Everyone and their dog has heard of Casual Encounters. It's only been the punch line to, like, a million and one lonely people jokes for, like, a billion years now, but somehow the Times decided to get their investigative hands drrty and explore the "underbelly" of craigslist.
Casual Encounters is exactly as it sounds; a place to find a casual encounter. While garnering more traffic than match.com, eharmony and Yahoo! personals, the smutty section of anonymous sex gained some bad publicity as of late due to two murders that happened pretty close to one another. One man responded to a sex ad and another woman was looking for a masseuse.
While all the loyal Casual Encounters users know of the risks, most interviewed were pretty blase about the murders. “In a city of eight million-plus, this sort of thing was bound to happen statistically," one man shrugged.
Anyway, the Times published a story about a cast of characters who each utilize the site for their own, er, interesting habits. While one envisions hot one nighters, CE isn't entirely hot and sexy.
One woman puts ads out for men to meet her in public and collect her used panties. They even pay for a replacement pair of underwear and leave her alone afterward (though she has had one stalker. But just one.). Another man claims to be an artist and uses the site to find "models" while some guy named "Melvin" recently met with an "obese" woman in a dark apartment, counseled her about body issues for two hours and then slept with her.
While a psychologist points out that the Internet is a breeding ground for narcissists and sociopaths, the Times discovered (in what we like to call Duh news) loneliness does curious things to people. Most of these sad saps are just dejected folks who need a cheap ego stroke or sympathetic ear.
“I didn’t want to go out and have to talk about my divorce any more,” Melvin said. “But here I had somewhere to go online to meet people who were kind of antisocial like me, and it fills that void of loneliness.”
We took a looksy on Casual Encounters (not one of our bookmarks, unfortunately) and found a man who wants to share a cup of coffee with a young woman tomorrow afternoon at a popular chain restaurant. He even described what he'd be wearing, what seat he'd be in and urged ladies to join him and "see what happens."
While seemingly benign, it was a little too front page of the New York Post for us. We're not really in the mood to be cut up into little pieces tomorrow afternoon with a $2.00 cup of joe as our last meal, but maybe we're just Judgmental Judies and he's a swell guy bursting with lively conversation.