“The best part of my day is watching you come home. You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen and I would love to know you. You probably are taken but if not, here is my number…”
This is the note a stranger left on the windshield of my Jetta when I was 25. There was immediate gratitude that the white sheet was not another parking ticket. Then my heart thudded with the utter romance of it all.
“And how did you two meet?”
“Mark left a note on my windshield, if you can believe it! Honey, why don’t you tell it. …”
My glimmering future was squelched by quick shiver as I pictured, that right now, this potential stalker was leering at me from underneath a dirty shade picturing my “beautiful” head in a jar in his basement. My goofy smile froze. My eyes scanned the empty street. A door opened. I screamed. I fled.
Dammit. Now I have to move.
That was the closest I ever (knowingly) got to a Missed Connection. When I lived in NYC, I would pour over the Village Voice personals envisioning a lad so taken with me they took out an ad: “Siren in Purple. You sat on my coat. My muse! My Muse! My legs frozen. My tongue numb. Would I have had the gumption to approach, I would have asked you to Marry Me.”
Would the (true) recipient take notice? Would they call or meet at the corner of 92nd and Lex at 10:34 a.m. if they too felt the world shift that day while waiting in line for a latte? These what-if daydreams made my lonely, poor existence lighter.
Missed Connections (missedconnections.com and local Craigslist. Addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) are proof that syrupy, gooey, love-at-first-sight is quite alive and well. Mere mortals are zapped at every moment with Cupid’s arrow. (He has an App for that so all of this falling in love stuff is now much more efficient.) They stumble home, their inner Keats on fire, as they pen odes to unrequited love.
“Although I didn't see a ring on your finger, I'm guessing you adopted your beautiful dog with a beautiful significant other. I am holding out a small ration of hope because you seemed to linger in our chat. Either way, I wanted to tell you that you have the most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen. Kindest regards from me and my dog.” (Biddeford)
It is a safe way to let the universe know you have glimpsed the reason you exist without getting a drink, or dog poo, thrown in your face.
Men are the true romantics, responsible for crafting over 70 percent of the devotions. (Certainly, there are some unsavory listings like the guy from Bristol who just sent a message to the “Hot Mom at Daycare.”) But by far and away, these are innocent prayers, just to let you know that someone felt your sparkle.
And ladies, the little things are what make them weak. (Can’t promise they will after a year together.) But in that first glimpse it was the way you unconsciously twirl your hair, or your crooked front tooth, or your black and pink striped socks, or your out-of-tune humming that stopped time. Not your expensive bag or expensive earrings or expensive Botox.
You could be having a disgusting, sour day and as you storm across the street, someone has just seen you as the most amazing, gorgeous Goddess that has ever breathed. Even at your worst, they see you as your best. Isn’t that what true love is all about?
This chap from Concord proves that love may be more fashionably blind than we assumed: “You were wearing a blue sweatshirt that had a certain saying on it, with grey sweatpants. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”
(That’s right! Dig ‘em out! Your thick, gray sweatpants may be all that stands between you and your prince.)
Sophie Blackall, illustrator of children’s books such as Ruby’s Wish, released her first foray into the adult world with Missed Connections: Love, Lost and Found. In her funky style, she creates accompanying drawings to MC’s she collected after having her own brush with unrequited love-at-first-sight. It is an incredibly sweet, romantic and hopeful read.
Yet, regret is the underlying theme: “I doubt you even read these.” “Sadly, you will never know how you made me feel in that instant.” “I will probably never see you again but you changed my life forever.” “I am standing here, watching you disappear into the crowd, kicking myself for not saying, ‘hi’.”
So as you wane cynical at the bar that all men want are 19-year olds with amnesia, and roll your eyes as they metaphorically trip over their words and more literally over the stools, this is what they are trying to say.
“I see you almost every day at lunch. I tried to sell you something once. I want to talk to you, but I'm a big chicken.”(Scarborough)
The question is, if they are so moved, as never before, why are they staying mute?
Fantasy. The less you know, the more your mind can create this magical ever after. Without the reality of reality, everything is rosy.
And fear. Rejection stings. But if you don’t step up and say something, someone else will. Can you live with someone else being married to your wife?
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