Megan Erskine drew three hits on Craigslist's popular Missed Connections page while wearing sweaty, baggy T-shirts and lugging furniture into her apartment.
“It was, like, the most exciting week of my life,” said Erskine, 25, who works at a health care nonprofit in Chicago. “It's a really big deal among my circle to get a Missed Connection, because everyone wants one.”
Missed Connections, a feature that lets people reconnect with strangers whom they let get away, has become one of Craigslist's most popular sections, according to CEO Jim Buckmaster.
“Hope springs eternal, and people love the idea of a second chance at something,” he said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The section also appeals to those seeking affirmative answers to that soul-searching question: Am I hot?
“When you went out for a night, and you know that you looked pretty good, and you were flirting with guys, there's a pretty good chance you'll get a Missed Connection about you,” said Gillian Anderson, 24, a graduate student in Boston.
For the shy or proud, Missed Connections offers an advantage over face-to-face advances. If there's no response, there's no embarrassment, just a little pang before deciding that the object of desire didn't see the posted rave.
Still, a New York man who waited in vain for a post earlier this summer lamented on the site: “Every week I check this damn thing to see if anyone in this city of millions has missed me. … I ride the train no less than twice a day, five or more days a week. I'm pressed against some of you in the commute to/from work. Haven't any of you women missed me?”
Other posts seem mainly shows of wit.
One, titled “Jedi in the Square” on the Philadelphia Craigslist site, read: “To the brown-haired boy with a light saber at the concert yesterday: You were seriously model-good-looking. But what's up with the Toys ‘R' Us-issued, fictional weaponry?”
For people whose eyes aren't supposed to be straying, Missed Connections can deliver a furtive thrill.
A Charlotte salesman – who requested anonymity because he's married – said he checked Missed Connections to see whether some of the women he pitched to were more interested in him than in his products.
“It makes you feel young again – not that I'm old,” said the salesman, 29.
“We're all human. I think it's just a human thing. We all like to feel good about ourselves here and there.”