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Finding Romance in the Next Lane

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Finding Romance in the Next Lane

Ted Landphair
April 17, 2006

Audio Version  472KB  mp3
Audio Version  195KB  RealPlayer

You may have heard the term "road rage." But now there's much kinder, gentler behavior that might be called "road romance."

"Road rage" refers to angry encounters on the highway that too often lead to tragic results. Road romance, on the other hand, has to do with the age-old custom of flirting with the opposite sex. This time, with a distinctly automotive twist.

It's not unusual for a person to pull up to a traffic light, glance to the left or right, and see a really interesting-looking person -- handsome or beautiful, perhaps. Or possessed of a certain twinkle.

If this were a bar or even an office setting, eye contact might lead to a pleasant "hello," an exchange of phone numbers that leads to a date, or even a longer-term, satisfying relationship. But in traffic, how do you say, "I'd like to get to know you"? It's unlikely that you'll roll down your window and strike up a friendship right there from a separate car on a busy road. The light changes, and there goes your shot at fate.

But now there's an answer. It's a step beyond Internet dating sites and color-coded bracelets that are supposed to signal, "I'm available."

Americans on the look-out for love can now slap a maroon sticker on their cars' side panels, imprinted with their personal "flirting ID," as it's called. It's a simple number, like PA123. The driver who spots someone intriguing simply remembers that number and checks the person out later on the "Flirting in Traffic" Web site. There, he or she will find details about Mr. or Ms. Wonderful, and can initiate contact.

Road romance. An intriguing idea with a cautionary note: One hopes that the smitten driver does not have to scramble for a piece of paper on which to WRITE DOWN the "Flirting ID" number, and end up, quite literally, dying to meet someone.

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