I cast a wide net in my searches, looking up posts by straight or bisexual women between the ages of 18 and 35 who lived anywhere in Chicagoland — a large metropolitan area that's home to close to five million females.
Most of the women wanted something very specific they couldn't find in their normal lives: Someone to help play out a particular fantasy, someone vastly older than them or someone of another race.
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Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. I decided to dive into Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true.
Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist?
All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from women — they were from men.
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.
If you follow the link she provides, the website asks you for your credit card number — y'know, so it can do a background check to make sure you're not a criminal. My favorite scam: One individual tried to get me to buy him or her virtual currency in online games like Maple Story before agreeing to hand over contact information. I decided I would have to take the initiative, so in addition to posting my own ads, I started responding to every ad from any woman who seemed at all interesting.
I made it very clear in my post that I was only interested in women, but a large number of men chose to ignore that. I responded to them politely, saying, "Just interested in women, but thanks for the offer!
Have a good one." Most didn't write back after that.