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

By Sophie Steiner, September 11, 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...

Lucky Lunch 

I spotted your floral, flowy skirt from across the main square at Taikoo Hui. You were walking out from The Middle House around lunch time on Monday, typing fervently on your phone for what seemed to be a very important text conversation. I walked towards you, waiting for you to look up and make eye contact with me. Suddenly, a big gust of wind blew and that flowy skirt flew right up, exposing everything underneath it, along with your red thong that immediately matched the blush of embarrassment spreading across your cheeks (face cheeks that is, not the other ones I so happily saw). In shock, you pushed your skirt down and ran away. I like what I saw, and I would like to see even more. But hopefully, next time, it will be just me seeing, not the entire lunch crowd at Taikoo Hui. 

Snagging Samosas and Snogging 

You jumped me in the queue at the Indian Street Eats event last week at El Santo, snagging the last of the samosas for the day. I was really excited to try them, and I let out an annoyed sigh of exasperation. Instead of brushing me off, you offered to trade me the already purchased food ticket for a kiss. I was somewhat offended by your bold offer, but I really wanted those samosas, so I gave you a quick peck on the cheek, and you directly handed over the ticket. A deal is a deal. Although the samosas were delicious, I found myself thinking more about you that night than anything else. Next time I’ll trade you a full snog for a shared Indian dinner. 

DiDi Disaster 

You jumped into my DiDi with me as I was pulling away from Up at 2.30am last Friday night. You kept insisting it was your DiDi, even though it was my phone number that the driver had. Since you were so drunk, I just went with it in the end and told the driver we would be making two stops. You said your address, and it wasn’t too far from mine. Maybe this was fate? But as the cab ride continued, you started swaying back and forth, and then, as if in slow motion, I watched your entire body convulse as vomit spewed from your mouth directly into my lap. You didn't merely ruin my white pants, but my DiDi rating also. Nobody will pick me up now! If we go out together in the future, looks like you will be the one ordering the DiDi.

Movie Theater Miss

I went to the theater in IAPM on Thursday night to see the new Mulan movie. (Yes, I am an adult. No, I did not have an accompanying child with me.)  You carefully shimmied down the aisle, jumping over 10 pairs of legs, but by the time you were passing me, you slipped and your elbow jammed into my lap. Your popcorn went flying everywhere, and I think you possibly did some permanent damage. Our eyes locked, you mumbled an annoyed apology, simultaneously lamenting the loss of your popcorn, and moved along. I wanted to find you after the movie since I’d love to show you my bruise sometime.


Undone by UnTour

We were on the same dumpling tour with UnTour Food Tours. You sat next to me at every food stop, and at the last place, I felt your arm rub against mine. Sparks flew, and I summoned the courage to ask for your WeChat. But, just as I turned your way, you bit into a fat xiaolongbao and boiling pork juice squirted directly into my eye, causing me to recoil in excruciating pain. It hurt so badly that I had to leave the tour and beeline directly to the emergency room. My eye was fine in the end, but my ego? Not so much.  

Sleepless in Shanghai 

You were sleeping so peacefully in your chair on a highspeed train from Nanjing to Wuyuan, when I boarded and sat down next to you at Shanghai Hongqiao Station. As the train rocked forward, your head drooped onto my shoulder, and I happily let it stay there. I was willing you to wake up, but you were lost in your dream world, and what a world it must be. After a few minutes, you started murmuring in your sleep, which quickly escalated into full on nonsense shouting. Finally, an inspector came over and woke you up by asking to see your ticket. At this point you realized you were supposed to exit the train at the Shanghai Hongqiao station, so you jumped up and ran towards the door before I could get your name. I want to see you again, and I hope to one day occupy the craziest of your dreams. 

WeWork Weirdo 

You were sitting at WeWork getting some work done on your laptop when your eyes darted over to me and you smiled. Then, you looked down and said something quietly that I couldn’t hear, so I walked over and said “What?” When you didn’t respond, I said it again, but louder – “WHAT?” – yet still no reaction from you. I was just about to tap you to ask what you said, when you pushed your hair behind your ears, and I realized you had wireless headphones in, and you were just singing along silently to music. You noticed me right then, gave me a look like I was a creeper, and then packed up your stuff and left. To be fair, I felt like a creeper at this point, but I’d creep on you all day given the chance. 

Who Nose?

I saw your nose was bleeding as you walked out of the bathroom at Commune Reserve. At first you didn’t seem to notice. In fact, you seemed quite out of it entirely. When I handed you a tissue and pointed at your nose, you came back down to Earth. With blood dripping down your fingers and arm, it didn’t seem like the appropriate moment to ask if you were seeing anyone else, but I thought you were bloody lovely.

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

Fleeting moments shared between two sentient beings that can only be described as fate.

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

Fleeting moments shared between two sentient beings that can only be described as fate.

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

Fleeting moments shared between two sentient beings that can only be described as fate.

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

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