Unless you count the recent imbroglio over outed sex listings in Seattle, Craigslist provides you with one reliable constant: Everyone just wants a little secure, anonymous intercourse. Ad for a sublease? Sex. Selling a couch? Sex. Dog-sitting? Obviously, sex. But what about that clean, well-lighted place in the Craigslist personals — the section known as Strictly Platonic? Surely that's a refuge for lonely people who just want a little friendly human contact, without the actual physical human contact? "Platonic" is right there in the name, after all. Unfortunately, while sexual grubbing may not be mentioned outright, it's a stretch applying Plato's ideal standard of chaste love to naked spooning, replacement mothering, male housecleaning (or femme lesbian housecleaning), or a solicitation for a "gay sidekick." Not to mention those who definitely desire or offer something in exchange for supposed Platonism, be it paying off student loans, a ticket to a celebrity memorial service, or a human infant.
Anecdotally amusing, but what about the numbers? Indefatigable Intern Mary analyzed a week's worth of "Strictly Platonic" Craigslistings and classified them by agenda, sexual and/or otherwise. Shiny pie chart after the jump, plus a bonus breakdown of stated ethnic preferences.
Craigslist "Strictly Platonic" Actual Agendas, September 10-15
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Quite a few ostensibly Platonic listings are frankly sexual, even if they don't involve "conventional" sex; others bury the sexual lede in a common interest, like music, or good conversation, or weed. Many in fact express preferences for a particular race, ethnicity, or nationality that mirror similar preferences in the sex listings. So what kind of "friends" do people want when they're just, you know, clustering in areas?
Craigslist "Strictly Platonic" Ethnic Preferences, September 10-15
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Old Europe has a commanding lead, but the second-place "American" pie-slice shows that we're still a nation of patriots. Take that, Asians! And Latinos! And blacks! And whites!