the least interesting thing about this map showing the most popular places for Craigslist Missed Connections is that in Massachusetts, we find most of our “ones-that-got-away” on the T.
Psychology Today looked at the 100 most recent posts in each state on Craigslist Missed Connections— the section of the site where people can seek out someone with whom they had a passing interaction or sighting. (It’s sort of a high-tech Cinderella story enabler.) The map then names the most frequently cited place where posters said they saw love. Intuitively, it makes sense that places with high public transit ridership would result in more Missed Connections, as BostInno noted this week. Transit systems regularly put people in close contact with huge numbers of strangers, and almost every state that has a major public transit system—New York, New Jersey, D.C., Illinois—had the most missed connections happen there. Websites like “Hotties on the MBTA” and “BostonTCrush.com” prove that there’s a lot of lust flying around those cars.
Funnier perhaps is to see where strangers come into contact most often in states where they aren’t forced to press up against each other on the subway. The most common answer: Wal-Mart. Yep, in fifteen states, Wal-Mart is the most popular place for Missed Connections, which, well if that’s not a snapshot of the way we live now, what is?
The data plays into stereotypes in other ways, too—Californians spot each other in the gym, Nevadans in the casino, Oklahomans at the state fair, Indianans at home—wait, what? That actually doesn’t make sense. People in Indiana are missing connections from the comfort of their couches? Well, hm, this guy from Tippecanoe’s Craigslist wrote an “ode to the girl next door,” so we suppose it’s possible. But man, if you’re living next door to your missed connection, maybe consider talking to her? Indiana sounds like a repressed Edith Wharton novel.
Anyway, back to ole’ Massachusetts and our romance-filled MBTA. A study from Craigslist itself in 2010 offered some even more specific data. Our Missed Connections happen most often on the Red Line and least often on the Blue Line, even accounting for differences in ridership. Craigslist also found that Park Street station had the highest number of missed connections per passenger. Thus do we get posts like this:
I was sitting across from you on the Red Line on Tuesday night. A dude who was sleeping almost used you as a pillow and we exchanged smiles. You got off the train in Porter but neither of us exchanged any words.
Reply with a description of yourself and maybe we can meet for a coffee or a ride on the T!
Okay so while this map proves that it’s cool, or at least common, to seek out love on the T, maybe date two should take place above ground.