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Craig's List is an online free bulletin board where anyone can post classified ads of nearly any kind. There are Craig's Lists, or CL's, for most large cities, featuring helpful ads for things like housing, jobs, items for sale, personals, and, most entertainingly, Missed Connections and Casual Encounters.

These last two, despite their ostensibly practical purposes, have devolved into a free-for-all where rumors are spread, bad poetry is written, battles are won and lost, and hearts are broken, all for our entertainment. The Week In Craig is your guide to the most fascinating accidental literary magazine on the web.


Missed Connections is supposed to be a place for finding long lost friends or hooking up with attractive strangers you saw on the street or the subway but were too shy to talk to. Many posts still fall into those categories, especially in smaller cities, but the New York board is crammed with ongoing conversations, personal messages, and, lately, ideas for ways to turn the subway system into a meat market.


This week the biggest trend on the New York Missed Connections board was set off by an ad proposing a "New Idea For Meeting Interesting Strangers On Subway...":

"We need a very simple way to visually "signal" to one another that we are...interested in the other person...I suggest this very simple would take either hand and brush it by your ear twice in a very unconscious kind of way. If the other person is interested, they would simply do the same. And, if it's really too difficult to initiate a conversation at that moment... each person would look for the other on CL."

This post ignited a firestorm of replies (and even made it on several other online bulletin boards.) CLers seemed divided into two camps: those who thought the idea "pure genius":

"I agree, this "SIGNALING" idea is pure genius ! A while ago someone hatched an idea about single people meeting on the first car of the subway, but that idea died out. I...think this idea really could work! "

Those who thought it was pointless.:

"we already have two tried and true "signals" to attract someone... **a simple smile** / **a simple hello** it works everytime!"

And those who, within just a few hours, became convinced that they had already been Signaled:

"I think I have been signaled ! Am I the first ?
You: Guy reading the NY Times with black wool overcoat and wire rim glasses.
Me: Reading the WSJ (or at least pretending to) with black leather jacket and long black silky hair.
Did you 'signal me' ? I did not signal back because I was unsure if you really signaled me or if you have a nervous habit of touching your ear. You look cute, tell me more !"

Now we all have one more thing to worry about in crowded subway cars -- God forbid our ears actually itch!


The other big topic this week was an escalation of an old war between those who think residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, aka "hipsters," suck, and those who think they don't, most of whom, curiously, self-identify as hipsters.

This argument takes many forms, including a recent spin-off battle between F-train riders versus L-train riders, and seems to strike quite an emotional nerve with CLers. This week, someone calling his/herself "The Commander of the Williamsburg Army" issued a call to action for fellow hipsters:

"If further dissatisaction (sic) is heard coming up from the army of the boring blah-blah, we, the members of the Williamsburg Army will have no other choice but... to declare war. And our weapons are our creative fashion and wonderful subversive youth, our "affect," which is being ruthlessly judged."

This declaration could not go ignored by earnest combatants and sarcastic smartasses alike. The one thing we all could agree on, however, was a universal hatred of yuppies.

"Ugly eighties leather jacket: $150.
Butt-crack showing, low-slung jeans: $85.
Trying too hard to look droopy and careless: Priceless.
I hate yuppies, too, but you're no different from that other group of blind conformists."

This and other anti-war sentiment prompted a heated reply from our fearless Commander:

"Oh, so trenchant in your anti-hipster rhetoric!
Your authenticity is a waste of my time. I've got preening to do. Go back to your nutter butter basket bitches and cram it with walnuts, short-stack."

And begged a thoughtful and timely question from one lister:
"Is the Wiliamsburg Army deployable to the middle east?"

And even one Impostor Commander!:

"Me - Commander of the Williamsburg Army, mussy, dressy, messy but not Stussy, label cut off of my Manhattan Portage bag for shame, new labels sewn on my other stuff. Pants so low on my hips you can see my pubic Mohawk dyed pink and my Def Lep tattoo. On my way to my "job thing" but really I play in a band or something, you know how it goes. Keyboards. You: Totally ethnic Brooklynite keeping it real, like hella real. You've lived here your whole life and know what's up and stuff. I was making a lot of eye contact so I could rob you of your authentic creative energy...."

Also in MC this week:

Someone threatens suicide.

And someone gets a little too excited.


Ahh, Casual Encounters. It's the last stall of the unisex-bathroom-right-after-last-call of the web. A place where the lonely, the desperate, the horny, the crazy, the bored, and probably a few murderers, can shoot from the id and the rest of us voyeurs can feel superior and prudish while simultaneously losing our faith in the inherent goodness of the human soul. A place where strangers in the night can exchange puerile electronic glances, where recurring characters are gossiped about, where all the 420 you could ever want is just one blow-job away, where everyone is safe, sane, discreet, hot, hung, and disease-free. Or at least they say they are...


Even though the point of the Casual Encounters section is that the encounters advertised are casual in nature, many posters feel it necessary to specify the lack of strings attached to their proposed one-night wham-bam sessions.

"Looking For Pussy", for example, wishes prospective purveyors of pussy to know that they need not worry about the potential awkwardness of a post-coital marriage proposal: "...a girl with a tight pussy lookin to be treated like a slut. No strings attached."

"XTC" is similarly generous, and even throws in FREE CONDOMS: "artist- swm -late 30's- handsome...sane and d&d free- toys, lube and condoms. if youre really cool u can fuck me with a strap on... send foto with reply if u want to play- no strings!"


What better way to celebrate a career milestone, than by having sex with a stranger?:

"I'm on cloud 9 -- I just sold a screenplay! I need someone to share the love with! I'm 28 y/o and look exactly like a cross between Chris Klein and Rob Lowe (note: not Chad Lowe, who weeps when his wife wins an Oscar and doesn't thank him)... I'll be happy going to a museum, grabbing a cup 'o tea, or just screwing like bunnies..."

Sure, long as you promise you don't look like Chad Lowe!

And then there are those pure souls who only want to cure their writer's block:

"manhattan novelist, 30 years old, seeks amour - m4w
Sometimes when I am writing a story, I am overcome with a restless and sensual energy. Feeding the need enables me to return my attentions to the writing process, my focus fortified and my creativity loosened. I'm...not a bad conversant, d&d free, and hung..."

From the Brooklyn Bridge Real Estate Company comes a call for participants in Important Scientific Research Masturbation Study: "I am seeking people who are willing to let me observe them while they masturbate...."

Some don't seem to understand what quotation marks mean: "I am single 40's jewish manhattan male seeking to find one "lady" who likes to dress and act sexy in a respectful "relationship"."

From the Maybe You Should Have Thought of That Before the Surgery department: "Try out my enlarged Penis - m4w -- Ladies, I got a penis enlargement 6 weeks ago and am now ready to give it a try. I am a tall handsome white man that used to have a 6 inch penis. I am now a FULL 9 inches... ps - I have my own place"

And his counterpart: "Male with little wee-wee, Female(s) to laugh and humiliate ... nice bod, little wee wee. If any girls want to meet and laugh, you can bring your girlfriends also..."

Sometimes it's best just to stop beating around "Dammit - everybody else gets to put up their crazy posting - I want pussy NOW! Give it to me - give it up!!! Stop screwing around and - give me the pussy!!!! NOWWWW!!!!"

Lastly, a little humor at Europeans' expense:

"I'm looking for WOMAN
I'm looking for OLDER WOMAN
I am handsome, intelligent, white , professional, young male from Europe.
I am "new" in NYC, I feel alone and I am looking for woman who will be
the best friend of mine, the closest friend...
This is a true ad. "

Try looking for DICTIONARY. Try looking for ENGLISH DICTIONARY.