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.I couldn't help it; his email was password was just too easy to crack. To my horror, he had placed a singles ad on Craigslist. I'd like to say I didn't sit home feeling sorry for myself, but, of course, that would be lying. But at 36, it seemed every cute or kind man near my age was married with children. Sure, Craigslist has had its share of troubles (the Craigslist Killer comes to mind) but I'd be using the online personals section — which is for legitimate dating — and not the "casual encounters" section — which is just what it sounds like. To summon my courage, I got in touch with my inner Angelina Jolie, imagining myself sweeping across the globe on humanitarian missions with a tall, handsome, loving, financially-secure humanitarian at my side. I'm tired of people telling me that I care too much. I've never married and have been holding out for you, perhaps.I'd heard it said that the older you are, the harder it is to start over, and the fewer the decent, eligible men there are. I was starting to feel like an overripe piece of fruit on a tree, about to rot. Eventually I got sick of throwing myself pity parties; I had to try something. We'd save the world and love each other, maybe even start a family. I invented an email address for myself and posted my ad: LOOKING FOR A HUMANITARIAN. I'm looking for some one who "gets it" — you know, someone who loves to do all he can to make the world a better place, wherever he is. I see myself as empowering and helping such an individual on their path to heal the world with positive energy and possible romance. We can keep each other going — keep each other idealistic and focused on what matters most. In the days that followed, emails began dripping into my inbox.I decided I’d start with the most vibrant and lively dating hub of them all — Craigslist.After all, I’m a normal, smart, attractive girl using Craigslist to find a nice guy. 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.
One woman takes the plunge and returns with advice. My fingers hesitantly pecked at the inbox, and suddenly, I was reading my recent ex's email. I wondered what would happen if I posted a wish list online.I had no idea of the reputation of Craigslist before I got on it, maybe if I had I wouldn't have used it.But I did online dating via Craigslist for probably six years and went on maybe a couple hundred dates. If you want more than a hook-up, don't post under that section (duh). I do have a friend in a long-term relationship where they initially met as a casual encounter. My problem was too many responses, either generic or horribly lonely. So I was found a differentiator to screen as many people as possible out. My sense of who people were from a brief text-only response was very good.Are you taller than 5'9, single, white, straight, and younger than 45?Are you kind, somewhat handsome, healthy but not health-obsessed, not a user or a hater?I don’t care if your mom told you so or if you get hit on at the coffee shop or if your self-esteem is so high that a goose ran into its windshield: telling strangers how cute you are doesn’t work.