Philadelphia possesses many wonderful qualities: winning sports teams, a thriving cultural scene, tons of history, and delicious food. Those things cost money, something I don’t see too often. Luckily, one of the city’s most entertaining assets requires only an Internet connection.
I’m talking, of course, about Craigslist’s “Missed Connections.”
Forgive me if I lapse into hack critic hyperbole, but “Missed Connections” is one of the best things ever. I love Facebook and Twitter, but those accounts represent our identities in the online world. (If you don’t think so, you’re about to have a very long, serious talk with someone in human resources.) Craigslist provides anonymity. People are truly free to be themselves. You don’t know what you’ll find, which makes for endlessly riveting reading.
Now, the primary reason I visit “Missed Connections” is shallow. I want to behold people who have less game than I did when I was single, which is why I favor the M4W category. These people, surprisingly, are not hard to find.
whole foods callowhill – coconut convo – m4w – 32 (philly)
Date: 2012-05-22, 10:17AM EDT
You: tall, blond checkout girl
Me: bespectacled dude in flannel shirt
We had a nice back and forth about coconut yesterday. Would have been nice to talk more, but the window for talking to checkout people is so short!
If she works there, there’s a pretty good chance she’ll be back, so why not ask her out then, instead of anonymously on a site that—from a social standpoint—has the vibe of a parking garage at 2 a.m.?
Having fun at the gym… – m4w – 38 (LA Fitness Montgomeryville)
Date: 2012-05-13, 9:39PM EDT
Two weeks back, I commented that you looked like you were having too much fun. You asked me if I wanted to have fun with you. You took me by surprise! Want to grab lunch sometime? Tell me what you were doing when I made that comment to you. Hoping you see this, since thats not my usual workout time and I may never bump into you there again!
Not a hard puzzle to solve. Go to the gym when she does. Or chat up an employee about her situation. Not that it’ll do much good now. To paraphrase George Costanza, I know less about women than anyone, but I do know that her brazen line needs an instant retort. Two weeks is an eternity, which has me wondering: What was this guy’s initial response? Non-stop giggling? Screaming? Did he black out after soiling himself?
Some posts are touching and sincere, if not misguided. (Never, ever think you have a chance with anyone who works for tips, especially if your first encounter is at the object of affection’s workplace.) But I’m rooting for this guy. Do the right thing, Laura!
Laura at Dandelion – you are beautiful – m4w – 32 (S. Philly)
Date: 2012-05-17, 9:24PM EDT
You waited on my friend and I tonight. You were gorgeous, extremely polite, with the brightest smile and the loveliest blue eyes. You asked if we’d come here before and my friend replied that we’re actors, so you may know us. It was incredibly cheesy of him, but you played it off well. I know how silly this is and that you’ll probably never see this, but just wanted you to know I thought you were absolutely lovely and there was something so sincere about you. You truly made my night. And if you ever wanted to grab coffee/drinks sometime, would love to a chance to hang out again. Thank you for brightening my day.
A few are downright hilarious. Look at the headlines, and then imagine someone solemn and respected, like Jim Gardner, reading these:
But just when things cannot get any more sublime, someone uses the forum to thrash back at the darkness in their soul like the permanently silent soldier in Johnny Got His Gun.
I have nothing left – w4m – 30 (forgotten)
Date: 2012-05-09, 10:09PM EDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have nothing left of me. I tried so hard to get your attention,to illicit a response- ANY response and you just won’t give me the time of day. I’m worthless.
I’m at the point where I’m severely depressed and out of hope. It hurts to live each day without you,without the slightest acknowledgments.
I see you sometimes in passing,but I can never stop and if I do I’m a bother.
I can’t live like this anymore.
I’m begging,pleading, CRYING OUT FOR HELP. My posts are depressing and hopeless. Only you can change that and breathe new life into me.
Don’t you notice the vast change from happy,inspirational,love posts to piss that scream out I’m crying out but not one is listening and no one cares.
Love me , and prove it.
Love you even though I’m dead in your eyes.
No one else would deal with you. Why am I so fucking stupid and why can’t I give up on you? I will live the rest of my days suffering the worst hell and pain bc I won’t stop loving you. My heart,despite what you think, is dedicated and loyal.,no one else will suffice.
I need you. Talk to me. Hold my hand. Kiss me. Love me. Let’s be next to each other.
That last post presents the real value of “Missed Connections.” Here, raw, unfiltered emotions overflow on the Internet, a place where our increasing awareness and risk of embarrassment dampens spontaneity. Who hasn’t occasionally employed a focus last used for the SATs while composing a Tweet or status update? We are these anonymous souls. We are utterly clueless. We sometimes get a clue. We are lonely, frustrated, unhinged. Maybe we’ll find happiness. Maybe we won’t. Welcome to the real world, courtesy of the Internet. It’s hilarious, touching, and will break your heart.