Are Those TikTok “Missed Connections” Real?

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S1: I hate to be the one to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but if your name’s Marissa, I just walked by your friends and I need to tell you that the weekend you’re away is not the only time that they could do their birthday party.

S2: Hi, I’m Madison Malone Kirchherr.

S3: And I’m Daniel Schroeder. And you’re listening to Icymi

S2: in case you missed it,

S3: Slate’s podcast about Internet culture.


S2: If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like Rachel, you’re correct. We have our lovely producer, Daniel, back with us today as Rachel is on vacation. All right,

S3: Rachel, so happy to be here. Hey, I’m excited to be back on the show.

S2: Well, first up, today, we simply have to talk about Billie Eilish accused of queer baiting on Instagram.

S3: Oh, brother. So queer baiting, if you don’t know what it is, is when a straight person, straight celebrity basically engages in like queer theater to garner fans garner attention. So it’s like it’s like thirst trapping.

S2: Except Gaer Billie Eilish teenage musical icon, who I’m pretty sure controls the weather. Posted a photo of herself with a bunch of other women over the weekend and the caption was just, I love girls.


S3: Wow, what a non ambiguous statement of her clear-cut romantic adoration of the same sex.

S2: I just while Nick Jonas walks this earth that is not queer baiting.


S3: Don’t even get me started on Nick Jonas. I can’t. I can’t.

S2: I won’t get you started on Nick Jonas. But in case you’re not familiar with his his work, you want to describe his Scream Queens character?

S3: Oh, yes. His Scream Queens character was a gay bro who was in love with his frat brother. But then it turns out, like much later in the season twist, he’s not actually gay and he was pretending to be gay. And it was a whole thing and just really frustrating and disappointing. But like, unsurprisingly, very Ryan Murphy, so


S2: queer waiting for Nick Charles, of course, follows him off screen to like he’s done a bunch of interviews where he’s sort of danced around like like a classic straight person.

S3: He knows how to wink at the camera.

S2: Yes. Which is to say, I just I don’t see it with Billie Eilish posting. I love girls.

S3: No, I don’t either. I think that this is a classic case of fandom online getting a little too overzealous with their ability to overread any single action of any celebrity ever.

S2: So Billie Eilish then she’s having a weekend. Miss Miss Eilish then is spotted at Disneyland with a guy, potentially her boyfriend. He’s thirty,


S3: OK, I mean, thirty and nineteen. It’s better than Scott Disick who’s like forty five and nineteen.

S2: No, no, no, no, no. That’s not today’s. No, no, no, no. This episode that are sorry, sorry. The Internet being the Internet people have dug up old comments from this guy, a

S3: legit screenshots

S2: allegedly for legal reasons. We must describe these as a legit screenshots, as we did not see the tweets in question, alleged screenshots of homophobic comments, racist, your usual bad guy history on Earth. Where do you land on this? Because for me, it’s like I don’t really care who Billie Eilish dates and Billie Eilish is not Quairading. So I’ve stopped being concerned about this.


S3: Yeah, I feel much the same way. Like, I mean as you and Rachel have repeated on I think every single episode. Delete your tweets, just delete your tweets, delete your old posts. Everything that’s old that you’ve written is probably bad. So just get it off the Internet. You’ll be fine.

S2: You saying delete your tweets did make me think. Another piece of Internet news this week. Chrissy Teigen is back.

S3: Did she ever leave?

S2: No, of course not. But she is back with a very lengthy apology letter that strikes all the right tones

S3: on Medium, the place you go when your notes apology is just too long.

S2: In case you’re not up on the why. Chrissy Teigen was once again temporarily off the Internet saga. If you head back a couple of episodes, we did a deep dive into the gross online history of one Chrissy Teigen.


S3: But we’re not diving back into Chrissy Deegan again. So what are we talking about today?

S2: And I see. Why am I? We are trendspotting TikTok has become, to my mind, Craigslist misconnections for a whole new generation in case that sentence means nothing to you. Misconnections is a section of Craigslist where you can post of, let’s say, vague. Description of somebody cute you saw riding your bus to work and then hope that they see your post and reach out,

S3: they have to be cute, that that’s the rule.

