Last week, I decided to post an ad in the “strictly platonic” section on CraigsList. Six hours and several text messages later, I was at the house of two girls I had never met. With any luck, I will never see them again, ever, even by accident.
The story that follows is a cautionary tale for those who have ever thought about using CraigsList for arranging a “hangout sesh w/ some potential new friends”.
It was about 9:30 on a Saturday night, and plans for the evening had suddenly fallen through. Now full of undirected energy and stuck at home, I was hungry for some new experiences.
After respectively dismissing going to a bar by myself, getting something to eat, and getting drunk as “too lame”, “too lazy”, and “too pitiful”… I decided to post an ad on CraigsList.
The ad went something like this:
let’s just shoot the shit. – 24 – San Diego
my plans for the evening have gone to hell, and i’m at home wondering what to do with myself. looking to hang out.
so, if you are any three of the following:
- a fan of [ridiculously long list of bands]
- a foodie
- sarcastic and quick-witted
- a frequenter of concerts/shows
- a musician
- a writer
- a francophile
and all of the following:
then shoot me an e-mail! put your favorite band in the subject line.
also, please be within 3 years of my age – sorry to all the Gertrudes and Prudences out there:[
oh, and you don’t need to send a pic — it’s not like we’re going on a fucking hot date anytime soon.
I got a solid half-dozen replies over the next hour and a half, and most of them sucked. One of them asked if I was willing to “have a good time in exchange for ‘flowers’”; I was pretty sure that another one had simply YouTubed several of the bands I’d listed so she could name-drop their most popular songs; and another thought that being a “foodie” meant “snackin on sum totino’s pizza rolls haha”.
I ended up replying to only one of the messages, i.e., this one:
hey i saw your post, my friend and i seem to fit your criteria and we wanna chill. are you 420 friendly?
Seemed innocuous/safe enough.
(Let me preface the remainder of this story by saying that I sometimes get into very hypomanic states that cause me to do things that most people would consider stupid, if not reckless.)
We traded a couple e-mails, and the two of them seemed like decent people, so I gave them my number. I was still really restless during this exchange, so I got in my car and did 90 on the I-8 while singing along to my iPod at the top of my lungs.
The two of them seemed pretty witty in their texts, so I started to feel like my night wasn’t shot just yet.
All my speeding and singing took me to Alpine, so I went ahead and drove to the casino.
The two girls and I texted while I was shitting away my money on the slot machines. They liked talking about Mystery Science Theatre, old 90′s cartoons, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster… from what I could tell, they were just two bored, nerdy girls.
Then, the following text exchange occurred:
Me: So, do you want to hang out tonight?
Them: Can you bring beer/weed?
Me: I don’t smoke… but I could pick up a six-pack, yeah.
Me: Sweet! Where are y’all located?
(20 MINUTE PAUSE)
Me: What’s up?
Them: Well, it’s kind of embarrassing, but… we live at my parents’ house, and we’re waiting for the Mombeast to fall asleep.
“Mombeast”. Cute. Seemed even more innocuous/safe.
At 3:30 in the morning, after I had lost a sufficient wad of cash at the casino, I told them I was heading out. They said that their mom was still awake, but asked if I wanted to come over anyway.
I gave pause. What was my plan here? Did I really want to go to the house of two fucking “Internet strangers” I had just started talking to less than six hours ago?
One bar of Xanax later, the answer was a definite “yes”.
We exchanged photos wherein we each held a sign that said the others’ name. I couldn’t tell what they looked like from the photo because it was very dark, but I did see my name, and that was good enough for me.
I got to their house. It was in a shit part of town, with the asphalt roads nearly ground to black dirt and the freeway just a chain-link fence away.
I walked up to the side door, as instructed, and then I heard a voice. A slurred, slow drawl of a voice.
“Izzaaa.. izzat you? ey come on in… n hurry’p… Mombeast out.”
I walked into their garage and was immediately hit by the smell of shit weed and Olde English. I looked up and saw the faces of the girls for the first time.
They weren’t the nerdy girls I had expected.
One was a short, blonde girl who looked like she’d been drinking, blazing, shooting up, and getting kicked out of bars for a week straight. The other was a tall redhead, clearly crossfaded as well, whose smile was indiscernible from her frown.
I am not shallow. I value personality FAR more than looks. But there are times where looks say — if not SHOUT — a lot about a person’s personality. This was one of those cases.
Both of them admitted to being cross-faded, and to having been so since 4 in the afternoon. Given the substances in my body, I didn’t feel any social anxiety from this; rather, I felt awkward for them. I pitied them.
I tried to start some conversation; I saw a pile of at least ten empty beer cases in the corner of the garage, and jokingly said, “Man, did you guys go through all of that tonight?!”
“Naw, just one and a half of em,” they replied.
They then packed a bowl, and I, for some reason, elected to take a hit. I instantly became paranoid, though not uncomfortable.
That is, until Mombeast walked in.
The mom just stared at me for a solid five seconds, until I finally said, “Hi”. She said nothing. She then shut the door, still without saying anything, but not before giving her daughter — the blonde, apparently — a glare that said, simply, “I fucking give up on you. Bringing fucking random-ass dudes here at 4 in the morning. What the fuck are you doing with your life?”
Taking that cue, I asked the girls “what the fuck they were doing with their lives”. The short blonde replied that she was a telemarketer, and Rocky Dennis replied that she was an “out-of-work bartender”. When I asked what that meant, she replied, “well, I had been working for this bar, right… but they hadn’t paid me ANY money, ever, so I quit after a year.”
I had expected a chill evening with a couple of laid-back girls, watching MST3K, shooting the shit, etc. But instead, I spent 45 minutes watching the short blonde grumble and stumble around, drop and break her pipe during an attempt to pack a bowl, while R.D. tried to get her to sit down.
I kept trying to start conversation, but all the replies were just slurred, drawled, incoherent mumbles. The only bit of information I actually understood served only to make me more uncomfortable: they said they grew up in Santee, and never expected to be hanging out with “some brown dude”.
Eventually, the short blonde reached a completely trashed state. She then approached me. Still holding a jagged end of her broken pipe, she said sternly, “youuu… youu n-need to go”. So I left. And gladly so.
I drove home thinking about how “boring” and “not worth it” the experience was: two drunk and stoned girls, big deal. However, the next day, I told the story to several friends, who remarked that I was “fucking retarded” to drive at 4 in the morning to meet people from CraigsList, and that I “could have been killed”.
Still unsure whether I agree.
What are the lessons to be learned here about CraigsList meetups?
- Don’t meet anyone before you have a phone conversation with them. Texting convos have no correlation to in-person compatibility.
- Establish common interests, so that there is something to talk about when you meet up.
- Do not meet up after 3:00AM, especially if it is at a domicile that is neither yours nor theirs.
- Most importantly: make sure that you’re not about to go meet two cross-faded, confederate flag-waving rednecks.