Ride Public Transportation, Find Love?

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[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]

There seems to be quite a lot of flirting, or at least furtive glancing, taking place on public transportation.

A new series of Metro ads celebrating the opening of the Silver Line suggests the new rail line to Reston might not only connect Washington D.C. residents with jobs and housing, but with dating opportunities as well. There is data suggesting some truth to this idea.

According to research by Dorothy Gambrell, public transportation is a good place to find a date. Using data culled from Craigslist ”missed connection” ads (sample post: “I saw you on the C Train, blue shirt and gold tie, but was too shy to ask for your number”), Gambrell mapped the most frequently-cited locations mentioned in the ads, per state. Her observations were published in Psychology Today last year.

Gambrell found many states with a high number of close encounters on public transit. Washington D.C.’s most popular location for missed connections, for instance, is the Metro. New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Oregon residents all similarly appear to flirt most often on public transportation.

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This flirting can sometimes end up in true love. Just ask Mary Rouleau. The executive director of the Alliance for Housing Solutions met her husband on the platform waiting for the Orange Line train at Washington D.C.’s Metro Center. The two chatted on the train until Rouleau exited at Courthouse in Arlington, Virginia. Rouleau said, “I think I might have thrown him one of those over-the-shoulder looks as I exited.” The rest, as they say, is history.

So while some Americans still believe it’s better to be seen but not heard on the subway, good things can result when you say “hi” to a stranger. Bob Jarvis, a teacher and tutor in New York City, who is gay, says he enjoys looking at guys on the subway, if not always acting on it. “The L train has the overall hottest guys, but the G train has hot guys reading,” Jarvis said.

Try that in a moving automobile.

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