Craigslist, and random musings on love and dating

I’m going to preface this by stating it as fact, so no one can claim they weren’t warned or accuse me of it later: I am a horrible person. I have little more than a desiccated pickle in my chest. Not even a normal pickle. It’s some weird Asian form of pickle, made from a chili pepper or something. The part of me that believes in love and hope and happiness, well. I crushed it. (Or pretend I did, at least.) So when I cruise the personals, it’s more for my continuing studies into the mind of people who still believe in love… or because I haven’t had my daily recommended dose of insane logic and terrible “net-slang” that day.

Yeah, that’s about how I feel about it, most days.

So, yes. I am not a good person, and I do not look at personals due to a belief that “the one” is out there. I used to, but the few times I managed to muster enough courage to respond or post my own ad, the results were… far less than satisfactory, let us say. That’s okay. To be expected, really. But if I don’t check Craigslist at least once a day, see what insanity has crept up, I just don’t feel whole. It’s that whole train-wreck scenario; you know you shouldn’t stare, but you just can’t help yourself.

Today, I came upon this little gem:

“I’m a cute tattooed, attractive fun loving girl. I want to enjoy the finer things in life. I’m searching for a man that has the means and wants to financially support me. A lonely gentleman that just needs a friend to chat with daily, send him pics, and be his online/texting girlfriend. I’m not looking to meet as I don’t feel safe with that (bad experience). So would you enjoy simply making sure I am financially taken care of? Then send me a response:) And please be serious as I am very serious, so no games, and no freebie photos. I hope to find the perfect person for this:) Please, if you cannot afford a relationship like this then let’s not waist each others time. Also please don’t ask me if this is online only… YES IT IS!!!! I don’t need rude opinions or comments either. Thank you to any future gentlemen that are serious and would love a relationship like this.”

Now, I’m sure everyone’s internal Grammar Nazi rose up as they got to the part about “waisting” time, but that’s not really the issue here. It’s the idea that someone believes that a pic or two and some occasional texts or chats online is a service worth a full carry. Now, don’t get me wrong. While I may not feel that purchasing a prostitute or a sugar baby is my personal “thing,” I accept that some people do… and I can understand the value in it. You’re getting a clear service in exchange for your outgoing income. But… this? I think of all the random ladies one can find on Facebook, Omegle, Whisper, etc, etc, etc who are more than willing to swap pics and videos and sexy-talk, all without a cash outlay. I contemplate the many ladies I have met who are carrying on multiple long-distance “relationships” through those and other media, again without a cash expenditure. I figure, if you’re just looking for a fake girlfriend, there’s plenty of them out there.

And then there’s things like this… which are WAY cheaper…

Okay, I thought to myself. Maybe you’re just being sexist, over-reactive. I mean, guys can be pretty stupid, too. So I started going through the M4W section. I found no offers for similar arrangements. Not even a more standard “searching for a sugar mama” arrangement. Lots of guys proposing FWBs, lots more touting the power of their masculine parts, a few who followed a more standard “I’m a X, I want a Y, hit me up” formula, but nothing in the zone of the girl’s ad. And everything I said about finding fake online girlfriends? Yeah, that goes double for guys; I suspect as many as 80% of males on social networking sites will do nearly anything if you show them a topless pic or flash them in video chat. (Yes, we males are notoriously dumb and easily manipulated.)

Then I found myself thinking about the mindset of individuals who might be looking at such an ad. Obviously, I think there’s something severely wrong with the poster, but what does it say about the folks who respond? I mean, I suspect you’ve got to be a special kind of crazy to decide that financially supporting someone who’s just a fake name and a pic on your phone sounds like a good idea. Then I said to myself: “Self! Crazy people are interesting! They make amazing character fodder for stories! Let’s do an experiment!”

FOR SCIENCE!

So, I did a post of my own, just to see what sort of responses I got.

“Want someone to text/sext at any time, day or night? Need to see a pick-me-up e-mail or two in your inbox,or maybe some steamy, custom-written erotica starring you? Have the desire to feel that someone is listening and cares? Look no further. We all have desires, urges, things that go unfulfilled. Sometimes we want those things taken care of without the messy entanglements, potential awkwardness and unfortunate endings that result from face-to-face contact. If you want the emotional and mental support of a boyfriend without those physical ties to hold you back, have the will and means to sponsor someone’s return to school and basic living expenses, and are brave and curious, drop me a line… I’m sure we can work something out. ;)”

It’s awful, I know. Best I could do on short notice. (At least mine doesn’t include spelling errors…).

From mad scientist to naughty hairdresser in .5 seconds, folks.

Then I sat back to watch the results. Honestly, I was expecting flagging and removal relatively quickly. Boy. Was I mistaken. We’re currently up to 27 replies, and the post is still active. That was in an hour. In a small metropolitan area. I am now positively terrified.

Now, to be fair, 4 of them appear to be spam. (“E-mail me at this address and check my pix on this site!”). Another six are hostile (“How culd u do dis its WRONG!!!” being my favorite.) Two included pics and phone numbers, but wanted to discuss the possibility of making it physical, thus not within the rules. The remaining fifteen include pictures, e-mails, phone numbers, offers (both cash and trade) and (in one memorable piece) a bit of surprisingly well-written erotica about their fantasies regarding a non-physical, non-meeting relationship. Of those that included their location, three qualifiers were in my town. Seven more in the surrounding metropolitan area, within 25 miles. Of the non-qualifiers, both physical demands were in my town, and five hostiles were in the area.

This is just frightening. I am deeply disturbed.

