The Love Conductor: Erika Christensen

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Let’s face it: The New York City subway — in all of its crowded, rat-infested, urine-reeking realities — is the best place in the world to check people out. It’s the city’s equalizer and common denominator; you just can’t get a better cross section of its denizens.
But, while you may surreptitiously steal glances over your book (then check Missed Connections when you get home), self-proclaimed “Love Conductor” Erika Christensen will unabashedly approach attractive strangers right there in the city’s underbelly and ask them about their marital status. This is the basis of Train Spottings, Christensen’s matchmaking company that scouts for potential romantic partners in the subways.
The wildly charismatic cupid, who charges her clients on a generous sliding scale from $39 to $456 (because, everyone should be able to afford love), doesn’t rely on fancy algorithms or techy apps to compute matches. When it comes to organizing dates, Christensen trusts her gut — and very keen eye. You could say that Christensen brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “tunnel of love.”
Photographed by Ben Ritter.

Why I took matchmaking underground
“I love the subway because it’s such a microcosm of life in the city. We are forced to interact every day in a tiny little car, and I think it’s good for us. Also, it’s just a great place to check out a bunch of attractive people at once, and you get a new batch every seven minutes. We call it ‘fishing.’ If we don’t find anyone the first time around, we’ll get a whole new school of fish a few minutes later.”

What makes for a great catch
“I guess what we look for when we go fishing are the ones that look alive, people who look like they’re plugged in. They look sassy or smart, or they’re reading a cool book or have great style. For example, if there’s a guy helping a mom with strollers up the stairs or a guy who gives up his seat to let a pregnant lady sit down, then we’ll fish him. Good subway etiquette is generally good human etiquette, and it gives us insight into what type of person someone is.”


Why love means taking risks
“I hope that what I’m doing is presenting the idea that it’s possible to put yourself out on a limb and take a risk. Even if things don’t go the way you hope, it will work in other positive ways. Like, going out on a blind date is terrifying for lots of people. But, you can still have a great time even if the guy isn’t for you. You know taking that risk [to go on the date] will end up paying off in your life [somehow]. That’s the idea that I would like to offer to people: Life doesn’t happen while you are home alone, sad. You are in charge of your own destiny. You have to take charge. If he were at home on your couch, you would have met him already.”

Make the first move
“I haven’t always been so outgoing, but I did make the first move on my husband. I had a crush on him for like six years as friends, and then finally, I was like, Forget it. I can’t go on like this. So, I put the moves on him four years ago, and we’ve been making out ever since. We just got married because I proposed to him — that’s right! I encourage everyone to take those risks. If it doesn’t work out, you tried. Otherwise, you’re sitting on your couch wondering if you should. Just do it. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re embarrassed for five minutes? You’ll get over it. I hope ladies are getting more aggressive about what they want. I think that’s a positive thing.”


On compatibility and deal breakers
“I know people have ‘types,’ but I’m always going to challenge it. For instance, it blows my mind how many people are not willing to date outside of their own race. I’m usually like, ‘Okay, you like dating people who look like this, but you know you are cutting out a million other people. Let’s figure out why that is and open our minds.’ I’m disappointed a lot. People are very locked in to what they think the love of their life looks like. To put these restrictions before you’ve found the person, I find totally counterproductive to you finding happiness. You have to try everything. If I meet someone who has a long list of deal breakers already, I’d be nervous to take them on [as a client].”

What love means to me
“Love is what makes the world function — it’s what keeps us connected and reminds us that we are alive. Certainly, love is my business, but everyone has love. No one needs to call me and pay me to find love. You have love, you’re made of love. It’s your birthright.”

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Theory skirt, Alex Bittar earrings, Model's own blouse and sandals.
Photographed by Ben Ritter; Styled by Sasha Kelly; Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Hair by Adam Maclay.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series