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Thursday, February 21, 2013

"The Saddest Map in America"

Posted by on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM

That's how Andrew Sullivan characterizes the "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."

  • Dorothy Gambrell

I understand Sullivan's use of the adjective "sad," but for me, the primary effect is fascination. Take Washington, for example. Does this mean the bus holds the most horny/amorous folks, or that the bus holds the most horny/amorous folks who are too wussy to chat up their potential love objects and thus must rely on after-the-fact approaches liked Missed Connections?

"California is an actual self-parody (as is Nevada)," notes Sullivan. "But the saddest state of all has to be Indiana. There, the majority of 'missed connections' were 'at home.'"

Sadly fascinating!


Comments (41) RSS

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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 1
Weird. In New York it's "subway" but in Washington it's "bus".

It's so inexplicable. What is the special fascination that the bus holds in Washington? There must be some explanation for the differences in lifestyle and temperament that make bus rise above subway for those in the Pacific Northwest. There must be something that explains why New Yorkers miss connections on the subway more than Seattleites. Some cause. But what could it be?

I am stumped! Why? Why? Why?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on February 21, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 2
I've been trying to figure out Indiana. Are these all people staring out their front windows, hoping for love?
Posted by Canadian Nurse on February 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Schmader, you idiot, it means the bus is the place where people people most often see attractive strangers, yet feel (with reason) that advances would be regarded as inappropriate.

What we should be wondering is what the hell is wrong with people in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Utah.
Posted by robotslave on February 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Pick1 4
We're super intellectual in Utah! College Campuses! BOOM!

Oh wait, it's because our average age of marriage is a whole hell of a lot lower than the rest of the country. Return from mission, then get married and start a family before you're out of college. Otherwise you'll be some old spinster! That's how you do it.
Posted by Pick1 on February 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Note too that Illinois and New York are both "Train": I guarantee you that is about the El/CTA/Metra in Chicago, and the NYC subway/LIRR systems. The vast majority of New York State and Illinois is farmland without trains, but the majority of people and CL posters will be in the metro areas. I'd love to see this map re-done over the recent map that divided the US into 50 equally sized (and demographically aligned) states. You'd see a lot more WalMart in Illinois. Also, note Wisconsin: Bars. I love Wisconsin. Also also note: WA has the highest percentage of women seeking men. Fucking too-polite-to-flirt Seattle men. Losers.
Posted by Chicago Fan on February 21, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
Hmm, my state is "parks." I guess I kind of like that. Get out in that fresh air fellow Marylanders.

Oh wow, I just noted the solid block of "Wal-Mart" that is the south. Shit.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 21, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Yay Dorothy! She was in the next dorm over from me freshman year. I remember when her comic Cat & Girl started on light poles and bulletin boards.
Posted by PEM on February 21, 2013 at 10:39 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 8
I think there is a great deal of information on this map (and therefore find it fascinating.) But I don't think it tells us as much about the romantic cultures of each state as much as the kinds of public spaces that they tend to occupy in each place.

People in Seattle and Portland spend a lot of time on the bus. People in Atlanta spend a lot of time in their cars. People in the NE corridor and Chicago spend a lot of time on the trains. There is a robust neighborhood tavern culture in Wisconsin.

And most of Red America spends a LOT of time at WalMart.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on February 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Here's the link. She has other great charts and infographics here and there on the site.
Posted by PEM on February 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 10
I'm sorry, but Coloradans are by far the most likely to have met in a gym. Or a bike shop.

Arizona? Try a TeaBagger rally.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 21, 2013 at 10:45 AM · Report this
The data set for this actually seems pretty small. 100 missed connections per state is a somewhat reasonable size, but definitely not if they're the "100 most recent Missed Connections posted on Craigslist at the time of data collection." You'd think that the results would vary a fair amount by time of day/week.
Posted by I really should just register on February 21, 2013 at 11:04 AM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 12
I can only assume by "Subway" they mean the sandwich!

And wow...McDonalds wins a state in the middle of America! Like a oily heart pumping out missed the Walmart tendrils of Texas spread "what-might-have-beens" throughout the body.

Posted by ArtBasketSara on February 21, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
pragmatic 13
@2 I'm pretty sure that's a joke at Indiana's expense. That, or Hoosiers really do long for their sisters.
Posted by pragmatic on February 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
I don't remember ever seeing anyone of my own species at Walmart, let alone a potential mate. I must be going to the wrong Walmarts, in the wrong states.
Posted by originalcinner on February 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
jnmend 15
Missed Connections/I Saw U's are sad as shit.

JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER, PEOPLE. Then you can find out in five minutes how much someone annoys you, rather than pine after a fictional version of a person you've created in your head from a distance.
Posted by jnmend on February 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Indiana is fucking weird.

Last time I drove through there, every county got to decide their own time zone. Whenever I'd stop for gas or food, nobody could tell me what the hell the time was.

And every thirty miles there was another crappy shopping mall with another Applebee's. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode.
Posted by CPN on February 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM · Report this
TLjr 17
You're not a true Seattle-ite until you've scored a date on the bus.
Posted by TLjr on February 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
blip 18

I'm not looking for a hookup but I've been searching for "24" in missed connections at least once a week for years now because the posts are so fun to read (Plus it only requires typing 2 characters. I like my voyeurism to be efficient). There are about 20 ads per week for 24 Hour Fitness in the Bay Area alone and they are almost exclusively m4m. The shower ones are my favorite.
Posted by blip on February 21, 2013 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 19
I used to post a Craigslist missed connection of the day on my blog, and the South totally hooks up at Wal Mart.
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on February 21, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
lizlemon 20
who woulda thought passive-agressive love spawns in so many walmarts? Maybe that's why Seattle's primary MC is on buses --we got no walmarts!
Posted by lizlemon on February 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 21
I'd rather not date or meet anyone who saw me at a Walmart.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Fnarf 22
This is a political map. The states the Democrats cannot win for love nor money are Walmart States.

Walmart figures highly in these states because Walmart is pretty much the only leisure-time activity available to the people there, everything else of interest or value there having been driven Walmart. I have personal experience in some of these places, and Walmart is often literally the only place OPEN there; if you don't want to go to Walmart, you have to stay home (watch out for Indianans behind the sofa, though).

This is a feedback loop, because living in a world where Walmart is the only leisure-time option is a huge factor in creating the shoddy, fearful, poverty-stricken, uneducated, diminished-expectations worldview that Republicans thrive on. In a closed-off Walmart universe, it's easy to believe that nameless immigrants and welfare recipients are are the ones keeping you down and preventing you from having it off with that 300-pound hottie on a bed of hoarded paper towels.
Posted by Fnarf on February 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 23
What is more sad is the posters are probably 20-30somethings that have a life of on line dating to look forward to. Given reality 30 years ago, you either had the balls to make a move or you lost out. Now some Missed Connection post allows the poster to feel like they have done EVERYTHING they can to find love.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Dougsf 24
Whether or not there's people that might welcome an advance on their morning bus commute, I think it's safe to say the general vibe is that's it's the time or place. Mix that with the bus' painfully slow speed, an infrequency that increases the likelyhood you'll see a lot of the same faces, and a shared sense of misery (i.e., the bus) and you've got yourself a breeding ground for missed connection.
Posted by Dougsf on February 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Everyone be eye-humping on the bus.
Posted by of course on February 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
I met my spouse through a bus-related missed connection. No, really. Everyone who hears the story says, "That never happens!" so it can't be all that successful a strategy.
Posted by queenmoonracer on February 21, 2013 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Why the buses in Washington you ask? That's because you guys don't have any other public transportation! Look at Illinois, we have a decent train system within the city and in the suburbs. Look at New York, the subway is the biggest missed connection. What do these all have in common? Lonely people taking public transportation! Unfortunately for Washington all you have is that rotten Seattle Metro system that manages to be late in the dead of night with no traffic!
Posted by Wack_Daniels on February 21, 2013 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Most of the missed connections in Indiana are from women looking to reconnect. For example, "You were so handsome when you came by to pick up the kids for the weekend, I wish we would try again." I live there, I'm not defending it, but that whole section is for laughs or fucking fatties. And to #16, we never know what time it is because the weed is that good.
Posted by IndianaHaze on February 21, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Stabs 29
Ugh, notice the WalMart states. Gross.
Posted by Stabs on February 21, 2013 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 30
I wonder if Wisconsin has the highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 21, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 31
Yep, it sure does. Just looked it up. Fuck! And the south has the lowest.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Fnarf 32
@31, I thought it was Alaska.
Posted by Fnarf on February 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 33
@ 23, missed connection personal classifieds have existed for decades. Like all classifieds, they exist only online now, but they weren't invented with the internet.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 21, 2013 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 34
@ 31/32, looks like Utah has the lowest.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 21, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 35
Whoops - that's a map of binge drinking among women of child-bearing age, not the rate of alcohol fetal syndrome. I imagine there's a consistent correlation between the two, but this doesn't prove it.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 21, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
I'm surprised about Nevada and casinos, and probably shouldn't be self-parody. My limited experience with Nevadans is that the locals don't go to casinos (at least not on a regular basis), but that doesn't preclude a local from seeing someone attractive in a casino.
Posted by Jared Bascomb on February 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Fnarf 37
@36, they're probably all along the lines of "you gave me a sweet smile when you walked by me getting chewed out by some entitled douchebag from the convention hall because his free drink wasn't cold enough. Wanna get together and commiserate about our shit jobs?"
Posted by Fnarf on February 21, 2013 at 6:47 PM · Report this
Love it! The perfect wall map!
Posted by pat L on February 21, 2013 at 7:54 PM · Report this
What exactly is a super store? Is that just another way of saying walmart?
Posted by chi_type on February 21, 2013 at 8:08 PM · Report this
Speaking from experience, @22 is right. I'm originally from SD, and watched it happen to the town I went to college.

But everyone is missing the true shining star of this map: Oklahoma! "Sate fair"? That is fucking adorable!
Posted by Ben on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Steve French 41
Dear God, Rhode Island! Parking Lots? Really?
Posted by Steve French on February 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this

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