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craigslist casual encounters
August 29, 2012 11:46 AM   Subscribe

"I replied to ads people had posted to the casual encounters section of craigslist. I asked if I could photograph them in visual representations of their ads. Some said yes." [NSFW: naked people.]
posted by davidstandaford (61 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Actual people post to the casual encounters section of Craiglsist? Who knew?
posted by Gelatin at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2012


Aren't all these wives going to recognize the rooms in their houses?
posted by capricorn at 11:54 AM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Best of Craig'slist is begging for someone to do this...
posted by dfm500 at 11:57 AM on August 29, 2012


Make me a hot chocolate drink - 22 - (Midtown South / Penn Station/ Chelsea)

I'd like an authentic HOT CHOCOLATE drink made from scratch without packets or powder. Perhaps a ground bar of high percentage cocoa dark chocolate melted in a sauceman with milk and sprinkled hazelnuts on top.

N.B.: This ad is NOT code for fucking a Black Man. I want a bona fide drink.

posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:03 PM on August 29, 2012 [25 favorites]


I'd like an authentic HOT CHOCOLATE drink made from scratch without packets or powder. Perhaps a ground bar of high percentage cocoa dark chocolate melted in a sauceman with milk and sprinkled hazelnuts on top.

What's this dude's story, I wonder. Is this just about a man's quest for some artisanal hot cocoa or is it a muted cry for some companionship in a lonesome city?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:03 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even a bologna sandwich is better when someone else makes it.
posted by mrbill at 12:04 PM on August 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


What's this dude's story, I wonder. Is this just about a man's quest for some artisanal hot cocoa or is it a muted cry for some companionship in a lonesome city?

Either way, it strikes me as unbelievably sad.
posted by dave78981 at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Later that night: "What part of this ad is NOT code for a fucking Black man did you not understand!? But yeah, come in, come in."
posted by gilrain at 12:06 PM on August 29, 2012 [19 favorites]


Made it to Loser Pig.

[googling unicorn wings rainbow pictures]
posted by Mike Mongo at 12:08 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this just about a man's quest for some artisanal hot cocoa or is it a muted cry for some companionship in a lonesome city?

I'm going with a smug, juvenile "I just saw an ad for someone seeking 'hot chocolate,' used as a sexual euphemism. But that's also a REAL THING! I am going to post an ad looking for literal hot chocolate, and when people see an earnest request for something mundane in a forum for sexual things, it will BLOW THEIR MINDS, MAAAN! I am so clever!"

Then later "You know that Craigslist ad I made and then boasted about via every available form of social media? Some dude is taking the ad at face value wants to take my picture! This is soooo hilarious!"

NOTE: This can be both cliche and funny. I can't tell if this example meets the criteria or not.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:10 PM on August 29, 2012


The cuddle ones are the most terrifying.
posted by availablelight at 12:10 PM on August 29, 2012


[with safe search on]
posted by Mike Mongo at 12:10 PM on August 29, 2012


Even a bologna sandwich is better when someone else makes it.

That's why I like ordering toast at restaurants (also not a euphemism).
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:15 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Much better bodies than I would have ever expected.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best Caption: "str8 needs to be wrestled and dominated - (queens)". Perfect. (yeah, I know its a place but still, the juxtaposition made me laugh)
posted by marienbad at 12:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've got nothing. Oh, thanks.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:18 PM on August 29, 2012


Much better bodies than I would have ever expected.

My guess is that it's a selection effect based on who is willing to respond and be photographed.
posted by davidstandaford at 12:19 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Strange how many of the photographs are reminiscent of Abu Ghraib.
posted by Alizaria at 12:21 PM on August 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Interesting. So do no legitimate (as in, not a scam/prostitution) women actually post to casual encounters or did simply none agree to be photographed for this project?
posted by The Gooch at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2012


Clearly some of these are better than others.

Unhappy married man ISO Unhappy married man - wearing a plastic happy face bag on his head? Holy crap.

But some of the other random requests for sex that just feature random naked dudes? What. Ever.
posted by jph at 12:32 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, all these ads would definitely be tagged M4M (which may also have some sort of selection effect in regards to body type)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:33 PM on August 29, 2012


This is brilliant. (Heh, I'm biased; I've done a project very similar to it.)

