Finding Pretend Love on Craigslist

I have a weird fascination with Craigslist personal ads. It’s a bit like not being able to look away when passing the scene of an accident.  I discovered these ads about three years ago. Shortly thereafter, I lost my job (not because I was spending too much time online reading ads, it was blamed on the economy) and had much more time to peruse these ads. After all, I can only watch so many Youtube videos.

I have occasionally answered these ads. I particularly like answering the ads with the potential girlfriend quizzes.  Now, I don’t expect romance to blossom from answering these quizzes, I just like taking the test. It reminds me of those quizzes Cosmo magazine used to have. Cosmo may still have those quizzes. I wouldn’t know as I am no longer a member of their target demographic and haven’t looked at a Cosmo magazine in years. I do occasionally drink Cosmos – they’re yummy!

There was one ad that caught my eye. It was titled Pretend Girlfriend Wanted. I was hooked and clicked on the title. This is what I read.

After reading ad after ad on Craig’s List about individuals seeking to find a relationship offering meaning, contentment, or an opportunity to be spanked by a dominant transgender nun, I have decided that all I really want right now is a pretend relationship. 

The benefits of a pretend relationship lie in being able to communicate (via email only) with another individual about things that are not actually occurring in one’s life. It’s the incredible chance to be completely dishonest with another individual who wants nothing more than a beautiful pretend connection with another soul. 

We needn’t share photos, real names, or accurate personal data. I will never ask you to call me, meet me, or send me your bank account routing number to help a deposed Nigerian dictator who will pay you back in millions. I just want to have a deep, intense relationship that has no actual roots in reality. 

To be my pretend girlfriend, you must be exceedingly intelligent, articulate, and edgy. Your sense of humor must be phenomenal — I would never pretend date someone who was not incredibly funny. You should be quite beautiful with striking features, (though I will never really know if it’s true). It’s essential that your mastery of English includes proper spelling. I will pretend break-up with you in a heartbeat if you make lots of typos. That’s a major turn off… 

I am (in truth, just this once) a really bright, very good looking professional, (don’t believe it, I am already lying to you) who is probably running a bit hypo-manic in recent weeks. I am coming off of a very painful pretend-break up, so I might be pretend rebounding right now. 

Potential pretend girlfriends please note: I will not respond to any replies that include photos of your penis. (I don’t expect any such replies, but it seems like that’s what everyone writes at the end of their ads…) 

I am so looking forward to hearing from you….. 🙂 

This could be the pretend relationship I had been looking for all of my life. I’m intelligent, articulate and edgy, or at least that is how I imagine I am. I also imagine that I am taller, more toned and never have a bad hair day.  Imaginary me is quite the catch.

I decided to respond to this ad and used my alter ego email account. Imaginary me has her own email address.  This is what I wrote.

Finally, a  pretend relationship I can wrap my mind around if not my shapely, toned arms and deliciously long legs. I do believe you may be the pretend boyfriend I have been hoping would show up in my inbox. 

I, too, desire a pretend lover who has mastered the English language.  And while I can overlook the occasional typo in the heat of the moment, the inability to distinguish the difference between there, their and they’re leaves me wondering just how much of the lottery proceeds are actually being spent on education.

I do love to laugh and I am so happy to discover that a sense of humor is also important to you. My friends, both real and imaginary, tell me I’m funny. I do love being around people who possess a quick wit.  I know your missives will be filled with humorous insights about the daily imagined events in your life. I can hardly wait to read your first email.

I must confess that I’ve been reading the CL ads for a few weeks now and I have been alarmed at the number of men who post such seriously awful pictures of themselves.  If they would just smile, they would look so much better, unless they are missing their teeth, in which case, they might be better off posting a photograph of their dog or truck. I picture you with a wonderful smile and just a bit of mischief in your eyes. Thank you for not posting a picture as I would hate to have my fantasy of how gorgeous and sexy you are ruined by poor lighting or an unflattering camera angle.

I am thrilled that I can pretend to be someone I am not with you or perhaps I can be myself at last.  You will never know for sure.  This is incredibly liberating.  Thank you so much for your consideration.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Over the next few weeks, our pretend relationship grew. We regaled each other with humorous imagined anecdotes from our pretend lives. I can’t go into all the details as some of the emails were a bit racy. Imaginary me, at times, can be a little dirty. And then it happened.

He wanted to exchange photos, but I demurred. He then asked to meet, and added,  I’m married, is that a problem?  

Hell, yeah, it’s a problem! In his ad, he had said he would never ask to meet. Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he was married, after all, if he can’t keep his pretend promises to a Craigslist stranger, why would he honor his marriage vows.

We had such a good thing going and he had to introduce reality into the equation. That never turns out well. As entertaining as the pretend relationship had been, I knew it was time for a pretend breakup. I sent my pretend lover one last email.

Sadly, my work as an undercover operative for the DEA might endanger your life if we were to meet.  Between my job, my sideline business choreographing pole dance routines and my volunteer work at a local center helping transgender nuns adjust to their new identities, I have little time for a real lover. A pretend relationship is really all I can handle right now, but thanks for the pretend memories. Oh, and good luck with that marriage thing.

Imaginary me is back on the market, and I’m told she is quite the catch.

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11 thoughts on “Finding Pretend Love on Craigslist

  1. Truly your best! You’re on to something girlie! Why don’t you submit this to the Wall Street Journal for the Personal Journal section?

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  3. I agree–it’s your best yet!!!!! My brother & I laughed out loud–oh, I mean LOL!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Very nice, Sandy. Keep on keeping on with your writing. The whole issue of identity and fantasy – acknowledged, hidden and not yet understood – the inner investigation into who are we, exactly, at any stage in our life is always rich for mining. I’m glad yours was an account to share with intrigue and humor. A couple years ago, a documentary “Talhotblond” made it to MSNBC – a dark real world cautionary note on how visceral these electronic fantasy exchanges can develop… that there remains a wildness to the human psyche and that our behavior is all about what we perceive, not what “is”.

    • I didn’t realize I was so deep! But you are so right, there is much to explore in how we perceive reality and how we come to know who we are and who we want to be. Thanks so much for reading, Mark, and for giving me some ideas to explore.

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