Craigslist’s Personals section has long prevailed as one of the strangest and yet widely used forums on the web for people looking for love, sex and all manner of kink. The internet’s equivalent of the dubious back page classifieds section of newspapers of yore, lonely urbanites could post to and peruse the Personals looking for anything from a “fart bud” to a "guest for an erotic pizza party for two." And those are real-life examples of tame posts. It was a safe haven for fetishists and sexual outliers of all stripes and, in its way, it was oddly comforting to know it was out there. A pre-safe space safe space, if you will.
It is officially the end of an era, however. The Personals section was shut down — a casualty of FOSTA, (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex and Trafficking Act of 2017), just passed by Congress. FOSTA was passed as part of a government campaign to crack down on sex trafficking (a good thing!) by targeting sites like Backpage — a long existing forum for sex workers to advertise their services.
Craigslist’s Missed Connections, where people posted about chance encounters they failed to close the deal on — “I saw you on the L train, you were wearing cat eye glasses and made my heart purr” and irreverent sightings, like the "Girl Who Took a Gamble on a Fart and Lost" (farts are a popular commodity on Craigslist) will live on. But Craigslist has moved those posts over to the site’s “Community” section for the time being. (For now, the best/weirdest/most hilarious of them can still be found in all their curated glory at the "Best of Craigslist" page.)
So where’s a horny individual in search of a like-minded partner in kink to turn for a booty call now? Of course, there are countless apps for that. The advent of Tinder opened the sex dungeon door to a wide variety of mobile dating apps, from more mainstream ones like Bumble, Hinge and Grindr to specialized applications (Farmers Only, anyone?). The use of these apps to find love, sex, or both has become commonplace and, increasingly, the preferred way for young people to communicate.
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But as folks who still remember when MySpace was a cutting edge social networking site, or got our first peek at fet life on the back pages of the "Village Voice," we had to ask ourselves (*cue Carrie Bradshaw smoking at her laptop*): What ever happened to meeting someone IRL?
Everything comes full circle, and we can’t help but think that once dating apps have reached peak popularity, their appeal will inevitably wane and people will have to resort to good, old-fashioned ways of procuring nooky. So, in tribute to the passing of Craigslist Personals, we’ve come up with just a few ideas:
* A bar: Bear with us here; we know this sounds revolutionary. A bar, or pub (short for public house!), is a place that serves alcohol. Alcohol is a social lubricant. Believe it or not, people used to go to bars exclusively to socialize with other people all the time! It sounds scary, but we think you can do it.
* The gym: Ostensibly, this is a place people go to “exercise.” But in reality, it's a place people go to show off the sculpted bods they've just toned and check out the sculpted bods of others. Plus everyone is sweaty, and sweaty is kind of sexy, right?
* A farmer’s market: Actually, we’re not sure if this one actually works, but it seems to be a common rom-com trope, so there’s got to be something there, right? The Amish must be kinky.
* A book club: Because the pen is mightier than ... you know what? Forget this one. Book clubs are overrated. But MeetUp.com is a great place to find similar clubs and social groups that are all about IRL encounters in public forums, which helps self-police against weirdos.
* A bar: This one can’t be overstated. Just scratch the others and go to a bar.