inspiration, Interviews, Uncategorized

That One Time I Posted in the Casual Encounter Section of Craigslist: My Interview with a Poster

It is not everyday that I get to sit down and have an open conversation with a woman who has admitted to posting suggestive pictures of herself on Craigslist. If you aren’t already aware, there is a page on Craigslist for Casual Encounters where posters can post about seeking any type of sexual experience. Requests vary from the most grotesque to the average three or foursome. There are swingers, transsexuals, homosexuals and others seeking a little bit of Fifty Shades.

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Personals Section of the Site
The New York Times gives some statistics for the site in an article written a couple years back. The Casual Encounter section accounts for 2% of all posting on Craigslist. Despite this small percentage, the Personals section, (of which Casual Encounters is a part of), has a higher rate of traffic than any other online personals site, (eHarmony, Match and Yahoo! Personals included). One major draw is the ability to remain anonymous, at least initially, and therefore, be honest about what one’s true desire. Despite all of this, it remains a taboo that isn’t openly discussed.

Posters can attach pictures to their posts to attract a greater response. At first, it might be thought that posters are all social outcasts, 40-year old virgins, and prostitutes. But that is not the case. There are a great deal of everyday people posting, looking for the partner with which to fulfill their fantasies. Selena* chose to post on the site for another reason altogether. Yes, she wanted to fulfil the curiosity that the site naturally encourages, but she was primarily looking for a self-esteem boost.

My interview with her sheds light on an aspect of her personality that led her to need attention enough to result to this. While she did not pose nude or show any part of her you wouldn’t see in a bathing suit, she still felt dirty after receiving responses. Ultimately, her experience is not one she recommends. She reminds us the very real things that could happen if a woman did opt to follow through and meet with a responder.

My Interview with Selena* – A One-Time Craigslist Casual Encounter Poster

Q: Selena*, my first question, why would you want to post pictures of yourself online? And what kind of pictures did you post?

A: Well, honestly, I have always wondered about the people who post pictures of themselves in this casual encounter corner of Craigslist. Sometimes I just go through all the postings reading and wondering what drives a person to do this. And, of course, what kind of response they receive. Sometimes the posters will refer to the responses they received as being unwanted or different than what they asked for. I just really wanted to know. So, I took four pictures of myself from shoulders down in a deep-v lace body suit. I didn’t want my face to show and they weren’t overtly sexual. I don’t want to have those out there forever!

Me: I understand, everything is permanent online!

Selena*: (Laughing) Yes, it really is. And I do value my career and my future, I didn’t want this one experiment to label me. And worse, what if I did have my face in the picture and somebody on the street recognized me, that would be terrible!

Me: Indeed, it would be. But let me ask, interesting word choice. You saw this as an experiment?

Selena*: Yes, I really did. I am not going to say that sleeping around is bad, but it is not my personal choice. I prefer relations with men after a personal connection has been established. Even then, I am picky!

Me: So you weren’t actually attempting to solicit sex through this ad?

Selena*: Well, in regards to what I actually wrote, yes, I was. My post was short, just four sentences, but I made sure it reflected mainstream pornographic culture to garner a healthy response. But I didn’t personally want to solicit sex. I was trying to see what kind of responses I would receive.

Me: What else compelled you to do this experiment? You must have great self-esteem to post any part of you online in a suggestive way. Especially on a platform designed for hookups.

Selena*: Honestly, my self-esteem isn’t very good. I am often worrying about what others think of my body and whether men find me attractive sexually. I am of a curvy frame and I often feel that I am not what is generally considered attractive.

Me: So were you concerned about the responses then? Did you ever consider that you may receive rude responses from these men? How did you weigh this against possible positive responses?

Selena*: Yes, when I did this, I was worried that I would receive nasty responses from men calling me fat or undesirable. But I also needed the affirmation from the men that I was desirable. My need for someone to desire me, even a creepy man behind a computer, outweighed my fear of being ridiculed. I suppose I just wanted to know what it would feel like to get that kind of attention, the sexual kind, in a safe way.

Me: Well, I think you look fantastic today. I don’t know why anyone would find you unattractive.

