Good things are not done in a hurry.

~ German Proverb ~

Personals: Casual Encounters In Learning

August 22nd, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 12 secs

What do the personal ads say about us?

In tiny writing the words “personals: casual encounters” in your area shouts out. Scroll down the list in any newspaper or classifieds site online and you’ll see a side of life that’s surprisingly frank.

People of various persuasions, desperate to meet someone to gratify them, approve, or make them feel valued, jostle for a spot amongst an anonymous crowd. “Farm boy. Wanting to meet girls discretely”, “Business woman, who enjoys socializing, and travelling wants to meet man for relationship…”, or “Lonely, looking for companionship and good times…” all vie to get attention.

Within three or four lines, everyone tries to sum up their needs, hopes, and the best in them selves. At least, what they believe is the best. It’s kind of sad really. Because, beneath the bravado you get the sense there’s also a lot of distress and despair. Between the lines under “Personals: casual encounters” in the classifieds, you can’t help but be confronted by a well of disappointment.

Often it’s pretty basic. “Personals: casual encounters in your neighborhood  for discrete good times” often means “I’m looking to hook up for various kinks with no strings.” Wanting physical release, these people somehow hope to skip anything approximating relationship depth. Yet, even then, there’s a hint that these people want something more fulfilling. Even if they can’t work out how, superficial seekers long for a better life too.

Then there’s the other end of the personals casual encounters in the classifieds spectrum that isn’t so fleeting. The “…would like to do more study. Enjoy music, dancing, keeping fit and enjoying sunsets walking on the beach. Looking to meet  someone for special times to make my life complete” ad is replete with the writer’s unrequited longing for love and fulfilment.

Through the personals: casual encounters in your local paper, you see a snapshot. Though it’s still a slice of very real life, its blunt intimacy (or perhaps the lack of it) can be confronting. Why? Well, I suspect there’s something beneath it that’s common to us all. Many of us secretly long for someone to rescue us, believe in us, or somehow make us feel all right. We yearn for somebody to come along and make us happy. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it? At least, not the way we expect.

People come with their own problems and, naturally, they want to be wanted too. So life gets even more complicated. Those only desiring “good times” via nothing but impersonal flings might find physical release. But they won’t find happiness. Being infinitely more complex than flesh and blood machines, we each have needs, wishes, dreams, and hopes that anonymity can never bring. That’s why lasting happiness doesn’t come by email with a photograph attached. For true lovers, casual encounters without togetherness are a road to dissatisfaction. We all, in our own way, want and long for relationship. So the messages in the “personals: casual encounters” in your classifieds aren’t so strange after all. Everyone is looking for love. It’s just that many of us end up searching in the wrong places.


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