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

By Sophie Steiner, April 27, 2021

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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 month's Missed Connections of Shanghai...

Exercise Enigma 

I spotted you at Will’s Gym on the stationary bike. You weren’t biking, just sitting and smoking your vape…in jeans. Eventually you pulled out one of those pre-packaged chicken bone things from Family Mart and started gnawing at it, plastic gloves and all, while still sitting on the turned off exercise bike. Interesting weight loss tactic, but you must be doing something right because you’re in great shape. I need to know more.

Downward Dog 

It was a gorgeous spring Monday, so I decided to play hooky and take advantage of the weather at Zhongshan Park. I settled into a spot under a blooming cherry tree and immediately noticed you (and your sculpted chest and shoulder muscles) stretching into various yoga poses nearby. I sat drinking wine out of a Starbucks cup and nibbling on dark chocolate while enjoying the ‘show’ for a solid 40 minutes while my internal temperature rose about 10 degrees… Celsius. I stepped away to find a bathroom for just a minute, but when I returned, you and your yoga mat were gone! I waited, hoping you would return, but after an hour I lost hope and left. I want to downward dog with you next time.

Tree Jizz

We hit if off last week at Cotton's, and I decided to go home with you. While scooting back to yours, the pollen falling from the trees got in my eyes so badly that it triggered an allergic reaction. I started itching, could barely see out of my watering eyes and couldn’t stop sneezing. I had to break off from you and head home. Unfortunately, only the trees got to come that night.

Bring a Bucket and a Mop 

You sped past me at 5pm on a Tuesday on Fumin Lu, weaving recklessly in and out of traffic while belting at the top of your lungs Cardi B’s most classic (and classy) of hits, WAP. You were sporting extra-large Bose headphones, totally oblivious to the many people around you who do, in fact, know what WAP stands for. Regardless, I’d love to find out if I need a bucket and a mop for yours.

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Bring an ACTUAL Bucket and a Mop

I spotted you straightaway out of your group of girlfriends – long blonde hair does it for me. Although it was chilly, you were rocking a skinny strap dress and tall brown boots like it was your job. You guys were pounding shots near the entrance of X Bar, laughing uncontrollably. When I passed by half an hour later, you were still there surrounded by empty shot glasses, even more giggly, so I figured if I was going to make a move, it was now or never. Exactly when I walked over, you keeled over, vomited all over those brown leather boots, starting laughing again and then… get this… peed directly into your vomit. I made a bee-line in the other direction as an ayi rushed over with a bucket and a mop for that wet ass puss… mess.

F*ck You, F*ck Me 

I first spotted you sipping highballs outside Lucky Mart on Friday night, where my friend convinced me to talk to you. I never turn down an opportunity to flirt with an attractive European man sporting a ponytail and fun tattoos, but in my drunken state, I ended up getting annoyed by something you said and somewhat aggressively told you f*ck off. The next afternoon, I unexpectedly ran into you again at Funkadeli, this time more sober. We made eye contact for a while before you approached me, and we laughed off the weird encounter the day before. But as we continued chatting, you seemed less interested the nicer I acted towards you. You headed off to lunch with your crew, and for the second time in less than twelve hours, I forgot to get your WeChat. Next time I see you, I promise I won’t yell at you, unless you’re into that.

Spring Has Sprung 

With the warm weather, I decided to go for a run along Suzhou Creek after work. As I jogged towards the Bund, I saw you – a very fit man wearing a tight Nike t-shirt – running towards me. I couldn’t help but smile, and you actually smiled back, but somewhat flustered, dropped your water bottle. I stopped to help grab it for you, and when I stood up, I noticed that I wasn’t the only thing standing at attention; you had popped an enormous boner! Awkwardly, I tried to look away and hand your water back before fleeing in embarrassment, for the both of us.

Facial Hair Faux Pas

I waited in line at the Waitan Subdistrict Clinic for my vaccine when I overheard you – another foreigner – arguing in seamless Chinese with the receptionist. Despite your impressive Chinese skills, I was drawn to your equally striking, coifed beard and mustache. You explained over and over that you had a vaccine appointment but had forgotten your mask and were in a big rush, so you didn’t have time to go and buy one. You just wanted the nurse to give you a mask for the time being. I had an extra in my purse, so I brought it to you, but I was sad to see you cover up that glorious beard and rush off in a flurry of xie xies


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 month 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.

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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