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But it's not a stretch to say that even if you abstain from the goal, spending a week on Casual Encounters can teach you a lot about human beings and how the web has changed how we pursue one of our most essential and important desires.
It goes without saying that the content of this article is not intended for children or those made uncomfortable by such topics.
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.
One responded: "Really man, can be cool and relaxing." I began to suspect that no women actually used the site.
All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from women — they were from men.
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!
We exchanged a couple of e-mails over the course of two hours, tossing back and forth lists of interests and the like. You've probably guessed by now that the experiences for heterosexual men and women on Craigslist's casual encounters are quite different.
She made it clear that she wanted to meet up, and while she talked about starting slow, it was clear that it would indeed be a casual encounter. I observed that for every ad a woman posts, there are at least 20 from men.
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.