Q: I am a recent transplant from New York. It completely blows my mind that, for example, the Missed Connections section of Craigslist is teeming with postings from both genders that all go something like "Um, I saw you at the gas station (or bar, or grocery store, or park) and thought you were super-cute and should have talked to you but I didn't and now I'm just wondering if maybe on the off chance you'll see this."

This is the most twisted behavior I've ever seen. I'm supposed to meet women by trying to get noticed someplace by someone who may post on Craigslist? I do my fair share when it comes to taking initiative with these things, but the passive-aggressive Minnesotan is an oddly annoying creature. Advice?

A: In defense of Minnesotans, I checked the Missed Connections on New York City's Craigslist and there are more than 100 new postings every day, which isn't too disproportionate to our local site's average of 40 per day. Also -- and I know I'm being pedantic here -- "passive-aggressive" refers to a behavior pattern in which an individual indirectly expresses his or her negative feelings instead of communicating them constructively. It's like the time my ex-boyfriend and I were flying home from San Juan and he kept ordering cocktails. Apparently our flight attendant, Lynn, didn't care for alcohol because she had a passive-aggressive comment every time she came around. "Wow, your friend sure likes Johnny Walker," she said to me. "Wow, you sure finished that fast," she said to him. Then she intentionally skipped our aisle for last call. Lynn was passive-aggressive.

Posting a Missed Connection is not so much passive-aggressive as it is protecting the ego. People don't like to be rejected, so most of us are at least a little nervous about approaching someone at the bar. Casting out a line on Craigslist is hardly putting oneself out there. I bet most of the folks who spend five minutes typing up a Missed Connection forget about it by the next day, since they usually go unanswered. Unless, of course, you're a woman posting about a man, in which case you'll get bombarded with e-mails like, "I know that wasn't me, but you sound very sexy." (Trust me, I know.) Also, Missed Connections are an obvious extension of our laziness. As in, that chick wasn't hot enough to warrant climbing over two sections at Target Field during the ninth inning but, hey, maybe she'll check Craigslist the next day and you can grab coffee.

That said, I agree that approaching someone directly is a far more effective way to grab his or her attention. Time and time again I've encouraged readers of all genders to grow a pair and be forthcoming with their feelings. What's the worst that could happen? They could say no thanks, and that's it. Coincidentally, that's my advice to you. Just go introduce yourself, offer to buy a cocktail or ask to meet for coffee sometime. I know that infiltrating Twin Cities subcultures can seem daunting at first, but we're actually very nice people. If you like bars or coffee shops, make yourself a regular at a popular neighborhood spot and get to know the people who work there. Soon you'll meet other regulars, and your social circle will branch out from there. Also, concentrate on making friends first. Desperation reeks like a hefty spray of Sex Panther, and if there's one thing no one likes (Minnesotan or not), it's when others come on too strong.

Anyway, welcome to the Twin Cities. I hope you make the most of your first Minnesota summer. We have all kinds of festivals, block parties and outdoor concerts, not to mention countless patios that fill up with fun and sexy people every day of the week. Go forth and meet them.

  • Alexis McKinnis is taking your questions about sex, dating and relationships. Send them to advice@vita.mn or submit anonymously at www.vita.mn/alexis. Don't leave out the juicy details!