Sophie Blackall, Missed Connections and Love at First Sight
January 5, 2012, 1:00 am
Filed under: Art, Literature, New York City | Tags:

You were wearing an average office suit with an admirably messy haircut. I was the girl with brown curly hair and a blouse with horses on it. We did that awkward back-and-forth shuffle of two strangers trying to pass each other on the street; then you grabbed me and gently swirled me in a mini waltz in the middle of the lunchtime shoppers and angry passersby. I would understand that moment if it happened now – two people sharing a delicate second in a day that hadn't gone to plan. But no, when it happened I was in my awkward early-twenties, so I just frowned, trudged away and hoped no one had noticed. Thanks for making my day.

It only took a few weeks of me moving to New York over three years ago to find out about Craigslist’s famous Missed Connections and subsequently secretly wish I might catch someone’s eye on a random train ride. If it ever happened though, I never knew, I didn’t check the personals enough to know. Still, love at first sight remains in the back of many of our minds as the ideal way to find a significant other. Sophie Blackall first started illustrating the hopeful ads on her blog, Missed Connections, and its success was so big, it’s now a book, Missed Connections, Love Lost & Found. How ironic that in a place with a no-nonsense reputation like New York, we’d be such suckers for sentimentality? Not that romanticism makes no sense, but it’s the exact opposite of the precision of the city’s cherished grid system and individualistic mentality. Blackall’s whimsical take on the Craigslist ads paints a more idealistic light on New Yorkers and their needs of the heart.

New York’s reputation is often defined around the world because of the famous line, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” We usually understand it to be referring to professional success. But could our compulsion to post (and live vicariously through missed connections) exist because we believe that if we manage to find love in the huge maze that is New York, we might have hit a bigger jackpot?


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