How to Find Love: A Journey Through Craigslist

Earlier this semester I was nearly killed on the L.A. freeway. As I stared at the bed I had just purchased, lying about 10 yards from the car, I knew that this might be it, and got ready to run for it. With Maxwell Hodge CM ‘09, I made a dash for the fallen bed, grabbed the mattress and the frame, and hoisted it once more onto the back of Max’s pickup truck. After roping it up we resumed our conversation about the meaning of life, the virtue of markets, and the selling of body parts. At the end of the trip, I paid Max for his time, and had successfully used Craigslist to purchase a $90 queen sized bed, which I’ve since jammed into my Stark single. (I tend to fall out of my school issued twin.)

I had already bought a couch ($15), a bookshelf ($10), a microwave ($15), a lamp ($8), and a George Foreman Grill ($25). And, best of all, the state of California’s whopping sales tax didn’t get a red cent from me. The Founding Fathers held a tea party and a revolution to avoid the tax; I have Craigslist. And yeah, I’m too broke to go to Wal-Mart.

Like California’s silly government, dating on campus imposes its own taxes, as anyone who has been to the TNC “meat market” knows well.

There’s the reputation tax that is extracted when your friends see you with someone and wonder if you are hooking up. This tax is paid in full in Sunday morning brunch gossip. There’s the alcohol tax, paid every time your friends remind you of that not particularly attractive girl you hooked up with that one time. But mostly, there’s the time tax: having a significant other that lives at most ten minutes from you can be mentally distracting. And hey, sometimes you just have to find out how sleazy something is for yourself.

For those hoping to pick up a Mr. or a Mrs. degree at the Claremont colleges, the mascots should have warned you off. Our mascots buck the trend of equality supposedly established when CMC began accepting women. For the women, it’s Athena. Goddess of wisdom and war, some of these womenfolk seem to have neglected the wisdom component and war among each other and the Scrippsies for the limited numbers of menfolk.

For men, fittingly a stag. The phrase “going stag” best captures our evenings, far removed as we are from the days of semi-formals, dating, or courtship. For whatever reason, no one seems to have the courage it takes to date. Still I hear the usual grumblings from guys on campus — that the women here are flighty, insecure, crazy, unavailable — but these guys never do anything to improve their lot. Instead, they obsess about particular women like Ahab and his white whale —never remembering that the white whale crippled Ahab and led to his downfall. (Thank you, Bob Faggen.)

Better to take the approach of a hedge fund manager — diversify your risk by having assets in multiple markets. Or, as a distinguished guest of CMC once put it, “have [ladies] in different area codes.”

Unfortunately these men do not heed the advice of that poet and never leave campus in search of other women. And search they should. There are over 50 schools in Los Angeles County and there seems to be a direct correlation between the easiness of the schools and the err… attractiveness…of the girls. Follow Willie Sutton’s approach to banking, and go where the women are. (But please avoid watching “Gossip Girl” marathons.)

The question for those who do want to look off campus is: how? To these men, I offer some advice: Craigslist. How ironic if one of Sillicon Valley’s nerdiest CEOs was helping you find true love?

That’s what drew me to the site. Initially, I didn’t want to talk about my personal life, but given that so many on campus seem to find it an interesting topic of conversation and discuss it on other websites—and because I have no plans to run for office, ever—I admitted to dating girls I had met on Craigslist. For some, this is modern day prostitution. (And for the D.A.s of numerous states, it actually is.)

Now, I didn’t pay anyone to date me, but I did pay for dinner and a movie on more than one occasion. (So much for gender parity. Frankly, I prefer a woman who gets her money up front to one that takes it in illiquid forms — teddy bears, flowers, chocolate, and the like.) Nor did I visit the more scandalous sides of that site, though this is more because I’d like to cling to whatever semblance of decency I may have than it is a commentary on the fine women I suspect populate its pages. I would, of course, recommend the website over Craigslist—if only because you’re more likely to attract a college student than a single mother.And hey, if it doesn’t work out, you can always head over to the free STD testing at human health services, if you’re so lucky.

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