S2: Ideally, they’re cute, but it is a real thing. I know at least one person who married a Craigslist misconnection, which sounds insane when I say I know over the last few weeks my TikTok for you page has been full of people posting videos trying to connect with their own misconnections to varying degrees of success. And to be honest, I’ve been really skeptical. It’s 20, 21, and I just refuse to believe that anything on the Internet can be like purely good and wholesome and doesn’t have an angle and isn’t a brand activation. But the more I think about it, TikTok becoming a hub for people. Finding people isn’t all that surprising, given how we’ve seen this play out on older apps. This is just the newest social media platform being harnessed to remind us all that our social communities are way smaller than we think and that we’re perhaps a bit too terminally online.


S3: Yeah, I can’t wait till TikTok turns into like Craigslist marketplace so I can find like my new kitchen table thanks to a TikTok.

S2: Honestly, that algorithm is so specific and I really do need a coffee table TikTok.

S3: We know you’re listening to our phones.

S2: Daniel was on vacation this week. Let me rest.

S3: Sorry, I just knew I had to get that in there some point while I was here today. So, Madisen, I mean, you mentioned that, you know, some people who got married on Craigslist misconnections, wild, weird. We don’t even have time to get into that. But do you have any have you ever had a misconnection?


S2: I yes. On Twitter, one time I, I met a woman in line for the bathroom at a party and there was no line for the men’s room. But I’ll let you guess what the women’s bathroom line looked like. So we had a little while to chat and I tweeted about our encounter and then she found me. Laryssa, hi. If you’re listening, I think about you often. I hope you’re well. The feedback, though, that I got on that tweet and experience is what I also had in my head, watching these people, finding other people on TikTok. Right, because my mentions were full of this is fake. Like, I’ll take things that didn’t happen for 400, please, Alex. So when I saw this story of a guy named Drew looking for a woman named Marissa on TikTok, I was immediately like, this smells bad. Some this this cannot be


S1: I hate to be the one to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. But if your name is Marissa, please listen up. I just walked by your friends, and I need to tell you that the weekend you’re away is not the only time that they could do their birthday party. They are choosing to do it that weekend here away. And you need to know TikTok help me find Marissa.


S3: So in that video is a message looking at a camera, relaying a story that he certainly didn’t want the rest of the world to know, that he overheard a group of friends like in a park. He’s like walking through a park, it seems like. And he overheard some people talking about this girl, Marissa, and how they didn’t want to invite her to their party.


S2: The thing on TikTok is people will often stage drama or stage comedy, like there’s a world where this is totally planned and that is immediately the world where my head goes. Actually, it’s just the world where I live. I see this TikTok and I don’t think about it again. Like, I see it go by and I’m like, huh? And then a couple of days later, because the algorithm is so good at remembering things, I cannot I get shown a TikTok from the titular Marissa or a woman claiming to be Marissa.

S4: OK, so my interests are high. I live in New York City and I saw this video and I’m doing it because in the last two hours I’ve had over 25, 30 people send it to me, people I haven’t even talked to since high school sentence me and Marissa.

S3: You’re so vain when you think this take talks about you, your scarf.

S2: It was apricot. Long story. Not that long story. Short story shorter. It was Marissa. The two unite. They make some Tic Tacs together. They’re now pals. Marissa makes a whole Instagram account devoted to this experience called the No More Lonely Friends Club. She hosts the big meet up in Central Park. How delightful, right?

S3: Yeah. Undersurface it. Sounds like a great story. So happy for them. I mean, honestly, having watched some of the videos now I get where Marissa’s friends are coming from. So good for them. But Daniel. Hey, sorry, I’m just calling it like I see it


S4: pulling people all this other than you.

S3: I’m not bullying anybody, just sharing an opinion.

S2: So perhaps all of this is. But my cynical broken brain becomes convinced that it simply cannot be. And I begin to dig.

S3: How deep do you dig Madison?

S2: OK, so I start on LinkedIn. Marissa works in the entertainment industry, has worked for possibly presently, works for like an Internet talent agency like that, trying to blow up her spot here. But I’m just like there are some things where I’m like, mm hmm.

