Missed Connections

January 23, 2018 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

In my student years, the university newspaper had an “I Saw You” section, where people would put out pleas to find that attractive stranger who got away. “Why didn’t I have the nerve to talk to you? Come back, mystery soul mate!” They were fun to read. You’d try and figure out who the message was for. Is it me? Is it someone I know? Did they ever find their person? Some of them were incredibly vague, or lame: “Blond girl with a backpack near the Science building on Thursday. Your hot! Coffee sometime??” I’m sure that chick thinks about you, too, you weirdo (yes, it hurts me to type “your” instead of “you’re”).

They also had that section in the city arts & entertainment weeklies – those free papers that promote concerts, plays, movies, etc. They were still pretty popular in the early-mid 2000s. I had one written to me once, and I successfully connected with two guys I was looking for. It’s quaint now to think about the days before social media, how everyone read the same paper. Now if you have a crush on someone, you can just creep them on Twitter. Stalk them on Instagram.

That’s assuming you know their name. What if you want to track down a stranger? They still have that “Missed Connections” section on Craigslist, and when I read those ads I can see nothing has changed. There’s still that hope that the universe will deliver. That regret about not saying hi when they had the chance. I don’t remember so many gay sex acts being described, both reminisced and proposed.

Why was I cruising this section (asked nobody)? Because I placed an ad there a couple of months ago. I didn’t find my target, but the replies I got were pretty interesting. Maybe raised a few more questions than answers about who reads these things.

Okay, so I saw a handsome guy on the bus one day. We were definitely making eye contact and even smiled a few times, which is rare for public transit. With one last smile at him, I jumped off one stop before the main terminal. As I stood on the street, I thought, “Oh wait, why did I do that?” I wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere, I was just planning to find a coffee shop and maybe get some work done. I could’ve easily gotten off with the rest of the passengers at the main station, and gone from there. I should have taken the very low-risk embarrassment of saying hi to a stranger. But no, I fled the scene, and didn’t give either of us a chance to say anything at all.

When I got to the coffee shop, I took out my laptop and placed an ad on Craigslist. The ad has expired now (probably for the best), but I had the date, time, bus route. I said he was a big beardy guy and we were checking each other out. “If this is you, send me an email describing what I look like.” My red hair should be easy enough for someone to remember. I was coming back from audition that day, so I was having a fantastic hair day. Perfect for meeting random guys on the bus! Other than the beard, I remember him wearing ear buds, so if he had to describe himself, he might say that.

lionel-hello.jpgHere are the emails that I got in response. Obviously most of them were best left unanswered. (My comments will be in parentheses):

* * *

(The first reply came in minutes)

Aussie Kat: OMG so funny I posted on here about 4 months ago cause me and this female were in the subway going Westbound and we were taller than most and I had a thicker beard but finally deleted it after getting replies from psycho females …. FYI I am NOT a psycho guy I just clicked your posting thinking damn I wonder if it was that same female from 4 months ago.

(Something a bit unsettling about a guy repeatedly calling women “females”)

* * *

Lighting TO: I saw your ad. I’m looking for a good friend to spend my free time with after work and on weekends.

I’m in search of a lady who is very affectionate (holding hands, hugs, kisses.. making out in private :p), I really want that passion and lust where I can’t get enough of my lady. To always want to be with her and anticipate seeing her the next day. We could fall asleep in each others arms and I’d wake you up with kisses. Yes, I’m one of those romantic types. I really want something serious but at the same time, a best friend I can spend time with often.

I am a quiet person and I like going out to the mall but at restaurants I like quiet ones because I like to sit there and enjoy each others company and talk about life.. the earth.. space.. movies.. our past.. future goals.. and anything in between.

I’m pretty open to talk about anything. I love historical and mystery movies. And documentaries on anything can always keep me glued to the tv. I also like going to museums, aquariums and historical sights in the city. There’s a few we can see together if you think we will match.

Reply with your picture. I’ll send mine.

(This one just made me feel kind of sad. He’s lonely enough to be looking on Craigslist for companionship, from someone who’s not looking for him.) 

* * *

John: I remember you. You were wearing some type of vest and jeans a skinny girl. I wanted to say something as well.

(Nope)

* * *

Numbers: Any luck hearing back from bearded bus guy?

(We all want to hear how a story ends, don’t we?)

* * *

YB: Hey I have an odd and very discreet request, but it’s very real. I’ll give u $250 to shit on my chest.

(This is exactly the kind of response I expect from a Craigslist ad. It’s almost reassuring.)

* * *

Andrew: Hey, I’ve never responded to something like this before but I think this miiight be me? Are you a red head?

Me: I do have red hair. I’ve also gotten some crazy creepy emails in response to this ad. Craigslist, go figure. Can you provide any more details about the trip or what either of us looked like?

Andrew: Oh I can imagine… *cringe* You look to be about mid twenties, on the thin side, I think you have tattoos, often wear a long coat, mostly dressed in black.

Me: Ahh, sorry, not the right person then.

Andrew: Darn :(  Good luck finding your guy :)

(So hopeful. Don’t we all kind of want to be the one?)

* * *

HM: Hey there!

I really enjoyed reading your post; sad as it is, it’s rare to come across a combination of honesty and the ability to articulate one’s self coherently.

I’m a 30 year old financial services professional who lives and works in the downtown core; I live near Yonge and Bloor, work at Bay and King.

6’3″ and without sounding egotistic/cocky, I’m pretty sure I could reciprocate the aforementioned intrigue and generally make sure you have a wonderful, exhilarating time.

I’m happy to exchange photos once we’ve exchanged an email.

Hope you have a wonderful remainder to your day.

P.S: I’m not the guy you wrote the post for, but you piqued my curiosity so I figured I’d drop a line.

(Exhilarating indeed.)

* * *

Connor: Hey… I am not sure if I am the guy you are talking about, tbh i wasn’t checking anyone out but I am a big bearded man and i was on the 72 bus this last friday around that time. I am a white male 25yrs old 6’3ft. I am not sure if i am but i thought i might as well reply.

Me: Thanks for being one of the not-crazy people to answer this post, but I don’t think it’s the right person. The guy and I were definitely smiling at each other, and he looked to be in his later 30s. But hey, you never know unless you ask!

* * *

(A few days later, I replied to the first guy with an update):

Me: You were the first person to reply to this post, and definitely one of the more normal ones. I just wanted to say you were right! I got a lot of crazy creepy emails, but didn’t find the guy I was looking for. That was my first time posting in Missed Connections, and it’s been an interesting glimpse into what kind of people are out there. I think one of the biggest lessons I learned is to just say hi next time, haha,

Aussie Kat: LOL also single….meaning me.  Just happened to be sitting at laptop when you replied.  Obviously you are single since you were attempting to connect with that guy.

(You’re single, got it.)

* * *

Robert: Hi how are you, I know it’s not me you’re referring to but I’d like to talk to you. I also have a beard 😉

(PLEASE TALK TO ME I HAVE A BEARD)

* * *

So there you have it. Ask and you shall receive a bunch of shit you didn’t ask for. People out there are lonely and hopeful and weird. The next time I see a stranger who catches my eye, I’ll be sure to say something. It might be the least creepy thing to happen that day.

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Entry filed under: Holidays, Life in General. Tags: , , .

2017 Was Great For… Being Over In the Background

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