Selena*: (blushing) Thank you, I am trying really hard to remind myself every day that I am beautiful. I think this experiment really opened my eyes to the despair I could fall into.

Me: Despair? Please elaborate.

Selena*: Well, I guess I mean that I now understand something key. I follow a lot of plus sized models on Instagram and they are always letting their bodies show, and I think that is beautiful, the confidence. But sometimes they let way more skin show than I would feel comfortable doing, and I am not plus sized. Then I go to bars with my friends and I see plus size girls dressing the same way and I wonder if there is something wrong with my thinking that keeps me from showing all that skin. I watch these girls throw themselves at these guys and the guys pay attention generally, but never to me. I can’t help but wonder if they are attracted to the confidence, the girl, or the fact that she is letting it all hang out.

Me: Interesting, this is something I have also wondered about. I am also curvy, not plus sized, and I often feel lost between the thin and the plus sized women. It is kind of a no man’s land.

Selena*: Seriously! And you are built much more athletically than I. I am totally envious of your muscle girl!

Me: (laughing) Thank you! Well, I think the main question now is, just what kind of responses did you get?! Where they like you expected?

Selena*: Oh my! (blushing) I received some interesting responses for sure. They were all positive though! That was the best part. It was actually funny, I posted it and then I opened my email. I had no responses for five minutes. I was so sad, so I closed my email and decided to take a shower. 15 minutes later, I checked my email again and I had 42 emails. All responses. After that, I was receiving about a response a minute. I was so overwhelmed!

Me: Wow! That’s a lot of responses. Any that were memorable?

Selena*: Yes, originally, I hadn’t intended to respond to anyone. However, as the responses started flooding in, I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the responders said really nice things and seemed like really nice guys. I had to remind myself under what circumstances they were emailing me!

Me: So is the posting still up?

Selena*: No, I took it down after about 30 minutes. I got such a large response that it was too much for me. Plus, I ultimately wasn’t comfortable with the kind of talk that the posting elicited. I am very private about my sex life so the blunt responses were very overwhelming and kind of gross. I could just imagine the type of guy who trolls Casual Encounter postings on Craig’s List.

Me: I take it you weren’t imaging Prince Charming.

Selena*: Not at all! (laughs) I was expecting some creepy guys.

Me: What is the weirdest response you received?

Selena*: One guy said some nice things, beautiful body, that type of thing. And at the end of his email, he asked to be notified of any donations.

Me: Oh! Wow, I hadn’t considered that.

Selena*: Neither had I! Honestly, I didn’t understand that at first. Then I realized, he meant money most likely. Which opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I thought to myself, wow, suddenly the number of people posting on here is more understandable. Not assuming all are looking for money, but if you are already willing to have a random hookup, then the idea of donations would be a bonus, I assume.

Me: Going back to your self-esteem, after all this attention, how do you feel now?

Selena*: I felt a bit dirty at first. Especially when the responses started rolling in. But I did feel good too. It was so heartening to receive all that attention. Granted it was sexual attention and it was because I elicited it, but I still felt good to hear that all these guys wanted me. I understand that they might just respond to anything or that they are totally gross, but I felt good. I left this experience knowing that if I chose to be overtly sexual and dress provocatively, I would get a response.

Me: Is this something you intend to do again?

Selena*: Absolutely not! Once was enough! It wasn’t a bad experience by any means, but I defiantly realized how precious my body is and how much I value myself. I don’t want to receive attention just for the sake of attention, and that’s what I did with this. I want honest attention from guys interested in me, not my body. So, going back to the previous question, I suppose my self-esteem was affected because I am much more self-assured now.

Me: Is this something you would recommend other women do?

Selena*: Well, I suppose if you really want to, sure. But I would caution against it. You just never know with the internet. I realized afterwards that somebody could maybe trace my IP Address and find out my location or something like that. I am probably paranoid, but safety is important! And never actually respond or meet with these guys. The least worry is that they have a disease, the worst is that something terrible could happen.

