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A woman wrote in response to my sweet "cuddling first" ad saying she was in town for only a couple of months, and that she was frustrated she couldn't find a relationship.
When she sent her pictures, she looked plain but attractive.
But when I suggested a time to meet — the last message from me before I would reveal myself and back out — there was no reply. The next day, she e-mailed me saying she was deeply apologetic and that she'd fallen asleep. If nothing else, that imbalance ought to alter the experience.
To get the female perspective, I did two things: I posted a fake ad as a woman to see what kinds of responses I would get, and I interviewed two women who have had success hooking up on casual encounters in the past. "I just broke up with my boyfriend and while it was the right thing to do, it's been rough because I still have all this physical passion and sexual energy and I don't know where to direct it," I wrote.
But if you're interested, read on for the story of my seven days on Craigslist's Casual Encounters — my failures, near misses, discoveries, insights and successes.
Following that, I interviewed two women to learn how they used the site successfully for their own fulfillment.
It didn't take long to realize that almost all the replies I received were scams.
The situation is so severe on Craigslist Casual Encounters that posts by real women who are actually seeking hook-ups are often flagged for removal at the slightest cause for suspicion. An alleged woman will write a man saying she's interested, but that because of the Craigslist-based serial killers and rapists in the news, she needs some extra assurance that it's safe. The week was half over and I hadn't had a single bite.
They advertise "French lessons" — an odd thing to advertise under "Casual Encounters," don't you think?
The stereotype is that women are interested in relationships, and that only men would be interested in totally casual sex, right? In fact, I was inspired to write this article when a friend told me many of her female friends had owned up to using it. I was only getting messages from gay or bisexual men!
Over the next couple of days, I actually received a lot of posts from women. To be honest, I doubted the veracity of the claims.
I began with a listing announcing myself to the women of my city.
Each day I tried a different approach to see what would be most effective, though I never lied or posted fake photographs.