Less Swiping, More Interesting: A brief history of the personals

The first personals ad was submitted to the Manchester Weekly Journal in 1727, and for nearly 300 years since, people have been utilizing public forums to find themselves a life partner – or simply a bed partner.

Of course, people wouldn’t always spell out that they were looking for a one-night-stand, a local hook-up or an ongoing friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationship – not in the 1700s, and still not openly up until the late 1980s.

With the advent of the internet, however, being open about what and who people posting personals wanted became the name of the game. Chat rooms, where a/s/l (age, sex and location) was the first question asked, gave rise to kink- and fetish-based chat tools, where people could find exactly what they wanted.

Then came Craigslist, a classified ads website. Started in the mid-1990s, the website’s Personals forum was a place where those looking to connect for some freaky fun, hook-ups and sexual exploration came together and made good use of one of the most popular dating and hook-up sites.

The personals also became a place for those whose sexuality and sexual interests weren’t exactly accepted. From gay casual encounters to those looking for a specific sex act to be performed on them, many found a space they could be themselves in – and the freedom to find whatever they wanted.

Unfortunately, Craigslist is no longer hosting a personals section. Losing the personals of Craigslist left a hole in the lives of those who continued to use the site to find hook-ups, dates and even relationships.

These days, online dating isn’t seen as a shameful way to meet someone, as apps like Tinder boast millions of users. But while technology and acceptance has come pretty far, creating more opportunities to meet your match, posts have shifted from people talking about who and what they want to a mindless sharing of photos and endless swiping, waiting for a conversation to start.

And that’s why we created The PRSNLS. As an homage to Craigslist and the personal ads of the past, we welcome you to a space with less swiping and more interesting posts. Open to all – the curious, the queer, the freaky and the vanilla – The PRSNLS is an app designed to give you the freedom to find whatever you want.

1 Comment

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard