Big screen love stories are made of chance encounters between two strangers colliding fatefully on public transportation. Two people who shared a glance from afar in an old train station, a gentleman who helped a lady lift her bags into the overhead compartment, a lady who giggled at a man who wrestled his scarf out of a closing subway door. Two people who woke up that morning not knowing that said stranger would inject their day, and perhaps their life with a spark. You see, sparks between two people can fly anywhere, which makes the whole world one giant dating playground. That’s right, meaningful hookups don’t just happen in bars, clubs, online, singles events and so on. They can happen anywhere, to anyone... if your eyes and heart are open. In fact one of the BEST, most important men in my past, came in to my life during an hour long emergency stop on a New York/New Jersey commuter train.
Often, road warriors think that Cupid is dismissing them, punishing them for their jet-setting lifestyle. But it is simply not the case. Cupid’s arrow can joyfully strike on a subway platform, a crowded airplane aisle or a train depot, but it helps if you know the ways of road warrior romance. Follow these do’s and don’t to increase your chances of true commuter connection:
Do leverage social media. The day before and the day you are leaving for a trip, post to all of your networks (i.e. FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter) where you are headed and request "tour guides" – friends of friends that could show you around at your destination – they will see between the lines that you are looking for a bit of stopover love.
Don’t leave home in your sweats and last night’s eyeliner. Although traveling can be uncomfy and slipping into your favorite oversized college hoodie and worn out ball cap may be tempting, DON’T! You never know what cutie awaits you at the airport gate or in a long security line and if you don’t look good on the outside, you may not feel good enough on the inside to exercise your flirting muscles.
Do use airline/train delays to your advantage. Instead of whining about your travel frustrations and burying them in a Cinnabon and the latest UsWeekly, hit the airport/train station bar and socialize with the other delayed passengers. Miserly loves company, a drink and a spontaneous flirting session.
Don’t stay in your hotel room. If traveling keeps you overnight, and in a foreign hotel room, don’t use this as an excuse to chow down on room service and order pay-per-view. At the very least, head down to the hotel bar to mingle with the other jet-setters, or better yet, ask your concierge for recommendations of local hotspots and venture into the city. Locals love to entertain out of towners and show off a bit of their city.
Do make your interest known. In the transportation playground, time is of the essence. With passengers quickly coming and going, you need to strike while the feeling is hot; this is not the atmosphere to hesitate, playing cat and mouse for hours. This is the occasion to be a little more obvious - use your body language to illustrate your interest to your crush, start with eye contact to zero in on your new crush, smile and position yourself near them to make it easy to strike up conversation.
Don’t be a griping globetrotter. Every road warrior knows the battle – the flight delays, the long lines, the missed trains, the hotel rooms that weren’t booked, but truthfully, no one wants to hear about it. Instead be a breath of fresh air. Your positive outlook will shine through in your aura and in your attitude, and subsequently catch the attention of eligible singles.
Do rock a conversation piece. Adorning a conversation piece, be it an interesting book that you aren’t actually reading, just simply carrying or having by your side, or a fabulous statement accessory (a striking necklace, a funky hat, unusual carry-on bag) is like an open invitation for chit-chat to interested parties.
Do de-tech. If you are perma-plugged into your iPhone, Kindle or laptop, you may as well have a closed for business sign hanging up. Just as you wouldn’t disturb someone who appeared otherwise engaged, if you are, you can expect the same. Power off for a bit and open yourself up to the possibilities, and you just might get turned on in other ways!
Don’t aim to fall in love, aim to fall in like. Since you don’t know if your target is coming or going, it is important to manage your expectations in the transportation dating field. If you wind up with a steamy one-nighter or an exciting date, great, but nonetheless, it is an opportunity to enhance your flirting skills and certainly a better time killer than phone Scrabble!
Do think creatively. Once you’ve made a connection, the end of your road will require you to be a little bolder than with typical local bar sparks (i.e. you may need to jump off at a train stop earlier to continue the conversation and secure the phone number). Be bold. Think spontaneously – after all, life on the road is supposed to be an adventure.
Live and love largely,