S3: Something’s a little hinky.

S2: But again, I cannot actually confirm this. I dig a little deeper. I discover that Drew and I have one mutual friend. He went to college with a friend of my little sisters who I couldn’t reach out to because the same day my sister was like, my friend wants to know. I don’t follow him on Twitter. I was like, oh, I didn’t know. I didn’t follow him on Twitter. So that that end dries up. Then I go like full Zapruder and I’m like taking screenshots of different videos of Marissa trying to like analyze the chips in her fingernail to like, establish a timeline. What?

S3: Madison, are you OK?

S2: No, like, absolutely not. Anyway, the moral of the story is I tried my damnedest could not prove this thing fake and I’m now am resigned to swallow the bitter pill that is perhaps sometimes the Internet is just a good place.

S3: OK, but the bitter thing about this story is that it just feels so craven like I am a gullible idiot. I want to believe that, like all of these things are real and that everybody is just being 100 percent genuine. But as you just explained, like Marissa made a Instagram to find other lonely friends and basically turned her entire TikTok into that and is just waiting, I guess, on like a friendship brand deal. Why can’t these things just be like, wholesome, sweet, fun? I just want, like, a feel good story.


S2: Well, Danielle, today I do have something you can believe in, your sweet, little gullible heart. I talked to two women who found each other via TikTok after having a genuine misconnection moment.

S3: Great. I’m grabbing the tissues.

S2: After the break, we’re going to hear from Val and Kaycie about how TikTok brought them together and made me think maybe, just maybe briefly, the Internet might be good after all the.

S3: And we’re back, Madison, I’m dying to hear about this TikTok,

S2: OK, so I see this TikTok like a week ago and it’s a woman talking to her camera about an experience she had in New York City where she was standing at a bar on a rooftop taking photos and she had on a jacket. And this woman comes out of nowhere and says, take off the jacket. It’s way too hot. You look great. And then proceeds to be like her. One woman hype team

S4: yesterday in the city of New York was 90 degrees. And so I was taking photos and I had a jacket on because I am very insecure about it for hours. I think they’re big and I don’t like them. And I was taking photos and this beautiful woman comes up to me and she’s like, take off your jacket. And I was like, I don’t want. And she goes, I know you’re not letting insecurity take away an amazing photo opportunity that you could have. So I’m going to show you guys what happened. And she changed my life. This woman, whoever you are, I love you.

S2: OK, I’m so excited today here on Kaycie. Why am I? We have a real life TikTok misconnection on the show with us. OK, Val, welcome.


S5: Thank you for having us. Hi.

S4: Thank you so much.

S2: So I have become obsessed with TikTok misconnections, mostly because I’m a huge cynic and I refuse to believe that they’re real. So Val, when I came across yours and I did some low grade Internet stock, I discovered that it was this real, genuine encounter. I just desperately needed to know more.

S4: Yeah, thank you so much. I was honestly shocked myself when it happened to I didn’t expect it, especially because I just moved here to New York and I didn’t know anyone. And so when this really beautiful, amazing, nice person did that to me, I was extremely blown away and couldn’t have been more happy with the experience.

S2: Can you walk us through the day you were having, like, leading up to the moment where you two crossed paths?

S4: Yeah, of course. So I went to the Magic Hour rooftop bar and all my life I’ve been like the bigger girl usually. And so I’ve never really like to show my my upper arm specifically because it’s just a little bit bigger in my opinion. And so that day I was wearing a jacket. And so when I went to go take photos on the steps of the hotel, I had my jacket on and I was sweating actually really bad. And Kaycie came up to me and she was like a girl. You need to take off that jacket like it’s not doing you anything. And I was like, immediately I was like, no, no, I hate my arms. I hate my upper arms. Like, they’re just going to ruin the photo. And she’s like, no, like your upper arms are not going to ruin the photo is your insecurities that are ruining this photo right now. And so after that, she took off my jacket and she started to pose me. And no one has ever done that for me before. And it was the first time where I was like, wow, I can’t believe that I’m doing this right now. In the photos, when I looked at it, I was like, I couldn’t believe that was me. I was so shocked.


