20. Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting story lines to inspire your writing.
The missed connection page on Craigslist is where the hopeful nature of the human spirit is mixed with and often overpowered by the creepy and grotesque side of internet stalkers. With optimistic lenses on, the idea of reconnecting with a handsome stranger through a missed connection post makes for a wonderful plot of a romantic comedy. Hollywood can get away with that sort of plot because they have an unlimited resource of hot actors. Romantic gestures, like searching online for a person you eyed up on the street, can only be deemed romantic if the other person finds you attractive, and luckily in movies everyone is attractive. There is a great essay by Tim Kreider called the, Creature Walks Among Us that deals with this very subject. He says:
“There’s a fine line between the bold romantic gesture and stalking. The tricky crux of the matter is that it depends to a great extend on how that gesture is going to be received-which factor, unfortunately, the impetuous suitor/obsessed stalker has lost all ability to gauge…often you don’t know whether you’re the hero of a romantic comedy or the villain on a Lifetime special until the restraining order arrives.”
Despite lifetime specials like “The Craigslist Killer” and the New York Times article, A Craigslist ‘Missed Connection’ Lure there is no lack of people looking for a second chance on craigslist. As I scrolled through my own city’s missed connection page I found myself hoping for cute stories and was immediately disappointed. For every semi cute “we made eye contact and smiled,”post there was an equally disturbing grown man wearing a diaper post. I think there is a part of us that all wants to believe relationships can have a memorable meet cute, and continue on to be a great love story but it’s hard to keep the faith when you are in the dating trenches trying to dodge unsolicited dick pics.
It is easy to scoff at the people who write such desperate pleas, but it isn’t until you find yourself in a similar situation that you realize what lengths you will go to just to get a person’s phone number. Most days we walk around keeping the persona alive that we are rational humans but take the world’s biggest cynic, offer them their very own public declaration of admiration, and it is my belief that you will then watch them melt. Because who doesn’t want to be adored?
We like to believe we’re above such drastic measures but maybe we should be applauding those who are so unapologetically forward. Because even though I have cringed at the vulgar and downright weird missed connections I have seen at least they’re not hiding it. They leave it all out in the open to be seen and in a strange way it is admirable, and if it gets them a response then who am I to judge?
I think the average person carries their own set of fantasies concerning those around them as we make our way through our day. We craft stories in our head, take meaning from silent exchanges, and missed connections is the physical embodiment of those stories. We want to believe there is a happy ending, and in our head there always is but sometimes fate knows better. Or at least that is what I choose to believe.