Seeking a friend across the Pond

Mostly disappointed with the results of Craigslist so far, I have wondered if posting further out might help. I see the same boring, horrifying M4W ads on Craigslist in the Bay Area and am not impressed. With the exception of the first CL ad I ever responded to since this adventure began, I have found I can hardly expect any replies from the select few I have responded to.

If I cannot be in a romantic relationship, perhaps I should try more earnestly to find friends–and what better way to set expectations to that level than posting to CL in the UK?

I would not expect a long term relationship out of such a great distance, nor would I want one. I have been in long-distance relationships in the past, and even a neighboring state is too far away.
I haven’t posted yet, for I am still putting the finishing touches on my prose. I want to set the expectations clearly, and I need to decide on a clever title. Depending on what happens, maybe I will post in other countries too. Why not have a few penpals to make it feel as if a friend is not so far away, wherever I go?

I have been browsing a bit, after all one must learn one’s audience first to succeed, and the types of posts is certainly different from this area. There are more interesting posts, and the writing quality and style appears to be much higher than here.

The sea of dick pics is also overflowing, but I suppose that should be expected. It wouldn’t be Craigslist without those, now would it?

Do not pass Pokémon Go

My coworkers are all into Pokémon Go. We took a blockwalk, and M said the park nearby was a hotspot, and that we should look at all the people playing. It was bizarre to see people in a public place staring at their phones and swiping, like a Hitchcock film or something out of The Twilight Zone. There even was a couple playing together, standing and facing the same direction, locked in gazing at their phones and swiping. It was weird as fuck, man.

“I don’t have time to play that shit,” I said, “I have more important things to do–like posting dating ads on craigslist.”


Fewer Ins than Outs

How quickly people vanish into the Craigslist abyss!

Christopher and Alex were last heard from around July 3. It’s nearly been a week, and Kevin never wrote back to confirm a date for this Friday. Mr. Scavenger Hunt never wrote back despite how much I hoped to receive a letter in return. Even Seabiscuit, who I think stayed in correspondence the longest with me, has not responded for a few days.

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results, then it seemed time to change things up.

I wrote a new post “on the eve of her 32nd birthday” with The Smiths references to “Some girls are bigger than others”. I got fewer responses than my previous posts (it was also a different time of day), but interesting ones. Someone as far away from Florida responded–how on earth did he stumble upon my post? Sadly, no one caught the reference, not even the music teacher from Florida.

I immediately liked the playfulness of one named Glen. His language was very alluring and seductive. Though I didn’t ask for a photo, he sent one when I told my disastrous story with Patrick. I dreaded opening the email with images but was pleasantly surprised at how handsome he was–like a clean-shaven Jeff Bridges.

Speaking of Patrick, he reached out to wish me a happy birthday but his message was mixed. I had trouble reading his intentions and did not appreciate the joke he sent. When I responded, he again dug his heels in, got defensive, and I felt attacked. 

I scoffed as he tried to claim that he was the victim and how hurt he was that I called him deceitful. According to him, I should have known the image was old by how young his son looked. Right. In a 43kb, grainy, low-resolution image without any other points of reference, I should be able to tell ages of folks I don’t know.

He has yet to respond to what I sent in return. If he does reply, if I hear more whining from a cranky old privileged white male, all I will have left to say is “For fuck’s sake, Patrick, did it ever occur to you that all you needed to do was apologize and say you were sorry?”

Instead he keeps sending things that drive the wedge in deeper and increase the distance between us. Three strikes, and you’ll be out, Patrick.

Gazing where the lilies blow

So things with Patrick didn’t work out. I realize now that it was a poor choice of words (and really, he ought to know better, considering how often he wrote to me how he could tell words were important to me.) His response to my email dug the hole deeper; it was a long defense about being a while male and how many activities he has been involved in to help minorities and the LGBTQ community. It was unclear to me if it was an attack on me as well in some way.

I realize we probably both misunderstood each other’s words  But I was still very disappointed that he failed to tell me how old the photo was, and in that sense, I felt deceived. Can you still be friends with that sort of deception? I emailed him some days later, openly asking that question.

I received no response.

So the march continues onwards. I hope to still make new friends out of the connections I am making. 

I hope to hear from Brian (age unknown–40s?). By far, he is the one who draws my curiosity the most. He emailed me the clues to a note he left for me somewhere in Berkeley. Thus began a series of scavenger hunts, both of us leaving notes and clues for one another. We crossed cemetaries, historical landmarks, and famous shops. We shared poetry. It culminated in his leaving a work address somewhere in SF. I checked Google Maps, and it is a studio building with a directory, and I am not sure which one he works at. I know he is a carpenter, but several carpentry businesses reside at that address. I sent him a week ago and left my work address in return. I have yet to hear from him, but I do hope to. In the very least I would like to meet this amazing person who single-handedly delivered the best response I ever got to my ad. Romantic potential? Unknown–but let us at least be friends! What a fucking cool dude!

Of the penpals from Craiglist still corresponding with me regularly, these are the most interesting ones:

1. Kevin (45), a full-blooded Irishman from Wales. Romantic potential? Maybe. I am fond of accents from the UK, but I have yet to hear his voice. There is a deep sadness in him. He has shared some stories about his loss and loves traveling by train as I do. He would love to return to the UK, and I do miss London.
2. Seabiscuit (55), who takes beautiful landscape photographs and shares them with me. Romantic potential? Unlikely as he is married but separated, but I think he would make an interesting friend. I enjoy emailing him. I laughed at his last proposal–to swap awkward family stories (me with my father, him with his daughters) and share perspectives from those opposite points of view.

3. Chris (29), a PhD student at Stanford. He is highly optimistic of things and the world (including grad school). I haven’t said it, but am certain his being a white male colors the optimism he still carries about being able to change things. Romantic potential: unclear. Friendship seems more likely.

4. Alex (35), who recently began writing me. He moved here from the Ukraine when he was about 10. I normally feel that my respondents can’t keep up with me, but with him I worry I am the one who can’t keep up. He writes a lot and of so many things; it feels like he’s moving at the speed of lightning while everyone else is the pace of raindrops. Romantic potential: Maybe.

So that’s where things are at for now. Who knows where any of this is going? On the bright side, no matter what happens, all this correspondence has been helping me feel motivated to get back to work on my novel again. And that is a good thing.