Missed Connections: Golden Week Star-Crossed Could-Have-Beens

By Sophie Steiner, October 15, 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, Golden Week edition...

Middle Seat Miser

I grabbed my window seat on the plane, and was pleasantly surprised to see you, a dark and handsome Spanish man (just my type) sit down in the aisle seat in my row. We immediately struck up a conversation about our travel plans for the holidays, and it turned out we were starting in the same city, Guilin, and, serendipitously, both traveling solo. Just as the conversation took a turn towards flirting, an overweight, older and noticeably foul-smelling man took the middle seat between us, completely cutting off all conversation. After take-off you fell asleep, and I didn’t see you again after de-boarding. My Guilin trip too quickly became one of self-exploration rather than exploring a new potential relationship.

Bag Exchange Blunder

After returning home from my holiday in Sichuan, I opened my bag to realize it was full of girls’ clothes rather than my own hiking gear. I immediately called China Southern to report the bag mix-up and, after some delay, they told me they had received a similar message from someone on the same flight; we must have both grabbed each other’s bags without realizing. The airline put us in touch, and I found myself on the phone with you, a bubbly sounding French woman. We agreed to meet up in person and exchange bags. When I arrived at Starbucks in Jing’an, where we planned to meet, I was excited to see that you were a good-looking blonde, and that you were holding a bag that looked just like mine. We chatted about our travels in Sichuan and laughed at how equally clumsy we both are. I could tell you wanted to keep talking when we went our separate ways, and so did I. Maybe this Sichuan spicy mix-up was a lucky stroke of fate?

Shanghai Shuffle

I saw you at the Shanghai Railway Station on the eve of Golden Week – first going through the security line and then again when we were both picking up our tickets at the same time. When we walked to the same gate for the same train, I knew it was fate, but I waited too long to grab your attention. As we were boarding the train, the crowd pushed us away from each, and, caught up in the Shanghai shuffle, you slipped away from me like a lost child in a fireworks frenzy mob.

Spicy Butthole

I was in Chongqing for Golden Week and couldn’t help but order the spiciest Chongqing hot pot the first night I arrived. My heartburn (and burn elsewhere) started soon after finishing, but as it was the beginning of the trip, I didn’t want to call it a night early, so I grabbed a drink at the hotel bar. While there, I spotted you, a cute girl at the bar and saddled up next to you to start a convo. Four drinks later, it was pretty apparent we were going to spend the night together, when my stomach starting twisting and grumbling, a telltale sign of the worst case of la duzi imaginable. I tried to avoid ordering another round, but you called to the bartender for two kamikaze shots. Unfortunately my butthole, taking a cue from the name, committed suicide before the drink was even poured.

chongqing-hotpot-4.jpg

Mudslide Romp

I was trekking in Yubeng, and because of all the rain, the trail was extremely slippery. After a few hours of intense hiking, my legs were on the struggle bus. Suddenly, the force of what seemed to be a semi-truck hit me, and I lost my footing and rolled down the steep hill, getting covered in mud. When I finally caught myself, I saw you, said semi-truck level of force in the form of a gorgeous petite brunette, also covered in brown sludge, sprawled on the ground next to me. Instead of being upset, I was taken by your cute smile, but I’d prefer to be lying next to you in a bed rather than covered in dirt and mud.

She's Expecting... Not a G&T

I saw you suntanning your back by the Edition pool in Sanya, wearing a red swimsuit straight out of my high school fantasies – that famous scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I decided to order a gin & tonic and send it your way. However, when the waiter brought your drink, you declined it, and, as you sat up, I saw you were pregnant – really pregnant – ready to pop pregnant! You looked at me, pointed to your belly, shrugged, and walked back into the hotel. When that baby is out of the way in a couple of weeks, I’d still like to buy you that G&T.

Cockpit Cock-Block

My original flight from Kunming to Shanghai was cancelled, so I called to rebook the next available one the following morning. When the flight started to descend two hours early in a different airport, I only then realized my new flight was not direct. The flight attendant announced we had a stop in Yinchun and needed to deboard for an hour. I spotted you, the only other foreigner on the flight, and we hit it off, laughing at how something like this would only happen in China. We ended up talking the entire hour, and when it was time to board again, I secretly wished for a longer layover. After landing in Hongqiao, I didn’t see you again, and I realized I never got your WeChat. Now I’ll forever be praying for unexpected layovers. 

Free Flow Flub

During Golden Week, I attended a friend’s wedding in Moganshan. I hit the free flow bar hard (and the dance floor harder) and, near the end of the wedding, I sat down outside to get some fresh air. You took that as your cue to sit down next to me. You struck up a conversation (I have no idea what about since I was just trying to stop the room from spinning at that point) and, completely oblivious to how drunk I was, asked for my number. I fumbled in my purse to grab my phone, and only then realized I must have lost it somewhere between the bar and the dance floor shenanigans. I ran back inside to find it, unsuccessfully, and after finally giving up and returning outside, you were gone. That night I lost my phone, a chance with you, and, apparently, my dignity.


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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