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This week, Amazon.com declared Alexandria, Va. the most romantic city in the United States. What is romance? According to Amazon, it’s derived from Amazon sales figures for Barry White CDs, romance novels, romantic comedy DVDs, and “sexual wellness” products. Sex ramps qualify. When Alexandria is ranked number one in something, and Miami is ranked number two, you know a freaky confluence of buying habits is at work here.
Andrew Beaujon, Washington City Paper Managing Editor and Alexandria resident, agreed to explain some of the stranger elements of Alexandria’s romantic subculture.
Why do Alexandria residents love Barry White so much?
Andrew Beaujon: Alexandrians don’t have a lot of big men to claim as their own. The confluence of walkable communities and extreme type-A personalities mean that most men here are slight, thin, and think it’s acceptable to walk around in polar fleece year-round. Barry White’s voice exudes a girth and confidence that’s simply not available to most people here—-you just know he never had a cell phone clipped to his belt or talked about the Democrats’ midterm chances in bars.
How many Barry White CDs do you own?
AB: I just have the greatest hits.
Since the romance calculation includes the number of “sexual wellness products” Alexandria residents have bought through Amazon, “romance” in this context actually means that a higher proportion of your neighbors shop for their sexual fetish accessories online. What’s with that?
I think it’s a simple matter of Amazon Prime being the kind of deal that appeals to overscheduled and over-REI’d residents of this small city. I am a member of Amazon Prime but have never bought anything that interesting from it. Last purchase was a charger for my wife’s Nikon D-60 battery.
Alexandria came in first in Amazon’s romantic calculations. Arlington came in seventh. Alexandria: more or less romantic than Arlington?
You need only look at the difference between our nights out. The classic Arlington date night is beers at the Quarterdeck, followed by a slice at Marinos and a three-way at the Highlander. No one from Alexandria has ever had a three-way.