Arts & Culture » Chicago Reader's Guide to Valentine's Day

Romance in the 90s (or lack thereof)

As seen through the lens of vintage Missed Connections

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[Romance is for suckers]

See the rest of our (almost) romance-free ode to Valentine's Day.

As I began unearthing a Reader archive of Missed Connections—yes, we repped that name long before "I Saw You" (and pre-Craigslist)—that dates back nearly two decades, I wasn't as intrigued by the Rollerblading run-ins and Gap references as much as I was by the readers' eloquence in their prose. Instead of "Saw u on the L. You: Buzz cut, neck tat. Me: pink chucks, nice ass. Meet 4 drink?," a submission was more prone to seek out a science fair judge or a gentleman interested in biomechanics. Or perhaps a line like "Struck wordless by your sylphish features" might glide by. Really, sylphish?! The times, they have a-changed. Check out some of my favorite Missed Connections from the 90s back issues of the Reader. Kevin Warwick

MINNEAPOLIS GIRLS SEEKING the cafe-workin', skalapalooza-goin', vespa-drivin', South America bound boy we met the weekend of July 16. We'll be in Chicago again August 5 for the Hepcat show at the Metro and want to get directions and free coffee from you again. Call! 7/29/94

"JUST SKATE AWAY then!" you yelled. I did, too embarrassed. 5/15/95 about 7pm, south of Belmont on lakefront. You: WF, brunette jogger, headphones, gorgeous eyes. Me: muscular, WM, rollerblader, long brown hair, jean shorts/tank top. I fell in front of you; you fell on me. Interested in doing dinner? 5/26/95

6/3 GD TICKETMASTER at Merchandise Mart. You have dark hair and Ray Bans, were behind me in line and were very cool. I was gapped out in khakis, green sweatshirt and black baseball hat. We spoke for a few minutes and I'm kicking myself for not getting your name, etc. 6/16/95

SCIENCE FAIR JUDGE, Museum of Science and industry, 3/16/96. I thought you beautiful, talking with a student after you already finished judging. You said you were having lunch home. Later, eating cold sandwiches, I wished I'd also finished early. This might be silly, but may I buy you lunch sometime? 3/29/96

NEAR TOTEM POLE. You were the sexy guy with long, dark hair and a muscular chest, walking your dog. You said "hello" to a girl on a bike (me) with long, brown hair, ponytail, hard body, little white top, sunglasses. Sunday, 7/27 at 4:30-6:30pm, before it rained. I know it's crazy, but would you like to lift sometime? 8/8/97

MS. BIOMECHANICS! OVER here! You: shooting pool at GrillBar on Tuesday 8/12. Me: waiting for a table with a friend. She surmised that you're good at geometry. You say you're into biomechanics. Meanwhile I silently compose this ad, and speculate on the likelihood that you'll see it. Did you? 8/22/97

SATURDAY 10/10, ON the bike path, I let you pass me, then I bladed past you with my fluorescent orange coat tied around my waist and got off the path at Connie's Pizza stand. If you want to go blading or biking sometime, call me. 10/23/98

BLUE LINE SOUTHBOUND, 10/18, Sunday morning circa 10am. You: black boots, black bag, black coat with rainbow-hued sticker on right sleeve, small B&W photo on left lapel; extraordinarily cute, stylishly cropped short blonde hair. Me: tall and thin with black Chuck Taylors, wire-rim glasses and overlong bangs. You boarded at Dearborn and sat across from me; after sporadic eye contact we both alighted at Washington and switched to northbound Red Line, from which you deboarded at Chicago. Struck wordless by your sylphish features, I wanted horribly to ask about the photo, but a long night of air travel impaired my judgment. But I find you terribly adorable! I have Mary Cassatt tickets … join me, will you? 10/30/98

RAINBO SAT 2/27. You: mature raver, very bold, wearing "cords" who dragged us to Blue Note and Marie's Riptide. Me: French poetry reading, funky-haired chick. We dumped you off to get cheese fries at Weiner Circle. Next time, wanna come with? 3/19/99

FISH STICKS AND mayonnaise at the Admiral. You told me about Chewbaka while wearing ballet shoes. Please don't think I'm a loser … but I lost your phone number. Let's get together and discuss further the healing powers of Miracle Whip. 3/26/99

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