In my continuing effort to dredge the Internet's seedy underbelly in search of romance, I've stumbled across several hookup sites. Maybe I'm a little prudish, but these sites sound as if they're a good way to find yourself awoken from a drug-induced sleep in a bath tub full of ice, missing a kidney. Or, at least, the owner of a new venereal disease.
But this column isn't about my Victorian sensibilities. I'm your romance canary, willingly plunging myself down different coal mines.
If there's one thing I know, it's desperation, and these hook-up sites are wrought with it. Think of this as your entrée into the wonderful world of penicillin injections.
Awhile back, one of my editors suggested I try a Craigslist hookup and write about it. Maybe a more daring, less neurotic person would have followed through on that request, but I am, at my very core, a shaking, wet poodle. I didn't go through with the act, but I went through the motions.
There aren't many women looking for men here, and the ones who are look pretty um ... not pretty. It's mostly men seeking younger men. If you go on Craigslist and click on an ambiguously labeled link, you're likely to see a picture of a man's junk. You've been warned.
The folks who created Grindr, the popular iPhone/Facebook GPS gay hookup app, have wandered into the world of casual encounters for straight people. The app uses a locator to find the person nearest to you who wants to get it on (it bills itself as a way to "meet new friends, who you have something in common with."
Blendr is all about efficiency. The app filters out anyone the user deems undesirable. So, unlike dating sites, you won't be winked at or receive messages from men or women outside of your desired demographic. You also get to view the person's profile, and see what he or she looks like beforehand. Predictably, way more men than women use this app.
I have no idea if this site is legit or not, but there are a lot of attractive female users -- who may or may not be call girls. Many of the women post nude pictures of themselves, so, again, you've been warned. If you're looking to meet women with usernames like "FreakyFun" or "Spanklvr," then it might be worth your time. Most of the pictures look as if they're professionally shot, so I'm skeptical about this site.
You might get to hook up with the tall, blond, Euro TastyPastry, who, according to her profile is "... here in America for the summer and wish to have some fun with an American boyfriend." Some of the women are just looking for cyber sex or an erotic photo exchange.
The registration is pretty straightforward. It requires an e-mail address, and wouldn't let me use any of my sock puppet addresses. I expect any day to be e-mailed by a foreign prince who needs me to hold on to some money for him.
If you have any experience with these sites, and you'd like to share your stories, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.