I check Craigslist’s ‘Missed Connections’ regularly. Not every day. But, most days. A lot of times they are very entertaining. ‘You have decided to open your heart to true love, and something amazing will happen tomorrow at four p.m.’ It hasn’t as far as I know, but who could turn down such an exciting promise? I also have an account for an online dating service. I even pay for their premium service - it allows me to look at women’s, and girl’s that are legally allowed to participate in such a service based on the internet’s code of confidence for online dating profiles, without them knowing. I essentially pay for cyber-stalking privileges. But I rarely use them.
I don’t get the same rush or satisfaction that I get when I check the Missed Connections on Craigslist. This confounds me because the online dating site has put me in contact with several objectively beautiful, well-adjusted women with great senses of humor and graduate degrees. It has made my match several times, better than I could have ever done independently. But somehow it seems insufficient. On the other hand, I have never even come close to being the one ‘missed’ in a missed connection. Or have I? I don’t know! That is the allure – no matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I can convince myself that the anonymous person reaching out to the tall person with the absurd hat that happened to ride the same subway I did was actually talking about me. They were so enamored with my charms that they took the ridiculous step of reaching out to the ether in hopes that their love of me would be requited.
That simply means more to me than someone seeing an embarrassing picture of myself in various states of undress asking about my work experience. I think perhaps it is because I need to physically sense the undying sadness in someone and also the defiant optimism that refuses to see the worst in the world and continues to naively choose to assume the best, because those things tangibly permeate other people. That is a quality that an online dating profile is incapable of expressing. Even in those exact terms. I know, because I have tried!
But it is a quality that is readily ascertainable on a bus when the girl with the crocheted mittens lost in her own thoughts reflexively gives up her seat to an elderly man when he accidentally bumps into her knee. I want to meet that person as a result of something I did of equal insignificance in the course of being myself. There is no dating algorithm for that.
There is no magic list of television programs or ethnicities of foods one enjoys that can express the same amount of information about someone’s character. I am certain that some serial killer or at least a mass murderer genuinely appreciated ‘Arrested Development’. Your shared affinity does not waylay my concerns. And I know that many indicted war criminals share my love of Cambodian cuisine, specifically the heads of the genocidal Khmer Rouge that have yet to be brought to justice.
Alas one can only hope in their search for true love for a missed connection. Were you the short brunette on the bus last night that kept eying my bag full of sambal oelek? If so, marry me? Or at least write an equally cryptic post in my honor on Craigslist?