from Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2003

Chances are, it's destiny
By Jade Chang

The people of believe in love at first sight. They know that sometimes two people are meant to be, that some connections are cosmic, that the pretty blond at the other end of the bar really, really wanted to come over and chat, but her boyfriend got in the way.

And so, full of hope, they turn to the site's Missed Connections board, a popular forum where the heartsick post accounts of chance meetings on the million-in-one possibility that "you: long, messy dark brown hair, vintage looking clothes on, with a rockin' tat on your arm" will recognize "me: short spunky light brown hair, minimal makeup."

And where are these potential lovers meeting the people whose numbers they lose, or lose the courage to ask for? A weeklong survey of the site showed that although we live in a city of swanky spots, we're more likely to lock eyes with the-one-who-got-away while picking mangoes at Trader Joe's than at a velvet-rope soiree.

Amid the accusatory paeans to lost love ("we clicked, you said so yourself") and sage words of wisdom ("learn from me don't ever, ever date your neighbor") were references to Ralphs, Gelson's, Jons, Vons and Wild Oats. In fact, the only local supermarket chain not mentioned was Bristol Farms - too upmarket, maybe, for such base pursuits.

Westsiders, Hermosa/Manhattan Beach-ers, blonds, Asian girls and, strangely, beanie wearers seemed to be the most common objects of affection. Coffee shops (Starbucks, Insomnia) won out over fast-food joints (In-N-Out, McDonald's), bars (Circle Bar, Echo Club) reigned and restaurants barely even placed.

But destiny, it appears, is most often thwarted on the road.

Angelenos get stabbed in the back by their car culture as changing lights and inopportune left turns ruin many a possible meet-cute moment for the drivers of convertibles and SUVs - the vehicles of choice for missed connections.