Craigslist is an online host for classified ads that can be found at

Craiglist works on a local level, with subdomains ranging from San Francisco and New York, from Austin to Boston, and of course, my hometown, Portland.

Classified ads can be placed for free, sorted by category, for everything from housing to jobs, furniture to sex. Subcategories help you find specifics on what you're looking for. The website also maintains a list of community events (such as The Pushovers performances and classes and so forth) and active discussion forums.

Yet the (arguably) most famous part of Craigslist is the Rants 'n' Raves (save for possibly the Casual Encounters section), a list of posting in which people can flip out and complain about whatever they want. While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, the Rants 'n' Raves section of Craigslist (along with the rest of the site) is policed by the community. Spam is quickly flagged and brought down, while funny posts are voted up and kept in the Best-Of-Craigslist archive.

The website was started by Craig Newmark in 1995, and was originally intended to be named sf-events. The website has grown over the years, and is now an international phenomenon, getting written up in dozens of magazines and newspapers.

I've been posting to craigslist's personals off and on for six months or so, trying to...well, trying to get laid and make friends, hopefully in that order.

It doesn't work. Not from a straight male's perspective, in any event. Out of every ten personalized emails I've sent out, I've gotten maybe one response. Of those responses, I've managed to actually MEET...three people. All three of them were crazy.

What I wanted to know, was why. I'm articulate, I'm fun, I can string sentences together and I'm not hideous looking (though if you spend enough time on the 'list your self-image starts to slide towards the decidedly unattractive).

So in an effort to see what our female counterparts were up against, I posted an ad as a woman in the LTR section of to see what the responses were like. By the time the emails had stopped coming in I was thoroughly surprised and, frankly, ashamed of my gender.

Moral Implications

I generally don't like lying to people without an extremely pressing reason, but I don't feel particularly bad about this. Craigslist's personals are a meat market, and while I did initially feel bad about leading these men on (however slightly) my findings were so surprising to me that any second thoughts I might have had were mitigated by the absurdity of the responses I received.

Additionally, my post was designed to adhere to the status-quo as closely as possible. If I had written something more personal or witty or individual in any way, I'd feel worse. As it is...let's just say I have no regrets.

Research (or: how to write in drag)

Basically, I took the most common attributes of other personals ads and aggregated them into one post. This, unfortunately, included things like typos, bad grammar non sequiturs and horrendous cliches. I wasn't implying anything about the possible mental deficiencies of women, more-so the mental deficiencies of the men and women who seem to make up the bulk of the craigslist personals posters. So be nice.

Some things I noticed while going through the w4m's personals that seem to highlight the fundamental inequity between men and women when it comes to dating and sex in New York City are as follows: women almost always state height as an important factor, are looking for older, more established men and rarely look to date outside their own ethnic groups. They almost always emphasize their physical attributes over their mental or professional standing, and are quick to downplay what they're looking for physically while apologizing for it.

The posting

Whos out there? - 21 (LES)
Reply to: (removed to protect, erm, me.)
Date: 2004-10-19, 9:50PM EDT

This is my first time trying this place so I wanted to see what it was like!

I'm looking for a guy to hang out with, go to bars and clubs and movies and stuff and just generally relax. I'm a really busy student who doesn't have alot of time to let go, so I'd need someone laid back and flexible.

I'm 5'3", curvy and in good shape. Long brown hair (I need a haircut!) and a cute smile.

I'm looking for an older professional guy, 25 or so. 5'9" or taller please and in good shape. Please be respectful and smart and FUN. Not looking for a one night thing - serious responses only, please.

Your pic gets mine.

this is in or around LES
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

I posted that at 9:50 PM Eastern Standard Time. By 10:10 PM, I had 30 emails in my inbox. As a contrast: when I post an ad (a real one, that is) I'll be lucky to get a single response. Ever.

Of those first thirty responses:

  • 8 were over 27
  • 3 weren't professionals
  • 6 were vulgar or utilized bad grammar
  • 8 didn't supply a picture
  • 5 of those who DID supply a picture included a picture of the subject hugging a woman (bad taste, I think)
  • 7 were obvious form letters
  • 2 were SPAM (one for a massage, one for a business marriage)
  • 12 didn't supply enough information (only aim addresses, etc)

  • 8 fit ALL the physical criteria
  • 4 were (to me) intelligent/cute enough to consider emailing back

It was the form letters that surprised me. It had never occurred to me to run my hobby like a business. Also, the men who blatantly didn't fit the criteria but still wrote a personalized email anyway were a bit of a shock.


It seems as if men who post on craigslist are expecting to be ignored. The theory is, the more women a guy sends an email to, the more likely they are to get a response from one of them. It's an old saw, but men apparently lack subtlety - we (again apparently) bang our heads against the wall until it either collapses or knocks us unconscious. The problem is when the good ones (guys and gals) fail to stand out against the background noise.

Craigslist can be a method to get something sold and to practice your humor. This is an actual Craigslist ad I posted. The car sold an hour later. This taught me that I need to make my Craigslist ads funny and over the top to get some folks reading it. It was apparently nominated for the "Best of Craigslist" by several folks.



World's Ugliest Geo Metro!!! YELLOW!!! - $500 

1993 Geo Metro 

VIN: Has one of these. 
Condition: Mad Max Qualified 
Title status: clean 

Looking for something that makes you look cool as you roll down the avenue? Looking to pick up the hot chicks or the smooth, shirtless studs? Trying to improve your social status with the most impressive ride this side of a Lamborghini Contach?


Are you looking for a cheapass vehicle that just won't die, gets great gas mileage, and will allow you to get from point A to B?

This is the car for you. It's a 1993 Geo Metro 2dr hatchback. It's school bus yellow, designed to make sure your friends don't miss seeing your smiling face as you drive past them filling up their gas tank. Depending on how you drive, you'll get 42-48MPG. New B&M competition racing, I'm not kidding. It will outlast the sun. Which is also yellow, like this car.

Dinged in the front, lots of body wrinkles, has the standard problem with windows rolling up and down like all Geos, and it needs the outside door handle on the driver side but I can show you the secret method to open the door (and the handle is available on EBay for $10). It's ugly. Seriously. Your neighbors will run out of their homes and beat you with sticks if you dare park this BRIGHT YELLOW vehicle in front of their house. You can guarantee you will NEVER be the victim of a carjacking with this vehicle. Hell, the thief will probably apologize and hand you twenty bucks out of sheer pity

The good thing is it has new tires, it always starts unless you drive off of a 70-foot cliff, and it will get you there reliably for cheap. Insurance is super cheap (it cost me $60/year, less than my motorcycle.) 

$500 cash. Title in hand. If you want to dicker on the price, we can start at $23,800 and work our way down to $553.25, which is the lowest I will go if I have to spend time discussing the price. 

TEXT AFTER 5PM ONLY PLEASE. Did I mention it's bright yellow? YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS UNIQUE CAR! Stop drooling and contact me now before your mortal enemy gets there ahead of you!

Iron Noder 2017

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