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Life Lessons from Craigslist

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 in Dating Columns, Sex & Dating

Let me confess. I have a bad habit- I browse Craigslist. No, not because I’m off looking for some “hot chika” to bone, but because I find it absolutely fascinating. Between the poorly written lines and the sexually charged rants I find something amazing- the truth. The unbridled, honest-to-god truth. Craigslist is where you find out about the real underbelly of a community, and really get to learn what people are looking for- and frankly, it’s scary.

But there’s a lot to be learned from Craigslist, especially in the dating scene. m4w (Men for Women) posts are filled with mistakes and errors, but somehow they educate us as to what not to become- and similarly, w4m (Women for Men) posts tell us so much about what to avoid.

So, with no further introduction, I present to you a list of life lessons from Craigslist.

Life Lesson 1: Bad jobs (and kids) are deal-killers.

Yes, this sounds crude, but it’s quite honest- no matter your age, no-one wants to talk to a divorced father of three who works at Wal-Mart, even if he’s a greek god. Frankly, too many men exist in the world who are of the “bad job, bad decisions in highschool/college” demographic, and it seems like they all exist on Craigslist. You can probably find some of your own in your local hometown- just look for the guys with the photos with a Midlife Crisis-mobile (usually a Ford Mustang) and/or a hat to hide their balding hair.

The lesson here? Focus on your life more and other things improve too. Be impressive, not normal. Making good decisions in life and being a straight up normal guy will make you more attractive than being a walking mortgage with a penis. No-one says you have to be a high profile big money attorney, but be something unique- don’t become someone desperately looking for love before their geriatric years.

Life Lesson 2: Some girls are scary.

There’s always been this mistaken assumption that most women are attractive, awesome people. You can no doubt imagine forum posts talking about how “women don’t like me ;_;” or something, ranting about how all women just ignore people because they are all good looking elitests.

No.

Some girls are, frankly, scary. 45 year old married women who are looking for a boytoy are frankly a little messed up. Similarly, 20 year old drug addicts who need someone to be a stable force in their life are a little messed up. On Craigslist, if you have a fake e-mail account or two (which is fun), you can so quickly find out how those seemingly attractive asian girls who are looking for “true love” are really incarcerated nutjobs who want you to be the slave to their master as they talk about furry porn.

Of course, this doesn’t always apply. I know some great girls who use Craigslist- I’m not exactly sure why the hell they do so, but whatever. You can find a diamond in the rough. Of course, you could always theorize if you jump into the New York City Sewer system and sift through enough, you’ll find a diamond ring someone accidentally flushed down- eventually.

Life Lesson 3: It’s all about being everything but desperate.

Desperation is a major turn off- and I mean, one that makes you want to vomit. When guys are desperate, girls know- it radiates from you like bad cologne, permiating every action you make with that disgusting feeling of “he’s doing it for the chicks, and he’s doing it poorly”.

The idea here is, desperation (and, as a subset of desperation, excessive neediness, high demands, foolish presumptions, misplaced arrogance, and the like) comes off with one single message: This guy can’t get other girls, and I doubt I’d want him either. It’s as simple as that.

There’s one guy on my local Craigslist who embodies this example so well I’ve debated about linking him (but I value keeping my own privacy too much anyway, as little of that exists now since some of you internet detectives have been working). His posts are long (as in, five pages on MS Word), needlessly wordy, and scream desperate- including a list of things he “expects” from girls, nicely bulleted in poorly done HTML. On top of that, he includes photos of himself, complete with photoshopped abs after he photoshopped his head on what appears to be a Gap model.

Does that guy sound attractive? Hell no. Girls will not find him attractive. Sure, those six pack abs could be real and he could be the next great maximalist writer (I hate you James Joyce), but that won’t matter because it all combines to be something that appears totally desperate. You can almost hear the heavy breathing.

Life Lesson 4: Your body doesn’t matter much.

For the “legitimate dating sections” (i.e. that-which-is-not-the-sex-section), your body does not matter. Hell, even in the “casual encounters” (i.e. sex) section, body doesn’t matter much. So long as you are reaonably fit and healthy, you are an attractive person.

Check out your casual encounters section (if you can stomach it). RARELY do you see women who actually ask for pictures of your naked body- in fact, your face is #1. Why? Because no-one presumes (or wants) you to be Buff Slabchest, Creatine and Muscle Milk drinking extroidinaire. Most girls are turned on by intelligence and personality much quicker than they are how big you are in the pants.

