Wait, “Craigslist creeps?” Isn’t “Craigslist” practically synonymous with “creepy?”
My experiences have been more mainstream. I bought my car from a rental agency, got an internship, found apartments, and bought and sold countless used furniture pieces through the site. In my mind, Craigslist was segregated into the creepy personals section and the larger, valuable part consisting of all the other sections.
That’s where I was wrong. The guy who wants to drink your piss and the man looking for 3 hot dudes to bang his wife aren’t creepy—they’re just people trying to get laid and fulfill fantasies. It may not be your cup of tea, but to most young people casual sex is pretty blasé. Nothing wrong with that.
What is creepy is when sexual posts make their way into the more “respectable” sections. When someone has to wonder what a job is really about. I’m back on the job hunt and have been seeing these nearly every day. After a while I started taking screenshots whenever I saw something that didn’t sit well with me, and I have now amassed too many to think it’s not a consistent phenomenon.
I have categorized the posts into 6 categories of creepy Craigslisters, in rough order of subjective creepiness (from least to most creepy).
6. The Eye Candy
It’s not about sex, it’s about watching. I think of men in their home as the housekeeper works, sneaking glances down shirts and up skirts, licking their lips and masturbating. Voyeurism isn’t creepy with everyone’s consent, though, and these posts are pretty clear about what’s wanted, even if it’s not explicit.
5. The Prostitution
Pretty simple. Prostitution is illegal, so these posters hedge and hint and euphemize. But it’s clear they want to pay for sex of some sort, whether a happy ending massage or a long-term sugar baby relationship. You can usually tell because, though the posts are nominally about a professional gig, the posters are picky about looks and often don’t care about experience. Unlawful, but not so creepy.
4. The Prostitution?
Similar to #5 but subtle enough that I can’t say with precision what the poster wants. Could be eye candy, prostitution, or something else.
3. The I’m So Lonely
Also known as The Is This A Trap? These posters are looking for someone to “hang out” with. But for some reason, the platonic companions they seek are all pretty, young women. The posts are often open-ended or explicitly hazy on the details. They give me the creeps because there’s something missing that I can’t put my finger on, a sinister coat overlaying an otherwise merely pathetic request. What would an unsuspecting woman be in for? A normal but desperate man who can’t tell he’s being creepy by asking for a picture? A manipulative psychopath who wants to lure her into his damp basement dungeon filled with candles, shackles, and a skeleton in a wedding dress only to lock her in and visit her once every day to feed her and smell her hair? Who knows!
2. The Almost Normal
These are especially creepy because they sound so normal. They read like perfectly legitimate job listings at first. Personal paperwork, help with research, attention to detail, tech savvy… fine, okay. So you keep reading and then you see it: include photo. Oh yeah, they did specify female in the title, didn’t they? So, they just happen to want an assistant who is a woman and who passes a looks test. The realization can be jarring because of the post’s otherwise normal tone. These posters are the charismatic psychopaths who fit perfectly into society until the rampage starts, the calculating murderers who everyone thinks are nice guys.
It’s possible that these are, in fact, legitimate posts advertising real jobs. It’s possible the posters want a photo to add a personal touch to the application process in lieu of meeting in person. And it’s possible that they want female applicants for reasons that aren’t creepy. But professionalism dictates that one should not be concerned with an applicant’s looks unless looks are part of the job. At best, the poster is misguided or naive. But the chill that runs down my spine when I read these is more pronounced than with any of the previous categories.
1. The Sex Slavery
This is by far the most disturbing category. These posts seem designed to lure, trap, and exploit. They make you want to tip off the police. I have only seen a couple of these posts, but that’s a couple too many. I took only one screenshot, stupidly. There are so many red flags I don’t even know where to start:
Bonus Category: The I Don’t Even Know