"I'm sure you'll never read this but..."
"we made eye contact and staired for what seems like mins. but it was more like a few sec." (sic)
"Did you feel the spark, too?"
"I'd really like to see u (sic) again..."
"Let me know the answer you provided on the crossword puzzle so that I know it's you."
The anonymous postings in Craigslist's "Missed Connections" section are alternately plaintive and prurient, remorseful and vindictive — their only constant is compulsive readability. Although I profess to peruse "Missed Connections" for the entertainment value, the truth is, I long to recognize myself in one of these digital billets-doux. If you, too, constantly miss your missed connection (now there's a doozy of a postmodern love riddle), consider hitting up these "Missed Connection" hotspots* to increase the odds in your favor. Also consider posting one for the brunette Gambit staffer leering over her iced mocha. Tell me what color shirt you're wearing, so I know it's you.
1. Whole Foods Produce Aisle
Is it the abundance of svelte, heirloom tomato-fed babes or the sheer suggestive factor of all those organic cucumbers, peaches and cherries? For whatever reason, missed connections fly fast and furious in the produce aisle at Whole Foods, though the entire store is a virtual "Missed Connection" minefield, lending credence to the theory that a healthy diet increases libido.
2. Rue de la Course (Magazine Street)
Coffee shops are havens for the socially awkward: Where else can you hide behind a laptop while still technically mingling? Nubile, horny undergraduates and fashionable baristas add a volatile element to this atmosphere of muted social anxiety — without the Craigslist safety valve, all coffeehouses might be in danger of imploding into pheromone- and espresso-soaked morasses of sexual frustration. The Rue is perhaps the most recognized meat market; to darken its doorstep is to invite furtive, assessing stares from patrons who invariably angle themselves toward the entrance. The better to scope you out, my dear.
This one surprised me, mostly because everyone looks dead-eyed and miserable when surrounded by fluorescent lights, wailing babies and ubiquitous yellow rollback smiley faces. If that's your type, though, you're far from alone — and if love is indeed a numbers game, then the sheer mass of humanity rolling through Walmart on any given day will increase your odds of success. Even if you don't snag a missed connection, it's still amusing to browse the various ways Craigslisters spell "Tchoupitoulas Walmart."
4. White Linen Night/Red Dress Run
Really, any kind of mass public gathering (Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras parades, Southern Decadence) spawns "Missed Connections," but these two stand out for the dress code factor: a preoccupation with garment colors seems to lead to a fixation with removing said garments. Also, since men and women alike don red dresses for the Red Dress Run, gender norms get a flirtatious tweak. That, plus the copious amount of booze and sultry August heat results in a flurry of Craigslist activity.
5. Audubon Park
At dusk, Audubon Park gets cruise-y, especially the area behind the fountain, which means a lot of "Missed Connections" the next day. From sunup to sundown, a constant rotation of sweat-glazed joggers invites admiration and Craigslist inquiries. Jogging is probably the quintessential activity for an aspiring "Missed Connection" love object — joggers are scantily clad, in good physical shape, and, thanks to their iPod shuffles, entirely oblivious to their surroundings. In short, become a jogger and become instant Craigslist quarry.
* This list was compiled from an entirely unscientific combination of polling and personal experience. By press time, my Craigslist inquiry ("Seeking Missed Connection Mecca") had netted not a single response.