Your Match on Craigslist--by a Victorious Veteran
by Prof. Barbara Foster
As the New Years Eve hullabaloo in Times Square exploded, I followed
suit with a cataclysmic orgasm. That was the good news! Then things
became Byzantine! Did complications arise because I met Desmond
on Craigslist, where a dizzying succession of weirdos and losers
answered my ad? Since that New Years, I’ve evolved a strategy,
plus adopted a scientific detachment to cope with disappointment
after romantic reality and expectation turn out to be light years
apart. I gained this wisdom gradually in Craigslist’s trenches
over two years after meeting more than one-hundred-and-fifty suitors
who allegedly aspired to be my partner for all seasons.
Eager beavers from twenty to seventy responded to the ad I posted
for an “attractive, mature, sophisticated man unafraid to
show his feelings in a long term relationship with potential for
growth on both sides.” Since the majority of my in the flesh
meetings with wannabe lovers had headed south, imagine my delight
when age appropriate Desmond materialized. Straightaway, unlike
most men on Craigslist who grudgingly pay for coffee, Desmond
invited me to dinner in a Zagat rated Japanese restaurant. That
he lived in Chelsea, a nearby neighborhood, racheted up his allure.
I posted my ad two months before New Years. Once again, like a
Pavlovian rat adhering to previous behavior my anxiety level,
as the days ticked toward the big night, escalated. Whether or
not I had “plans,” as well meaning friends inquired
solicitously, became a hot button. Desmond’s appearance
made it unnecessary to scavenge the woods for a suitable companion.
It was taken forgranted that we would be together when the ball
dropped. Meanwhile, we attended art openings, concerts, plays
and dance events.
Had we dined exclusively on burgers at McDonald’s, I would
have been content. In the engineering field, Desmond had traveled
the seven seas for business and pleasure. His conversation segued
from Proust to Stephen Hawking’s theories without a trace
of pretentiousness. Of Greek descent, tall and slim like an athlete
in Classical times who competed for prizes in Olympic games, his
body moved across the floor with amazing lightness. Daily workouts
at a local gym kept off extra pounds apt to puff out men in their
mid-fifties--his age. A lascivious twinkle, that hinted of expertise
in the bedroom, danced in his eyes.
Desmond’s savoir-faire--uncommon in American men--made me
wonder if he’d ever made an awkward move. Most striking,
he listened to whatever I said with utter concentration as though
I were the Greek Cybele predicting the outcome of the Persian
War. Meanwhile, he kept me off balance by tender gestures: a peck
on my nose as we said g oodnight; his gift of a love lyric--he
copied onto tinted paper bordered with golden hearts--by the Greek
poet Giorgos Seferis. Desmond’s slow, deliberate courting
made me impatient for total intimacy.
During November, we went out every other night. For Thanksgiving,
he invited me to a lavish dinner with his sister’s family
in Westchester. The next evening, at his apartment on Central
Park West, we became lovers. His first passionate kiss sucked
up my lips making them his forever. Prolonged embraces ecstatically
joined Desmond’s yang with my yin, fitted our bodies naturally
together like twins entwined in their mother’s womb. “I
give you my sperm, I give you my soul,” whispered Desmond.
Afterward, as we lay together, Desmond discussed our projected
trips to Europe and farther flung locales. Confident, I let my
emotional drawbridge down--in truth, sawed it in pieces.
Never had I looked forward to a New Years Eve so expectantly.
