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

By Sophie Steiner, September 18, 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...

Sugar Mommy

You sidled your ripped Taiwanese body up to me at a work leaving party at Alimentari. I'm after a man who is not looking to spend all my money, you announced. You have a lot of money? I asked. How else can you be a Pilates instructor at 35? came your rhetorical reply. The girl next to us promptly emptied a gut full of red wine and tequila all over my shoes. When I got back from the bathroom clean-up-job – poof! –you were gone. It left me with two very important, frustratingly unanswered questions: Just exactly how much is a lot of money? And how long does a man have to feign disinterest in it in order to win your trust... and get his grubby little mitts on it?

The Ghost of Sanya 

We met a few weeks ago at the Yalong Bay beach in Sanya. After flirting it up in the sun, we decided to meet at the Dolphin Bar later that evening for drinks, but you never showed up. After waiting by myself for an hour, I returned back to my hotel, chalking it up as being real-life ghosted. However, I was driving my scooter near my apartment last Monday, and I spotted you walking your dog.  It turns out we are neighbors in Shanghai! I stopped and introduced myself again, and you apologized for missing me in Sanya, mentioning you had fallen asleep by accident. I added your WeChat and we agreed to meet again soon, but who knows, maybe I’ll change my WeChat ID to Casper and return the ghosting favor.

Burger Babe

I watched you from afar take down a Double Smash Burger and fries in under five minutes at the Two Hands Burger Pop-up on Wednesday at the Blarney Stone. Bap-a-licious – the true definition of my dream girl. Despite your petite frame, you hoovered that burger like a champ. Assuming you’d stick around for a drink, I went to the bathroom, but when I got back, you had disappeared faster than that burger disappeared down your gullet. I love a woman that can eat, and I want to find you and eat our way around this city, like the gluttonous duo we are destined to be. 

Religious Romance 

During communion at church on Sunday (yes, there are churches in Shanghai) I noticed that they used white grape juice instead of red wine. They must have been out and figured it would be a fine swap. You were sitting next to me, and as a creative pick up line, I leaned over and remarked, “It looks more like Jesus’ urine sample than his blood, amirite?” You immediately got up and changed seats. I guess you didn’t find my humor very funny. But still, you could nail me to your cross anytime.


Physical Attraction Therapy 

I pulled a muscle in my back hiking over the weekend, and could barely stand. I finally gave in to see a doctor, and you were the physical therapist. As you pressed on my hip and contorted my body into strange positions, I fell in love with your strong hands. Could it be that you were flirting with me too as you instructed me through rounds of cat stretches and hip thrusts? After the hour-long session, you left the room abruptly to see another patient, and I was left wondering if you felt the same way as me or if I was just falling in love with anyone that could fix my back so quickly?  

Leasing Love 

The lease on my apartment is almost up, so I was touring around with an apartment agent on Tuesday after work. After going to a handful of pretty shit spots, I came across one I really liked near the Avocado Lady. I started to discuss signing the lease with the agent and the landlord when you walked in. After just a few minutes of scoping out the place, you jumped on the apartment, realizing its value and great location. Our agents fought back and forth for a while, screaming at each other in Shanghainese, while we both just stood there sheepishly. In the end, you agreed to pay more than I was willing to, and the landlord chose you as the tenant. Since this is my ideal apartment, and you’re not so shabby yourself, would you want to share the lease, skip the whole intro dating part, and move in together?

Swollen Heart 

I saw you across the waiting room at the dentist office. I was just there for a routine cleaning, and after 15 minutes of stealing furtive glances your way while waiting for them to call my name, I got up the courage to come over to you. As I walked closer, you turned towards me, and I saw that the entire left side of your face was swollen. Just then the receptionist called your name. Despite your chipmunk-esqe cheek, I’d love to go out with you, even if it means no drinking because you’re on antibiotics for that infected looking molar.

Movie Reviews with a Side of Bodily Fluids 

We were upstairs at that Italian joint on Donghu Lu, and you raged at me about Christopher Nolan movies for 20 minutes straight – without pausing to take a break – and then proceeded to puke all over an enraptured couple next to us. There is nothing like being sprayed with bad opinions and spit... followed by even lesser desired bodily fluids. An interesting experience I never hope to repeat. Stomach sauce on the floor aside, you were really cute. 

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

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

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