We tracked the neighborhood hot spots of Craigslist's `missed connection' posts
City life is full of near-hits and glancing what-ifs. Most people go about their day giving little thought to what could have been if they had reached across the subway aisle and asked the cute girl in the red hat for her number before she got off at Chambers Street, disappearing forever behind the closing doors. But a few dogged, lovestruck fools take their chance encounters (or non-encounters, as the case usually is) to the pages of Craigslist, posting under the Missed Connection heading, hoping against hope that the object of their infatuation will scour the listings and recognize the description of themselves as the guy named Mark who was really drunk at an Upper East Side karaoke joint, or "the man by the fire at Le Moulin" who confessed a "soft spot for teachers."
Craiglist only keeps Missed Connections posts active for a few weeks, so there is a fleeting nature to the endeavor, and a sense of urgency. In Manhattan, the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day have seen an expected mix of the lovely, the carnal, and the mundane. The most common sightings on the East Side were in public places - the park, the subway, especially the 6 train, museums - and gym locker rooms.
There's the man who chatted with a woman on the uptown 6 train, causing both to miss their stops. "You have a great smile and smoldering eyes. Wish I had asked for your number," he laments.
Some seeking connections aren't looking for romance so much as a blast from the past - a man recently posted an artsy photo of a dancer in the middle of a performance piece outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, noting that he took the picture six years ago and thought that the subject "might enjoy it." An older a woman wrote about a meeting in Central Park 23 years ago, when she ran into "a pair of interesting young people" dressed in goth-like clothes and bedecked with bloodstone rings and snake eye pendants. Then there's the pedestrian but earnest search for the "very short haired girl" at Dorrian's pub, the only other descriptor being that she was "a marvel."
The one thing that all the missed connections have in common is an air of resigned futility. There is the slightest tinge of hope, of course, but almost every poster includes a line indicating their full understanding of the slim possibility their reunion fantasy will become reality. Still, that's where the real romance lies - in the belief that there's still a chance, however small, that a random sighting in a city of over 8 million souls will lead to true love (or at least a fun date).
The man chasing a beautiful blonde he saw in a theater said it best:
"I know this is crazy, and probably never works, but maybe you or one of your many friends you were sitting with will see this and put us in touch. I'd really love to say hello."