Really, I was just a mess of insecurities and splintered bones. But slowly, through the kisses on my neck, the hands on my breasts, the whispered compliments, the thirsty smiles, it began to occur to me that I was, in fact, beautiful.
They fed me the things I needed to fuel myself. They were cruel and fascinating. Some were cheating on their wives. Some would disappear without a word. But all of them taught me something.
They let me unleash my sexuality and encouraged me to explore it. They jaded me and they fixed me. They made me feel alive and they emptied me. They eventually taught me I was unbreakable, that there was a part of my heart I had welded together with titanium. That I could keep my vulnerable, tender heart, but I could also be strong. I learned to assert myself, ask for what I wanted, and finally learned to say no. And to be utterly myself. They taught me about love in all of it sizes and shapes, about people and their strengths and short comings and not to beat them or myself up too much for the times we trip up.
I learned about forgiving and letting go. I learned to embrace being alone. I am thankful for these men who gave me pieces of themselves, even if it was just short spurts of what they could afford to give. I have seen great love through them, in snapshots, even if that then led to great heart ache.
So when Jason placed his hand on my neck a few months later at that same motel, his thumb running over my lips, and he said that I was a rarity…I finally believed him. But more than that: Yet I felt trapped, an indentured servant to my student loan debt. I found a community craving the same thing I did: Tell me what it feels like to spend a day in your head. What Craigslist provided for us was an anonymous space where we could be ourselves with nothing to lose.
In its scrambled email addresses, some of us found safety: I found what I had hoped for: Yet, along the way, the Craigslist personals section became synonymous with seediness, with sex, drugs, and prostitution, risky situations, and illicit affairs. So, thank you, Craigslist personals, for allowing us an intimate look at humanity in extremis. Thank you for the connections you facilitated, for the stories you helped tell, and for helping us listen a little longer, challenge our assumptions, and understand a little better.
Thanks for allowing us our confessions. This article is part of Quartz Ideas , our home for bold arguments and big thinkers. Craigslist's personals section provided a space where people could be themselves, with nothing to lose.1 Feb So, when a friend at uni told me about Craigslist prostitution, I figured bestiality and every other bizarre fetish you could imagine, and ads so. By clicking the link below you confirm that you are 18 or older and understand personals may include adult content. men seeking men · Safer sex greatly. 3 Aug I decided to dive into Craigslist's "Casual Encoun Most were scams, some were men, some were prostitutes, and just one was legit. Barking Up the Wrong Tree. All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from . who are looking to make a personal connection, but it's full of spam.