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*Name has been changed for confidentiality reasons.
inspiration

My First Junior League Charm

This last Wednesday, my volunteer organization, Junior League of Riverside (JLR), had our Annual Meeting. This is my first with the organization, I have been with them for a few months and I have loved every minute of it so far. I have been able to be myself, giving unsolicited advice and ideas, getting involved in newsletters and social media, being a leader in an appropriate way, and having a Book Club (!!!!!).

Now, I have been a part of many organized things, such as sports teams, rec groups, Little League, and others. However, I have never been a part of a group where the members openly welcomed and accepted me. I have always had one or two friends in the group with other organized activities, but with JLR, I feel like I am valued and truly a part of something great.

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So, this last week, I attended the Annual Meeting. I knew that they were collecting orders and money for the JLR charm (for a necklace or bracelet) at the same time. Because of my current financial situation, the charm was outside of my reach and I was actually sad about that. I had been a little envious of the ladies who would show up to meetings wearing their charms – I wanted one. I wanted to be able to wear my charm with pride as well. But, I understood why I couldn’t do it now and I just reminded myself that soon I would be able to purchase my own.

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Myself and other JLR members at the Annual Meeting

Well, at the meeting, which was beautiful, they called up all of the new members one-by-one and presented us all with a square box. Inside was my very own charm from the jeweler. Now, none of the ladies knew how much that meant to me because I held it in (well, they do now if they read this), but I can tell you that I cried when I got home and took it out of the package. I was so happy that I had my very own that I get to now wear with pride.

My point with this story is to share how important and meaningful some of the simplest things can be. My charm means something to me. Its representative of my first commitment to a volunteer organization outside of the ones my parents have been involved with. The things I do for or with the League are all my own, based on my abilities and my commitment. But the best part is that I am developing relationships with women I really like. They, like me, are choosing to commit to the organization because they also love it and what we do. I am with a group of like minded women who want to better our communities and ourselves. My charm represents all of that and it is a charm I will cherish forever.

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My new charm!

If you are local and want to check JLR out, let me know! If you are not and want to see about Leagues in your area, visit: ajli.org

fashion, inspiration

Favorite Summer Necklaces

I am a HUGE jewelry lover. I singlehandedly probably own more jewelry than you and your mother do. It is something I collect, I cherish, and I plan on sharing with my daughters and grand daughters someday. My favorite part about jewelry is that even though seasons and trends change, the jewelry you wear is always relevant. It allows you to showcase your personality and your likes. Simply put, I believe the jewelry you wear is representative of you!

I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces for the summer. There is also links for where to purchase them (click on the caption!).

  1. The head-Turning OMG Necklace
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Peacock Plumes Statement Necklace

This necklace is super beautiful! Totally in trend for summer with the turquoise color, but also perfect for fall with the dark green and light browns also found in it. The peacock design is reminiscent of loyalty, timelessness and beauty to me and I just love how well it goes with everything! It pops with a black, navy or brown solid top and brings a freshness to a white blouse.

 

This necklace is the product of the company I represent, Chloe + Isabel, so I can attest to the quality and beauty of the piece.

2. The Not-So-Simple Long Necklace

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Zayne Long Necklace

Give me a long necklace any day of the week and I will be a happy camper. They are so easy to put on and in a beautiful ivory stone, a no brainer!

 

I love Kendra Scott pieces because they are excellent quality, real stones and look beautiful. The best part of many of the pieces is the adjustable length that allows for decoration down your back too.

I am picturing this necklace in the rose colored metal because I love rose gold, but it also comes in silver and gold metals.

 

3. The Sliding Classic

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Sliding Ring Bolo Necklace

This necklace is so easy to wear! The O slides on the chains to be shorter or longer. It also has a lobster clasp in back to that is=t can be even longer or a bit shorter. The dangling chain is on trend, but the classic brushed gold look is minimalist and classic.

 

I will admit, when I saw this necklace in store, I picked it up right away. I knew I needed to have it and I have been so thankful I purchased it since! The chain is smooth and delicate but great quality. No way will it break on you. Plus, it is Madewell, so you know it is made well.

 

4. The Colorful Statement Necklace

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Golden Lotus Necklace

This necklace captured my heart because of the unique look and detail. Plus, it has colors that I love! I like the fact that the cord is silk and not metal, allows it to be light and comfortable on hot days.

