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Speed dating on the subway is just as awkward as it sounds

Written by
Kate Wertheimer

I'm pretty embarrassed to admit that before this morning, I'd never taken the Metro in LA (I walk a lot, okay?). I'm slightly more embarrassed to admit that my first time on my city's subway system was not for convenient, environmentally friendly transport, but for, uh, speed dating. Which I've also never done before, for the record.

For the second year, Metro's Speed Dating on the Red Line turns one car on each red line train—appropriately if embarrassingly covered in hearts—into a mini speed-dating experiment for Valentine's Day. Once aboard, each participant chooses a seat (presumably next to the dreamboat of their choice) and at the next stop can stay seated, pick a different seat or get off the train.

I lived in New York for two years before I moved here, and Chicago for four years before that, and I never met any worthwhile babes on the A C E or the El (or the L, thanks). They certainly existed, but conversations were few and far between… between cranky morning commuters, stumbling drunks at 4am, headphones and smartphones and my own timidness. (Also, for what it's worth, my roommate in Brooklyn was once on the G train across from a handsome, suited fellow who kept making eyes at her over his newspaper, until he tore off a piece of said paper and proceeded to eat it. So there's that.)

But to be fair, folks riding the Metro on a Friday morning probably a) have jobs to get to, b) give a crap about the planet and c) aren't giving into the (untrue) trope that people need cars to get around LA. And they're (hopefully?) sober, which is a refreshing change of pace from drunky-drunks in dark bars.

Except, there just weren't that many folks participating. And I'm not gonna lie and say I met anyone amazing. No one ate their newspapers, but no one took my breath away either. One car was filled with confused tourists that definitely didn't speak English. Most cars contained more reporters and Metro staff (who, it must be noted, were full of jokes and smiles and energy) than they did willing participants. Everyone I did meet, male and female, was kind and enthusiastic—but it was maybe twenty people total, none remotely my type.

The highlight of my experience was being back on public transportation after such a long hiatus and meeting so many incredibly friendly Metro workers (do they drug them?). The stations are clean and bright and full of art and bustling city dwellers. I interacted with more actual humans in two hours than I sometimes do in two days. And while no one in the speed dating cars caught my eye, there were some pretty attractive commuters just, you know, commuting. So, I didn't find a date for Valentine's Day on the Red Line this year. But I do have a pretty big crush on the Metro.

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