Summer love is one of the most sought-after experiences for young people. The idea of spending lazy days half-naked in the sun with a companion is irresistible. Most likely you are reading this because you go to summer school and you are finding out that it’s way harder to meet anyone in this town when everyone goes home — same deal for me.
One boring summer night I was searching the Craigslist classified ads for anything and everything. I already have a bike, car, furniture and a job, so I sheepishly clicked onto the “personals” section of the website. It’s no place to find a date or a friend and the amount of nudity and pervertedness present is extremely disturbing. Yes, the “personals” section of Craigslist often goes unnoticed, and after my experience, I think it should remain that way.
The personals are meant for viewers ages 18 and older, but security is lacking. Craigslist does give parents the ability to block children from accessing the ads. But if this is not done, all one has to do is click a second link, placed under a list of five warnings and disclaimers, to view.
I was first introduced to the “personals” when my older sister told me about the “missed connections” section. This often overlooked section allows people to put up ads and anecdotes about someone they’ve already met but whose contact information they never received. The posts are created with the hope that the person they are trying to reach will read them. Most are titled something like “Hot blonde at Starbucks” and include a short description about the time of meeting.
Reading the posts has definitely been a small source of entertainment during boring summer nights, and the “missed connections” have also led me to the more active romance sections within the personals. The “18 and older” can post dating ads under the following categories: men seeking women, women seeking men, men seeking men and women seeking women.
I gave it a shot and posted my own Craigslist dating ad. I figured the entertainment outweighed the desperateness and maybe I’d come out with a cutie.
“Tall, active and ethnic-19,” it read. I was excited to see who would reply but also nervous because I know any creep can hide behind an e-mail address and cut me into little pieces if I’m not careful. Within a day I had received about eight responses, seven of which were from people older than 30.
I humored myself and replied to a few just to scold them for trying to interact with a 19-year-old — all e-mail communication was done with a fake address, which I highly suggest. Quickly I was over having my ad up for anyone to see and decided to look under men seeking women so I could be more in control and decide who I’d want to talk to.
One ad caught my eye: “Fill out my dating application!-20.” So I did. Mark*, the poster, and I got to know each other through e-mails, AIM and picture exchanges. It may sound extremely sketchy and dangerous, but I went for it — luckily he was real and had not lied to me about his age or enrollment at Cal Poly.
Mark and I met at a convenience store. I then hopped into his convertible sports car and he drove us to Montana de Oro. It was a great choice for a first date but the chemistry lacked. We haven’t talked since.
My curiosity still wouldn’t quit. I replied to a few more ads by Cal Poly students around my age but never met up with any. All the conversations were too bland and awkward to risk actually meeting in person.
Overall I say that Craigslist personal ads are a fail. There runs too much of a risk to actually meet up with someone and most of the people hunting aren’t college students.
It’s better to go to places you enjoy, like the beach, downtown or someplace on campus to find a summer lover. That way, you already know what the person looks like, you can get an idea of potential shared chemistry and, if it doesn’t work at that moment, then I guess try the missed connections.
However, if you are a man seeking men, you might want to take a look because this sub-section is extremely popular and out-posts the others hands down. But, you might see more nudity than Chatroulette.
*Name has been changed.