A part of me wishes our culture weren't so weirded out by sex; but another part of me enjoys the photographic opportunities that such repression provides. Sex is naughty.
posted by heyho at 12:40 PM on August 29, 2012


oh god but the "looser" with the "average" body (and the hilarious lucha libre mask) makes me want to go throw up lunch and spend the next six hours doing cardio at the gym. if that is average, I'm morbidly obese.
posted by jph at 12:41 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always liked casual encounters. It's one of the most honest places on the internet.

Interesting. So do no legitimate (as in, not a scam/prostitution) women actually post to casual encounters or did simply none agree to be photographed for this project?

I'm guessing the former.
posted by Melismata at 12:53 PM on August 29, 2012


I really want to look at the images objectively but all I came away with is EWWWWW, DUDEZ ARE GROSS.
posted by photoslob at 12:55 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I found this artistic. I can visualize it in a long white gallery space. I did wonder why its all men though.
posted by infini at 12:55 PM on August 29, 2012


I really hope that uncle finds his nephew. How sad!
posted by yerfatma at 12:58 PM on August 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


I bet quite a few women would make use of Casual Encounters if they were more confident that it wouldn't get them murdered and mulched.

Meanwhile, every time I see an insanely low-looking estimate of the number of non-hetero people in the US, I have to think the estimators are totally omitting all the "straight" and down-low guys from craigslist and elsewhere.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:08 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, every time I see an insanely low-looking estimate of the number of non-hetero people in the US, I have to think the estimators are totally omitting all the "straight" and down-low guys from craigslist and elsewhere.

No kidding. Not many people identify as gay, but an awful lot like to have fun.
posted by Forktine at 1:21 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe the nephew mistakenly took his pants?
posted by bpm140 at 1:30 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


REM's Everybody Hurts works nicely as background music when viewing this gallery.
posted by cazoo at 1:51 PM on August 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


I just want to know where the "champion ass eater" got his crown because there is NO WAY there can be TWO champion ass eaters in this world!
posted by orme at 2:14 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Maybe I take hot chocolate too seriously, but I wish I had seen that ad - I would have answered it. I normally make my hot chocolate with cocoa powder, but experimenting with actual melted chocolate would be interesting.

(actually, if any mefite is willing to travel to downtown Toronto, I'll make them hot chocolate).
posted by jb at 2:15 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why do I find the holes in the pillowcases so frightening?
posted by nataliepo at 2:21 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Foci for Analysis: What's this dude's story, I wonder. Is this just about a man's quest for some artisanal hot cocoa
I don't want to namedrop too heavily here, but more than once during the colder days this past winter, James Beard-award winning chef Jerry Traunfeld has personally made me a whole pot of hand-crafted hot chocolate in a sauce pan back in the kitchen of his restaurant, and it was simply the greatest friggin' hot chocolate I've ever goddamn had.

So I totally get where this guy is coming from.
posted by hincandenza at 2:23 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is fascinating! I have such a fondness for CL casual encounters - in my single years before getting married, I looked for one-night stands in bars and I never felt very satisfied with how they went. Then when my husband I separated and I was contemplating looking for NSA sex again, I checked out CL on a whim. I saw a M4W ad that was everything I'd always been interested in sexually, but I'd always been afraid to try. I thought it was too soon after leaving my ex and too crazy to actually meet the guy, but I couldn't resist emailing him just to tell him what a great ad it was (especially because it was written in full sentences - and boy, would it have made for a terrific picture.) Long story short - we met, it was the best sex I have ever had, and now two years later we're head over heels in love and living together. So I can't help but have a soft spot for CL casual encounters.

We are still CL regulars (now MF4fill-in-the-blank), and the variety of personalities and interests and fantasies expressed in the ads is just so interesting. Since M4M is the only section we don't peruse for partners, it's not as familiar to me, but it does strike me how the pictures in this project seem to depict such sad situations, even when the text of the ad might be much more neutral. I wonder if that's coming from the photographer's interpretation, or from the ad writers themselves. And I wonder about the head coverings used for anonymity - like Alizaria said, they give off a very Abu Ghraib vibe, which seems to fit some of the ads, but I don't know if "U give me ca$h I give u?", for example, necessarily does.

