The Faces Behind Craigslist’s “Strictly Platonic” Personal Ads


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It remains an essential paradox of the city—that a place with so many people living so close together can also be so isolating. This is one of the phenomena that the photographer Peter Garritano hoped to explore in “Seeking,” a series of portraits of New Yorkers who have posted advertisements in the Strictly Platonic personals section of Craigslist. The world has acclimated to the fact that people might go online to find a mate, but there are fewer formal avenues through which to find friends, perhaps because friendship is not always acknowledged as something that people have to go out in search of. “We already know everyone’s looking for love,” Garritano told me in an e-mail. “I’m more concerned with our social requirements beyond romance.”

Garritano contacted his subjects through their ads (he got no response to “90 or 95%” of the messages he sent, he told me) then arranged the sittings, where he would come up with the mood for the shots more or less on the spot, based on the subjects’ personalities and his interactions with them. “Seeking” presents each portrait alongside the subject’s Craigslist ad, which, taken together, convey a dizzying range of interests, personalities, desires, projects, anxieties. Many of the people posting are new to town, hoping to get a foothold in New York life. “I’m not sure exactly how to approach the city,” a young man writes, adding that he figures that his chiselled looks could earn him some fast cash working in adult entertainment, if only he had a friend to advise him. Others are veteran New Yorkers in need of a change of pace.

Hundreds Turned to Craigslist to Find Hot Dates and Sex Buddies to Keep Warm During the Blizzard

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Winter storm Juno got a lot of hype before it even hit. And after everyone finished off their pre-storm to-do lists, some realized they wanted one more thing: company. Where some people saw disaster, hundreds of other New Yorkers saw romantic opportunity. Since no one wants to wait out a blizzard alone—even if it means inviting a stranger over—they decided to post ads on Craigslist.

In the past 24 hours, the personals section of Craigslist has gotten a lot of attention. When searching the term “blizzard” within the entire section (men seeking women, men seeking men, women seeking men, etc.), 417 new ads pop up. Some are pretty colorful.

…While the personal section got over 400 new posts collectively, breaking it down subcategory to subcategory yielded some pretty interesting results. The number of blizzard-related posts in the “Casual Encounters” section totaled 213, the highest of all the subcategories. Coming in second was the “Men Seeking Men” category, with a total of 99 blizzard-related posts. “Men Seeking Women” comes in third, with a slightly lower 75 posts. Then the noticeable drop-off kicks in. A mere 11 blizzard-related posts appear in the “Women Seeking Men” category. “Women Seeking Women” hardly even factors in with just three ads.

Maybe the trends speak to how certain subcultures connect, or maybe not. What we can conclude is that everybody loves company (especially when “company” is code for sex). Winter storm Juno just proves we’re getting more creative at finding it.