A Craigslist all-call for love: creepy or an act of romantic genius???
I’ve decided that I’m going to go ahead and bite the bullet and post some sort of online ad. I’ve been set up on blind dates by friends and by dating websites, and I’m starting to really believe that no matter how much a person fits your supposed criteria, you’re still starting from scratch, so I might as well put out a call. At this point, I’m just trying to find someone to date, as all my friends are married and settled down and I’m home alone with my new Blu-ray player. Where should I post it and what do you think I should say?
-“Taking the bull by the horns” in the Fan
Susan: I’m screwing a friend over by letting out this well-kept secret, but in his words, “Standing out among the m4w crowd on Craigslist is like falling out of bed.” Apparently, the competition is slim and the response is enthusiastic. Again in his words, all he did was stick to this formula:
The title and first paragraph were “here is a fun thing i like to do and would want to do with you on a date.” then it was “here are cute facts about me.” then it was “you will like me if you are this type of person.”
He worries that the girls who scope out Craigslist ads may not be the kind of droids he’s looking for but…no, wait. Wait right there. I scope out Craigslist ads all the time. Not because I’m seeking a third party for my marriage (THIS JUST IN: collective disappointed sighs hover over Richmond, VA like a sad storm cloud) or because I had a missed connection but, like everyone else, I need a break from work/movie reviews/advice columns/making ice cream and want to see what other people have deemed appropriate to post on the internet THIS week.
And, using that age old soothing logic, this guy’s a catch and HE’s on Craigslist, so why couldn’t a likely female prospect be? You don’t have to be a member of anything, you certainly don’t pay anything, and you’re in charge of your own screening…I’d say you’re much more likely to reach a population that is less desperate for dates that way. And if no one responds then you’re no worse off (my friend got four enthusiastic responses within 24 hours). At the very least you get to go out on a date that you can blog about, should that sort of thing be your bag.
Jack: Craigslist?! Really? I mean, wait, really?!!!? You’re encouraging this person to try and meet someone meaningful through Craiglist? Now don’t get me wrong, Craiglist is easily the most useful creation in the history of the internet. I buy my concert tickets there, I find cheap second hand underwear there, I find places to live there, and I even find creepy people like me who want nothing more than to have someone faux-break into their apartment and play out a fantasy rape scenario on them (where the safety word is “Bananas”). But a blind date with a Craigslister? I’m just not convinced.
As a rule I think that internet dating sites and anything of the sort is for people who are lazy and/or scared of the real world, but since I have to actually try to answer the original question, here are my two cents: Go to the reputable sites (I guess something like Match.com or Chemistry.com) and take that route. It’s cheap and apparently their screening process involves more than just letting anonymous assholes post whatever they want about themselves. Plus this way you won’t get your head hacked off in Au Bon by some nut bag you met on Craigs.
My real answer though is to join all of the crap you can (clubs, gyms, dodgeball, etc) and step away from the Blu-ray. There are far too many people just as desperate as you out there and they want nothing more than to get in a relationship and to immediately get married to someone, or anyone, or whomever comes along first, or to that hobo with his pants down on the corner, or to….oh please god will someone just pretend like they love me!
Susan: I mean, believe me, as we proved in our last issue, I am all for being cautious, if electronic dating (or just electronic seeking?) is the path you have chosen. However, I have to agree that “getting out there” (or “joining crap” as the above gentleman puts it) seems like the most effective way to meet someone who shares your interests, but then again it’s easy for me to sit back and put together those judgments. I think we all probably tend to forget how frustrating it is to feel like you’re just constantly assessing your options, wondering if you were stupid to believe your mom/friends/every romantic comedy ever when they tell you that there is someone out there for everyone. I think a more accurate, less naive way to put it is, “Most people get married,” not “Most people find their soul mate.” Beware the pressure to settle down with the first person who’s willing, and whether you’re cruising chicks online or aiming things at their head at dodgeball practice, you need to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with sticking it out until someone completely rad comes along. You’re not on anyone’s timetable.
Jack: Well if we’re going to go this route (via Craigs or Match) then the real question is, should you lie about yourself and your appearance, or should you keep it real? Clearly “keeping it real” is not working for you in the real world, but I’m hesitant to tell you to lie because I feel bad for the poor sap who thinks he’s meeting a slightly older, more “curvy” version of Miley Cyrus, and instead comes to find that you are a significantly older, heavy-set version of Billy Ray Cyrus. I guess you should think of it like a resume for a job you really want. Fudge the truth a smidge but don’t overdo it because you know you’re going to get caught eventually.
And Suze is right, timetables are no good. You have your whole life to find that certain someone. Unless you’re 35+ and considering procreation…because then, well, you better hop on the next guy who is employed and drives anything better than an 88’ Volvo Station Wagon. Hell, forget about the car and the job, just go grab that pantsless hobo on the corner and have at it.
I hope this has been helpful.
Would you like to be similarly fulfilled?? Send your relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and start the argument. Check out past columns at Robot Hearts, and keep tabs on Jack at Jack Goes Forth.