I first discovered Craig's List in 1998. I was living in San Francisco with my parents and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life as I had just graduated from college, and like all pot-head liberal arts students with a shiny new degree in English (with a concentration in post-modern studies, just to make me and this post even more excruciating), I was unemployed and living with my parents. Freeloading off of the parents was losing its luster. They had recently shifted their focus off of dissecting my, their only child's every move, and had instead diverted it to one another. The results were not pleasant. Moving to DC was at this point, a zygote of an idea, so I was entertaining plans to stay in San Fran. The weather was okay and although I had no friends, I thought I could maybe find some if I managed to break out of the cocoon I had built for myself upon arriving in the city and realizing that the real world did not actually resemble a wacked-out commune populated by sneering hipsters and neo-hippies greatly in need of showers (this was a shock at the time--an unwelcome one at that), as my college experience did.
Like any malcontent, my first instinct was to hop on Craig's List in search of employment and housing options. This was a time (and maybe it's still true in San Fran) where people posted appealing professional opportunities on CL. Rather than the crappy freelance technical writing shit I find today on the DC branch of CL, there were interesting jobs at places I would want to work, like ad agencies and museums. I never applied for any of these gigs because I eventually decided to move east where I had friends, and more importantly, where I did not have parents.
Fast forward to the present. CL in DC is a total mess. Rants and Raves seems to exist soley for the purpose of railing against fat chicks, bragging about incomes, and blabbing about boring political matters in totally uninformed and dull manners. I suppose the housing ads are good, but that's all the credit I am willing to give it.
I determined some time ago that because CL was so lacking in benefits that the least I could do was use it to entertain myself by posting bogus ads in the Missed Connections. This was not unlike the times in college when my friend A and I would make signs for parties that didn't exist (at addresses that did) and plaster them all over the library and the student mail room. Good old immature, pointless pranking. In perusing this site
today I learned that I am not the only one who does this. I'm sure plenty of others do as well but since I haven't read about them I can't know for sure.
The approach taken by Blair contrasts sharply with mine. For starters, she's funnier than I am. Secondly, her posts are outrageously out there. I always sought to make them sound almost exactly like everyone else's while subtly making fun of everyone else's (you: white baseball cap, khakis, blue button down, brown hair, athletic, drinking a miller light at Mug Night at Whitlows)(everyone in DC looks alike, get it? original, i know) (me: blond hair, slender, wearing a cardigan, camisole, short skirt) (more of the same, ha ha). The post would then describe some totally generic encounter about a shared love of a sports team, a bummed smoke, and a request for future interaction. Then I would sit back and wait for the responses to pour in. Which they did, and it was comical yet slightly sad. I could never tell which of the guys who responded were on to prank and which ones wrote in ernest. Eventually, the ruse would bore me and I'd craft a different faux-encounter. Then I tired of the activity and stopped posting.
Blair's on the other hand, are completely the opposite. She writes of throwing eggs off balconies when stoned and her desire for encounters with men in bunny outfits wielding giant carrots. It's all incredibly amusing and I encourage you to check it out.
Posting fake ads to Craig's List is entirely snarky and underhanded, embodying the worst qualities of ironic sneering hipsterdom. But it does add entertainment to a blah afternoon at the office. Perhaps our antics will inspire more of the same for some of you dear readers.