The Land of Craigslist Personals: Casual Encounters Edition

The re-entry into the world of poly-dom is so much more difficult than I remember it. What happened to the days where you could go to a house party or club and bring a girl or couple home for the weekend? I think the smattering of dirty diapers, legos and bringing work home from the office has successfully nipped that in the bud.

In desperation and with a type of insanity that can only be induced by sleep deprivation and the perpetually repeated motion of popping a pacifier into a small mouth, we turned to craigslist. Oh yes, that place where worth is measured in “roses,” spam messages prevail on high and no one is quite who they seem to be. However, this is the very place we turned to when it dawned on us, “Well crap! We don’t go anywhere or do anything – so, how are we going to meet people?” It was a tawdry venue that no one in their right minds ever admits aloud to turning to, but it seemed to an open sieve of available, like-minded people in our area – or so it seemed.

It is quite amazing how people will advertise themselves as a “bi couple” when really, she just wants to see what it is like to kiss another chick and he wouldn’t come near another guy with a ten-foot *cough* pole. Or, they are only interested in a “soft swap.” Well, really? What is the fun in that? That is just another tease, much like making out with other girl friends in a bar to attract a guy’s attention. There is just no really commitment in that. It lacks “poly-ness.” And, if they do want to really get down and dirty… the chick may be attractive, but the guy is in his mid-50’s with a beer belly and some weird mole-like thing on his head that I can’t stop staring at. In that situation, it is no wonder she is trying to find something new to look at.

We did find one bi guy that seemed ok, but his altruistic take on his place in the situation was disconcerting. “I just want to help couples fulfill their fantasies,” he wrote in an email to us. And then, there was the couple who truly annoyed me. They were looking for a couple that night, which was fine since we were child-free. However, after dozens upon dozens of emails back and forth, I felt they were wasted my time and entirely too timid. They stated that, if anything were to happen – they would be too shy to do so, leaving us to take the lead. Their feigned naivety seemed canned and by the time we ‘should’ have been in the throws of good times for all – they were just finally agreeing to meet up.

The last straw on the camel’s back was a weird one though. After sharing pictures and agreeing to get together with them about to walk out the door, they ask for a full body shot of me. The weird part is that it truly pissed me the f*** off. Suddenly, I was done for the night. I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to go to sleep and not have anyone get near me ever. At that moment, I realized several things. First, that if my husband had insisted, I would have gone on ahead and had sex with these strangers when I seriously did not want to now (and I would have most likely resented it), but I know he would never have insisted on it. Also, I’m having some mild post-pregnancy body confidence issues, which would really be punctuated by a photo of me sans lingerie, mood lighting and in-person charm. I have never been a fan of those type of photos, especially of myself, but at that moment, it felt like a complete slap in my face. Which compounded the last thing that I found myself realizing, my husband was so focused on finding someone other than just me to have sex with that he was essentially ignoring me. It wasn’t “us” looking, but him looking and giving me occasional highlights. I felt left-out and, well… lonely. I know he meant no harm by it, but it hurt.

I have absolutely nothing against and even really like the thought of re-entering poly-land, but there is a fine line to be walked by all people involved. And perhaps, craigslist personals are not the place to test out where that line is.

For more from Darla Carmichael, visit open.salon.com/tellingtosca.

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