Falling in love with Craigslist Missed Connections

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There are novels, movies, and songs dedicated to romance, infatuation and love gone wrong. But where do you turn when you need to be immersed in those stories of love inspired simply by the one that got away, probably for good?

Well for those stories, my friends, we turn to the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist: a place where people can post messages and photographs trying to find someone that they encountered briefly without getting their name or number. Like the guy who gave you the extra 50 cents for your coffee in Wawa, or the girl you helped carry a plasma screen out of Best Buy.
It’s a phenomenon I would never have known I was missing had it not been for my dire need to save some money on textbooks. While perusing the “South Jersey: For Sale” section of Craigslist, I became antsy for something a little less mundane. I clicked around a bit and finally, I struck gold.

Hidden amongst the “Rants and Raves” and “Casual Encounters”, that are among the many sections of the site, I found a little gem of entertainment and excitement. I’m almost embarrassed to admit just how enthralled I was by this notion.

There were three pages worth of brief meetings, by-chance encounters, and heart-wrenching mini-dramas of love gone completely unnoticed. There were categories to search within that narrowed down the options a bit. You could request to see only those “missed connections” placed for specific genders, and the cities in which the connections happened could be tweaked as well.

The site was quite beautiful and touching, to tell you the truth. There was emotion, and there was a touch of hopelessness and desperation to be seen and heard by the person being addressed. “Doing laundry in our building, unfortunately I hardly looked up, but I’m pretty sure
you were beautiful,” reads one.

The little ads were only a few lines long, but each was sincere and ready. Now a bit obsessed with the idea, I decided to dig around a little online for some more examples of these “Missed Connections”, and in doing so I stumbled upon an art blog by the same name, written by
advice-columnist Sophie Blackwell.

Inspired by the countless number of interactions between strangers, and the bonds they create in the process, Blackwell has put into visual art her interpretation of the New York City “Missed Connections”.  Some are charming, some are confusing and secretive, and others cannot be read without an overwhelming feeling of creepiness. But all are true, and all are raw.

Blackwell explains herself in the sidebar of her blog.

“Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I’m trying to pin a few of them down.”

And pin she does, by creating interesting, strange, beautiful art in the process.

These “Missed Connections” can hit you over the head with one of two reactions. You can become quite addicted, as I have; marveling at the idea of so much hopelessness and hopefulness hanging in the balance of a few sentences drafted on a keyboard to an audience that may not be
listening at all. Or you can despise the idea of this overabundance of technology and the effort that has been invested into a situation that could have been settled in just a few words at the scene of the encounter.

Regardless of the view you happen to agree with, it seems that “Missed Connections” is getting a lot of attention. You only need to Google that phrase to conjure up a plethora of results all related to that terrible feeling of infatuation not acted upon. It really leaves you wondering quite a bit.

Have these people moved on? Has anything good come of their posts? Have they found something better? And the question I find truly in need of an answer: Can a true
connection ever go “missed”?

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