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.
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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?
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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!