After living in the city the majority of my life my family and I moved to a small town farming community in Iowa. It’s a massive culture shock for us but well worth it. We were tired of the chaos, the crime, the commotion. We longed for simplicity, peace and quiet.
It’s been two years since we’ve relocated and I have a list of places in Iowa City I want to check out. The city is a 40 minute drive from our home.
I thought, a gal pal would be great. I thought, maybe making a friend in Iowa City will be good for me. I thought, she can show me the lay of the land and we can check out the sights while learning from one another. I thought, this will be super cool.
I decided to check out the Strictly Platonic ads on Craigslist. It’s not possible the good people of Iowa can be as weird and whacked as the residents of Phoenix, right?
Some of the ads I read were off the chart. One ad read, “Hates people and doesn’t want to hang out but text me if you want.” Another read, “Platonic only. Do not try to fuck me.” Then there’s the one that read,” I work a lot. I’m looking for a cuddle buddy late at night because I need human touch.”
Then there’s the 62 year old. “My interests include walking, reading, going to movies, going out to eat, and going to garage sales.” Reasonable, somewhat similar interest and age gap doesn’t matter to me, but she lives over an hour from here and in the opposite direction from Iowa City.
Uh, I’m unsure why this is in the Strictly Platonic section. “hey guys havent mess with a dude have dreamed about watch a guy masturbate and cum if you like to be watch I will Lov to hit me up be around my age plz no GRANDPAS please just let me watch you that’s it” Nor am I sure why I’m surprised it is.
I realized this wasn’t working for me. I decided to place my own ad. I feel It’s appropriate and concise. Perhaps if I’m sought out as opposed to seeking the outcome may be more hopeful.
The response I received was both over and underwhelming. I wondered, did my ad sound desperate?
I had one person email me 11 times. Yes, 11 in a two day span. I had only replied to her once after she sent the first email. By the 11th email she asked me to pick her up at the airport and take her to lunch. I felt stalked. I thought, yeah-no we’re not on the same page.
I also received this short but forward and to the point email from another person. “Not sure.why I got your ad sent to me but I am interested in someone with similar interests to me. We can email or text though.”
A response from another person, “Sorry soo late. I am interested in you and your life, by what you posted. I live in Des Moines area, so us meeting, I don’t see very close in the future or practical, but I would really like to talk to you. Everything you said intrigues me. I’m just up late, fixing veggies to freeze for smoothies. I used to love to write hand written letters. As to another writer. I’ve got so many questions to ask, well, maybe a few, and maybe you have so much to say, to willing listening ear. Would love to hear from you.”
I don’t even know why this person replied to my ad. He replied with nothing that has to do with my ad. “ hi love saw ur post am 62 mm looking for friend like you, was wondering if u care to chat u can text me.” What does mm mean? I’m so out of touch with today’s lingo.
Then there was this response. “Hello, I am a married 60-year-old female. I get bored. My husband works days. When he gets home from work, he just wants to watch television and I am itching to get out and visit or do something active. I can get out in the evenings and on weekends, but it is not fun to do things all alone. I have lived in this area most of my life but don’t have many friends and have never been popular. My sister and I used to do activities together but she is busy now with grandchildren. I would like to know more about you.”
Then I received this.
How perfect — what a relief. Finally, someone I could connect with. I replied to her email later that day but I haven’t heard back from her. That was two weeks ago. I’m disappointed and not disappointed, if that makes sense. At this point my expectations have dropped quite a bit.
Is it my ad? Is it me? Is this a dumb idea? Should I go it alone? I never needed anyone else to be adventurous. Why do I think I do now? Am I wasting valuable time while I could be checking out the sights? Does the universe have some grand plan for me and I should patiently wait until it becomes clear?
Am I putting too much thought into this?
I asked myself all these questions and although my answers told me my efforts are unnecessary — I decided to create a new Craigslist ad this morning and give it another go. This time I was more direct. Perhaps my choice of words in the previous ad weren’t exactly what I had intended to say.
If nothing else, I have learned from this experience. I feel I can walk away with knowledge about others and myself I didn’t have before.
If there’s one thing placing a Strictly Platonic ad on Craigslist has taught me is it might actually be more fun to do things alone. In reality there are bizarre people out there. Myself included.
Also, there’s a difference between need and want. I want someone to hangout and see the sights with with me but only need myself to actually do it.
I’m not lonely or desperate or clingy. I’m open and creative and adventurous. Perhaps the responses and replies I receive from my new ad will be different. Maybe they won’t.
The truth is it’s the culture, art and food I’m longing for. It’s the movies, museums, book stores, attractions and events that interest me. It’s about the adventure and the experience itself. The friendship would be an added bonus, but not a necessary one.
Regardless, there’s a free showing of the documentary River to River- Iowa’s Forgotten Highway 6 this week at the Iowa City Public Library. No matter what the outcome, I’ll be there, with or without a gal pal.