Anybody that knows me, knows that I have a thing for the Craig’s List “missed connections.” I check them every morning. I check them throughout the day. I end my night by laying in bed and giving them one last glance.
There’s something about them that I think embodies much of humanity. Essentially, our whole lives are filled with different missed connections– things we’re afraid to do, afraid to bring up, people we’re afraid to approach, afraid to talk to. We as human beings have this natural tendency to doubt ourselves and our deserved and successful happy ending. So occasionally, someone may hold back and not enroll in that 14-week course to become a master of all things tea fearing it may not be lucrative even though they drink, sleep, and dream tea or someone might not approach the guy with the cute freckle on his nose who’s been getting coffee at the bookstore every Monday at the same time for the past year fearing they don’t have a chance with him- regardless that at this point they have his order down (medium french roast, one sugar, shot of milk, with a dash of cinnamon, and a book on economics).
In walks Craig’s List with a personal ad section that looks to connect what was earlier missed. A personal ad section where the girl with the purple hair who works at the Dunkin’ Donuts and saves pennies to put gas in her tank can be “so out of my league” or the dude who was just at the dentist to get a filling replaced is not only desired, but desired to the point of someone lustfully sitting at home thinking of this stranger and penning him a quick note to say “I noticed you and creepily stared and now I’m writing this because all I did was creepily stare. Hi.”
That’s awesome. And there’s something about the fact that the broke chick pumping gas can be out of someone’s league that is just downright romantic (and uplifting for broke chicks like me).
More or less, it’s cheap entertainment. But I’ve always had this wish that I would pull up Craig’s List and there would be a missed connection that was for me. Some little diddy saying something along the lines of I saw you and it was glorious and you’re the most beautiful creature that has ever walked the Earth and I want to sweep you off your feet and whisk you into bed in a tornado of romantic rope burn and lingerie and a soundtrack that only the Four Tops and Prince combined could create and let’s do it for the rest of our lives without stopping for air because my whole world would be prettier with you in it, girl who waited on me last night with only one dimple. I want to rescue you and be your forever home. p.s. Write back with your favorite Britney Spears’ song and/or favorite grade of maple syrup so I know it’s you. (Totally never thought about this, I swear.)
Cut to my life- I was kind of seeing this tourist kid from out of town this past winter and one morning as I was checking to see the whos and wheres of people that didn’t get a phone number in Vermont, the tourist asked what I was doing on my cellular. I told him and he asked if I would read the morning’s missed connections aloud to him. (“I see you all the time from bushes in your backyard. I’m the guy with the trench coat and binoculars. Sup?”)
Aside from tentatively seeing this tourist kid kind-of, my current situation was anything but ideal. I lived with the man I had just broken up with a few weeks prior so sometimes our living situation took a turn into the awkward. Trying to coexist with someone who used to be your boyfriend is not easy, if you couldn’t guess that yourself. Most people can barely handle seeing their ex at the grocery store- let alone trying to wake up and share a cup of coffee.
On one particular evening, me and my ex-boyfriend roommate had just finished arguing about something totally mundane. You know, like: you have WAY too many socks and you want me to fold them and while we’re not on the topic you have the WORST penmanship in the history of mankind and why the FUCK do you have so many socks?! (Relationship tip: if you’re arguing about any of the following: socks, the toilet seat, who the last one to put a dirty dish in the sink was, who owns more cassette tapes, whose mother is crazier, or Donald Trump’s greatest accomplishment -cut your losses and split up. I’m serious. Life is too short to care whether the toilet seat is up or down. There are plenty of fish in the sea, they say. Be sharks together.)
Anyway, I was sitting there every once in a while giggling at a thought that crossed my mind such as why have I never dated a train conductor or the probability of Nicolas Cage’s character in “Honeymoon in Vegas” losing a poker hand with a straight flush to the Jack is so f’ing low, it makes me hate the whole stupid movie and his girlfriend has no right to be mad at him for betting it… but mostly I was just stressed out, bummed out, bored, and utterly pissed off that I had just wasted five minutes of my life debating the tragedy of owning 236 pairs of socks … - when the whim washed over me to check the missed connections one last time before I crawled into bed.
And this is the connection that was missed:
My mouth dropped open. My whole body started shaking. My heart began racing and then stopped beating for a whole minute and then began racing again. My mind went completely blank save one thought: I have a missed connection and I think I must be dead.
A missed connection. A missed connection that was blatantly for me. I had been waiting for this exact moment. And there it was. Be still my heart! Seriously, be still!
