Lileks: City of lakes - and cozy carriage rides

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 6, 2012 - 4:52 PM

Yahoo, the company that was Google before Google, has declared Minneapolis to be one of the nation's most "unexpectedly romantic cities."

You almost hate to read the story, because you want to think it means this: "I was standing in line at Lutefisk Louie's food cart downtown, when suddenly a man appeared holding flowers, asked me to marry him, and a flash mob started dancing, and the next thing I knew we were having a ceremony on the Stone Arch Bridge, with Prince playing the music! I totally fainted at the end -- but from hunger; never did get my lunch."

But no. It's "unexpected" in the sense that "you'd never think a place that's so cold, clannish and uptight it makes medieval Northern Scotland look like a Roman orgy would be disposed to romance."

Read the story, and it's full of this: "Contact the Hitching Company for a horse-drawn carriage ride along the riverfront, along cobblestone streets and across the Stone Arch Bridge. In winter, cozy blankets are provided."

Ah. That sort of romantic. Things you'd see in a movie with Hugh Grant charmingly stuttering his way into someone's heart by offering her a cozy blanket and saying: "I'm sure frozen flesh can be revived if it's blue. When it's gray, then it has to come off. But you'd be lovely with no fingers at all."

Why are we romantic? Because we have "a booming big-city vibe" -- I see construction cranes in the distance! Kiss me, you impetuous fool -- and "lots of privacy-promoting nooks and crannies" at Lake of the Isles. Oh, I can vouch for that. You're walking around the lake, see a couple necking, and you want to shout "Hey, get a nook."

I mention these things for two reasons: 1) to remind you that most city-ranking lists are written by bored writers so other bored writers will write about them, and 2) once again, St. Paul is treated like a conjoined twin with a completely different personality. Yes, once you cross over on University, romance is expected with almost fatalistic resolve. Nine p.m. every other Saturday.

In case you're wondering, the No. 1 unexpectedly romantic city is Washington, D.C., possibly because the Subcommittee on Courting, Spooning and Woo-Pitchery has not met since 2010. No one expects romance in D.C. Yet somehow it happens.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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