In yesterday’s New York Times’ Modern Love essay, the author is a newly separated woman whose husband had an affair by way of the Craigslist Casual Encounters section. So, the woman decides to post her own ad (who can blame her?).
What follows is a pretty relatable foray into the world of Casual Encounters by someone who is a bit more buttoned-up than the usual posters. I don’t mean that in a bad way — it’s just that Casual Encounters isn’t for everybody, and exploring the world can be an eye-opening and thoughtful experience if you’re someone who isn’t after what the site is strictly offering, which is to say, sex.
In college, for some reason, my friends and I would frequently find ourselves posting ads on Craigslist Casual Encounters, “as a joke.” The joke part was that none of us had any intention of actually meeting up with someone. The attention and curiosity, the excitement of opening up they emails as the poured in? That was all real.
We’d first create a silly email address on yahoo or hotmail, and then post what seemed to us to be an absurd listing in places very specific to our school: the campus library, a certain dorm, etc.
Then, we’d all sit at a computer, giggling and waiting for the answers to start rolling in, which they always did, even at 2 in the morning on a Tuesday night. We’d shriek over the lewd photos, and write back saucy messages, giggling “oh my God!” the whole time.
But then, inevitably, we’d get hooked — on the guy who wrote back to our impossibly ridiculous message, on the guy who seemed normal, on the guy who we hypothesized was a professor at the school. Like the author of the Modern Love essay, we learned it was easy to delude yourself into thinking it was a friendly email conversation this guy was after, and not something more.
But in the end, the guy would give up, or we would forget, and lose the password to the email address, and the adventure would be over.
Because Craigslist is great for, well, casual encounters.
But if you’re a buttoned-up girl looking for something a little more meaningful, you’ve got to look somewhere else.