Craigslist just yanked down its Casual Encounters section, now what?
Congress is hard at work these days: ISIS, mid-east tensions, a potentially crippling trade war with China, lack of health care for Americans, a crumbling infrastructure — but these things must wait.
The biggest threat to America currently is (apparently) single and filthy Craigslisters with their rampant “Casual Encounters.” As of March 23, one of the most popular hookup sites in the country removed its personals section. Congress approved.
As reported in a 2009 Wired article, Craigslist personals was once the most used personals site in the U.S., dwarfing the total combined usage of Match.com, eHarmony.com and Yahoo personals — and is still wildly popular today for things like homemade glory holes and nude sexting scams.
How this affront to easy sex came about, was that this week Congress passed HR 1865, intended to mitigate human trafficking by making the sites which may host a sex ad or two liable for “misuse” of third parties (users). The problem, however, is that the law inadvertently lumped the more dangerous and exploitive human trafficking with voluntary prostitution.
So if you happened to be settling into bed the night of March 23, trying to open one of the personals sections for a quick one-off with a random, you weren’t greeted with the usual laundry list of potential anonymous meat. You were greeted with a short paragraph from the website:
“Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day. “To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”
It remains to be seen whether the website will be able to compete without the hookup section amid the growing competition from market specific sites and phone apps.
While the law may seem like a decent attempt to reduce harmful human trafficking, it will likely have unintended consequences.
According to the Huffington Post, the rise in popularity of Craigslist personals coincided with a measurable drop in the female homicide rate. As much as 17 percent in some areas.
According to Scott Cunningham, a Baylor University researcher who contributed to the HuffPo article, “activists have been successful in painting prostitution as a one-dimensional evil that completely disregards the voices of many women who do this voluntarily.”
Cunningham offers that Craigslist afforded a level of protection for many women that they won’t have if they’re forced back on to the dangerous streets.
RETURN TO THE DARK AGES
But how does this affect the rest of us? Are we in danger now, too? Yes — of the forgotten rejection and work that came with real world hooking up.
If you’re like me, it means the website is now about as interesting as a box of rocks. It means we’ll all have to come out of the dark and go out and meet people the old-fashioned way. It means we all must “up” our game in RT and actually buy someone a drink and make them laugh with dad puns before we can expect the object of our lust to consent to disrobing.
I imagine it’ll be much like the last scene of the movie Surrogates, when Bruce Willis offs all the robots and people begin to slowly emerge from their homes, blinded by natural light, and begin to rediscover the “real world.” If you’ve never experienced the frantic last-minute maneuvers to “connect” when bars yell out last call, you’re about to.
You may be scratching your head wondering how you’re going to get laid now that all dating sites are tainted. Many wonder the same thing. But my advice is this: scratch with one hand because the other one ... let’s just say, it’s going to be busy.