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 to 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. 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. This could easily be one creative man setting up another man for an unexpected ass raping. Where It Went Wrong: Unlike some of the other solicitations featured, we are genuinely concerned for this listing's author. Maybe this is prudish, but it seems dangerous to let the world know the exact hotel where you'll be staying, that you plan on leaving the door open and that you expect to be brutalized.
Not everyone is into rape. Some people are more into robbery and gay bashing. Chance of Getting Laid: It's also possible that this is one of the cruelest pranks ever perpetrated using the Internet. That whatever educational institutions this man has attended have failed him. Any attempt to read this listing will confound even the most skilled codebreaker. However, we can glean from the photos that the author has studied a martial art, wears a referee jersey while tending to small children and competes in bicycle races.
It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to speculate that his dad is just barely out of the frame of the bicycle race, having just let go of the seat of his bicycle.
Where do you start? First off, any "clein" woman looking for a hook up needs to understand this strange secret language to communicate her interest. For regular human females, the logistics of using email to set up a place to rendezvous with a guy who has no grasp of the written word or any understanding of basic syntax will seem daunting.
And, if that's not enough to scare them off, he mentions tonight, "tomarow" and the weekend as times he's available. Sounds like our little buddy here isn't the most popular mental defective in Houston. I am a well built and drug free gentleman with a strong sexual drive. I have a desire to be with an expecting mother Pregnant and want to make this fantasy come true. There is something so beautiful about pregnant women and I would love nothing more than to please one.
I play no games and ask that you do the same. Right away, we know Damion is a polite guy. He opens by offering thanks for reading his listing and signs off with "sincerely" just to let you know that he's not kidding about wanting some pregger's poontang. He does mention that he plays no games, which probably means breast-pump bingo is out of the question.
From the photos, we can also note that while not chasing women with child, Damion hangs out in abandoned train yards and old water-damaged barns.
Clearly, the photos are pretty damning. Had Damion went with a single photo, one might think, "Weird, he looks kinda gay. They've got enough problems without introducing a sexually-confused lover into the mix. Also, "I am also a massage therapist" is doing Damion no favors.
Roughly three out of five guys who post attest to being massage therapists. Basically, it's code for, "I promise to provide half-assed foreplay before wanting to bang. She probably doesn't need the heaping second helping of mommy issues this guy's clearly bringing to the table.
Age and body type have intriguingly not been specified. By leading with all physical attributes including age, hair and eye color, height, weight and the description "attractive athletic," we know this guy is proud of what he looks like. The fact that he wants to meet up for a drink and exchange oral sex in a car, well, that leads one to believe that he probably lives with someone.
If it's a girlfriend or wife, that's one thing. If it's his parents, that's kind of sad, plus it might mean the car he's proposing to make out in is owned by his folks.
If any bodily fluids are spilled, be prepared to be handed a Wet- Nap. Meanwhile, he completely forgets to give any sort of indication about what type of woman he's looking for, which gives off the impression that he'll pretty much let anybody gargle his goods.
The fact that he spells maybe, "mabey" not once, but twice is also somewhat troubling. Women who like their sexual organs to be treated like the African monkey trap. If you've been there and done it, you already know and understand what's written below What follows that quote is about words describing "fisting" in extreme detail You can click on the pic for the full ad, if you must. The verve he uses when rolling out the numbered steps of the process makes it evident that this guy will approach a possible encounter like some sort of demented camp counselor demonstrating macrame.
The header reads "Getting to be popular fun! More than likely, it's not the type of experience she wants to have just so she can share the story at the watercooler with her fisting-enthusiast co-workers. Also, he might want to edit the tidbit about it taking " days for vagina to return to original state. Don't be a chicken. I have rented a residence in North Vegas, off Craig street. If interested please email me for a appointment.
I am very willing to please you. Additionally, it's been indicated that our cross-dresser lives in North Vegas. And while everyone knows what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, few are familiar with the North Vegas slogan, which is: What happens in North Vegas will haunt your dreams forever. For someone who's not into female impersonators, there is so much wrong here.
But even if that is your cup of tea, you've got to be taken aback by the doll photo. That's some crazy serial-killer stuff right there. Combine that with the freaky flowers-and-curls wig and any sensible person answering this listing would have to be at least a little worried about ending up in a freezer. You provide the cute and cuddly. Not looking for a one-night thing. I want all of the winter or when one of us finds someone better, whichever comes first.
I won't have sex with you. Cuddles is probably in the wrong section, because he's looking for more than a one-time thing and he's ardent in his declaration that there will be no sex.
We can also assume that he doesn't have adequate heat in his home, as his winter-term relationship seems to involve you becoming his human space heater.