Of course, there are exceptions. This rule doesn’t apply to size queens, nor does it apply to some women who just demand way too much. Of course, as I’ve said before, I never encourage dating these girls, mostly because for all the standards they posess, even if you can match them up, they rarely meet them themselves. Go for the ones that don’t realize their own good looks, it’s like a party and you’re the only one invited.

Life Lesson 5: Why so Serious?

Stop dating “for serious”. While most people on Craigslist post something to the effect of “looking for no drama/no games”, this is generally read as a sign of “I had a bad relationship and need something new”. Hell, even saying “long term relationship” seems a bit awkward. So what’s a guy to do?

Stop being so serious.

I’m quite honest, here. Stop dating “for serious”. Craigslist is the perfect example of why you should always take everything with little expectations: everyone is lying anyway.

Never expect the girl you’re dating to be “the one”. Never expect a first date to be a show-stopper. If you mess up, don’t dwell on it- just take it in your stride. With around 50% of the world populated with women, even if you make a massive ass of yourself on a date (purposefully or accidentally), you can always make it up later- taking life too seriously will just make those itmes harder to handle.

As I’ve mentioned before in “friend zone” articles, the best way to get over being serious is to just start dating different girls. One date isn’t a signature of a relationship, so give a few girls a shot and see what you like. Don’t expect sex, marriage, or life partnership- just mess around and see what you can do. It’s a good excuse to go out at night, and you always can just stop returning phone calls.

Life Lesson 6: Men are hunters. Get used to it.

No matter if you blame it on the time it takes to have children or simply society’s way of making women act standoffish, the world of dating inevitably sets up women as prey, men as hunters. It is rarely (if ever) the other way around.

That’s about it. Go check out the men-for-women sections, then the women-for-men. See the difference? You have learned. Women are rarely made to actually fight for a date, and they don’t- not on Craigslist nor in real life. Why should they fight for it when it comes straight to their door?

The lesson from this is simple: you have to be the factor that begins the relationship. Relationships rarely fall into your lap, you have to work at them. Sure, ideally, you’ll run into a girl who’s perfect for you with no planning- but hell, even this rarely works. Stack the odds, cheat the game, and get the girl- get ahead of every other guy. If Craigslist is proof, there are very few women as it is.

Life Lesson 7: The world is a very scary place.

Okay, in closing, though I enjoy it in some sense, Craigslist scares the living hell out of me.

Craigslist is a perfect example of why half the world is screwed up. Craigslist proves that if you give people semi-anonymity and a way to vent, you will see the true meaning of the world, pending you actually wanted to see it in the first place. You’ll see wrinkled old women pretend to be 19 year old girls, 40 year old men pretend to be Fabio (or alternatively, pretend to be their favorite NASCAR driver, which is somewhat homosexual in a way), and you’ll see people try to sell you stupid shit for insane prices.

If anything, Craigslist is proof that there’s a nice rotten underbelly to any city. If you find that amusing like me, you’ll find tons of things to read and laugh at- otherwise, take a look and find yourself yet another reason to install a second lock on your front door.

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6 Responses to Life Lessons from Craigslist

  1. Tommy says:

    http://mywisebunny.com is a visual craigslist viewer. can see all personal ad pictures on one screen.

  2. Anna says:

    Here’s another tip-when contacting someone, stay anonymous until you feel comfortable revealing your name, phone number, AIM handle, whatever. Craigslist can be a dangerous place for both women and men and scammers love it too. Guard yourself, then have fun!

  3. Allen says:

    I’d just like to mention that I met my girlfriend on Craigslist. We’ve been going out for just over four months now, and it’s been pretty fantastic. We hit it off very well online, and found that we’re even more compatible in person.

    It is possible, and those gems in the rough ARE out there if you have the time and patience to sift through the gravel.

    Best of luck girls and boys.

  4. Tyciol says:

    I don’t browse Craigslist because its immenseness is too confusing, but commonly on IRC a lot of people link to ads on there, and they’re totally awesome. It’s more entertaining than E-bay and sort of on bar with that giant site full of quotes when someone locates a real gem (since there are usually pics).

  5. Kathleen DuBois says:

    I agree. I have found Craigslist to be the virtual sewer of the world and a scammer’s haven. I made the mistake once of going to a Craigslist-orchestrated job interview for a so-called “low-pay” position, which turned out to be a no-pay position. What a waste of potential life! Yes, there may be exceptions, but why go fishing where the fishing usually fails?!

  6. Kathleen says:

    I agree. I have found Craigslist to be the virtual sewer of the world and a scammer’s haven. I made the mistake once of going to a Craigslist-orchestrated job interview for a so-called “low-pay” position, which turned out to be a no-pay position. What a waste of potential life! Yes, there may be exceptions, but why go fishing where the fishing usually fails?!

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