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.
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.
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!”
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…).
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.