I would be curious how many of these M4M-inspired photos are from "str8" guys versus men who identify as gay. Most of my gay friends who look for NSA sex use Grindr (and probably other platforms I'm not familiar with) but rarely go anywhere near Craigslist, so I'm under the impression that it's more the closeted crowd. Which makes it even more interesting that these guys decided to allow themselves to be photographed, especially the ones with the skimpy masks that don't do much to hide their identity. I would love to know more of the backstory on the photo shoots!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 2:34 PM on August 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


The topics were interesting but I have to say I enjoyed the composition more. The photographer has talent, or at least a style I enjoy.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:42 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know at least one gay guy who, when using Craigslist, would indenity as " straight" cause it got more responses.

Also yes that is depressingly what ' average' translates to. Dating in this town was a nightmare.
posted by The Whelk at 2:53 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't usually describe things as "creepy," but that was creepy with a capital CREEP.

It looks like a psych ward where somebody handed out cameras.
posted by Yakuman at 2:56 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great project. Thank you for posting it.
posted by Hicksu at 3:23 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think they missed a real opportunity here by failing to use the Accoutrements Horse Mask on all of the participants.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:47 PM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ok, I've run across it again in these pictures, so my curiosity drives me to ask - what is the deal with the "blowjob buddies" thing? Is it just... lonely masturbating alone for some guys, or is there a subtext I just don't understand?
posted by Deoridhe at 4:21 PM on August 29, 2012


A friend of mine posted on CL looking for a workout partner for going to the gym... and discovered that such requests are code for guys looking for gay sex while pretending not to be gay. Further explanation in subsequent ads claiming "No no, I really don't mean gay sex, I mean I want a workout partner" just increased the ardor of the respondents who were more familiar with how that corner of CL worked.
posted by fatbird at 4:32 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


It seems to me these "come clean my house and then you can fuck me" guys are getting the better end of the deal all 'round. Man. When I was single, I would have LOVED a booty call that culminated in having a clean house, too! Oh, Craigslist. Is there nothing you cannot teach us?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:39 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Neely O'Hara, I'm with you about a certain level of satisfaction attainable on CL & more difficult to produce in 'real life'. Furthermore, it lead to some of the best long-term relationships I have had (although not to the level of marriage or cohabitation; perhaps that was the secret, but that's another matter for discussion).

Being able to establish sexual compatibility first made the more-than-once connections extremely honest & thereby allowed the mind-blowing aspect of the sex to be attained (& taken to new levels) repeatedly. Additionally, it was easier to be frank with the men I did not wish to see again.

Perhaps I wasn't born with the dating gene, but the entire "get to know one another" phase to me has always been awkward & uncomfortable, & more frequently lead to unsatisfying sexual experiences. It's certainly deflating, when one likes more forceful treatment, to find that one's partner is milquetoast; or worse, wants missionary only with the lights out. with no dirty talk.

As a woman, I realized there were certain risks associated with CL. However, those same risks exist elsewhere in the dating realm as well. I tend to trust my own judgment about what situations seem safe & which ones raise flags. Everyone's MMV. But I'm glad to know of your experience on CL - thank you for sharing & may you & your partner enjoy continue happiness together!
posted by PepperMax at 4:54 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


And as a gay dude some of my longest friendships happened via more dating oriented but still pretty much hookup sites. You get to talking and eventually end up hanging out and not having sex but that was fine too. I never had a lot of luck casual sex wise in bars or online cause, yeah people are just gross.
posted by The Whelk at 5:00 PM on August 29, 2012


I'll tell you why there are no women posting ads on Casual Encounters; because within about five minutes of your ad getting published, the hookers who also post ads on CE flag the heck out of it, and it gets deleted. W4M is where all the non-hooker women looking for hook ups go.
Or so I'm told.By other people who post, not me okay, sometimes it just works really well for accomplishing what it is I need to have happen


posted by newpotato at 5:28 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is delightful when viewed with that plugin that turns all photos into cat photos.
posted by fzx101 at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't usually describe things as "creepy," but that was creepy with a capital CREEP.

That's funny to me this was the opposite of creepy [except for maybe all the plastic bag masks] it was people who had a thing they were into and instead of hitting up random people until they found people who were into what they were into, they just asked, straight up. This seems so much better than walking up to random guys at bars and asking "Hey would you piss on me?"

