I’ve been reading Missed Connections pretty regularly for about three years now, since stumbling upon the section while looking on Craigslist for a new roommate in the fall of 2007.
I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking and writing about Missed Connections, both informally with friends and academically – and even have a good friend who introduces me to people as the Missed Connections girl. One of the challenges in thinking about Missed Connections has been a dearth of appropriate words to sort of explain what’s going on. I’ve had to fairly arbitrarily decide on terms.
For example, the person whom the post is about: shall I call them the “subject,” the “focal person,” the “object of desire?” The writer of the Missed Connection – shall they be the “writer,” the “poster,” or something else? My search for ‘le mot juste’ has lead me to substitute all kinds of wordy and awkward phrases to get my point across.
In qualitative research, there’s often flexibility to create terms, or name them in a way that makes sense to you as an observer. Another approach, though, is to use research subjects’ own words to name a given phenomena.
In the above post, I came across a term I’d never seen before: “TTC chopping,” which the writer describes as “picking up” on transit.
I’ve read thousands of Missed Connections – I can only hazard a guess at how many (let’s just say I still have 500 to catch up on from the last six days). Of those, a great many (more than 25% in one sample I took) take place in the city’s fair subways, streetcars, buses, GO trains, and transit stops.
Thus far, though, I’d never seen a specific term to describe the attempt to flirt or make a connection on transit – until “TTC chopping.”
The word “chopping” has kind of strange connotations (knives, axes, motorcycle “choppers,” etc…) that it seems a bit out of place in the context of romantic or sexual interactions. At the same time, though, I’m fascinated at this MC writer’s awareness of this practice, and that he deems it to be generally undesirable. He has come up with his own way to talk about the desire to connect in cities in a way that presumably makes sense to him.
What do you think: Is TTC chopping the right word for this? What would you suggest for this or other Missed Connections phenomena?
UPDATE: One sharp-eyed, handsome reader has suggested that perhaps the author of this post meant “shopping,” instead of “chopping.” That seems plausible, and a bit more sensible in the context. At any rate, I’ve never seen the expression “TTC shopping” before, either.