by Heather Barton
Ah, Craigslist. How San Francisco loves you! What did we ever do without it? For one, Goodwill surely had a better selection ten years ago, and the Examiner must have spent a lot more money printing classifieds. No one can deny their affection for this online posting board, and the proof of Craigslist’s opiate-like effect on modern society can be found in the veins of everyday life: your vintage purple velvet couch, your roommate that cooks the best chicken mole north of Tijuana, free art supplies, a new edgy haircut, your barista job, your socializing buddy, your significant (or not so significant) other, and perhaps even your Chihuahua/Pug mix.
Unfortunately in recent history, Craigslist has been given a bad rap from headlines like “The Craigslist Killer”, whose seven-day rampage in Boston left one prostitute murdered and two others robbed and terrorized. Locally, Gavin Newsom’s MSNBC smack down on “Erotic Services” and the sex trade in the Bay Area created a similar public fear of Craigslist. The nation was quick to criticize the site for making sex and crime an easily accessible couple, but just as quickly forgot that the two were just as prolific before the Internet even existed. To make amends, Craigslist promptly removed “Erotic” from their Services section, but it’s a no-brainer to find the new virtual red light district hidden under the word “Adult”.
Without fear, San Franciscans have put sex trafficking warnings aside and continue to consume Craigslist like it was free organic food. My own personal life is proof that you can find love on Craigslist. My personal ad happened on a heartbroken night with two overly-empathetic girlfriends and three bottles of wine. My w4m headline was to the point: “Caucasian attracted to Filipinos”, with my only requirements being that my dream lover be taller than 5’2” and speak English without replacing his “V”s with “B”s.
After seven days of nearly-nude photos and anxious invitations to the Pistahan Festival, each one trying to be more Filipino than the next, I received a one-liner email and photo that caught my eye. He was smoking hot, and all he wanted to know was if I considered 32 an ancient age and if I’d had a good day.
It’s no joke that every Craigslist personal ad and their responses should be treated with caution, and with each of us afraid that the other could be remembered amongst our friends as “that psycho I met from Craigslist”, we emailed for weeks before meeting. I took my toughest friends for backup, told family across the country where I was going that night, and bought a small bottle of pepper spray. Fortunately, he had brought his sweetest smile, told all of his friends to come out to meet me, and bought a glass of fine wine to welcome me to the meeting. Two years later and growing stronger, I still have my Filipino fantasy man from Craigslist.
If you have the wisdom to dig through the spammers and scammers you’ll find a community utility that you may never be without again. In a city of 809,000 people, have you ever had someone tell you they don’t know what Craigslist is? It is San Francisco’s one common denominator aside from impending earthquakes. It gives us a way to relate to our friends over dinner as well as total strangers in grocery lines, to cure our boredom late at night when infomercials become redundant, to save us all money on furniture so we can spend it on more important things like cocktails and rent, and yes, even to find us love.
Whether browsing the personals for fun or fulfillment, some people are either terrified to meet a total stranger from the Internet or do it so often that they could talk to a shopping cart and have an interesting story to tell. Most of us lie somewhere between the two and proceed with caution on all our blind dates. They may seem pointless considering how awkward, annoying, or hairy the person we meet is, but stick with it, Craigslisters. We’re all in this personal ad together and love is a numbers game that no one should forfeit.
BEST OF CRAIGSLIST
Manly Bike for Sale
Date: 2008-07-22, 10:18AM PDT
Bike for sale
What kind of bike? I don’t know, I’m not a bike scientist. What I am though is a manly guy looking to sell his bike. This bike is made out of metal and kick ass spokes. The back reflector was taken off, but if you think that deters me from riding at night, you’re way wrong. I practiced ninja training in Japan’s mount Fuji for 5 years and the first rule they teach about ninja biking is that back reflectors let the enemy know where you are. Not having a rear reflector is like saying “FUCK YOU CAR, JUST TRY AND FIND ME”.
bag of butt plugs and/or mannequins parts
Date: 2008-09-17, 6:09PM PDT
~Mannequins have been picked up all we have now is the bag of butt plugs-
Yeah that’s right you hear me right, a bag of butt plugs and/or mannequins parts, the mannequins from a store have been disassembled and are laying all over the place, can you come and grab these ladies? We are tired of them all laying around doing nothing when we are all busting are asses all day.
To The Person Who Shit IN My Car
Date: 2004-04-15, 12:13PM PDT
I know that it is rough out there. I know that housing is hard to find and harder to keep. I know that it was cold those last weeks in March/first weeks in April.
I expected that everything would be taken from my car when I moved to my new apartment, and it was. One day my tapes, the next an old CD player hooked into the car (my fault for leaving it there), and everything but the maintenance manual in the glove compartment. (Thank you for that--we needed it to install a new battery.) And you did leave the tape player and radio and the car itself.
But now I feel truly betrayed. My world has been torn asunder. I am devastated and my soul rests at the bottom of the Bay.
Ass for Cash
Date: 2009-04-12, 9:28PM PDT
Can’t afford to take care of Donkey anymore. He’s in good health, very friendly and only mildly stinky. It is expensive to care for him though. I am selling him for 500 bucks (Got him for 2,000). Totally worth it. You pick him up.
Read more at www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/