I have never in my life been knocked off of my feet so hard. I shit you not, I was sitting and fell over anyway. I was completely baffled, flabbergasted, awed, bewildered, thrown a curve ball, straight-up surprised. I was entirely unprepared to digest this moment altogether.
This was the moment I had been waiting for and it felt just as good as I had assumed.
After the initial shock began to wear off, it melted into mystery. Who did this?! The clues within were quite damning, honestly. Call me Sherlock Holmes, but I was sure I knew who the culprit was and the guilty party was the tourist. Every hint was an inside joke of ours. (Read about me and the tourist more here, bra.) The problem? It was still absolutely unbelievable to me- un-fuckin’-believ-able - that he could be behind it. If it was in fact him, that would mean he had listened to me, been perceptive enough to foresee that I would sincerely appreciate this, and then actually took the time to act on it.
Guys don’t do that.
The more logical explanation was that I was getting my hopes way up and would eventually learn that it was someone I worked with fucking with me. And then I would punch myself in the face and locate my vibrator in an attempt to curtail eventual despair.
But guess what? Eventually, I would find out that it was him after all, and if you must know fellow web surfers, I’m nearly positive that I was 99.92% absolutely in love with him at that moment, because this was the grandest gesture any man had done for me.
It was as if Noah Calhoun from The Notebook had rebuilt a whole house for me or Jack Dawson from Titanic brought me down to the poor people section of the boat and spun me around in circles or Aladdin showed up at my balcony with a magic carpet and showed me a goddamn whole new world while my pet tiger watched from afar.
I was smitten, enamored, beside myself. The tourist had swooped in and grabbed my whole heart in a mere moment. I shit you not, it may have been the greatest thing a man ever took a few seconds to do for me.
Now you may be thinking wow, you’re flippin’ easy (it’s true). It’s a personal ad, for cracker jack’s sake. And you’re right, it was only a two second moment that did not involve flowers, jewels, candles, or anything that society deems typically romantic. However, nowadays, it seems as women, we are expected to be completely satisfied by men doing things they should already be doing. And it seems men think that you have to go far above and beyond to be considered romantic. (Romance tip: Putting up the shelves in the closet that you’ve been saying you were going to put up for 6 weeks now is not romantic. Unless it’s a total surprise and your chick really, really like shelves in a closet.)
Honestly, up until this point in my life, the most romantic moments I had been a part of were:
- The time my ex-boyfriend said he had a surprise for me and unveiled a used file cabinet. Yes, used. (As much as I dig file cabinets for their ability to store old tax returns and electric bill receipts, I’ll admit, I was just a little disappointed.)
- One of my exes was high on ecstasy and sang me a Shaggy song. I mean, nothing says romance like being high on drugs and Shaggy’s sweet, soothing voice. Really, I guess I should just be happy he didn’t sing the one about getting caught banging some other chick on the bathroom floor.
- In an attempt to win me back, a man once told me that he was dying of a disease- Bipolar Disease.
- I once had a man tell me he would destroy all naked pictures he had of me, but only if I went out to lunch with him. Otherwise he was going to show everyone to “protect himself.” As wonderfully charming as that ultimatum was, I took my chances and told him to go fuck himself, which is equally romantic, of course.
-In a last ditch attempt to prevent me from breaking up with him, a dude dropped to the floor of a convenience store we were buying Funyuns at and began making a show by shouting “she doesn’t love me! Oh, she doesn’t love me!” And even though, everyone inside the building stared feeling utterly sorry for me, I still broke up with him.
Needless to say, my world was not exactly filled with examples of the throw-a-coat-down-in-a-puddle for you type romance. So this simple gesture was the stuff Prince Charming was made of to me. And it would have been regardless, because he had actually put thought into something. And it probably took all of a minute.
That’s all it takes. That’s it.
The point of this blog could be that there are actually dudes out there who are capable of doing something thoughtful. Or that I’ll totally overlook spelling errors if you woo me. Or maybe that men have an absurd amount of socks. Or that I’m really fricken’ easy to win over. Or that the tourist is a keeper and even if I am not the one that gets to keep him, someone should.
But I don’t think any of those are it. I think the point is that you don’t have to necessarily bedazzle a lady in emeralds and shower her in scented bath oils and rent a white horse and show up at her house in a full suit of armor while singing a Tom Jones’ song as an airplane sky writes how beautiful she is in the blue to be romantic.
You just have to pay attention. Because some of us women aren’t even asking for much.
We just want you to take the two seconds to avoid the missed connection.