The successes are so rare, and the failures so gross and terrifying, that looking for love on Craigslist now carries a stigma. Your friends might secretly think you're cool for using Tinder, but good luck impressing them with any story that involves the words "Casual Encounters." Still, Craigslist's Missed Connections section is a way that real people meet, and you have to shout it from the rooftops for them when they do (“Sorry for believing in love, neighbors!”).
For New Yorkers Neil and Judith, this is their reality, not a rom-com. They started dating over six years ago and then got married, proving that Craigslist can play Cupid when it's not full of creepiness. Here's their advice for couples meeting the same way.
First, You Both Accidentally Play It Too Cool
Neil: "I’d been seeing Judith on the train for about six months. Eventually, it became the highlight of my day. ... I didn't approach her. Judith has a very cool veneer -- it’s a sort of detached sexyness...as if it would just be a waste of time to even try."
Judith: "I didn’t approach him because of general social awkwardness. That, and Neil had his headphones in, and sunglasses on, and a real don’t-even-f--king-look-at-me face. All. The. Time."
Then You Take A Shot In The Digital Dark
Neil: "The thing that actually got me to post [on Craigslist] was, one day she actually smiled at me."
Judith: "If you smile at guys on the subway, you really should go and check Missed Connections!"
Neil: "It was a cold late winter day in April. A homeless man was walking through the 6 [train] panhandling. He had no shoes on. That always gets me. I’m a sucker for no shoes. So I give the guy a couple of bucks, and I look across the train and Judith is doing the same. Then she smiled at me. It was amazing!"
Don't Be Shy About Checking -- You Never Know
Judith: "The craziest part of this whole thing is the fact that I actually wrote a Missed Connection for Neil about a month before I worked up the courage to smile. But I didn’t go through with posting it."
Neil: "I saw Judith’s response to my posting and freaked the f--k out."
Make A Sweet (Non-Serial Killer) Gesture
Neil: "I didn’t even respond to her response; I just got dressed, took a flower and tried to get to the Bleeker stop a little early so I could wait for her."
Judith: "I figured he’d call or email me. I had no idea he’d pop out with a flower and say 'hi.' I didn’t see him that morning, so I figured I’d missed him. Then I see him coming at me with a flower, and my first thought is...HIDE! But then we smiled and introduced ourselves, and the rest is history."
Neil: "We had framed printouts of my original post -- and Judith’s response -- at our wedding."
There's More To Your Relationship Than The Story
Judith: "At the beginning, we were both a little concerned that we were dating because we had a pretty great meeting story."
Neil: "The funny thing is I almost forget about it sometimes."
Judith: "As time passed, the importance of how we met has receded into the distance. We are together because we love each other and not because of how we met."
Neil: "I absolutely love the story, but it’s sort of faded into the background, and how much I love my wife is the real story for me. She’s just so f--king awesome!"