How many of you use Craigslist? Hold on a second – I’m not talking about the, ‘Oh, I’m looking for an apartment’ Craigslist. I’m talking about ‘Gimme a h*** j** and I’ll give you a coffee table.’ Like that kind of Craigslist. THAT’s Crisglist. -Aziz Ansari
Oh my gosh you guys, Craigslist is the most amazing thing ever. If you’re talking about the pinnacle of human achievement, the alpha and omega of culture and society as a whole, than you’ve GOTTA be talking about the ol’ CL (as the kids say).
I’ve bought a stereo on Craigslist. I’ve sold furniture on Craigslist. And when I’m feeling down, I turn to Craigslist fur the pure, unbridled joy that can only come from the schadenfreude found on the Personals page.
The best thing about the personals page on Craigslist is that unlike the classifieds pages of days gone by that Craigslist itself is modeled after, they permit longer messages. This allows people to elaborate about themselves more, include pictures, misspell more words, create unintentionally funny messages and, perhaps most tellingly, shows an interesting phenomena in gender relations.
I call it the Assumption of Predisposed Intent.
Men write what they imagine a woman wants to hear, but from the perspective of a man. Women do the inverse. And the result is that most everyone sounds silly, creepy or desperate. Because instead, the men and women should be writing as themselves. This ties in with the lack of physical contact, which also explains some of the problems that can arise in online dating profiles. But this is really a problem with the male and female brains.
For years, we’ve heard the cliches that all seem to boil down to the conceit that “men are stupid and women are crazy,” but that’s really overstating it on both sides. They just have different opinions about what love and a relationship should be. So what should happen is that the men should think like women, and the women should think like men. So the guys need to change their writing to show more personality and less sex talk (preferably without shots of their junk), while the women need to be a bit more succinct in their word choice (and not write twenty paragraph essays on the guy they want to be with). We need to re-wire our own brains in order to really connect with others on their own levels. But this problem goes beyond singles posting on CL.
Whether it’s a job application, a memo, a presentation or even a conversation with a new friend, people don’t give enough consideration to their audience. Sometimes, we say things that make others uncomfortable without knowing it, or are oblivious to nonverbal cues from others that could help us understand them better. Whenever we talk or write to others, we have a tendency to choose our words and craft our sentences in a way that is pleasing to ourselves, not the audience.
So take the time to consider who you’ll be talking to. Focus on them. And then, if you’re really feeling up to it, send that post to “Missed Connections” so we can all see it. Or sell your couch. You know, whichever one you’re on the site for in the first place.