The Creepy Craigslist

The Creepy Craigslist
by Bee Sting
In a typical dating book, authors advise with certainty the abundance of online dating. eHarmony takes for granted that people do not have time to go out and find a partner. Ashley Madison boasts “Life is short. Have an affair” on its audacious, two-timing website service. So in my quest to find a partner—and one that’s conspicuous at that—I decided to go with the ever so simple, ever so discreet Craigslist.Under a surplus of classified ads, I discover that the Personals range from men seeking women and casual encounters to ranting raves and strictly platonic. This last section seemed interesting, striking visitors with friendships (platonic) à la rules (strictly). What I felt was my lucky day meeting a new man, but ended up transforming into a huge mistake. My intentions were to meet someone new, intelligent and stimulating. James did just that, with his similar sense of boredom like mine and in search for someone to talk with. He immediately responded to my email, and I was thrilled, thinking he’s responsive and on top of his grind. Over the course of the next week, we exchange a number of emails, each one becoming much longer and detailed than the last. James and I felt like we understood one another.

Now, in the height of my online dream, I was self-aware that this is my first internet fling in about ten years. At fourteen, I maintained a “relationship” through instant messaging and all-night phone calls for an entire summer with a fifteen year old from a city within the Boston metropolitan area. We met on an AIM chat room, back when all my buddies from middle school were raging over America Online. It was harmless and cute. But my experience with James, on the other hand, was the one that I went beyond the phone calls with.

Within twenty days we wanted to meet. Our short knowing seemed to have clash with our long correspondence. In other words, we felt as though we’ve “known” each other for much longer than a mere three weeks. I had never done this before, meeting an online stranger in face. What if he wasn’t what he seemed? Throughout our emails and IM messages, James provided me with enough information—and perhaps tools—to do a little background check. By Googling his name, I was able to validate just one James that fit his descriptions about employment, school, etc. And by going in depth with his MySpace (and yes, people, you know what I mean!), I was able to identify some of the friends and cousins he mentioned. Thus, it was decided that we should meet.

It happened at Dave and Buster’s. The perfect outing for any blind date, really. With its happy hour, family environment, and its somewhat “trusty” security doorman, D&Bs seemed like a great choice. And it was. James was very sincere and paid for everything. I mean everything: three mojitos each for him and me, two burger meals with quesadilla eggrolls appetizer, a round of billiards and some change to play video games. The evening ended lovely, and we decided to meet again the day after, Friday. On that day, we ate out at a Mexican restaurant, and again, he paid for everything: freshly-made guacamole for the chips, my endless enchiladas, his quesadillas, and lots of margaritas. The treats didn’t end there. James wanted to go out for a ride in his Camaro. (I know, this sounds like Sublime’s “Date Rape” song, but I swear it isn’t!) We drove to the supermarket and grabbed some more drinks. It was, to my first of many disappointments, a handle of Barcardi Mojito. Yes, the sugary, pre-mixed drink that looks like my green cough syrup. “I just don’t like to drink beer, wine, hard liquor, anything” he would say. Ugh! So, without complaints I drank it, only feeling slight buzzed but never achieving that delightful state of drunkenness.

We were parked somewhere along my neighborhood. I pointed out to where I live, and we just sat there in the car, talking away what could’ve been said through email. James came out to me like an onion, with layers coming out, each irritating the eyes. He was starting to dig me, but I wasn’t sure if I digged him. His vibe was innocent and sheltered, awake yet constricted. And the only thing I felt for him was friendship, because it seemed to me that he has yet to experience a mature relationship. It is ironic that he met his ex-girlfriend through the internet, and that, after meeting several times, had fallen for one another and dated for six years thereafter. Well, if this James believes that the internet is the ultimate place for love, then he has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell that poor boy was going to get it from me.

James never stopped contacting me since our last meeting. He texted me twice that night while I was going to bed. “Hope you have sweet dreams” and “Can’t stop thinking about you.” Shit like that. The next morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I woke up thinking only slightly about last night, and moved on with my day. Checking my emails, I saw that James had written to me at five in the morning, and boy was it lengthy. In all, the word count on Microsoft estimated 1,643 words. And these emails did not stop. Although they were pleasant to read, it was hard for me to keep up because it could take nearly an hour to finish up an email reciprocated in length (we all have lives here, don’t we?). James’ messages were longer, more in-depth, and subjective. He wanted to see me again.

James would call me unexpectedly. On Friday, I told him by email, text, and word-of-mouth that weekends aren’t good for me. That, being away from my home, I have no access to the internet and—although this was a slight lie—that I’ll more likely be too busy. Yet despite my clear and blunt message, James called me Saturday afternoon, wondering if I wanted to hang out Sunday. I said maybe, I’ll call. Sunday morning rolls around. I laid in bed, being a bit hung over from rum shots the night before. James’ obnoxious phone call interrupted my slumber, and I felt irritated. But not just by his rude awakening, but by the sense that I pitied him. Had he been at home all weekend long, thinking about our next meeting, when all along I had thought nothing about him, having fun with my friends?

We met for the third time that day at Starbucks. I wanted to get him off my back by perhaps showing a side of me that he has yet to see. He ordered a venti chai frappucino and I ordered a tall cappuccino. Again, he paid—but what is a girl to do? We sat down for a bit outside, with the usual small talk. How are you? What do you want to do? I felt a sense of urgency, not sure if I was down to spend a whole other day with him. We took off to a secluded park in the hills, figuring that maybe once we get there, there might just be something ready for us to do. But when we arrived, I didn’t have the energy to even take a stroll with him. I decided to cut out early, using work as an excuse (which I really did do when I got back home). It was awkward and it was weird, and I hoped at that very moment that I’ll never hear from him again. It would take a lot for James to win me over, because this guy was a lame.

In a bombshell, James texted me endlessly thereafter, making my cell phone go over its incoming text messaging limit. So not Rico Suave. He called several times, leaving me voicemails about how he’s been doing a lot of thinking and how he has even more to say. More? What is there to say when it’s only been a mere three weeks? So annoying. I ignored him, and after three days he stopped. Thank God.

Now reader, let me tell you a little somethin’ about this online dating ordeal. Get to know the guy first. I made the mistake of meeting him too soon. Sure we wrote a plethora of letters to one another, describing our lives from birth to death, but it just wasn’t enough. If we waited several months, maybe even years to meet, then perhaps our friendship wouldn’t have failed so suddenly. Let it not happen to you.

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