Q: I am a bisexual male. I post ads frequently on Craigslist, separately in both m4m [men seeking men] and m4w [men seeking women]. Given the obvious pitfalls in this situation, it really bugs me out when men answer the ads I post in the men-seeking-women section. Why do these men do this? Should it bother me as much as it does (and it REALLY does)? I chalk it up to being desperate and having a slow day in men-seeking-men. Some rationalize that “some guys go for it,” and yes, sometimes I do, too. But why must these men think it is appropriate when clearly I am not posting in m4m?


A: I imagine these men think it’s appropriate because, in the sea of vessels that comprise online dating sites, Craigslist is a 1972 Alumacraft with a burned-out motor, helmed by a meth head who takes occasional breaks from smoking to stick a leg in the water and paddle with his shoeless foot. If you want higher-quality feedback from people you actually want to meet, you’ve got to make better use of your equipment or else jump ship.

Craigslist is an attractive option for a lot of people because it’s free, user-friendly and fairly anonymous. Craigslist’s accessibility, however, also attracts all kinds of annoying weirdos with nothing better to do than mess with your game. I have no idea what kind of person spends hours a day trolling online personals, but I’m sure they’re about as much fun to be around as that shoeless meth pirate.

People troll because they want to get a reaction from others, so ignore those unsolicited e-mails if you haven’t been. Also, don’t use the same barely reworded ad for both m4m and m4w, and make sure you’re using completely different photos. If you're easy to spot as the hot, horny guy who was looking for other hot, horny guys the week before, of course you’ll get called on it by someone with nothing better to do. For added success, be specific in your ad as far as what kind of person you’re looking for and the expectations they must meet. You’ll yield more thoughtful and attentive responses if you explain why you’re seeking certain types of people. You’ll still get some of those serial responders who answer every single ad, but you’ll also attract the attention of women who see themselves in your words.

If it’s the instant-interaction aspect of Craigslist that you find appealing, then consider using a mobile dating app or five. Grindr is, of course, the original geo-social dating app. Launched in 2009 for gay and bisexual dudes, Grindr uses your location to show you guys in proximity who you might be interested in. Tinder launched in 2012 and has become the world’s most popular dating app, due to its inclusion of all genders and a fun, gamelike quality that makes meeting new potentials less stressful. Try creating a profile on Tinder for the ladies and one on Grindr for the gentlemen. Both apps are free.

Match.com, OKCupid.com and PlentyofFish.com all have mobile apps, too. Play around with all of them first and decide which service you like best. Match has millions of active users, and isn’t cheap — $42 per month or bundled pricing — but paying is the only way to directly contact other users, which separates the wheat from the chaff. OKCupid (free) uses Venn diagrams of endless data to find matches. PlentyofFish (also free) offers a few different methods for finding matches.

The more effort you put into these services, the better the results. Unlike Craigs­list, they’re not hubs for trolling. If those men answering your m4w ads bother you that much, then get on other dating sites and use Craigslist how it was intended: to find used Ikea furniture that won’t even fit through the door once you get it home.