As though ripped from the script of rom com, a gentleman claims to have met a woman at Honest Ed’s in 1961. According to his Missed Connection, the young man and woman, then each in relationships, agreed to meet again on August 8, 2011, exactly 50 years later.
The cynical part of me assumes it’s made up – what’s the likelihood that this really happened? Or that a 77-year-old man is using Craigslist (though I don’t have any stats on age of CL users – anyone?)?The joke about hunting the woman down with the assistance of a nurse, and beating the subject of the post with his cane, too, belies the sincerity of the rest of the message.
Yet, until the last sentence of this Missed Connection, the romantic part of me wants to believe the gent’s story. Admittedly, this has a little to do with my love of Honest Ed’s. It’s one of the most fascinating places in my neighbourhood, if not Toronto, and I’ve probably spent untold hours there. I can even vouch for it as a venue for a kind of bizarre date – you can always find something to spark conversation (holographic animal prints, anyone?), so I’m not entirely convinced that this scenario couldn’t have happened.
However, his Missed Connection is unlikely to be “real.” If nothing else, it’s a bit too much like the plot of the movie Serendipity for it to seem genuine. But what if the man really met this woman, and has been waiting half a century to meet her again? What if he’d actually kept thinking about her all these years?
Regardless of the veracity of this Missed Connection, it is “real” insofar as it taps into an all-too-common hope/fear that underwrites the vast majority of Missed Connections. We all want to believe that we have made an impression on someone, however fleeting the original meeting – to the extent that someone might remember us the better part of a lifetime later.
Of course, it’s easier to make up stories explaining the obstacles that got in our way of a real connection than to take a risk. Real life, real relationships, real love, have a shifty way of changing and taking unexpected turns, while unrequited attraction – especially a brief connection with someone – lends itself well to becoming increasingly romanticized as time goes on. In the absence of such fantastical happy endings in real life, Missed Connections become a way to narrate our own imaginary love story.