Picking Up on Craigslist
Online dating has a bad rap but everyone's doing it these days. They might not admit it but they're doing it and why not? It's a helluva lot easier than going out blind into the night. After all, you have plenty of time to say all of the right things and use that really great picture your friend took of you. It's kind of like studying before a test; sure you can wing it but why settle for a 5 when you can easily snag an 8 with a little more effort?
Too bad most online dating sites suck. I'm not going to explore many of the current options available because I don't think they're worth anyone's time. They primarily exist as a way to explore just how much you hate yourself through other people. You end up reducing your choice of partner to a list of convenient traits and characteristics and who wants that? Amidst this trash-heap of commodified feelings, there exists one web site that steam-rolls through the unnecessary bits that make up a large part of most dating sites out there and gets right down to the business of hooking up like-minded people for some hopefully mind-blowing sex. This site is Craigslist.
Basically, an enormous online version of the classified section of the paper, you can buy stereo equipment, look for a job and most importantly, find that special someone. The options are numerous, with a section for every kind of conceivable hook-up, including missed connections, casual encounters and strictly platonic (although who's fooling who?). Some of them are also pretty funny. There's the usual gamut of married men looking for a little something on the side, very specific women, guys who like to play games (NSFW!), and those with special needs; in short, there's something for everyone and it's this very abundance that can be confusing for the first-time visitor.
With that in mind, I though I'd help navigate those folks through this online playground by explaining the acronyms people commonly employ, what to watch out for and how to post your own perfect ad.
BBW looking for hot TS for NSA fun
Evolving from the shorthand people have used since the early days of the Internet, these acronyms have evolved as a means of simplifying the search and calling attention to certain characteristics that are perceived by either party to be pertinent. This is not a complete list (for that, go here) but it covers the ones I see a lot of.
BBW - It stands for Big Beautiful Woman. For some reason I always thought the second B stood for "black" which then conjured up images of Eddy Murphy in a fat suit dancing to Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others... but I digress. If you're looking for a woman with curves, this would be something to keep your eyes open for.
BDSM - Bondage, Domination, Submission, Sadism, Masochism. This covers a whole range of options from simple spanking to water sports and elaborate rope torture, the likes of which you've probably never seen or tried. Usually, they will clarify which particular activity they're looking for.
DDF - Drug and disease free. A promise that often needs verification in person.
GBF - A gay, black female. This can change depending on the gender and race of the person; for example SWM (Straight White Male) or GAMM (Gay Asian Married Male) but it rarely gets too complicated. Those who swing both ways might put "Bi" instead of using "S" or "G."
NSA - No strings attached. Ideally, guilt-free sex with someone you never have to see again but, like a gym membership, comes with a lot of unclear conditions that only come into play after you sign up.
TV - A transvestite. Think Rocky Horror. Not just a dude looking like a lady, it covers a both genders and is generally not a twenty-four hour thing. Try it sometime and you'll see why.
TS - A transsexual. Not really the same thing as a trannie at all; these folks are interested in people considering them to be a member of the opposite sex., whether they merely dress and act the part, have undergone some type of surgical operation or are planning to.
The Beautiful People?
Despite the promise of the Internet being heralded as an improved means of communication, it is often anything but and this especially true when it comes to these kind of negotiations. Even when people aren't pretending to be something they're not, it's easy to misinterpret what they're trying to say. Just like in exams, people will cheat if they can get away with and online, guy's dick are at least two inches shorter, girls are way pickier than they pretend to be and everyone thinks they're hysterically funny.
The main thing is to ask for a description then get a picture and play the match game. Most people aren't too far off from whatever image they present but if they refuse to play along, it's a safe bet they're trying to hide something. Also, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Yes, you can have that hot, fresh-off-the-boat, me-so-horny model but you might just have to pay her (or her website). Not to worry though, Craigslist has an army of do-gooders who usually flag those posts anyway.
A lot of posts are time-sensitive (my girl-friend is out of town, I'm in town for business, etc.) so it doesn't pay to take your time replying. Try and tailor your response to their post and don't forget to provide any information they ask for. Maybe she didn't respond because you're ugly but maybe you forgot to tell her what she wanted to know. At the same time, sending out unrequested pictures of your cock will usually result in no response. Unless, of course, she did ask in which case send away because you'll have the best time ever.
The final test is always the meet-and-greet and depending on whether your hosting or they are, it's always best to meet on neutral ground. Not just for safety reasons, this also gives you the opportunity to scope 'em out and just walk away if you're not down with what they're selling. Myself, I prefer to travel because then I can leave whenever I want but if your kicking-out-of-bed skills are up to par, a home visit can be the perfect, lazy alternative. Regardless, everything will probably be cool by this point; I find that most people I've actually met up with are decent but I don't doubt this isn't always the case.
Do It Yourself
In the end you're better off posting your own ad anyway. I have no solid numbers on the people cruising through Craigslist but if some comments by other users are to be believed, the replies can often fly hot and heavy if people are into your post. Think of it this way, who gets more respect? The person who actually took the time to put themselves out there or the legion of horny respondees?
As I found out quickly, it's important to keep your intended audience in mind when crafting your post. There are certain things that will always be true. Any women will probably get a fair number of responses; so will any straight guy looking for a little male action. If you don't fall into either of these camps, you have to work just a little bit harder. Like applying for a job, you have to stand out and this is where you can apply one of two templates:
Short 'n' Sweet - You want what they can provide and you want it now. There's a fine line between being charmingly explicit and outright-creepy but if you can walk the walk, this will get results. Done poorly this is the online equivalent of a cold-call in the bar and one of the reasons why people are so leery about picking up anyone nowadays.
Fun 'n' Casual - This isn't Nerve but those metaphors everyone's always talking about do come in handy now and then. Feel free to allude to sex but talk about more than where the two (or three) of you are going to end up. We all know it's a "casual encounter" but that doesn't mean you shouldn't delve into whatever makes you an interesting person. Make a joke about that Henry Moore sculpture outside of the AGO and anal sex. Just don't make it into a list; nobody likes reading those.
Irrespective of your approach, you should have a picture. While I understand discretion is a big part of these dalliances, grow some balls and throw it up there. This saves everyone some time and shows that you mean business. I always click on the ones with pictures first.
Like anything on the Internet, a Craigslist hook-up done right can be a whole lot of fun and you might even meet someone who's worth getting to know. Most of the people I've met have been decent but like any situation involving some risk, you have to take the good with the bad. Besides, if you're worried about perverts, you probably shouldn't be doing this anyway. Go fill out a personality test or something.
Design by Jason Atwell.
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