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I Did It For Science: Craigslist Blind Dates
What would happen if I posted a Craigslist ad, and went out with the first ten
guys who responded?
By Lina Canney
It’s easy to get cynical about dating. How many times have you heard a cute, smart, single guy or girl spout some stupid platitude like, “there are no cute, single straight/gay guys/girls in this city?” I’ll be honest — I’ve not just heard it, I’ve said it. And it’s stupid. There are thousands.
So with Valentine’s Day approaching, I decided to suck it up and embrace a more positive dating attitude. What if, instead of bemoaning the state of the world, whining to my friends, and abusing my vibrator, I just went on a bunch of dates?
I decided I’d start with the most vibrant and lively dating hub of them all — Craigslist. There must be some normal, smart, attractive guys using Craigslist to find a nice girl. After all, I’m a normal, smart, attractive girl using Craigslist to find a nice guy. How hard could it be? I decided I would post a personals ad offering a one-hour date with me, put up a real picture, reply to the first normal-seeming men, and go out on some completely blind dates.
If I left my cynicism behind and forced myself to have a drink with ten different guys, I’d surely meet someone. Right?
• Several Craigslist ads, as mine kept getting flagged and removed (why, I still don't know).
• Emergency cab fare.
• One friend on speed-dial, standing by for any emergency calls.
• Pepto-Bismol, for any ailments I might incur while blind-dating.
• Liquor and cigarettes, see above.
I wasn't looking to change my phone number or move after this experiment, so I assumed a worst-case-scenario outlook and created a fake email address and a fake name — Katrina, which ironically a lot of men told was "such a sexy name." Meow. After establishing my alias and having the first real anxiety attack of my adult life, I posted the following ad on a Thursday afternoon, trying to set up dates for that weekend.
As soon as I posted it, the replies started rolling in. And I'll tell you, it felt pretty good to know all these complete strangers found me attractive, especially since at the time I was sitting in my apartment wearing my bathrobe and mismatched socks.
Some of the responses were not exactly what I’d been hoping for:
But overall, it was a success. In less than an hour, I got responses from ten men who followed my rules and didn't seem insane. Then I hit a snag: I realized that all of these guys wanted to casually email for awhile, get to know me, before meeting in person. After trying to keep up with ten different simultaneous conversations with complete strangers, I inevitably started mixing up their dogs and allergies to dogs, so I had to put a stop to it. I turned into that sketch-ball who only wants to talk about when we’re meeting up. I sent cryptic emails like: “Do you have a picture? How’s 7:30 at Bar B?”
The real fun was yet to come though: coordinating ten dates in two days? Who the hell did I think I was, Patti Stanger? I thought about forwarding an email to all my boys with one-hour slots they could sign up for, but in the end I decided it might scare them away. So instead I trudged through it, tearing my hair out and abusively penciling in and whiting-out dates on my day-planner.
Then, the inevitable happened: they started flaking. After a long back-and-forth, one guy wrote me this on the morning of our date, "Well, I have gigs on Long Island Sat. night and Sunday night. You can come down to one of them if you want?" Dear sir, I wouldn't haul my ass to Long Island to see your band if we were engaged.
Another guy told me he had to go to the DMV that day. The DMV! A bunch just didn’t answer. My ego took a hit — just a few hours ago, they’d been so into me. But I sucked it up, cut my losses, and decided to just go on as many dates as I could. It turned out that was only three.