 

This is another piece from Chloe + Isabel (I know! But I really love the summer pieces! They are so unique!). The metal has some movement so that the necklace moves with you. I just love the lotus design on this necklace.  It just makes me feel so relaxed and at peace while the colors make me happy!

5. The Metal Statement

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Georgina Gold Fringe Necklace

I am a wholehearted believer that every woman should have that one necklace that she can throw on with her leather jacket and band tee that makes her feel bad ass. This necklace is that for me.

 

This one is also adjustable so it can be longer and more casual, or worn near the neck for a real statement maker. The tassel design is on-trend but the classic style makes it a timeless piece.

Done in a gold metal, this piece will be perfect in any season and you will find yourself reaching for it more often than you anticipate. Kendra Scott sure knows how to design a kick ass necklace!

Visit the links and shop around! You can say so much with the jewelry you wear. And the bet part? It always fits, no matter what size, shape or weight you are! The jewelry you buy today will be the jewelry you wear for the next 10, 15, 20+ years.

Leave a comment and let me know what you love, hate or want more of!

 

inspiration, thoughts

Acceptance: Because I CAN Accept Myself.

acceptance

Acceptance, such a simple word. It is comprised of the root ‘accept’ and the suffix ‘ance’ which denotes a quality or state or an instance of, in this case, accept. So, acceptance. We all desire this, even those of us who do everything in our power to be different, we want, need people to accept us as we are. We may be different, normal, stupid, smart, slutty. funny, fat, skinny, average, muscular, straight, gay, bisexual, or just plain undecided on all fronts.

Monday I got word from a potential employer that they were not going to pursue my application further. This came on the back on about four other rejection emails earlier in the day. I was crushed. I really wanted this position. It was everything I have seen myself doing, where I wanted to live, what I wanted to do, and I saw it opening doors into a future career after my Masters, if I pursued that route. And then they said no, I felt defeated, deflated and dejected. Now, I understand my job hunting woes are not singular to myself, many people are struggling finding a career, but I have always had such success. I have never been out of a job long. I got an interview and then I would get the job. In short, I felt I have always been accepted.

I received the email on my way to a Yankees/Angels game Monday night. I sat there, in the back seat of the car and felt my heart shatter. Now, the employer didn’t know that their email would have that affect, they didn’t know how invested I had been in my research, my planning, and my desire to make it work. I didn’t tell them and they didn’t ask. because those things aren’t ever communicated in the interview process. So, there I sat. I read the email and my heart broke. Tears welled up in my eyes and my shaking hands dropped my phone into my lap, I was devastated. I sat through that care ride wondering, “why?” Why didn’t they accept me?

There is that word again, accept. And when I wasn’t accepted by this employer I really wanted to have accept me, I began to reject myself. I began questioning myself. Was the issue me? Was I really not a “good fit” for the position, or did I simply lack the skill? Maybe I was just not the right look or personality or have the right motives, or the right ideas, reading the right books… gawsh the list could go on! I was questioning everything.

But then something happened. It wasn’t conscious, but the tears stopped and I shrugged my shoulders. I realized something, finally, that if I couldn’t accept myself, how could I expect someone else to accept me? If I keep talking the talk and not walking that same talk, how could I expect to get anywhere? Always being able to pick up a job led me to believe that I was being accepted, but I haven’t truly been accepted. I have played parts, in retail, in school, in sports. I was playing a role. Now, the struggle comes from the ability to pick the way the next several years of my life will go. Now, I get to pick a full-time job, something that requires skills, or maybe something that allows me to move where I want to be… I don’t know. Fear constantly looms on the horizon as I wonder whether I will be accepted by others. But maybe, maybe I don’t need to have everyone accept me. My acceptantance is enough.

Acceptance, insistence of accept, to be accepted. This blog is me accepting myself. And I have only just now realized that. I am honest here. I talk about things I actually want to talk about. It is great to have readers, and I hope what I have to say somehow touches you and helps you, but this is for me. I am accepting myself. Because I don’t need an employer to choose me to know that I am worth choosing. Because I am friggin’ awesome and really, it’s their loss. Not mine. And I can accept that.

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