Her Craigslist dating ad last Tuesday was simple and direct:
Summer Romance – I’m 35, attractive and active, take good care of myself. I’m educated with a successful career. Looking for an intelligent, fit, emotionally healthy man, 35-45. Let’s meet for drinks tonight and see where things lead.
Summer romance with an attractive woman who wanted to meet tonight? Sounded perfect to me. It was already 8:45pm, and she’d posted at 8:30pm, so I had a real shot. Some women dating on Craigslist received 300 responses per post. For a guy to get picked, sending the first compelling reply was key. I emailed a note and a pic of my smiling face.
Hey – I like how you sound. I’m a SWM, early 40s, educated, in shape, nearby. Drinks tonight sounds great.
The best thing about Craigslist is its immediacy. Forget match.com and Loveawake personals with their checkboxed descriptions of an ideal partner, prolonged emails, and lengthy search for the one. On Craigslist it was all about who wants to meet right now? Chemistry is felt in an instant in person, after all. The important thing is to meet.
Half an hour passed.
Surely she’d picked someone by now. If she was real. I’d been around the block enough times that Craigslist burned me more than once. But I’d also met some really great women – for coffee, drinks, hiking, cycling, dinner. I just figure you have to break some eggs to make an omelet. And if said omelet is made for two the morning after an evening date? I won’t complain.
She sent an email. Her pic was attractive. Her note was brief:
Looks good. Where do you live?
I know enough not to give personal details online to a stranger, so I side-step questions like that. The key was to meet, especially when her ad said tonight. She was looking for summer romance, not looking all summer for the perfect partner. I wrote right back.
I’m one town over. Are you in the mood for cocktails or wine?
Another five minutes passed, not a good sign. She might be considering a handful of guys. And why not? If she was out clubbing, she’d have an entire venue of men to flirt with. Finally she wrote and suggested we chat on Yahoo IM.
Me: hey, how are you?
Her: I’m good. Getting a little late.
(Fair enough, she’d posted an hour before.)
Me: I live nearby. Let’s meet right now and chat over drinks.
Her: that would be fun, but I have to get up early.
(Granted, it was a weeknight. But she’s the one who’d posted looking for tonight.)
Me: you’ll be in bed early. It’s just a drink
Her: maybe you want more than that
(From summer romance to one-night-stand – maybe she was testing my intentions)
Me: no, just a drink to see if we click. Summer’s just getting started. Plenty of time for fun.
Her: good! But I really do have to get up early. Maybe tomorrow night?
(Sigh. I wouldn’t push. Best to play on her terms.)
Me: I would, but I already have dinner plans with a buddy. Sorry.
Her: no problem. How about Thursday?
Me: sure! That would be great.
We agreed to chat some more during the day on Thursday to iron out plans. Craigslist immediacy was being tossed out the window, but at least I had a date. With an attractive, educated, sexy woman, no less.
On Thursday I couldn’t wait for our evening date. Drinks with romance potential. This could turn into a very good summer, indeed. Too bad we hadn’t exchanged cell phone numbers, we could swap some flirty text messages or actually talk. I sent her email. The response was immediate:
Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message. That account has been deactivated.
Talk about simple and direct. Ah, Craigslist.