It's a nine hour drive From me to you South on 1-95 And I'll do it 'til the day that I die If I need to Just to see you - Fountains of Wayne
For years I was fascinated by life on the East Coast. Having lived my entire life in Texas, the idea that Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. were all close enough to drive to without an overnight stay was so foreign to a kid who grew up in a state where the distance from home to El Paso was farther than the distance from El Paso to Los Angeles. Then I drove all over the East Coast on numerous occasions and realized that, while physically close, getting around by car routinely took longer than the driving distance would indicate.
So, when a press release for a contest called America's Chance for Romance landed in my inbox with the line "If singles are sick of dating in their own state, this will give them the chance to be paired with someone from a completely different state based on similarities from their questionnaire and video submission," I had to chuckle.
The Fountains of Wayne song I quoted at the beginning of this story might be very romantic, but the song also mentions all the wonderful things to see along the north-west highway traversing the eastern seaboard...
They sell posters of girls washing cars And unicorns and stars And Guns N' Roses album covers They've got most of the Barney DVDs Coffee mugs and tees That say Virginia Is For Lovers But it's not Round here it's just for truckers who forgot To fill up on gasoline Back up near Aberdeen
And this is not to discount long distance romance. In our modern technological age with photo and video apps literally in your pocket wherever you go, the notion of staying connected when you are physically apart is actually feasible. But, no one goes specifically looking for love in another state because they are sick of it in their own state.
I am having a hard time imagining someone in Austin thinking, "You know, these central Texas women are so ridiculous. I think I'll go hunting for love in Oklahoma." Has anyone ever even thought these words let alone acted on them? I guess that depends on the state.
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Maybe if you live in Wyoming where the population is just over half a million (what???), you might consider looking for a lovely bride to be in Salt Lake City or Denver...or New Hampshire for that matter. Maybe citizens of barren states are just so desperate, they would consider driving to hell and back for a mate.
For those of us in more populous regions, it sounds absurd. There was even a Seinfeld episode where Elaine tried to hide the fact that she got one of the new New York area codes because guys didn't want to date someone who wasn't in the 212. I guess when you live in a city with 10 million people, you can be picky like that.
Of course, the contest in question is a promotional vehicle for Minneapolis/St. Paul, which seems about right, because few places seem farther from the rest of the country than central Minnesota (except northern Minnesota -- sorry Duluth!). You may as well live in Canada. Then again, it is just right up Interstate 35 from Texas. If you're a guy or gal desperate for love and you think the land of Prince and indoor everything is your ticket to happiness, this could be the contest for you. You'll rack up a lot of frequent flier miles and if you can't afford to fly, think of all the fun you'll have driving through Iowa listening to Fountains of Wayne.