Outfits were selected, discarded, then selected again. I spent
my month’s clothing budget on a black dress with a neckline
that plunged nearly to my belly button. Black silk pumps with
heels that made me teeter and totter put me in the holiday spirit
sober. Tricked out, I felt like a mature version of Carrie Bradshaw
in “Sex and the City” armored to rampage a round New
To avoid the Times Square congestion, we dined at a quaint restaurant
in the East Village. Over dessert, Desmond’s conversation
took an unexpected turn. Tacitly, up to now, we avoided any discussion
of former romances. Such musings could rip the romantic fabric
we had stitched together so carefully with gossamer threads. Therefore,
it surprised me when Desmond lapsed into a long dissertation about
his ex-wife. As his words burst in the air like bubbles from the
celebratory champagne on hand to toast the New Year, my face lost
Animated like a young boy recalling his first date, Desmond relived
the spring day--alive with chattering crowds in cafes and charcuteries--he
escorted his ex-wife to an exclusive lingerie shop on the Parisian
Left Bank. His mission: to find Claire the perfect bra to bewitch
her we althy lover--CEO of an international corporation.
Desmond, as he enumerated the assortment of featherweight bras
made of laces, satins, tul les, taffetas and silks which contoured
the breasts without “inhibiting them or cutting off their
circulation,” or “pinching in the back” (a fault
of cheaper brands), became rhapsodic as though the fabrics were
caressing his skin. Sighs escaped his lips, his hands stroked
the air, a slight spasm contracted his neck.
Inside the fitting room, as Desmond explained in excruciating
detail, Claire tried on practically all the examples on hand.
Eventually, she selected a sea foam green, underwire design in
eyelet cotton by Chanterelle. Definitively, Desmond rejected her
choice, along with an array of other styles--demi and full--in
primary to the subtlest of colors. Fortunately, the Holy Grail
of bras could be made to measure--a feature of the boutique which
employed two top-of-the line seamstress accomplished at whipping
up divine creations in forty-eight hours.
Making sinuous motions with his hands while outlining Claire’s
contours and nipples, Desmond di d his best to approximate her
colossal cup size. In the U.S., he fretted, only specialty stores
carried a decent selection of bras for truly abundant mammaries.
Instinctively, I clutched my thirty-four A’s which, compared
to Claire’s melons, were seeds. Now my black nylon lingerie,
purchased on sale at Filene’s especially to arouse Desmond
ardor, struck me as the ultimate in tacky.
Desmond explained further how, on the spot, he made a sketch of
his fantasy bra of bras: A flesh tinted affair in moody grey voile
so fine as to be almost invisible--part of her skin. He added
a ruffle of maroon lace to spice up his creation. Desmond bragged
that his design encompassed the naughtiness of a can-can dancer,
the poetry of a muse, the deadly charm of a Femme Fatale added
to the icy allure of an aristocratic woman on a pedestal. Tipsy
from champagne, I blinked to erase the mass of bras dancing in
a chorus line before my eyes.
I almost gagged over the creme brule, my favorite dessert. Then,
as rapidly as superman changed outfits, Desmond reassumed his
normal, discreet persona. What did I think of the new building
design at MOMA ? Did Kant’s categorical imperative make
any sense in a world beset by terrorism and greenhouse gasses?
Despite my reservations, his dialogue engaged--no captivated--me
all over again. Like a trained seal in a circus, I jumped for
At Desmond’s ground floor apartment, two matching couches
and low tables in Art Deco designs were judiciously placed to
establish an intimate mood. A vaulted ceiling gave the living
room a Parisian flavor. Fresh air drifted in through curtained,
slightly ajar bay windows, behind which a large garden outside--fenced
in by a high wall--dozed throughout the winter season. Scented
candles were cleverly positioned in niches to create a magical
effect. A sound system wafted a Chopin nocturne throughout the
several rooms, into alcoves filled with bookcases as well as nineteenth
century sculptures and paintings.
Spontaneously, I raised my lips for Desmond’s kiss, my arms
to embrace the Janus faced devil whose smile wiped away any negative
impact his words might have. At the stroke of midnight, we made
love on the couch--unable to restrain ourselves till we got to
the bedroom. Could Desmond, perhaps the entire neighborhood, hear
the bomb detonating inside me? The auspicious hour added a sacred
dimension to our coupling. That we consecrated this New Years
together, our first in each other’s arms, buttressed my
hope that many more would follow.
