Window Seat: Straight readers see transit as prime hook-up territory

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      Georgia Straight readers love to post (and read) items in our popular I Saw You feature, where smitten strangers and people thrown together in usually random, brief encounters try to reconnect.

      Some of them think they might have passed up on the opportunity to meet the love of their life; others are merely intrigued by someone with whom they shared a few words in a coffee-shop lineup or in a theatre lobby during intermission. Yet others are just looking for a no-strings hookup.

      One thing is clear, though, about contributors to I Saw You: lots of them take public transit, and those that do seem to spend a lot of time scoping out their fellow passengers.

      Whether it’s on a bus, SkyTrain, or SeaBus, the number-one setting for the described chance encounters in the I Saw Yous—when other venues are considered on an individual basis—is public transit.

      I surveyed all the hopeful posts published in February, March, and April to date (noon on April 12). There were 352 in total, of which 25 were discarded because of the lack of any sort of physical setting.

      Of the rest, 113 of them—all subtotals here include female-to-male, male-to-female, female-to-female, and male-to-male posts—referenced meetings in bars, clubs, restaurants, coffee shops, concerts, movies, and plays. Almost the same number, 112, were in regard to people observed during various other activities while out and about in and around Vancouver, including dog-walking, jogging, hiking, at the doctor’s office, the gym, or at yoga classes, and strolling the streets, parks, or seawall (those are just the major categories).

      Only 29 people were desperately seeking their soulmate glimpsed while shopping (and men outnumbered women in those posts by almost two to one).

      But 73 readers were casting their last-chance net out there to link up with someone they thought ignited their chemistry aboard a bus or SkyTrain.

      That’s 21 percent of the posts for transit alone, out of more than a dozen-and-a-half urban settings.

      The most common regret expressed seems to be not gathering the courage to say hello or introduce themselves before the objects of their fascination get off at their stops. The numbers seem to show that connections can be made when we slow down and look around ourselves (as when forced to stand or sit still for a period when taking transit). This might be as good a reason as any to put down those smart phones and tablets that many, if not most, transit riders today use to shield themselves from human contact while commuting.

      (The forced-inactivity observation seems to hold true when applied to the shopping I Saw Yous, where most encounters seem to have happened in checkout lines, and the restaurants and coffee shops, where people are likewise taking a respite and perhaps checking out their surroundings—if they’re not poking at their phone screens.)

      Males represented a bit more than half of the  heterosexual bus and train riders (35 of 63), and same-sex searches on transit (equally split) numbered 10.

      So judging by the sheer number of lost opportunities, Straight readers looking for their soulmates could do a lot worse than climbing on board a #99 B-Line.

      And it’s a lot cheaper than buying drinks all night.