The Londoners Looking For Lost Loves

Samantha Rea
By Samantha Rea Last edited 25 months ago
The Londoners Looking For Lost Loves
Photo: Jill Moore

Despite working from home in my jogging bottoms, I pick up Metro every morning and read Rush Hour Crush, just in case someone’s left a message for me. If you’re unfamiliar with the section, it’s for Londoners who’ve seen someone lovely, but are too shy to say hi, so they put a message in the paper, like these ones.

While mining Craigslist for research recently, I came across Missed Connections – Craigslist’s version of Rush Hour Crush. There were pages and pages of sliding doors moments – men who’d missed their chance at the time, who were now reaching out and hoping the right person read their ad. I spoke to five guys (and at the time, 100% of the ads were written by guys) to get the stories behind the love (or lust?) struck listings.

Photo: Matthew Gidley

Sam - Directions to Sloane Square

Sam’s ad, entitled, “Directions to Sloane Square” says, “I think you’re really cute and I regret not asking for your number.” He says that as he walked home from work, he was approached by a girl who asked him how to get to Sloane Square. He got out his phone to show her and describes it as, “a little bit of human connection, in this world of strangers.” As Sam walked away, he thought, “wow, she was really pretty, I should have asked for her number” – he posted the Craigslist ad an hour after getting home.

Sam isn’t kidding himself that she’s ‘the one’: “I’m 38 and she was about 18, so there’s a big age gap. I don’t hold much hope – she probably doesn’t even know what Craigslist is! But the way I see it, I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Sam says he’s done online dating, but he’s never posted an ad like this. So what inspired him? “I’m single and pretty lonely, so I’m liable to do this with anyone who’s half cute!” He laughs. Why this time? “She was really hot! She was cute – and really nice.” He adds;

Normally you just go to work and you don’t have these moments – they don’t happen every day. The world’s full of missed opportunities, because we’re too afraid or we’ve put barriers up around us. I missed my chance – but I’m hoping she’ll get in touch with me.

Matt -Edinburgh to London

Matt parted ways with his Missed Connection on the tube. Photo: Jackie Bugeja

Matt, who’s 27, met his Missed Connection on a train from Edinburgh to London. “For the first part of the journey, I was doing some work - then I asked to use the plug socket, and we got talking from there.” According to Matt’s ad, they talked about Lord of the Rings, religion, music and embarrassing family members, but, “I never even got your name.” He explains:

It’s one of those things where you converse with someone, and it goes past a certain point at which you don’t really think to ask their name.

Matt left the train with the girl he’d been talking to, only parting ways at the tube: “She was going Northern line, I was going to the Victoria line. As I got there, I thought, ‘should I have?’” Why didn’t he? Matt says: “Not knowing each other allows you to speak freely. We were getting on well and the conversation was easy. I didn’t want to burden it by putting her in a situation where there was an obligation to stay in touch.” He adds, “at the time, part of me was thinking, ‘she’s probably not interested anyway.’”

Deciding to give it a shot, Matt posted on Craigslist and another site dedicated to missed connections called Blew my Chance. He explains, “it was only afterwards, when I returned to my real life, that I thought, maybe I let something good go.”

Dan's missed connection also happened on the tube. Photo: Rose Vandepitte

Dan - Picadilly line to Heathrow

Dan, who’s also 27, is from the U.S. On the Piccadilly line, intending to go to Heathrow, he sat opposite a girl who looked up and smiled at him several times – before spotting his case and saying, “Hey I think you’re on the wrong train!” She was right, as at that point Dan was on his way to Rayners Lane. He wishes he’d spoken to her, but, “I had my chance, and I shot myself in the foot.”

Dan went online and Googled, “how do you find somebody you missed a connection with?” Based on the response, he posted his ad on both Craigslist and a site called I Saw You. He explains why: “About a week ago, I was talking with my buddies about how many times we miss chances, because we see somebody and we don’t talk to them. I said, ‘if I want to talk to them, I will’ – but when it happened, it wasn’t so easy! Then I thought, I have to rectify this and try to find this person!”

Dan jokes that if she got in touch, “I’d probably shoot myself in the foot again!” Then he says, “Actually, I’d fly back to London - I’d come back for her, over and over again!”

What was special about her?

I don’t often see someone who’s just my type - but she is, and she ticks all the boxes. Maybe it was nothing - but I saw something in it.

David - Directions in the City

David was on his way to work in the City, when he gave directions to a temp, who was trying to find her way to a new job. David, who’s 55 and married, says, “it was like a moment from a movie, whether it was her smile, or – I don’t know. But I showed her the way and she said something really nice, like, ‘why have I never got to meet a guy like you before?’ There was something there and it felt like something should come out of it.”

David says he Googled “how do you contact someone you bumped into?” and Craigslist came up. He says nothing came of posting the ad, and, “it’s probably for the best.” He explains, “I love my wife to death - we have a very comfortable and nice life. In hindsight, I think, ‘what an idiot, she was 20 years younger than me - nothing was going to happen!’ Maybe it was just an ego boost – everyone likes an ego boost now and then!”

Steve - On the train

Steve's advert.

Steve is a 30 year old American, who lives in London and works in Northampton. His ad says he’s an idiot for not making a move, but, “I won't fuck it up a second time” – he even includes his picture. He explains that when he got on the train, “I saw her, she saw me, and neither of us looked away. We kept looking at each other and she was obviously - in my eyes - thinking, ‘just make a move, you asshole!’” He laughs, and says he posted the ad because he regretted not saying anything, “I was kicking myself!”

Steve says, “it wasn’t love at first sight, but without a doubt, it was a recognisable attraction, that cannot be misconceived - it was too obvious to say it didn’t exist.” He explains that although he’s made eye contact before, this is the first time he’s placed an ad, because, “it’s never been as heavy before. Most women, if they try to catch my eye, they’ll do it once - they won’t try to do it half a dozen times!”

What advice would Steve give to someone who found themselves in a similar situation – should they step up at the time? He says: “If it was a friend of mine, I would tell them to go for it! We have these internal barriers that stop us from doing certain things, but you never know what’s going to happen!”

Dan has also learnt his lesson. He says that if the same situation happened again, he would speak to the girl at the time. "What’s the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t want to leave it to chance on a website again!”

Sam takes a similar view; “If that kind of vibe happened in the future, I hope I’d take the chance and give her my number.”

Matt says he’d try to fit it into the end of the conversation, asking, “’are you on Facebook?’ or, ‘would it be cool if I get your number?’ – I wouldn’t leave it completely, without any means of getting in contact.” He sums it up when he says, “I’d maybe throw caution to the wind and just ask, because ultimately, if you don’t ask, you’ll never see them again, so you haven’t lost anything anyway!”

All names have been changed.

Find Samantha on Twitter.

Last Updated 20 October 2016