Justin Li


Cross Acting

2010-05-08

I don't get in trouble often, but I consider myself something of a rebel. I don't like organizations in the general much - I prefer groups that are more self organized and sustained. Sometimes I do weird things for amusement, like pretending I don't know a secret to see whether the secret holder would divulge it.

This time, I posted a Criagslist ad... in Women Seeking Men.

The primary question I wanted answered was whether men on the internet are really crazy. Some of my female friends have posted ads for fun, and later compared their replies. What they found was that some emails were exact copies of each other - some people just write the same response to everything, looking for a shag. That story had a twist ending for my friend, but that's not my story to tell.

A word on the post: I didn't write the ad myself - I would never have passed as a female writer. I won't copy the post here, but it was itself copied from the blog of a friend. We haven't talked since I graduated from Northwester, and even before then I don't think she knew I read her writing. She is an objectivist before I read The Fountainhead, and the post expresses a related sentiment: her wish for someone who doesn't want only to please her, but someone who can contribute something of themselves to her. In the words of Ayn Rand, a prime mover, not a second hander. Regardless, I never told her I used her writing (if you're reading this, you should email me), so I don't feel right posting her work even with attribution.

First, some statistics. I got 50 replies in total, the first within the hour, the last almost a month later. About 60% replied within 5 days. 12 of the 50 replies had photos attached, and a few more had links to either MySpace pages or some other picture hosting site. A small minority didn't bother to write proper English for the task, and a few more asked questions which made me think they didn't read the post at all. Although it wasn't unexpected, there were several older men who replied. For an ad declaring the poster to be 22, I got a reply from someone 17 years older. It reminds me of what OKTrends found. Of the 50 replies, two were duplicates; the senders sent the same email twice.

My most common reaction (subject to availability bias) is: who do you think you are? Granted, the post is a little self indulgent, but they are still the suitors. What I had posted talks about an intellectual pursuits... and a fair number talk about sex, and how they "know what a women [sic] wants in the sex department" and that "[I] want to be seduced". At the bottom of the pile is a reply that promised to "open that box of hidden desire and fantasy". I want to puke.

On the other hand, I suspect some responders are delusional. One ranted on about hidden treasure. One had a "real" picture of himself tensing up. A few wrote poems.

As for the good... there aren't the many. The ones I like best (again subject to bias, this time of a different kind) were simpler. They mention how old they are, what they do and like doing (somewhat passionately), and invite me to reply. A picture, if one is included, is a simple face shot. Three people mentioned books/authors, one of them being Ayn Rand. Only a single person mentioned something interesting - by quoting an article on the large hadron collider.

Hypothesis: most men who reply to Craigslist personals are douchebags.

Result: Confirmed.

Maybe next time I'll reply to a men seeking women ad (the doucheist one... is that a word?), and see what I get.

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