S2: Hey, are you in the habit of just approaching random strangers to style their photos?

S5: Yes. And. Well, here’s the thing. I like taking pictures by opportunity, likes to get like an amazing photo. I’m going to take it. Or if I just see somebody else taking a photo or I like aesthetics. I saw this that it’s for me it was a little bit off, but the jacket can go and then everything else will be gone. And I’m glad that she allowed me in her space to approach her and say, hey, just a little advice or if I could just intervene here. So I’ll do that sometimes. But it’s only because I want somebody to have the same picture that I would want.

S2: Val, I know you describe that day for me. Can you describe what you were up to as you spied Val on that? It’s a rooftop bar, right?

S5: Yeah. So I was there with my friend. We had it’s funny story. I was turning back. I was actually supposed to be on a date and then the date got canceled, but we still had the reservations. So I invited my friend and we were there just hanging out. After we ate, we walked over, we saw, we waited out. And people are there to take pictures and get that capture the ambience. And when I saw that and the jacket, I’m like, yeah, that’s true, but not really. But it was just a good time was hot. It’s very hot, but was very unplanned.

S2: When when they first came up to you, what was your like, immediate reaction?

S4: My immediate reaction was like, no, I don’t want to take off my jacket like you’re crazy. You don’t understand, because when I looked at her, I was like, she’s beautiful, she’s skinny. She has like a beautiful body. And so, like, she doesn’t understand why I’m keeping my jacket on was kind of like my first instinct, seeing like, no, I can’t take it off. But after, like, she’s really ironic and like, she’s a really good people person as a first impression. And so it’s like I’m really kind of. And to trust her, the way she talked to me and explained to me and wanted to help me, and so I took off my jacket and I don’t regret it. I really don’t regret it.


S2: So then the two of you part ways, did you ever think you’d hear from each other again?

S4: No, honestly, I did not. And when I left there, I was like, man, I should have asked for her number or social media or something because it was so nice. And it wasn’t until I got home when I was looking through my life photos that I was like, oh, wait, I have this on video because it’s a live photo. And so then I was like, let me just put it on TikTok, because during this time it was the whole like, fine morissa trend or something like that, that video. And so I was like, if I can find Morissa, they can find this girl with like two second clip and they did.

S2: It’s funny that you bring up Fine Marisa, because that was the first like Misconnections story that came across my front page. And I just refused to believe that it was like I went full on like tinfoil hat digging through like LinkedIn and Facebook, trying to like these people must know each other. Can’t be possible.

S5: It’s real. It’s real.

S2: So now you post the TikTok and then what is the reaction online like for you?

S4: When I posted the TikTok, I definitely didn’t expect it to go as viral as as it did. And so when I started getting like all of these comments and all of these just like amazing positive feedback, I was honestly blown away because for me, I took a lot for me to post it because I was admitting to myself that I had big arms and it was an insecurity that I was like, oh, I’m going to have to tell people who follow me. But at that time, I wasn’t like a big following then, so I don’t care. And then it turned into, like, now everyone knows, I guess, about that insecurity. But I think with the best thing that came out of it was that knowing that I thought I was alone and I’m not, because there’s so many other stories that I was reading through the comments and DMS, and it was honestly amazing to just hear their stories as well and like, know that I’m not alone in this.


S2: So how did you find the TikTok? Did you see it on your front page? Did someone send it to you?

S5: So actually, my little sister that lives in Denver, she sent me a message. She was like, you’re on TikTok. And I’m like, what are you talking about? I don’t I don’t really use my TikTok. I have like one video I posted maybe a year ago. So I had to download the app and then just like, just go look, I’m like, what am I looking for? So I just logged in and then I saw all these tags and I’m like, wait a minute, what’s going on? And then I saw the videos. I’m just like

S2: my jacket, right? Oh, my God.

S4: Oh, and then she proceeded to pose and then I was so surprised and threw feel that it was a do I look good? Look at me.

S5: Something is happening right now, have my jacket off of my property. I didn’t think it was going to go as viral as it did because it was just like, you know, I would have done that for for anybody.

