Photo: Martin StroblWelcome to TreeShagger, our column on green dating. If you’ve got green dating questions, send ’em our way!
Did you hear about Patrick Moberg, that dude who found the girl of his dreams on the New York subway? Like a twee Wes Anderson hipster-man, he drew a picture of her in full rosy-cheeked glory, set up a website (NYGirlOfMyDreams.com), and struck gold when a friend of hers saw it and put him in touch with her. Dreams come true! Don’t stop believing! Take the midnight train going anywheeere! (Ahem.)
Perhaps you too want to find love on a subway (or train or bus). As a Philadelphia Daily News romance columnist recently wrote, “How many people fall in love driving home in their cars? The only social interaction you get in a car is road rage.” (This is not totally true, as once I was driving on I-5 and a dude held his phone number up to his Jeep’s window, and then we went to the aquarium together. But I digress.) It’s much easier and safer to check out the hotties at your bus stop or on the subway.
Grist columnist Carla Saulter met her now-husband on a Seattle bus — no surprise, as she’s our city’s reigning Bus Chick. Brace yourself for this adorableness:
I’m not proud of this, but it’s time I came clean. I wanted to sit by Bus Nerd so badly that that I regularly (and intentionally) committed a minor bus foul: I saved him a seat.
I used the standard tactics: leaving my bus chick bag on the seat next to me (a shocking transgression by a woman who prides herself on her impeccable bus etiquette) and pretending to be busy digging through it each time new people boarded. Sometimes I even resorted to feigning sleep to avoid being asked to move it.
Le sigh. How cute is that?
If you want to pull a Before Sunrise and find your own true love on transit, here’s a tasty stewpot of tips from real-life couples, WikiHow, and this sketchy website I found:
- Skip your headphones. They make you look unapproachable. Let’s face it, NPR is never going to make you heart-shaped grilled cheese and rub your feet.
- Carry a conversation-starter. Having a book, magazine, My Little Pony, or the latest iWhatsit is like throwing a magic conversational buoy to shy types. Or upgrade to a snowboard or ambiguous musical instrument case. Seriously, bigger is better: transporting a thrift-store papasan chair by bus got me more looks than forgetting my pants ever has.
- Waste no time. Don’t assume you have your entire bus ride to screw up your courage — nothing worse than mentally crafting the perfect comment about someone’s paperback, only to have them hop off before you’ve made a move. Plus, then you have more time for exchanging digits and staring into each other’s weary bloodshot eyes.
- Ask a question … Massachusetts residents Lauren Richey and Scott Miller met and married on the commuter rail. Richey noticed that Miller often brought a fold-up bike on the train, mentally dubbing him “Bike Man” and even writing a short story about him (cute … and kind of creepy). Their romance started the day she tapped him on the shoulder and asked why he sometimes got on at different stops (observant … and also kind of creepy).
- … but don’t be a creeper. If the object of your affection isn’t, uh, affectionate: no lurking. Hopping off a stop or two after any failed flirting is ideal (although not always feasible).
- Take a bet. Hey, it worked for the woman whose friends bet her $40 to kiss the next person who got on the bus — whom she ended up marrying. Naturally, he proposed on the bus and they had their wedding pics taken on a bus.
If your pre-caffeinated bus-stop brain is blank, here are some bang-up conversation openers:
- “I think our bus driver looks like an old shriveled apple / is the perkiest person alive / is gonna give me a heart attack from skidding through those orange lights.”
- “I love/hate that there is/n’t an app to track when the bus/subway’ll get here.” (Some places with arrival-time apps: Boston, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Brooklyn, D.C.)
- “Did you know that in Norway, there’s an app that lets you can leave notes for other people at your bus stop?”
- “Do you have a map? Because I just got lost in your eyes.” (OK, I kid.)
Perfect. Now you are in love.
If you want to get hitched on a train, get in line, sucka! Krisy Plourde and Tom Golden beat out other hopefuls in a contest to get married on Philadelphia’s “Love Train” this past Valentine’s Day. Watch Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter marry them:
Awww. Listen to “Love Train” and share your own bus crush or L train love story in the comments.