Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. But there's another function: I decided to dive into Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true.
Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist? Or can two regular people really make the connection that the section's name suggests?
I should admit that I had no intention to actually hook up with someone, should the opportunity arise, if for no other reason than it would be inappropriate and manipulative to an unwitting partner to do so and write about it. But it's not a stretch to say that even if you abstain from the goal, spending a week on Casual Encounters can teach you a lot about human beings and how the web has changed how we pursue one of our most essential and important desires.
It goes without saying that the content of this article is not intended for children or those made uncomfortable by such topics. But if you're interested, read on for the story of my seven dating a diabetic guy on Craigslist's Casual Encounters — my failures, near misses, discoveries, insights and successes.
Following that, I interviewed two women to learn how they used the site successfully for their own fulfillment. Each day I tried a different approach to see what would be most effective, though I never lied or posted fake photographs.
One day my message was intended to be sweet and normal; I suggested starting with drinks and fun conversation to see if we had chemistry, then going back to my place to cuddle on the couch with a movie and see where that led. Another day, I described it as a rebound. In yet another, I explicitly detailed sexual activities and used very aggressive language. Ultimately, only the "sweet and normal" was successful, even though very few posts by women had that same tone more on that later.
I received about a half-dozen responses each day. Most were scams, some were men, some were prostitutes, and just one was legit. All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from women — they were from men.
I made it very clear in my post that I was only interested in women, but a large number of men chose to ignore that. They all offered oral sex. I responded to them politely, saying, "Just interested in women, but thanks for the offer! Have a good one. I began to suspect that no women actually used the site. The stereotype is that women are interested in relationships, and that only men would be interested in totally casual sex, right?
We know that's not true, though. In fact, I was inspired to write this article when a friend told me many of her female friends had owned up to using it. Over the next couple of days, I actually received a lot of posts from women. Or at least, they said they were women. To be honest, I doubted the veracity of the claims. It didn't take long to realize that almost all the replies I received were scams.
The situation is so severe on Craigslist Casual Encounters that does craigslist dating work by real women who are actually seeking hook-ups are often flagged for removal at the slightest cause for suspicion.
The most common scams are "safe dating" websites. An alleged woman will write a man saying she's interested, but that because of the Craigslist-based serial killers and rapists in the news, she needs some extra assurance that it's safe. If you follow the link she provides, the website asks you for your credit card number — y'know, so it can do a background check to make sure you're not a criminal. One individual tried to get me to buy him or her virtual currency in online games like MapleStory before agreeing to hand over contact information.
Yeah, right — moving on! What little luck I'd had so far, does craigslist dating work. The week was half over and I hadn't had a single bite, does craigslist dating work.
I decided I would have to take the initiative, so in addition to posting my own ads, I started responding to every ad from any woman who seemed at all interesting. I cast a wide net in my searches, looking up posts by straight or bisexual women between the ages of 18 and 35 who lived anywhere in Chicagoland — a large metropolitan area that's home to close to five million females.
Most of the women wanted something very specific they couldn't find in their normal lives: Someone to help play out a particular fantasy, someone vastly older than them or someone of another race. Very few of the women who were advertising seemed to be looking for anything I would consider a "normal encounter.
I typically wrote two or three paragraph replies and matched the tone of their own messages, then attached a couple of tasteful photos of myself. I didn't get a single reply from an actual prospect this way.
It turned out that most of the ads were fakes from scammers, and quite a few fell into another category all together. Prostitution is what made Craigslist controversial. There's technically another section for that — "Adult Services," formerly "Erotic Services" — but that's not the only place you'll find practitioners of the world's oldest profession.
The prostitutes of Craigslist speak in code, but it's not a difficult one to learn. They advertise "French lessons" — an odd thing to advertise under "Casual Encounters," don't you think? Well, it's obviously a euphemism for something else. Many of the ads that weren't from scammers were from prostitutes. The ads are so obvious that it's surprising the euphemisms are effective in fending off law enforcement.
Then again, maybe they are law enforcement. Amidst all those failures, I had one near-success. A woman wrote in response does craigslist dating work my sweet "cuddling first" ad saying she was in town for only a couple of months, and that she was frustrated she couldn't find a relationship.
When she sent her pictures, she looked plain but attractive, does craigslist dating work. 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 iStockphotonightsgeotrac. Samuel Axon is a digital content producer in New York City.
First, try refreshing the page and clicking Current Location again. Make sure you click Allow or Grant Permissions if your browser asks for your location. If your browser doesn't ask you, try these steps:. If you're still having trouble, check out Google's support page.
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I met one of his AFF "dates" this weekend and she was actually really great. SO you're a guy. I'm an empathetic and good writer, so when a girl friend of mine pined over how she needed to get laid, and that me being a friend excludes me from that possibility, I wrote a post for her.
Fairly well worded and directly asking for what she wanted. She got some authentic and more or less in the ballpark responses. Went out with two, and they were both positive affairs.
So, I thought, "WTF? I recieved three responses, all from men which was not what my personals ad asked for one wanting to "drain my nuts", one wanted to just be friends and get girls together at bars, and the last wanted me to try his fleshlight. For men, it seems not to work. That is pretty funny Theo. I could never try out one of those casual encounters But the ads are good for a laugh sometime. Yeah, I think I laughed - unfortunately I told that girl about it all and now she thinks she's so effing hot compared to me.