Admittedly, I know nothing of how dating works anymore. The things women want – and what they say they want – are often so completely bonkers to me, and the actions they partake in while looking for it often strike me as completely futile and backwards. The actions of most males I know are even more puzzling… though most of them seem to have success. This is why I count myself a social outcast and stroke my shriveled little pickled-chili heart and whisper to myself. But I think it really boils down to frustration with the manner in which people do things now, the things they accept. Nobody can just say “Hi, I like you. Do you like me?” get a yes or no, and move on. (The followup is that nobody seems able to say “Hey, you treat me like crap, or make me fight for every scrap of your affection while you look for the next person to cheat on me with! Bye!”) So people resort to things like this, any sort of desperate cry to silence the loneliness. And I am just left feeling a little filthy – and slightly guilty, for potentially getting those 17 (or 19) women’s hopes up – and not knowing what the hell just happened.

I think I side with Stabbing Westward on this one. “If I must be lonely, I think I’d rather be alone.”

Anyway; until next time, folks. It’ll probably be a writing sample next time, since I think I’ve performed enough “experiments” and done enough ranting for the time being. If you feel like it, there’s a magic box down below to leave your thoughts, questions and comments; I admit to having a burning curiosity as to who thinks this sort of thing is acceptable, healthy or good, or who else thinks we’ve gone utterly bonkers.

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5 responses to “Craigslist, and random musings on love and dating

  1. Lol, the things you get up to in your spare time. :O)

    I had no idea this kind of service existed … never seen anything like that in The Telegraph or The Times. 😀 As to whether it’s acceptable or not, it seems to be a service that people are willing to offer and others prepared to pay for, and so long as personal safety is taken into account, then I can’t see any harm in it. Whether someone is using it as a means of making someone jealous or to provide a boost to their ego, I cannot be judgemental or question their motives since that is their business.

    When it comes to ‘real’ relationships, it’s such a hit and miss thing that can take forever to fine THE one. My younger son had a string of relationships, mostly casual – some serious. Then he was on his own for some time. He felt that he wanted to settle down, but didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of socially hunting out a partner, especially as he felt that his days of pubbing and clubbing were grinding to a halt. He registered with a professional dating agency – he’s now married, has a teenage step-daughter and he and his wife had a son last January. That was about five or so years ago and they’re as happy as any couple can be.

    Right, I’m off now to think up my ad. offering my services as a virtual hot mama! 😀

    • Oh, I get up to all sorts of shenanigans. Hardly ever escaping the confines of the house and chronic insomnia lead to all kinds of fascinating side projects and detours.

      While I suppose it falls under the heading of “to each their own,” I guess I just don’t get it(mostly as regards the folks who’ll pay for such a thing. If someone’ll pay for something, someone else will provide it, that’s human nature)… partly because my “logic bone” says if you’ve got the cash to make such an arrangement, you could probably purchase or naturally cultivate a slightly more beneficial relationship instead, that might actually involve real feelings in some capacity. But then, I’m picturing people lurking in basements, churning out dozens of “feel good” texts and saucy e-mails every hour (or worse, using form letters) and laughing all the way to PayPal, and that may not be the case every time, of course.

      As regards the “dating scene” today, well. I just think it’s pretty much a bloody, train-wreck mess. Half the folks out there are ridiculously specific, selfish and superficial, the other half are so broken and beaten down that they’ve gone into the abused-turns-abuser mode or have no idea how to function with someone who has a genuine interest. Floating along amongst them are a handful who are reasonably rational and human, but they just get caught in the bumpers. Then we have the influence of most YA/chick-lit that seems intent on showing “love” as being all about looking good and being borderline abusive (and finding the “bad boy,” who in such fiction is often redeemed… much rarer in real life) and all the male role-models either in the “hit it and quit it” mode or the “get and keep a woman by being aloof and abusive or having plenty of cash and toys” model. Like I said in the post, it seems almost illegal to just break it down to “Hey, I dig you. I’m me. Is that cool?”

      Glad to hear your son has had success, and congrats on the new family member. 🙂 The few paid dating services I’ve been involved in tended to be just as terrible as the freebies… my favorite was when one matched me with my ex-fiancee’s cousin. Oh, what a grand day that was. XD

      If/when you post your ad, you should totally share it (and the results) on your blog! Maybe turn it into a blog-tour/-game, see who can get the most amusing results. XD

  2. Mild update, friends and neighbors. Today, at 6:40 PM (roughly 30 hours later, give or take), my post was flagged and removed for spam. In the meantime, I had gathered 40 total responses, with my personal favorite being a lady who offered me “6k/mo for 3 txts/day, 10 emails/wk, 1 pic/day n 1 porno/mo.”

    I would be lying if I said I didn’t seriously consider this offer. Ahem. However, after determining the high probability of backfire (or arrest for some kind of bizarre prostitution, given past antagonistic relationships with the PTB in this area), I merely closed the e-mail account used for this experiment.

  3. Hee-hee! Given our present state of finances, I’d be severely tempted too.

    I’ve never asked my son about his dating service experience – we only knew he’d met his now wife this way because the older son dobbed on him once they’d got together. Maybe one day I’ll broach the embarrassing subject with him to find out more. That was bad luck for you getting matched up with your ex-fiancees cousin! Oh blimey, ever considered writing a short story about it – it would make a good horror story. 🙂

    • Oh, my love life, if ever put on paper, would be a horror story on par with IT, in terms of both number of trees killed to print it and in the “What the hell is wrong with this guy?” reactions it inspires. XD I tell people “This is why I write about murderous fairies, dystopian zombie-infested societies and demon-infested paintings. It’s kind of like a vacation, to me.”

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