(Host) Each week, the newspaper “Seven Days” devotes a page to its “I Spy” personals column — a bulletin board of sorts for those who almost made a connection.
It’s a place for people who have second thoughts about a chance encounter, or wonder about a mysterious look across a crowded room.
We went to Seven Days’ Burlington office and asked “I Spy” manager Jess Campisi and others on the staff to clue us in.
(Campisi) I’m Jess Campisi, personals manager at Seven Days newspaper… I Spies. What are I Spies? When you’re standing at the grocery line and you bend down to pick up something out of your cart and you meet someone’s eyes in the next aisle and you smile – that’s an I Spy.
(Male voice) Stunning brunette in jean jacket and black jeans having lunch at Nectar’s. Me: guy in black leather jacket looking for my friends for lunch. Wanted to say hi, but had to leave. Wanna share some fries?
(Female voice) We counted inventory together as you sat on a yoga mat. Are you just very friendly or are you curious? Too shy to ask. Want to have a hot cocoa?
(Campisi) I think most people at that moment don’t necessarily seize it the way they think they should. Maybe they get in their car and they’re still sort of thinking about that person and maybe smile a bit. And we sort of give them an avenue to take the next step.
(Male voice) You: beautiful brown haired girl. Me: stumbling on a crack in the sidewalk, you called me a goob. I like your style. How about a second chance at first impressions?
(Female voice) Fresh Market: You – handsome gardener type, sweet smile, great hands. Stocking essentials for a night of moonlight composting? We talked of leaves and energy buttons, care to share more?
(Campisi) Think about how they felt when they left the scene of the I Spy, and what they did when they filled out the submission form; if they wrote it out, and then crumpled it up and maybe wrote another one, or — ’cause you want it to be perfect, as perfect as you can get it. You want to recreate that spark that moment you had when you turned around and saw that person standing there.
(Female voice) Stunning in your suit at the Waiting Room, flanked by three pretty women. Romantic with one, all or none? I wonder. Your dark eyes bright with your handsome smile from where I sat by the door.
(Male voice) We talked at 135 Pearl. You were wiping Samuel Adams off your Miami t-shirt. Would like to get together for another conversation. Anytime, anyplace.
(Female voice) You: attractive gentleman awaiting blind date. Me: friendly lady who smiled when arriving to join a friend. Your date arrived shortly wearing a red sweater. I wish she had been me.
(Reader – female) I think it’s more of a curiosity really, and honestly I think most of them are a little odd.
(Reader – male) It’d be kind of funny to see yourself in there, but you do see a lot of people you know. The only thing I ever read is the I Spy, just because it’s funny if anything.
(Reader – female) It’s just intriguing – it can be sexy, it can be a mystery as to – you know, who’s gonna see who and how they’re going to express it.
(Campisi) We get people who are, who are shy and don’t – would never have the guts to go up to someone face to face and this is their avenue to try to reach them. And then we have people who are very adventurous and willing to try anything and figure they have nothing to lose. I think everyone has a piece of that in them, that would want to do that.
(Male voice) Two a.m. post-Metronome, I spied a free-spirit: wavy blonde hair, hanging with friends, waiting for one more. I asked if you where old enough to remember the 80’s. You said I’d be surprised. Nectar’s fries and gravy sometime?
(Female voice) Sneakers, midmorning. You were waiting with a group of guys and paid your bill at the counter. So very handsome! I was sitting in a booth with friend and couldn’t focus on anything but you. Single? Care to meet?
(Campisi) I guess it’s about the connection. If you stop, and it’s enough to make you think about the person afterwards that you would consider writing one, then you should do it. Go for it. What do you have to lose?
(Host) Our story was produced by Patti Daniels. The recording engineer was Chris Albertine.
The “I Spy” personals were read by staff members at Seven Days.