Stretching contentedly in bed, sleep about to overtake me, I reached
out to kiss Desmond’s fingertips. Abruptly, he pulled them
away. Then he sat up and began to speak in a low tone. By now
I hoped for the best but instinctively clenched my toes to prepare
for the worst. Again Desmond’s monologue was Claire centered.
This time Desmond filled in more of the backstory on his marriage,
parts of which harked back to the Story of O. Panting, Desmond
explained how both he and Claire would wait for her favorite lover’s
phone call. Ting-a-ling, husband and wife sprung into action.
The protocol never varied. While Desmond masturbated, Claire selected
an outfit for that night’s rendezvous. Winter or summer,
she wore nothing underneath. Gentlemanly Desmond found her a taxi
to the Lower East Side, then “twiddled his thumbs”
in her absence.
At home again, en famille, so Desmond could share her rapture,
Claire provided full and juicy details about the ingenious ways
her lover improvised to degrade her. Then Desmond took his cue
and carried on with the second shift. For the rest of the night--or
morning--husband and wife copied the positions Claire assumed
with her lover.
Why and how, I wondered, had this marriage worthy of a kinky porn
film dissolved? That Claire had several affairs going on simultaneously
struck Desmond as fine and dandy. There was no opportunity to
inquire, for Desmond’s motor mouth could not be silenced--other
than with a bullet. He sweated, groaned and farted while paying
tribute to these bygone, halcyon romps.
Limp, I wanted to crawl away like a animal whipped within an inch
of its life. However, Desmond had a few more surprises in store.
On Craigslist I had posted my ad in the relationship section--not
“intimate encounters”--clearly stating that I desired
a longterm monogamous connection. Therefore Desmond’s next
suggestion made me wonder what kind of game he was playing, or
if he were terribly nearsight ed and posted in the wrong category
Would I, he begged, getting up from bed to drop down on bended
knee, be his escort to swing clubs like Trapeze where men alone
were not allowed? If we went in together mucho “hot”
action would come our way. Frequent visits with Claire had taught
him the protocol which, he assured me, cut the risk of catching
STD’s way down. Additionally, security guards mitigated
against trouble from rowdy patrons. Did I, he inquired solemnly,
have any cute girlfriends who’d like meet an almost divorced,
very available man like himself? Would any of my chums be up for
a threesome? Then, throwing his arm across my belly, he fell asleep
New Years Eve developed into a night of the long knives that threatened
to go on forever. While Desmond slept like a happy infant after
being given its bottle, I stayed awake staring into the darkness
with aching eyes. Not once did I doze off. The champagne in my
stomach threatened to spout forth like a geyser. Finally, at six
A.M., I crept out of bed and threw my clothes on willy-nilly.
Not using the bathroom, I tiptoed out of the apartment. No taxis
in sight, I ran like a maniac down the street toward the closest
New Years day service was so slow that I had to wait what seemed
an interminable amount of time. My rumpled condition matched that
of a shopping bag lady with whom I shared a bench. Too exhausted
to cry, mucus poured out of my no se. The freezing cold outside
matched the temperature in my heart, which painfully thumped in
At home I leaped into bed, hid unde r the covers and tried to
block out the grotesque image of Desmond masturbating over Claire’s
lover as he bit her black and blue. Finally, I slept all of New
Years day. If the rest of the year went like this, a trip to the
North Pole or Madagascar became an appealing prospect.
After my contretemps with Desmond, what makes me an expert on
acing Cragslist? Fortunately, there is a postscript to the above
story. In time, gathering my forces, I placed another ad. Victory!
I met a wonderful yet reliable man--an utterly sexy beast, not
the type to spring surprises or concoct bizarre scenarios. At
last the wheel turned in my favor! Observing the pointers below,
hopefully it will do the same for you dear reader.
Treat your Craigslist search as a Zen journey. Be present but
not anxious, or overly focused on meeting a particular person
at a particular time. If things don’t work out with one
person, post again without wasting energy on regrets. Consider
your posting a job application sent to multiple companies--submit
one, then send out the next.
