Bil Browning

Before Craigslist in Indiana

Filed By Bil Browning | April 10, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: Evansville, [email protected], personal ads

A lesson for the younguns: before the internet came along, people would put advertisements in gay newspapers and magazines. They were just as bad (although not as graphic usually) as the current crop you find on Craigslist now. But it was ads like these that helped me meet my first gay men - in Evansville, Indiana (which wasn't groovy in the least).


Personal ads have really come a long way. I can remember when no one would admit to using the personals and now online dating and hookups have stripped away the negativity. Jerame and I have been together for almost 13 years and we met via a [email protected] personal ad.

How'd your last personal ad experience turn out? (imgsrc)

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Years ago, I once fell for someone I'd met at gay-dot-com. He was incredibly attractive (to me, many would disagree); we lived in different cities, met once for a weekend and decided to go on a vacation together. After clearing security for home at my concourse (he was flying out from another), I exclaimed, "Free at last! Free at last!" Towards the end of the trip, I cam to realize how truly disturbed the guy was; the signs were there, but the infatuated cannot accept them.

I had a profile on one of the bear sites, I don't even remember which one it is was. I had posted one of those throw away email addresses on the site and had a local guy respond. We met and he fell immediately in love with me. I thought he was way too young for me and just wanted to be friends. He didn't give up and a few years later I finally gave in to him. We have been together 8 yrs. now and I can't imagine life without him.

I remember back in the day there were gay online personal ads that weren't about hook-ups. Are there anymore and I just haven't noticed?

It seems all manhunt and craigslist and all that today, but that might be because I haven't had a need to look for a boyfriend in the personals in years.

But I did meet one of the first guys I dated on's personals. OMG, I just went to see if they still exist and apparently they don't. I feel old.

Back in the early 1980s I was in my 50s, single and I was living in Santa Fe. I had only been out a short time. Since no jobs of substance were available in SF, I planned on relocating in NYC.

About six months prior to that's coming to fruition, I looked at the personals in The Advocate. Most were telling the reader of their endowments and how hot they were to trot. I was not interested in that so much as I was in finding someone stable and wanting a long-term, loving relationship.

I came across an ad that was about a man in his 60s and who was looking for companionship again after having mourned for 4 years over his late partner of more than 20 years. I responded to that ad.

When he responded we began a correspondence by letter and by telephone that became more involved and intimate with each passing week. We knew by the time I moved to NY that we loved each other.

We were together for 26 years prior to his death in 2009. I could honestly say each day of that time that I loved him more that day than I did the day before. Those were happiest years of my life. And I can say today that I miss him more today than I did yesterday.

"Don in KS" hit it on the head. Imagining life without his partner is beyong his comprehension. I say, "Cherish every moment you have with your beloved." You will never regret it.

Ted, that deserves to be Comment of the Week. That was beautiful. Made me teary-eyed and hopeful of myself finding a love like that someday. :)

I pretty much just started dating a couple months ago, and I met that guy through an internet personal ad. We're not together now... actually, I'm not sure if we ever actually counted as "together," or how long you need to date to be a thing. It was kind of awkward (most of the awkwardness coming from me, I'm pretty sure) and it taught me some unpleasant things about myself. I think now I'm not going to do personal ads, or go out expressly looking for a boyfriend. I'd better just work on me for a while and if I happen to meet a nice guy that I hit it off with, yay. If not, okay.

I have placed personal ads in a variety of spots, but none of them were sufficiently truthful about my having been a married man and johnny-come-lately gay recognition. You would have thought that I popped out of the womb knowing that I was gay.

Nonetheless, I met a beautiful man in the aol chat rooms, and we corresponded (online) quite regularly for a long time before I grew balls enough to actually meet him. He had recently lost his partner of many years. I don't think that he was looking for a replacement, but that he'd get horny just as the rest of humankind does. Finally, we got together for a sexual escapade, and in the succeeding year-plus, we've developed a wonderful relationship. Chat rooms, though virtually anonymous, can work out.

I agree with Sam...Ted's post is wonderful and worthy of consideration for post of the week.

free room and board? sweet deal!