Missed Connections: A Social Experiment
On Craigslist one evening, looking at Missed Connections out of curiosity and for possible story fodder, I decide to run a social experiment.
w4m: You’re Not Neil Gaiman, I’m Not Amanda Palmer
We had lunch today.
We took a walk two days ago.
I am not in love with you.
You are not in love with me.
But we’re attracted to one another. We tiptoe around the subject. It’s taboo. You’re married.
Today is your anniversary. Soon I will be celebrating an anniversary too.
I am with a good guy. You are with a sensational woman.
But I’ll always wonder what if. What if we’d met earlier. What if you weren’t… What if I wasn’t…
You think I’m too young for you. You keep reminding me that our age gap is the same as that between Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman. Do you want to convince yourself we wouldn’t be together in another world? Another universe?
I think we would. I think we would either have a passionate affair if not a creative and comfortable relationship. But who knows.
[END CRAIGSLIST AD.]
[BEGIN THE POURING IN OF EMAILS.]
Dude #1: U have serious issues. Get some help. U cant go around paroozing.
Me: I was talking about something else completely. [Doesn’t respond: WTF is paroozing and where can I go to do that? Sounds like boozing in Paris. I’d be down for that.]
Dude #1: Oh lol sorry good luck
Dude #2: Such an inspiring story, I love it!!!
Me: [Doesn’t respond. Cannot handle praise for social experiment / accidental story.]
Dude #3: You are absolutely right.
Me: Thanks for the reassurance on my rightness, dickwad. [Doesn’t actually respond.]
Dude #4: I’m Jewish, men are idiots if they think they’re happy when they’re married, want a tryst? I work near you.
Me: Thanks, I hope you find someone who’s right for you. [What does Jewish have anything to do with anything?]
Dude #5: Hi I am a very good looking 42-year-old man whose grammar has been vastly improved by this editorial take but basically what I’m asking is do you want me to put my dick in you because it would be very hot and erotic?
Me: I’m flattered, but no.
Dude #6: Know any married women who want to have an affair?
Me: No. [Wouldn’t tell him if did.]
Dude #7: [Attaches picture of himself wearing suit.]
Me: Ummmm. [Doesn’t know what to do with this. Considers reverse Google Image searching out of curiosity. Decide to keep anonymous Craigslist people anonymous.]
Dude #8: Interesting story. How would it end?
Me: Good question. I’m not sure. I think it just sort of ends there.
Dude #8: Thanks for responding. Interesting dilemma.
Me: I know, right?
Dude #8: [Offers advice and questions; most questions involve whether I’m into women, what I find appealing about older men, and whether I’ve considered a threesome.] But I hope you don’t misread my points or think I’m judging.
Me: [Long answer about morality, people, love; explain I’m into women, I don’t find older men appealing as a group but rather on a person by person basis, and say that yes, I’d love to have a threesome, but that it’s not feasible, ending with:] Out of curiosity, why did this story catch your eye? Why are you so interested in it?
Dude #8: I’m in business in NYC, checked Craigslist, and you seemed real and sincere.
Me: Aw, thanks! I hope you found what you’re looking for there.
Dude #8: I wasn’t looking for anything. I assume this isn’t fiction, but interesting if it is too.
[Me + Dude #8 continue an awkward email exchange. His English isn’t great, but he becomes new online therapist until we both get bored. Finally.]
Dude #9: I wish I were in that situation you described.
Dude #9: [Mansplains how amazing situation is, including, but not limited to:] Dear, you are so lucky because you have someone who is into you and this man has you being into him and you have chemistry and it’s exciting and forbidden and you should fuck because you grow up to be married and miserable, all men who are married are miserable, don’t let what he says fool you.
Me: [Too polite/cowed/used to it to say, Don’t call me “dear,” you don’t know me. Also resist the urge to say that my parents were happily married, thanks very much.]
Dude #10: You mentioned Neil Gaiman. I love Neil Gaiman!
Me: Yeah, Neil Gaiman is awesome!!!
Dude #11: Interesting. Want to have lunch?
Me: Nope, but thanks.
Dude #12: I’d love to paint you.
Me: Okay. Art is cool. [Doesn’t think artist is for real.]
Dude #12: Sweet, look at my gallery.
Me: [Surprised artist is for real. actual artist with cool art. Finds artist on Facebook. May actually get painted? Still waiting on further details.]
Dude #13: I know what you mean. She was Asian and I’m white and it was a missed opportunity.
Me: What does being Asian have anything to do with anything?
Dude #13: I met a girl who was Asian once and we almost had sex but it was the same situation where she was Asian and I was white and it was the same situation and it didn’t happen. [Doesn’t address question, but rambles on irrelevantly about missed affair opportunity with said Asian girl, seeming to think that having sex with someone of another race is the same thing as having an affair.]
Dude #14: Let me ask you a question? I’m in sales, I ask a lot of questions.
[Dude #14 asks questions and becomes second online therapist, but with better grammar. Asks about monogomy, tells me what hotel he’s staying at, is very nice until he sends dick pic, at which point conversation is truncated by me telling him the picture was uncalled for and him writing, “I know :( ”]
Dude #15: RAW!!
Dude #15: Shall we give it a try!!
Me: Ummmm, what? [Thought we were exchanging big cat noises]
Dude #15: Shall we explore . . . each other?
Me: [Has finally had enough.] Nope, sorry. Bye.
Lead image: Wikimedia Commons