Do not demand a dinner date or something luxurious on a first
meeting. An expensive meal obligates you and can be torture with
a bore yacking in your ear. A quickie coffee frees you to escape
without elaborate excuses or guilt feelings.
Unless you’re feeling Demi Mooresque, search Craigslist
for age appropriate candidates. Ages can be entered in boxes which
narrow the search to your chosen range.
Do not change fixed plans to meet the “love of your life.”
A ticket to resentment if things go awry, which well they might.
Post your own ad in addition to answering posts from those you
may be interested in meeting. An ad properly crafted can receive
a tremendous response. Many men avoid posting for various reasons
but readily answer an ad they see while trolling the list. Attach
your photo or not but never trust theirs.
Don’t be afraid to give your phone number to a man who appears
reliable. Monitor your calls to screen pervs, or those manque
from “intimate encounters.” in all my time on the
list, this problem did not arise. Men generally are very hesitant
to call. Brave online, many lack the courage to reveal themselves
to a human voice. A substantive phone conversation can save time
better spent in more fulfilling pursuits. On the phone you get
more than specs: desires, world view and how a man might fit into
your life can be ascertained. Talk first, meet later. Or not as
the case may be.
Insist that a candidate call you. Why build up your phone bill
calling to distant area codes on spec? If GU’s (geographic
undesirables) make contact, let it be t heir nickel.
Be prepared that every Craigslist aficionado will swear on his
mother’s grave (or breathing body) that you are the first
person he met online via a personal ad. Ha ha! Just shake your
head, record the information and drink a glass of wine.
It is not uncommon for a candidate you have corresponded with
on the list, or spoken to on the phone, to ask you out for a specific
night in all seriousness--even indicate a definite time and place
to meet. Before leaving home be sure to call and confirm the appointment.
It’s no fun to wait for a stranger who fails to show up.
Perhaps his “disabled” wifey got out of her wheelchair,
he found something better, or he got cold feet. Move on! The list
of prospects renews itself daily.
Know what you want in a man so you can pounce--discreetly--when
he shows up. There is such a thing as a Craigslist addiction.
Do not keep going through this revolving door eternally. Contacting
and posting carries a sexual charge that can be habit forming,
the hope, the buzz, the dream of eternal love. . . . There should
be a self help program like AA to handle this unfortunate compulsion.
Get on the boat when the right one arrives. Who knows if the next
will stop for you?
Foster is an Associate Professor and research
librarian at CUNY. She is co-author of three highly acclaimed
books, including the biographies Forbidden Journey (Harper/Collins)
and The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel (third printing Overlook,
2007). The New York Times reviewed her biography of David-Neel
favorab ly on three occasions: the “Bear in Mind”
column called it “a wonderful biography,” and “New
and Noteworthy” stated: “Hers was a great human life
very well written up.” The New York Review of Books rated
the biography "one of the best books of all-time."
Barbara is joint author of Three in Love: Menages a Trois from
Ancient to Modern Times (HarperSF, 1997), which is presently an
Authors Guild Selection available on iUniverse and amazon. The
subject of favorable feature stories in the Philadelphia Inquirer
and NY's Daily News. Entertainment Weekly praised Three, calling
it “racy and engaging”; the Washington Post said:
“the first serious study of collective intimacy”;
The New Yorker called it “a people’s almanac of love
triangle lore.” Recently, Barbara has been interviewed by
the BBC (Channel Four), CBC, ARTE (EU TV—international distribution),
S. Korea's SBS-TV, and CBS' 20/20 for TV documentaries on Polyamory,
Eve Ensler’s latest documentary on love as well as for articles
in the New York Post and the Times Literary Supplement. She is
at work on a sequel to Three, which will be the definitive study
of the history and psychology of plural love. Barbara has completed
her intimate memoir of her experiences in New York and other exotic
more information about THREE IN LOVE, please
Your Match on Craigslist--by a Victorious Veteran
2008 by Prof. Barbara Foster