When she sent her pictures, she looked plain but attractive. We exchanged a couple of e-mails over the course of two hours, tossing back and forth lists of interests and the like.
She made it clear that she wanted to meet up, and while she talked about starting slow, it was clear that it would indeed be a casual encounter. But when I suggested a time to meet — the last message from me before I would reveal myself and back out — there was no reply.
At least, not yet. The next day, she e-mailed me saying she was deeply apologetic and that she'd fallen asleep. She said she'd like to meet up sometime. So yes, there are women on Craigslist. Well, at least one! You've probably guessed by now that the experiences for heterosexual men and women on Craigslist's casual encounters are quite different. I observed that for every ad a woman posts, there are at least 20 from men.
If nothing else, that imbalance ought to alter the experience. To get the female perspective, I did two things: I posted a fake ad as a woman to see what kinds of responses I would get, and I interviewed two women who have had success hooking up on casual encounters in the past. As for potential suitors, I asked only that they supply a photo and "be attractive and not creepy.
There was a five minute delay before my ad appeared, then I started receiving about one response per minute. Most of them were careful to say "I don't do this often. Some sent pictures of themselves naked along with the word "Hi. There were a lot of expressions of sympathy over my fake breakup.
I was hearing from men of all types, and it seemed I had my pick of the litter. After about thirty minutes, though, my post was flagged for removal. I thought I'd made it look legit, but as we learned earlier, folks have good reason to be hawkish about scammers. After the end of my test run with Craigslist casual encounters, I decided to get more insight into the female experience with the site by interviewing two women who said they had successes meeting up with men on Casual Encounters.
Their problem was the opposite of mine. They had too many options to pick from, but they both dealt with the numerous choices in the same way.
Both women ultimately responded to men who they felt put effort into writing long, personal messages as opposed to quick notes. Multiple paragraphs of insightful and relatable prose won out — but only after the initial test of physical appearance. Both said they immediately eliminated men who opened with pictures of genitalia — a very common practice.
However, looks were important. One of the women I interviewed said she once had a crush on a client at her job, but couldn't make a move without compromising her professionalism.
However, she was looking through Casual Encounters and saw an ad from a man, and she recognized his writing style — it was her old client! She sent him a message to see if it was him, asking a question only he would be able to answer.
He proved his identity and they ended up hooking up. One of the women said she would go to Casual Encounters when she was looking for a very specific sexual experience — something you can't always count on from a one night stand that starts at a club or bar. The other said her reasons could be summed up as "curiosity, boredom, and convenience. The trick is to keep an open mind and not have any real expectations. At the very least, it's mildly entertaining.
After all this exploration, I'll say that Craigslist casual encounters is a place where people go to find very specific things from each other that they might not be able to conveniently locate in the real world. Some of those things are very alternative. It's a last, best hope for some people who are looking to make a personal connection, but it's full of spam, unwanted attention, crime, and, well You might not find what you're looking for, but you're sure to find something interesting regardless.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto , nights , geotrac. Samuel Axon is a digital content producer in New York City. He has worked as an editor at Engadget, Mashable and the Joystiq network, and currently leads content strategy as Editorial Director at Sprout Social.
We're using cookies to improve your experience. Click Here to find out more. Entertainment Like Follow Follow. The Experiment I began with a listing announcing myself to the women of my city. Barking Up the Wrong Tree All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from women — they were from men.
But where were they? I was only getting messages from gay or bisexual men! An Army of Scammers Over the next couple of days, I actually received a lot of posts from women.
Taking Initiative What little luck I'd had so far. The Other Perspective, Part 1: My Fake Female Ad You've probably guessed by now that the experiences for heterosexual men and women on Craigslist's casual encounters are quite different. The Other Perspective, Part 2: Interviews With Craigslist Women After the end of my test run with Craigslist casual encounters, I decided to get more insight into the female experience with the site by interviewing two women who said they had successes meeting up with men on Casual Encounters.
What Are Angelenos Looking For? It's Easy to Be Sleazy! A zipless fuck, with wireless ease. That's the promise of the "Casual Encounters" section of Craigslist. There are newer, shinier, more feature-laden places to go searching for slutdom, of course, but the list of Craig endures.
Although the Internet is teeming with porn, porn is about watching. Personals are about doing. Casual Encounters gives form and encouragement to your basest desires — the ones in which you hit it and quit, in which you put in your junk but not your time — leaving you free immediately afterward to get back to Farmville or eBaum's World or whatever more important thing you were doing when you got distracted by the urge and clicked on m4m, or w4m, or mm4ts, mw4mw, w4mm, t4mw or maybe mw4t.
