It’s happened to the best of us — except perhaps to the boldest of flirts. Sometimes words are exchanged, sometimes even tipsy kisses, sometimes just a few fleeting moments of eye contact or a demure smile. But whether through shyness or a lost phone number or another cruel twist of fate, the opportunity for further acquaintance was lost, sending two almost-soulmates on their separate ways, never to find each other again.
Unless, of course, they find each other on Craigslist.
Behold the missed connection: fodder for romantic comedies and potential stalkers alike, and even at times, the beginning of some seriously “meet cute” relationships.
Started in 2000, Craigslist’s Missed Connections section is wildly popular. In New York City alone — apparently the capitol of shy, lovelorn romantics — there are some 8,000 listings per week. Many of the posts in cities across the country are sweet. Some are pleas to exes, some are lewd, some seem fake, and there’s a whole slew of them that are surreal missives sent off into the universe, the modern-day equivalent of a message in a bottle. But amongst the lot, there is no shortage of listings that are loaded with good old-fashioned romance. Here are some of our favorites.
1. "Lost Love - m4w - 70"
Paging Estelle. He described his time with you as enchanting and he can't stop thinking about you; plus he feeds the birds! You get yourself back to the park this very instant.
If you are out there somewhere within the walls of this site, I want you to know that I have an enchanted time sitting with you in the park last week. I could have sat there and talked with you all day. I haven't felt the way you made me feel in over 20 years. Not since I lost my dear wife to that horrible disease. You really cemented yourself in this old dog's memory. If you are reading this, I will be at the park every day around noon to feed the birds. You are more than welcome to join me anytime. You being back such wonderful feelings in me and I would like that to continue. I hope that you will come sit with me again soon.
Thinking Of You,
Even though it’s verging perilously close to bar pick-up lingo, it’s still hard to deny the romance of a guy wishing he could bend time to tell a woman that she is beautiful.
Wow. You were gorgeous! I couldn’t bring myself to approach you. Believe me I tried… You’ll probably never read this but I’ll never forget the first time I saw you, or if I’ll ever again. You had shoulder-length curly dark hair. You were driving an older hyandai and you had a smirk that said you saw me and my friend were talking about you. I’d give anything to know what’s inside that gorgeous head of yours. I wish I could rewind time So that I could at least tell you how beautiful you are. You deserve to hear that at least once a day.
Because who doesn't love a stranger who swoops in with an umbrella, before dashing off anonymously in the rain?
It was Tuesday night. It was raining. I was standing there on the corner, awaiting the turn of the light to allow be to cross the street. Crooning "Umbrella" by Rihanna, I stood drenched and cold, when you arrived. My savior. In the middle of my slightly-below-average rendition of the chorus, an umbrella appeared over my head, protecting me from the oncoming drops.
As I turned, I saw you standing there. Although I expressed my gratitude in that moment, there is nothing I would like more than to further repay you with a cup of coffee. If you happen to come across this ad, please do reach out to me in responding to this ad and allow me to thank you again for being my heroine.
While we are quite certain that an 83-year-old librarian would insist upon using proper capitalization when typing, this admirer of the cutie in teal tights gets extra points for combining enough identifying information with some pretty charming and creative prose.
i bought you a whiskey sour. you were wearing teal tights. you got my number but i didn't' get yours. you never called me back. i cried a lot. i drowned in my own tears. i died. i am now a ghost. but you are still cute. i would buy you another drink but as i am dead i have no arms. i am currently possessing the body of an 83 year old librarian named nancy to type this. i hope she does not mind. if i bought you another drink i would not be an 83 year old librarian at the time as i assume you do not go for that sort, do not worry. i am still getting the hang of this incorporeal thing but i will do my best. seance me up??
In the immortal words of George Bernard Shaw, "Youth is wasted on the young." That said, it's hard to deny the romance of a New Year's kiss with a stranger ... even if he does accidentally urinate on you.
You – 5’8 scruffy, glasses, wearing a blue hoodie outside the Vid and I asked you for a lighter. You lit my cigarette and we talked about our wishes for the new year. We heard the countdown starting and decided to stay outside. I started to cry and you kissed me, and then we started to make out.
After a minute I felt something warm and realized that you pissed yourself. I pushed you away and that’s when you ran but I wish you had stayed. You peed on me but it’s OK! I just want to know who you are! Please reply and when you do tell me why I started crying so I know it’s you – if you remember.
Because nothing says "romance" like "I would have suffered broken bones for your phone number."
I wish you hit me. Then maybe we could have exchange information. You are so sweet and great looking.
7. "Grand Central - November 1973 - m4w - 58 (Midtown)"
Although this Craigslist post has since been removed after going viral last year, it lives on in screenshot form for all eternity. Whether this is fiction or a true story, we may never know, but either way the only thing more romantic than the words themselves would be if they did indeed lead to that second drink.
In the fall of 1973 I was studying as a freshman at NYU, and after failing to make my initial train home to Maine, I was rushing through Grand Central on the evening before Thanksgiving 1973 when I spotted you, emerging from one of the railways, with a look of utter confusion on your face. You had the blondest hair I had ever seen, and a plaid dress. I had never seen a plaid dress before.
I was, those days, terribly shy, and if I am honest with myself, I’ve never shook that … born sense of timidity or loneliness in crowds. To this day, trying to explain the uncharacteristic courageousness that seized me in that moment, and inspired me to walk up to you and say “are you lost?” is almost completely beyond me. You were studying at Olberlin, and on your way to spend Thanksgiving with your aunt in Jersey City. After explaining to you where you could get a bus, I asked, in spite of knowing it would mean sacrificing my last chance to spend the holiday with my family (and likely infuriate my over-protective mother), if you wanted to get a drink and you said yes.
We walked out into a rainy Manhattan street and ducked into the first (cheap) bar we saw, where I ordered us two bottles of beer. Now in my 50’s, when with any luck a man might finally begin to acquire that elusive thing called wisdom, I know that there is nothing more exciting yet rare in life than making a true connection with someone. I have always been too sentimental for my own good, but in all honesty, I have never felt more at ease with anyone than I did laughing and talking to you that dimly lit midtown bar.
When I confessed that I purposefully missed my train to keep talking to you, you smiled slyly and said “well I guess it’s only fair that I miss my bus.” With no money for a cab, we walked to my Lower East Side dorm room, which was deserted aside from my German classmate Franklin, who kindly gave us a half-finished bottle of red wine.
We made love that night, and in the morning coached one another through shaky phone calls to our angry relatives back home. With the November cold turning the night’s rain into a dreary wintery mix, we stayed in bed all day, sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes, discussing politics and philosophy. You told me you had never felt “so New York before.”
That evening, you took a bus to Jersey City. A few weeks later I received a letter from California. You sent no return address, and I never saw you again.
I have been married twice since then - once divorced, and once widowed. I have had a successful career as an English professor, and am a proud father.
My life has known its share of triumphs and heartaches, of love and loss. Against my better judgment, I haven’t forgotten that day - and, at least once a year: while mowing the lawn, or reading a newspaper, the details come back to me.
Perhaps, if life’s strange circumstances can permit it, we can have a second drink.