S2: So, OK, I have to admit, I am a little freaked out to live in a world where somebody can post a video on an app and say, we’re looking for a woman named Madison who vaguely was in this area of a city and they’ll probably find me. That’s a little

S4: scary. Oh, my gosh. Oh, yes, it totally is. I can’t even imagine that the power of technology is literally so scary now. I can’t believe it.

S2: Katie, you do this professionally.

S5: No, I just do this with friends and family, like, you know,


S2: what do you do? You have a day job.

S5: So I’m a cannabis. Yes, yes.

S4: Yes, it’s. Oh, yes. She’s giving me some of her. She’s going to a prize to try. And I can say they are delicious and great.

S5: Thank you. My company is called The Blacks are black without the A. And so right now I actually just do infuse luxury gourmet condiment. So I do like toasted garlic, olive oil. I do my what I call my personalized habanero sauce that didn’t use my honey. Hida, what did you say.

S2: Habanero.

S5: Habanero. That’s really

S4: funny. I love her names are so clever.

S2: And what about you Val. What brought you to New York.

S4: Yes. So I actually was just graduated in December. Twenty twenty from college. I just got my bachelors and so I was looking for a job because I am applying to school this year. So I got a job at Columbia University at their medical center and I’m working here in the Department of Surgery as a clinical research coordinator. But I love it. It’s so fun.

S2: Very cool. Very cool. Wow. This is obviously been an emotional, I would say, experience for you. You know, you really had to open up and talk about yourself in a pretty vulnerable way on the Internet. Was that a new experience for you? Is that what are your TikTok usually like?

S4: Oh, my goodness. So I when I started TikTok, I try to start like I guess like a trend like kind of like, you know, big girls can dance type of thing is what I started to do. And so but when I was looking back in the video as a realist, most of my videos were like I had hoodies on are like really kind of baggy clothes. It wasn’t kind of like I thought I wasn’t really, truly embracing what it was or my insecurities. And so, like after this whole experience and like the whole world, I guess, knows about how I hate my arms, it’s really nice because now my mom is like, so you want to buy, like, this dress now don’t worry about your arms. It’s OK. Like we can get it now or something like that. And so it’s like super nice now and hearing people’s stories as well, I’m kind of like, no girl, take it off like it’s OK. Like I used to think the same thing to.


S2: I feel like you could charge for this service.

S5: Truly. So many people asked me to start doing pose classes. I’m like, you guys are cute and it’s funny, but it’s more about how you feel about yourself, your confidence. And so I feel like can you just let your confidence out and you let your shoulders down, you know, you just relax. You’re now the bytecode.

S4: She’s so good in front of the camera. We went shopping the other weekend. I was going to say,

S2: do you to hang out now?

S4: Yes. Yeah, do I. We went shopping the other weekend and I swear the camera loves her because I’m over there, like recording her in, like, all these outfits, these clothing, because we made a video of us going shopping and she’s like, wow, just do this, just do that. And I’m like, oh God, it’s so hard for me

S5: to got is

S2: a story of friendship and a happy ending on the Internet. Who’d have thought? I feel like I’m at the end of the Grinch where his like heart grow three sizes like my jaded, cynical Internet heart is like I’m not crying. I’m not your crying Valke. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

S5: Yes. Thank you so much for having us. I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, both of us, and really share this story. So hope people continue to feel inspired and lift it and more and more than anything, just to be kind to each other. We’re only here for, you know, a short period of time.

S4: Yes. One hundred percent.

S2: All right, that is the show we will be back on Saturday, if I do say so myself. It’s an excellent episode and you won’t want to miss it. Leave us a rating and review an Apple podcast. If you like what you heard today and tell your friends about us, follow us on Twitter at Icymi. Underscore pod. And of course, you can always send us an email at Icymi at Slate Dotcom. We might have you on the show. I might email you back.

S3: Icymi is produced by me, Daniel Schroeder, our supervising producer is Derek John Forrest Wickman and Alegra Frank ah Slate Culture Editors. Gabe Roth is editorial director of Audio Seiyu Online

S2: or in your LinkedIn view, history. Daniel.

S3: OK, we can cut that out if you want to, if you owe.