City Paper is not for tourists
Craigslist Missed Connections are like stories in The Onion: Usually, the headline is the best part. A cursory overview of the past week’s connections yields a you said my dog was beautiful – w4m, a cruised you outside of bank, Clarendon – m4m – 35, and a MASSAGE CONNECTION – m 4 w.
Once you get into the body of the MC, though, everything gets a little shadier. When it’s at its best, Missed Connections serves as a quaint and amusing clearinghouse of urban meekness. But when at its worst, the site urges otherwise normal people to turn to the Web to holler at that super hot (and buff) at Target they were too shy to talk to in person. Often, these virtual hollerers get some real courage real quick.
On the receiving end of things, these Missed Connections have the power to spark far-flung, self-involved fantasies in the minds of the lonely or bored. Could I have been “super hot”? the MC browser asks himself. Could I have been “buff”? Could I, perchance, have been “at Target”? The MC browser posts a response: What was I wearing? What were you wearing? Is it me you’re looking for?
Let’s face it, Craigslist: Your Missed Connections are more likely to feed the megalomania of self-interested urban explorers than they are to connect mutually interested parties. I should know. Last weekend, I was misconnected.
I stumbled across the MC early on Saturday afternoon:
At the end of the night you tried to convince me to break out and dance, but I have slight shyness streak and am not much of a dancer. Then “Don’t Stop Believing” stopped abruptly and everyone scattered and I had to drive my friends home. Unfortunate, because you seemed like a cool, genuine, interesting group.
Maybe we’ll run across each other again soon.
This textbook scenario, I shudder to admit, fit my friends and I exactly: The Black Cat Backstage! The wallflower! The stirring finale by Journey! And now, the virtual nod to how we sort of met, but not really!
The reading of the post produced a strange feeling; a mix of awkwardness and odd satisfaction. Someone finds us cool, genuine, and interesting! we thought. And – bonus! – not in a creepy way! Still, though our wallflower did seem very nice, we felt uneasy with the idea of embarking further down the Missed Connections path. What happens when Missed Connections become connected? we asked ourselves. Nobody really knew. We decided to let the MC be.
But an anonymous 27-year-old woman was, apparently, eager to chase the connection down. Not a day later, this secondary post appeared: Re: Crap Dance Party – w4m – 27:
I don’t think this was me, but it may very well have been someone in my ‘cool group’, since there were so few even granted access to the fabulousness of the Crap Dance Party. Can you provide more details? What was the person wearing? Where was she dancing?
My “cool, genuine, interesting” group located the post and took it in with mild resentment. Who was this 27 year old woman? Certainly, she had no affiliation with our “cool, genuine, interesting” group. She was even relatively sure that the post did not apply to her. Why, then, would she respond to our wallflower? Who did she think she was?
We considered generating a response – an MC of our own, one which straightened the facts about who the wallflower had, in fact, missed. That’s when we realized: We were genuinely considering posting the third in a series of Craigslist Missed Connections about people who almost danced to a shitty, overplayed Journey anthem together. Nothing about this was “cool,” “genuine,” or “interesting.”
Keep searching, wallflower: You will find some cool, genuine, interesting girls someday. But they probably won’t be on Craigslist.