Craigslist Shorts: The Great Impostor

Read a great short story about meeting impersonators on Craigslist Personals and how the community came to help

Thomas Kovacs

Welcome to the first in a series of short stories spanning my time on Craigslist in both Vienna, Munich and Berlin. In this series of stories, I look back on some of my most memorable encounters on Craigslist and reminisce about a bygone era in internet history.

Berlin Craigslist was quite an interesting space. As an English based platform in a German speaking country, it never managed to embed itself in the public consciousness the same way that CL did in the English speaking world. The reason being that Germany has its own anonymous meetup stalwarts which people prefer to use and interact with, such as This means that CL could somehow fly under the radar and serve as a more narrow active space for internationals such as myself as well as for travellers and whoever else from the German population happened to stumble upon it.

One experience in particular was hilarious. It was from someone claiming to be a woman who was ready to meet and eager for some "action". So after arranging a time and place, I headed out on the town ready for my adventure of the evening. It turned out she lived within walking distance which was also a plus! However, just as I was approaching the location, I received another message from her: "By the way, is it ok if I am a guy"?

Now, in these sort of scenarios one can do nothing but laugh! I am not gay so I was not interested in hooking up with a dude. Plus being deceptive did not help his cause. And truthfully, in these sort of encounters this was somewhat to be expected. Berlin, being a very queer curious place, has its share of guys who are looking for nothing more than to seduce a lonely straight horny guy and figure this is the best way to go about it. It helps to keep an open mind and not be let down by these experiences.

Empty handed I headed back home. However, a few days later I saw another post on CL. The post completely "outed" the guy, giving his full name, address, picture, etc. to the entire community! Apparently, he had been doing this to a lot of people for some time and there was a growing sense of frustration within the CL community, which was totally understandable.

Needless to say, we never heard from the impostor ever again. In a way the community stepped up in a big way and was really able to moderate itself, removing what was a drain on the community and saving people both their valuable time and energy. I perhaps would have contacted the person privately before posting their information publicly, but everyone has their reasons I suppose. Order was restored and anonymity could thrive once again. The Wild West of CL is indeed a bygone era.

Short Story