When I was in my early twenties, living on my own in Portland and making my way about town, either on my bike or the bus, I would read the “missed connections/I SAW U” section of my local weeklies (Willamette Week, or Willy Week, or just Willy and The Mercury or Merc). I didn’t have a computer, so I didn’t know about Craigslist or other online sites. I used computers at the time to do occasional research and emailing, but mainly to type up papers for my Portland Community College classes and generally in the college’s communal computer lab.
I valued my cities two weeklies for different reasons; firstly, I could not be bothered to read the paper every flippin’ day, but I could get through the weeklies in enough time before another came out. It helped me feel connected to local politics and entertainment. Secondly, I have always felt the Willy successfully shared the ins and outs of the respectable (or at times, not so respectable) city that I lived in while The Mercury was more about fun, pop culture (local and not) and especially music – which I couldn’t devour fast enough, almost like a
first second love, after going out dancing and drinking with friends. Finally, I’m not going to lie, The Mercury always seemed like more of a hipster* paper anyway, ironically not taking itself too seriously, but secretly totally doing so.
Living so far away from both papers means that I don’t follow either paper as closely as I used to, but for sport my husband and I do, at times, read The Mercury’s “My What A Busy Week“, “I, anonymous” and occasionally the “I Saw U” online for a laugh while eating our weekend brekkies together.
These days, you can find these newspapers totally online (as the links prove above), but potentially even more prevalent is Craigslist. Who needs the Nickel Ads when you have Craigslist? Seriously, I miss having Craigslist so available for entertainment purposes and practicality. Where else can you find people selling the most amazing and random used items or hilariously but equally awkwardly attempting to reconnect with a missed connection!
Craigslist, once the cheap advantage of North Americans has been international for some time…and growing! The closest Craigslist to us however is Frankfurt, which is fine but is a three-hour train ride away. There is also one for Luxembourg, which is closer, but still not so convenient. So, finding entertainment or amazingly cheap finds via the web (or elsewhere for that matter really, as far as the latter is concerned) has been a bit tricky!
Being that it is most prevalent in North America, The United States of America specifically (just guessing, not actually proven scientifically), someone actually did a study on Craigslist “Missed Connections”, no joke! And since I love maps, especially those that can tell us something about The United States, why Americans are so… or how Americans see other Americans and themselves I’m all for it!! Author/researcher Dorothy Gambrell recently published a short article in Psychology Today (46.1 [January-February 2013]: p112) titled, “Missed connections: seen but not spoken to: an atlas of where we’re (almost) finding love.”
According to the article:
Map depicts the most frequently-cited location where a Missed Connection occurred, by region. All data are based on each state’s 100 most recent Missed Connections posted on Craigslist at the time of data collection.
- “The Pacific Northwest breeds girls bold.” – Duh!
- Idaho is the “home of the heterosexual male. ”
- Hawaii is the EXACT opposite to Idaho.
All I can say after viewing the map is:
- In the Pacific Northwest, missed connections via the bus – of course! “Natürlich!”
- Nevada: A casino – no really?! What else is there to do there except be in the deep wilderness if it isn’t too hot?
- To the FOURTEEN (14!!) states that mention Walmart, WTF?! Really? That is kinda sad, especially because of websites like this.
- And finally, an ode to my roots: Yeah to the seven states who look for missed connections at the supermarket!
*Hipster: A few years ago, my husband’s younger brother was married in the Washington D.C. area and my husband was asked to be the officiant, which by the way, terrified their mother because she was so afraid that he would say, “by the power vested in me by the internet.” However, we were able to steal away from the wedding and family excitement to visit a friend of mine from my AmeriCorps*NCCC team living with her husband and daughter near the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington D.C. While catching up and having coffee, my friend explained that she thought that my husband and I were “hipsters” but couldn’t necessarily explain why. Both my husband and I thought, “WHAT?! Um, No!” And were otherwise astonished at this revelation. Perhaps when I spent my year with this woman I was a hipster. In fact full disclosure, yeah, I was TOTALLY one in my early 20’s, but NOW?! No way! Oh please, no!