If you’ve never read any “missed connections”, you’re missing out on an interesting cultural phenomenon.
“Missed Connections” is a subcategory in the personal ads of a number of online classified ad sites (it began with Craigslist). In it, poor saps, inarticulate wastrels, and apparently regular people send pining messages out into the cloudy internet abyss, hoping that the love of their life—who was wearing a blue hoodie on the number 80 bus across town on Tuesday afternoon, etc.—will respond. Some of them are sweetly pathetic, others downright side-splitting.
Stephanie and I co-wrote a list of “Literary Missed Connections”, which we are rather proud of, and which was published today in The Toucan (and The Toucan Online), a Chicago-based literary magazine. Naturally, while writing our list, we conducted some field research. Below are a few of the missed connections that inspired us (extracted from Craigslist and Kijiji)—and, in this case, “inspired” means a lot of things.
We’ll begin with a fellow who seems to have written a love letter to his power lines. The title was “today i miss you powerline (out my window)”.
some days things are just things…
but some days i miss you in every inanimate object that i used to love you in.
i saw your hand in a picture and it brought a flood of tears and now the gates are open. i miss your sunshine. it felt eternal.
i miss you.. every teary sigh and every swaying powerline reminds me that i miss you.
Now that I read it again, it’s actually rather melancholie… which I suppose is the point.
This next writer clearly graduated from “the school of decorative punctuation” (as my mother would quip):
I saw you yesterday at the daycare and even after the broken rib I was in pain from for six weeks and everything else you still make me hot inside but shake from fear as well…… Do we ever get over the ones we once loved and loved sleeping with………
The next one, entitled “Heroes (silhouette)”, was our fave because it makes you type “WHAT” (in all-caps) to your friend with whom you are instant-messaging.
Please forgive me for ringing. I did my best to keep a respectful distance at the door.
I was walking on the north side, saw and was entranced. I felt the need to know more.
Please, stay well.
We admired this next writer’s eloquence (and high-tops), but not his/her choice of hang-out spots.
I saw you at the […] Walmart last night. I usually try not to linger in such a crass place, but I was exhausted and couldn’t decide what to buy. I wandered around for over an hour, and so did you. Was that on purpose? I was interested and couldn’t take my eyes off you. I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want to assume. Talking to strangers […] is considered crazy right? You might have just been shopping, but that moment in the chip aisle really made me wonder. I was wearing a black hoodie and white high tops. If you read this, get in touch.
And the next one… well, we mostly just want to give this guy a cat.
How old are you?.. Initials?.. Something to help one of the many men like me perhaps make a missed connection success story, if you even want the person to know IRL.
All I want is a cat.
I have never heard of anyone being happily reunited—or reunited at all—because of a missed connection ad, but it must work sometimes because, otherwise, why do people write these ads? Is it just cheap therapy (send your longing out into the void so that it’s “off your chest”)? Thousands of these ads exist, and people keep churning them out. It’s a mystery to me.
As it turns out, these ads are more than amusing; they are a muse:
• Eric E. writes songs based on missed connection ads and posts them on his blog, neversaidnothing.com.
• An anthology of comics based on missed connection ads has recently become available.
• The New York Times has highlighted a few related art projects, including the poems of Love, Ink.
• Advertising For Love is a blog entirely devoted to missed connection ads and personals from the Victorian Age in America.
• A web series entitled Missed Connections Live was kicked off a few months ago and has—in my opinion—a lot of potential. The founding actress is absolutely right when she notes (in the “about” section) that missed connections ads are an endless source of acting material; all kinds of characters can be inspired by these real-life tidbits.
• A podcast documentary on the subject is also forthcoming from Radio Waves.
They say that art imitates life, or life imitates art, or something like that. Well, I don’t know what else to say. Oh, wait, yes I do: truth is stranger than fiction. Certainly the artists who use missed connection ads as inspiration have not missed the connection between “real life” and “make-believe” that these ads create.
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