I… have a confession to make. I’m embarrassed, and I beg you to please be gentle with me as I come clean.
I sometimes (okay; OFTEN) browse my local Craig’s List for entertainment.
It didn’t start out that way. Originally, I was just perusing for writing gigs. Then I started reading “Best Of” and before I knew it, I was mainlining the very hardest stuff they have to offer–Missed Connections and Men Seeking Women.
Somehow I’m convinced that founder Craig Newmark knew that it would work that way. First he offers a giant gathering place for every moron on the internet, then he makes it just enticing enough that those of us with actual brain cells CAN’T LOOK AWAY. It was a nefarious plan, Mr. Newmark, and it’s working. Damn you.
First off, let’s be clear about this. The only job ad I’ve actually answered off of CL (seeking further information, as the description was quite vague) brought an enthusiastic response which also clued me in to the compensation offered as if it was a small fortune rather than the approximately 12 cents/hour it worked out to. I shouldn’t even be trolling for work, there. I should quit the whole thing cold turkey.
Missed Connections will every now and then yield a touching snippet: “I saw you smile as you stepped on the number 22 bus, and it lit up your whole face. It was simply the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I wonder if our paths will cross again?” Isn’t that sweet? Doesn’t it restore your faith in the basic goodness of humanity?
Yeah? Don’t read any of the rest, then.
Most of the Missed Connections are more like this:
Smokin hot blonde at DunkinDonuts m4w
U: blonde and babalicioucous
Me: dude who held the door for u so I could whistle at ur ass
U wer lookin mighty fiiiiiiiiiine with ur dunkacchino, i’d lick ur krullers anytime!
Or, sometimes, like this:
You know who you are w4m
I’m so tired of pretending I’m happy just being friends, I’ve loved you always and I think maybe you love me to. If you gave even the smallest sign I would dump Bubba and be yours, don’t you know that? Show me you know it’s me, and it’s really you. Respond with the color of my pick-up and the trucking company who’s hat you wear and I’ll know we’re really menat to be together.
Hoping you see this………
At least I’m able to somewhat comfort myself, when browsing Missed Connections, that most of those people know that the target of their message will never read it. The fact that they can’t spell and seem caught in unrequited lust that can only be sated by posting to CL is… still frightening… but somehow, not quite as horrifying.
What IS completely horrifying, bar none, are some of the “seeking” ads that I’ve read on there. My favorite is some guy in Boston who seems to be running ads in five different states letting everyone know that he’s looking for “something between friends with benefits and sugar daddyism.” His ad is–disturbingly–well-written and clear. He wants to pay someone to be his girlfriend. He’s smart, well-established, debonaire, handsome, and willing to buy you presents in return for sex. But hookers need not apply. Because what he wants is REALLY DIFFERENT. Clearly!
Here’s the text of an actual ad:
Looking for a skinning girl to date. Im wicked funny, have a great job, nice place, clean police record. I just like real thin girls. Oh yea you also to have to be somewhat funny., nice is good. bad hygene, well thats very bad. Also no drugs at all. And if you can cook that would be a bonus, but I guess if you could cook you wouldn’t be all that thin. No worries I can cook, so scratch the last little part about you cooking it will not be nessesary. around my age or younger is cool, because im a young 41. Minorities and women are encourage to apply.
(Do I qualify as a “skinning girl” if I meet this guy and separate his hide from his skeleton? Don’t even get me started on the cooking thing. I forgot–all skinny women must never eat! It’s not possible that I’m naturally thin; excuse me while I go barf so as to maintain my girlish figure! Thank goodness all that hurling has caused the blood vessels in my eyes to explode and my eyeballs were already bleeding when I beheld your butchering of the English language….)
And from another:
Are you a big girl looking for a steady diet of a man with a hearty sexual appetite?
(Geez, weren’t you paying attention? I’m a skinny girl with bleeding eyeballs. Sorry, dude.)
I also like the one where the guy says:
Sweet, sexy, really nice 33 year old male… hard-working fun guy looking for love or soul-mate.. Beggars can’t be to choosy.
While I’ll grant him that his rudimentary writing skills certainly do render him a beggar, it’s an interesting way to bill oneself after saying how great he supposedly is. But then again, I guess “Okay-looking, attentive until I get into your pants, commitment-phobic 33 year old male who wants to grab your ass during commercials if you bring me snacks” probably doesn’t get many responses, either.
Must. Look. Away. Mayday, mayday: Please send help. And spellcheck.