+1 to booty call with clean house. Those people are smart.
posted by jessamyn at 5:42 PM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


A friend of mine posted on CL looking for a workout partner for going to the gym... and discovered that such requests are code for guys looking for gay sex while pretending not to be gay. Further explanation in subsequent ads claiming "No no, I really don't mean gay sex, I mean I want a workout partner" just increased the ardor of the respondents who were more familiar with how that corner of CL worked.

It could be worse; it could be code for some twisted subculture where people get off on making hot chocolate for other people. You put up a post online for a bootcamp partner, and next thing you know you have some guy in a custom french cooks outfit lurking in the bushes, warming up a saucepan of milk over a spirit lamp while peeking in your window.

Eventually you break down and talk to him. Next thing you know he's in your kitchen. He made you the best pot of hot chocolate you've ever tasted. And you're drinking it. And he's watching you. And it makes you feel a little dirty.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:50 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


1) "bona fide hot drink" is perhaps the best possible phrasing?

2) The "looser" was like... straight up, plain ol' conventionally attractive. WTF, dude? Unless he has horrible burn scars on his face or something, there is no way he has a hard time finding someone, is there?
posted by kavasa at 7:55 PM on August 29, 2012


newpotato: there are also guys who flag a post for deletion before responding to it, to increase their chance of getting noticed
posted by idiopath at 7:56 PM on August 29, 2012


This seems so much better than walking up to random guys at bars and asking "Hey would you piss on me?"

Is that the voice of experience?

Personally I've had days where putting out in exchange for house cleaning would have been tempting. But I do wonder if it's really a clean the house and then get laid deal, or if the person shows up, puts on a french maid apron, pretend-cleans for a couple of moments and then goes in for the kiss.
posted by Forktine at 8:04 PM on August 29, 2012


That's the sub fetish, it has to be really, really clean before anything happens.

Otherwise it just doesn't work.
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


it has to be really, really clean before anything happens

No, no. That's the "causal encounters" section.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:08 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hot Chocolate Guy was so keen to point out he was not using "code for fucking a Black Man" that he Freudian Slipped himself by looking for a sauceman.

I suspect he is not looking for a "bona fide drink" at all.
posted by Mezentian at 1:32 AM on August 30, 2012


Back when I had a regularly-updated blog, a guy contacted me out of the blue offering to serve my partner and me as our non-sexual slave, do housework, etc. It made me really uncomfortable at the time, but y'know, free cleaning service would come in very handy.
posted by notashroom at 10:17 AM on August 30, 2012


Thanks, Neely O'Hara, newpotato, and jessamyn. I was starting to feel sad that everyone else seemed to find these photos sad or creepy while I find most of them sweet, encouraging, or sexy. I have a soft spot for CL Casual Encounters myself--it's a lot more difficult to be a W4anything there these days, but I've met some great flings and friends there in the past. And there is indeed something wonderfully liberating about just laying out what you want right there in the open, and having a frank discussion about it with someone else who wants the same thing and might want it with you.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoops, I meant The Whelk rather than newpotato; for some reason my eye slid too far down the page while looking for the author of the comment. Though if I read the tiny text closely enough it might still apply... ;)
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:29 AM on August 30, 2012


MCMikeNamara: Yeah, all these ads would definitely be tagged M4M (which may also have some sort of selection effect in regards to body type)
? Haven't noticed that gay men are necessarily more fit than heteros, myself.
Melismata: I always liked casual encounters. It's one of the most honest places on the internet.

Interesting. So do no legitimate (as in, not a scam/prostitution) women actually post to casual encounters or did simply none agree to be photographed for this project?

I'm guessing the former.
Nope. I guarantee it's not. (Ew, I just icked myself out!)
posted by IAmBroom at 11:45 AM on August 30, 2012


I have posted a W4W casual encounter ad once, out of boredom/curiosity/ok-I-was-horny. I don't think I got very many responses (4 seems too many) but they were only from straight guys. Yes, in the 4W section.

(Guys trying to hit on me on various dating-esque websites even after specifying I'm only after women are depressingly common. Even when I tell them off - usually by saying "dude read the profile" - they assume they would be the ~rare exception~. Dude, I already HAVE a "rare exception", go away.)
posted by divabat at 10:41 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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