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Glimpses at the grocery store (and other everyday places) lead singles to cast a net on Craiglist's 'missed connections' for those who caught their eye

June 25, 2007|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,Sun reporter

He saw her again in the seductive universe known as Wegman's cheese department. He of the brown hair and blue eyes, this lover of cheese. She, this worker in this cheese world, who wears her "hat very low." She asked him if he needed help. Was he looking for some particular cheese? No, he said, he was just looking at ... her beauty.

How did this Hunt Valley passion play end? Did it even begin? Or was it just another missed connection?

There are so many untold moments that are told in posted bursts on the "missed connections" subset of human interactions and commerce on Craigslist, the popular online classifieds Web site. Although not exactly an online dating service, Craigslist's "missed connections" section features hundreds of people taking a shot in the dark with the hopes that the object of their longing will recognize himself or herself in the postings.

Poets, musicians and novelists have always addressed matters of the heart. But, they have nothing on Craigslisters who, with a wave of their keyboards, can capture in fewer lowercase words what it takes others to say in poem, song, novel or very long feature article. Their hourly entries range from the sweet and sublime to the, um, stalkerish. People go online to put something on the line. Somewhere -- a Starbucks, Staples, Royal Farms, Little League game, post office or orthodontist's office -- someone smiled, and someone might have smiled back.

It wasn't love at first sight; it was bewitchment.

A posting in point: A woman seeks the attention of a man (hence the code "w4m"). The scene of their encounter: Gardener's Gourmet.

dear asparagus guy,

you were right. although skinny asparagus isn't necessarily better, skinny guys are. Looking forward to more asparagus next week. And please call me darlin' again. pitter patter.

Then, there's the 8:55 a.m. train from Mondawmin to Charles Center. Every day. Same people. Getting on and off. Yet:

You and your glasses make me weak. You usually carry a Legg Mason bag and walk towards that way when getting off. I am always tempted to follow you, but my job is the other way.... Let me buy you lunch....

Glasses can be crucial; they have been to known to cause -- or possibly rescue -- a missed connection. Consider this posting from a woman who was at a Barnes & Noble this month. She was reading a book and drinking coffee at the Towson bookstore. The book did not have her undivided attention.

You were sitting in the corner by the window. I saw you wink but didn't have my glasses on and wasn't sure if it was to me!

Go ahead, assume he was winking at you.

We danced for a little while, even though you were shy for most of the night, reads a posting from a woman -- this time after a recent encounter at the Baltimore nightclub Sonar. Your name was M-something. Who knows, Martin, Matt, Michael.

Walked past you when I left, you were holding someone's hand.

It made me want to dance with you again.

Martin, Matt, Michael, don't tell us that didn't make your heart pitter-patter. You don't have to use those exact words, but don't lie to yourself. You're holding someone's hand, and it makes another woman want to dance with you? Holy smokes. No offense to the earlier posting, but this beats any possible action in any cheese department.

At the Royal Farms on Key Highway at about 9:25 p.m. May 18, two people passed each other.

You held the door for me and told me I was beautiful. You looked pretty good yourself! You made my week!

Then comes a woman who writes of loss and forgiveness -- not of dancing, train rides or asparagus. She had a missed connection with someone she thought was her soul mate. But he was in love with someone else. And, if by some chance, he comes across her posting, she wants him to know he'll always have a place in her heart. It only sounds dumb and corny if it hasn't happened to you.

My point is that some people feel their missed connections are with people when in truth they missed connection with reality.

Which brings us to the "sweaty arm" vignette -- written proof that men can be just as romantic and lyrical as any woman.

Dateline: Catonsville.

You touched my sweaty arm, reads a June posting, at bally's yesterday evening. to let me know the machine I was getting ready to work out on didn't work. just wanted you to know that you made my evening. The passage is eerily reminiscent of Act 2, Scene 2 from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek!

(That sweaty cheek!)

Unrequited, unattainable longing shrouds Craigslist. A Baltimore motorist speaks of a "beautiful brunette" parked June 12 on the shoulder of Interstate 195 in her white Pontiac. The time: 6 a.m. I tried to swing around to help you this morning, her interstate knight wrote, but I couldn't because that tractor trailer wouldn't let me over. Did you make it out okay? If so I'd like to buy you a coffee some time.

If she didn't make it out, I guess coffee is out.

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