On Post: Dominos
Date: January 15
When I was in Washington, DC, the DC equivalent of the City Paper—and I apologize for not being able to recall what it’s called—had a Missed Connections-esque section (called something else) in their personals. Several members of my class enjoyed reading them and pointing out our favorites to one another.
During our time there, the paper ran an ad asking for anyone who had successfully reached their in passing crush and had gone on date, started a relationship, got all kinds of nasty, etc with them to write it and share their story. If anyone ever did or the paper did anything with the info, we never saw it. However, it sparked a conversation about it and at the time we all thought that the odd weren’t great that you’d land that handsome fella or pretty lady on the train, but that most Metro commuters probably snagged a copy of this paper and read it on the train and thus, chances were good that your almost would see your entry.
Craigslist seems significantly less likely, to me at least, to go anywhere. Like the near misses in the City Paper, there are of course the questions of is the person single, is the person attracted to your gender, did the person notice you, did they feel anything at all, and, finally, do they even recognize they’re being the one written about. On top of that though, you have significantly less of a captive audience. Your almost might be out of state and thus not read the same Craigslist that you posted on. He or she may not read the Craigslist at all and thus it doesn’t matter what state/city’s Craigslist you post on, he or she will NEVER see it.
With this in mind, I’ve always interpreted posting in Missed Connections as less about getting that crush and more about just, I don’t know, doing something. The writer knows there is nearly no chance it will pay off but they can’t not do it. They have to feel active, they have to feel like they’re attempting something. To not do it would leave them feeling weak, powerless, or just…incomplete. It is a sort of existential act. If it works out, great, but, really, the posting is enough for them.
And for others, I am reasonably sure, it is a sort almost fetish-y act in and of itself. It might even be fiction. I favor my above interpretation more though because I like its depth more.
Anyway…this is a long way towards saying the whole Missed Connection thing is fascinating to me. Someday I want to go in, pull a bunch of the ads, and just write stories about them, mapping out the incident or the future of the almost or a wish fulfilled…I don’t know. It seems like interesting fodder to me.
With this entry I kept running into the problem that everything I wanted to do felt clichéd or sexist. The easiest would be to take the “character” of the song and have him convey the story in prose, instead of lyrical, form. But the idea of a man who can’t stay with a woman he loves, who can’t commit, is one of my pet peeve strereotypes. Don’t get me wrong, there are men who cannot commit. But there are also women too. Men whining about stereotypes about their gender are kind of awful so I won’t keep down this road but you get the idea. To swap genders though felt too obvious though and not wholly honest; just implanting male words into a female mouth. After banging my head a bit, the Missed Connections idea came to me. Yes, the man is still an apparent commitphobe or running the weirdest flirt game ever but by taking it out of his mouth and putting it in the ad the idea of self knowledge or insight is removed and the bizarreness of the situation and using Missed Connections steps forward to make it more purely humourous.
My explanation not ring true? Do you have questions that this piece left unanswered? Reach out and touch me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ungajje on the Twitter. And, as always, spread the word.