I never thought it would happen to me Also - I think if you respond to ads posted by girls you'll have a better chance than posting your own unless you're the best freaking writer the interwebs have ever encountered. Theo, Joe wanted me to remind you that the offer to use his fleshlight still stands. Hahaha, I think the drain my nuts guy was offering money - but I had to tell Alan S.
If a hot girl said she wanted to drain my nuts, it would be instant love. Next time I'm with my boyfriend! I'll save it for Valentine's Day after steaks. With all the STDs going around out there Guess who's going to see the Doctor of Internal Medicine!?
I you sure that he wasn't just talking about his chest hair, KJ? Well, you got lucky there - many would say. Was he at least Scottish? This post violated the Yelp Terms of Service and has been removed. Gary "I'm never drinking agai I'm gonna rub it in the bio-hazard bag at the free clinic before coming over, K?
Oh I figured Kayjay Actually, it was about how he secretly wants to see your chopsticks so he plans to post a CL ad in hopes you respond. Honest to goodness it was. Yeah, I just figured that out, Berna. That's why I mentioned it anyway, I didn't know it was closed.
All the same, the fact that it ever existed should never be forgotten. It works, but it's also a mixed bag If men realized women don't want to see a penis pic in their ad, or raunchy-ass amateur photos of past gfs screwing them, their prospects might look up.
Stick to answering ads and not soliciting. If a girl is a smokin' 10 or Thus CL is their last ditch attempt to find it. BBWs are usually for real. It's more time and investment then it's realistically worth. Picture a woman sitting by her computer late at night, typing up ads online for no-strings sexual encounters.
Do the attributes sane and good-looking come to mind? Dude, it's more likely a beastwoman picking at her cooter while she types with one hand. I would say it works. Seems like a great gig for all involved. I tried once and took my post down within an hour because I was over run with responses. I was at the Kinko's on Van Ness one time printing on the color copiers.
In the cube next to me was a guy along with three women. I eventually figured out that he was their pimp and they were placing ads in CL Casual Encounters. And boy - it didn't take long at all before they would post an ad and a cellphone would ring. But it did sortof make me sad when one of them who was younger than the others and new at the job was talking about how she was the mother of two young kids and she was doing this because, as an uneducated woman - it was this or lose the kids, or the apartment - or both.
Evidently her husband or boyfriend had walked, leaving her to do it all. Everytime I hear of some horrible crime involving an escort or the like - to this day - I think of her and hope that she's OK. Point being - you never know who's on the other end of those ads. Men seeking women, definitely.
My roommate used to do it all the time and I made fun of him, until I made the most fucked up one I could think of as a joke. This worked to no end. Make the fucked up most funny thing you can and you'll win out on this. And let's face it - I was a noob. I've met hustlers before - and I gotta say, while I've never been a customer - I've never seen any of 'em pull out their wallet and show everyone pictures of their kids either. It just threw me off a little, you know? Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
They work if you are looking for someone to join you with your partner, actually it works a bit too well For obvious reasons, I'm not using my normal yelp id. I then scanned the ads posted by men and found one that was clever and well-written.
We exchanged clothed pics mine had my face partially hidden, his did not and emailed back and forth throughout the day. That evening he met me for a drink in the hotel bar and we had a very nice conversation.
He was funny, smart and really normal -- just out of a long-term relationship as well. He was cute but not my normal type I tend to go for preppy types, he was a bit artsy.
The meeting was very low key and comfortable. We did end up spending a great night together. We emailed back and forth for a couple months, but my work nor his brought us in the same city again and then our correspondence naturally fizzled out.
Shortly that night, I became intensely curious about participating in a threesome. I responded to a couple's post that really resonated with me and spoke on the phone to the woman. A few days later, I met them for a drink at a local bar. Again, they were very attractive, smart, funny -- people I could actually imagine hanging out with -- we also spent a great night together.
The couple broke up about six months later and I get occasional friendly emails from the woman -- mostly about work stuff we are concidentally, in related fields. So, yes, on rare occasions, it works. It was extraordinarily freeing to be with someone anonymously and without the baggage of a relationship. Be really clear about your expectations.
It is obviously much easier for women on the site, but not impossible for men especially those that can write and are reasonably attractive.
It was a great venue for me to explore and I had a fabulous time -- no regrets. Since then I've gotten into a serious exclusive relationship with a guy I met through a friend but I'm glad I got some of this out of my system before we met and was in a better place when he came into my life.
Incidentally, I do know two hetero couples that met on the regular CL personals -- all very cool people that just work a lot such that they don't meet many new people. One of them was in a high-profile position and wanted something less public than match.
One of the couples is getting married next month after 2 yrs of dating! This conversation is older than 2 months and has been closed to new posts.
How to reply to craigslist postings. 1. Click "Reply." 2. A window with response options will appear. To use your default mail program, click the blue response link at the top. If you use one of the listed webmail services, click the corresponding icon. To use an alternate email program you will need to copy and paste the reply-to address. 3. Jun 30, · Does Craigslist personals actually work? Page 1 of 2 does it actually work? I'd recommend a dating site over craigslist. Jan 16, · Reload this Yelp page Does the "casual encounters" link on craigslist really work One of the couples is getting married next month after 2 yrs of dating.
Chesterton Jan 16, · Reload this Yelp page Does the "casual encounters" link on craigslist really work One of the couples is getting married next month after 2 yrs of dating. Jun 14, · Does craigslist's casual encounters section really work, or is every post there just spam?Status: Resolved.