Missed Connections: Shanghai’s Star-Crossed Could-Have-Beens

By Sophie Steiner, September 25, 2020

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In a city of 24 million people, a typical day is filled with dozens of unexpected interpersonal interactions. While most are unremarkable, there are some – be it an instant attraction, an awkward meetup, or a random hookup – that are anything but ephemeral. This is a fleeting moment that's shared between two sentient beings that can only be described as fate. We don’t always get to say what we want in the blink of an instant, so this is an opportunity to give a shout-out to a special someone, recount a funny story or flaunt a hookup. These are this week’s Missed Connections of Shanghai...

Toilet Trauma 

We hit it off at The Bull and Claw and exchanged WeChats, but 10 minutes later when I went to the bathroom, I dropped my phone in the toilet before I had accepted your invite. Now that I got a new phone, I’ve lost my entire WeChat history that I hadn’t bothered to back up, including your WeChat contact. I’d love to see you again, and I hope our memory together doesn’t get flushed down the toilet like my iPhone10. 

Contortionist Chica

You were casually smoking a cigarette outside of La Social while looking at your phone, totally oblivious to the fact that you were twisting and folding the bottom half of your body in a deep squat that I didn’t know was humanly possible outside the art of contortionism. I couldn’t help but stare for a solid minute, wondering how someone outside of Cirque du Soleil could have their feet so close together with their butt just hovering about a centimeter above the concrete. You finished your cigarette and went back inside for another drink, leaving me in a state of complete shock. I want to see how far your flexibility goes; maybe next time at my apartment?

Break a Sweat on Me 

You hopped on the treadmill next to me at Z&B, and I was immediately attracted to your athletic physique. I was impressed to see you set the treadmill to 17 kilometers/hour and assumed you would just be going for a shorter sprint workout. Although I was almost finished with my run, I decided to stick around and continue going next to you, hoping to finish at the same time and start up a conversation. You kept up your fast pace for a kilometer, then two, then three, and continued on, with no sign of slowing. After another two kilometers, my legs had turned completely to jelly, I was out of water and I thought I was going to pass out. Next time, I’ve got a better idea – why don’t you come to my house and have a horizontal workout.

Dog Sh*t and Lost Dreams

We made eye contact while walking past each other on the street, and I was immediately drawn to you. You bent down to pet my dog just as he figured it was the ideal opportunity to take a poo. We both just looked at each other as I bent down with a baggie to pick up the poorly-timed turd. You slowly backed away, leaving me standing there, holding a plastic bag full dog sh*t and lost dreams.


Foot Non-Fetish 

I was sitting on a bench at Fuxing Park reading my book when you sat down next to me. You pulled out a magazine and started flipping through. After a minute or two, you asked what I was reading, and we started chatting and hit it off. Out of nowhere, a man clearly older than the People’s Republic of China sat down in between us, pulled out a nail clipper, took of his shoe and started shamelessly clipping his toenails as if we both weren’t right there. Disgusted, you excused yourself and left. Nothing like an old man’s smelly foot to ruin the mood.

Double Shot Latte Love

We met at Starbucks Reserve on Wednesday afternoon because I stupidly thought the upstairs would be a good place to get some work done in between meetings. With roughly 500 Douyin KOL wannabees constantly swarming around taking photos, needless to say I quickly gave up. As I was playing on my phone, you walked over and asked if I wanted a coffee. Before I could explain that I don’t drink coffee so late in the afternoon because the caffeine makes it hard for me to sleep, you told me that they had messed up your order and by accident given you two. Graciously, I accepted the beverage, planning on just sipping it a little before heading to my next meeting. Instead, we got to talking and I lost myself in our conversation. Before I knew it, I had drank the entire cup of joe. Eventually, we parted ways and I headed off to meet my client. That night I stayed up all night with thoughts of you racing through my mind. You clearly left a strong impression on me... or maybe that was just the coffee. 

Tinder Tangle 

While waiting for my friends to arrive at The Broken Dagger, I took out my phone and started scrolling through Tinder. I spotted an attractive man, swiped right, and we started chatting. We had some nice banter back and forth, but then my friend arrived, so I put my phone away. After a few drinks, I glanced up at the bar, and who was sitting there? A 10+ years older version of you. I pulled out my phone, sent you a quick Tinder message, and immediately as I hit send, the man’s phone at the bar buzzed. The conversation was so good that I’m still interested in grabbing a drink with you, even if you are using a photo from a decade long gone. 

Shanghailander Salon

I spotted you at Shanghailander painting your nails an aggressively neon yellow color. The acrid smell of the nailpolish was bothering those around you, and soon enough every seat nearby was empty. I took that as my chance to come and say hi. As I walked over, my hip bumped the table, and your freshly painted nails rubbed against the wooden surface unexpectedly. You snarled at me with a ‘what the hell, man’ look across your face and left, leaving my hopes of chatting with you behind, (along with a smattering of yellow nail polish across the tabletop).

To submit your own Missed Connection, please choose one of the following methods:

  • Email your Missed Connection story to sophiesteiner@thatsmags.com.

  • Comment directly on this post. Don’t worry, all comments will remain fully private and will not be shown at the bottom of this article, as they are set to only be viewable by our editorial team.

Tune in next Friday to find out if your missed connection is looking for you too!

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