This weekend, the Times gingerly touched upon the issue of Craigslist "Casual Encounters," the steamy personal-ad board that lately has hit the headlines for a string of violent or even deadly tragedies. Their investigation involved a lot of Internet correspondence with the users of the site, and you could just sense the unease with which writer Douglas Quenqua (whose stuff we like) tiptoed into the murky waters:
The ads range from prim to raunchy; a good number of people include photographs of precisely what they have to offer. (The site has a policy against posting pornographic pictures, but it does not seem to be enforced very vigorously.) In an exploration of the Casual Encounters world, more than 100 e-mail messages were sent to users requesting interviews before the recent murders. About a dozen frequent users, mostly men, consented to phone or e-mail interviews, some of which took place over the past three months. Two men, Michael and Melvin, were willing to meet with a reporter in person, as long as they were identified only by their name on Craigslist. A few women who had posted ads were also forthcoming, but none of the women who had replied to Michael’s or Melvin’s ads consented to an interview.
We were a little disappointed that most of the focus of the story was on only M4W interactions, because there seem to be many more interesting combinations than just that.
Let's get away from the sad, scary side of "Casual Encounters" for a moment — which is better dealt with on a blog that doesn't link to personal ads about sexy toots. There's a lot of misrepresentation on the site of a completely benign, if not hilarious nature. In honor of the Times making 100 offers on Craigslist, we want to hear your stories — and thoughts — about this unique American sexual institution.