What you might have told yourself at the start was just idle curiosity can easily morph into enthusiastic participation as the site's clean, simple interface leads you into the dirty, complicated belief that yours is a world awash in limitless sexual possibilities. On Craigslist, you're surrounded not only by skeevy creeps and blurry penis photos but by oats-sowing bi-curious college girls; self-described "nice guys" with jobs and proper grammar and everything; lonely, MILFy housewives who need just a bit more attention and cunnilingus than they're currently getting.
Amid the comical weirdos are people who say terribly normal-sounding things, like, "I am a year-old woman, just looking for a nice stud that isn't into the drama and bullshit. Please be able to carry on a conversation and have a sense of humor if you reply to this. Craigslist, with its insistently plain-wrap appearance, is the lowest-commitment option in an already low-commitment endeavor, so Casual Encounters' setup achieves a sort of harmonious equilibrium with the mindset of its users.
There's no registration, no fees, no pop-ups, no banners. Just lines and lines of ads, listing the multitudes of people willing to fuck you. Weekly followed four people, one from each of the four major categories — w4m, m4w, w4w, m4m — in their search for that elusive, NSA encounter.
And, yes, I will spank you. I don't have whips or a dungeon. Just my open hand. And a pair of handcuffs. I'm a handsome guy, 40, 5 feet 11 inches, nice eyes, beard, a little burly, work out times per week, and I clean up real nice, as they say.
Send a photo, I'll send you mine. Terence's spanking offer might have narrowed the field, but then again, the field is always narrow for men who are seeking women, and even ads that aren't seeking anything exotic tend not to get a lot of replies. In the personals, it's women who run the show. Terence received a whopping total of nine responses. Of those, eight were spam. These were identifiable by their extremely generic nature, typically something like, "Hey I liked your ad.
I'm on Yahoo Messenger right now! Send me a message at HotGirl! But one smelled like it might be human: Cautiously optimistic, Terence sent a response, including a picture.
The blonde replied, "Thanks for the pic Already realizing odds were against him, Terence threw in the towel, retorting, "Sorry, honey, that's as young as I get. When asked why he didn't work particularly hard to continue the established contact, by, say, inviting the blonde out for coffee, Terence gripes, "I'm fucking sick of 'coffee. The only thing I'd meet up for is if she wants to take her clothes off today. The hard lesson most men learn on Craigslist: Because they outnumber women by about 20 to 1 on Casual Encounters, men aren't something to be desired.
Very youthful, very curvy year-old in Santa Monica seeks very youthful, preferably young, attractive baby-faced man for casual encounters hopefully plural! By the way, replies without pics will not be considered. On Craigslist, women can be this flat-out demanding and not be dismissed as bitches but get plenty of play.
Clarissa's ad, for example, got more than responses. The sexually adventurous, curly-haired brunette isn't averse to casual hookups. The responses started coming in immediately.
Then I got more and more replies, and had fun responding, and considered meeting someone. But then I got bored, and the only one that was really interesting has been reticent.
Her initial ardor cooled, and in the end, Clarissa didn't meet up with even one of her potential sack mates. The rising fears that dampened her heat ran the gamut: Jeopardizing my health and my business. Getting emotionally hurt by some thoughtless, shallow swinger with herpes who makes some 'they're not exactly perky' comment about my breasts while expecting me to agree and fuck him anyway. This is the bell curve many Casual Encounters advertisers travel: If you're wondering why that sexy chick suddenly quit answering your e-mails, this sort of rational thought process is probably the reason.
Gay men are always on the vanguard of any of society's sexual shifts, for good or ill, from HIV to Grindr, and Josh sees Craigslist as antiquated. He hooked up online as recently as last week, but not via Craigslist. He checks the site from time to time, but, "In reality, I haven't had sex through Craigslist for years and years and years. With his swimmer's body, unblemished, caramel-colored skin and engaging, lighthearted, party-party personality, this resident of an Elle Decor —worthy West Hollywood apartment is clearly a desirable specimen.
Josh is in a committed relationship, but his partner has a job that forces him to travel out of town frequently; even when his boyfriend is home, his sex drive simply doesn't match Josh's. So Josh looks online for casual hookups often, and has no trouble finding them.