The Saddest Map In America

Feb 21 2013 @ 11:42am

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Yep, there it is: the result of a scholarly study by Dorothy Gambrell of the “missed connections” section of Craigslist. This is where you thought you saw your future spouse or date or hook-up, state by state. It is, in some ways, a sign of where we are now most likely to see people we don’t know in various parts of the country. It’s also a sign of male loneliness or romance: men seeking to find a possible love-mate outnumber women 86 – 14.

Nationally, the chart shows that great arc of life. In your twenties, you are most likely to think you’ve caught the eye of someone in an ice cream shop; in your thirties, in a bar; in your forties, a strip club or adult bookstore (those still exist?). That sounds like the trajectory of the single male to me, doesn’t it? With almost the precision of a novel.

Now look at the South – more people spy love at Wal-Mart than anywhere else, from Florida all the way to New Mexico. And that thread runs all the way through deep red America. Only Oklahoma cites the state fair as a mixer. The rest see each other under the merciless lighting of the giant super-store. This is how we fall in love or lust, where we flirt and look back: when we’re shopping. The big cities – like NYC and DC – showcase the random human interaction on the subway or metro. The Northwest has it all going on on buses.

A few more gems: California is an actual self-parody (as is Nevada). Rhode Island does not disappoint in sketchiness: parking lots are where love is suspected most often there. But the saddest state of all has to be Indiana. There, the majority of “missed connections” were “at home”.

I say saddest. Maybe they’re just the most honest. Or trapped in a Pinter play.

(Hat tip: Psychology Today)