Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Atlanta, GA

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we've just met.

April, 26

What do you do for a living?
I run a show space called Couch Couch.

Does your job ever get you laid?
It could if I ever exploited it. But I don't like to date musicians anymore. They're permanently on stage, so you're basically in the audience all the time. Unless you play music with them — then it's a relatable thing. Otherwise you're always in the audience.

Where did you and your current boyfriend meet?
I think it was through friends. We live similar lifestyles; we don't have cars and ride bikes.

How long have you been together?
About a month. It's going well! His movie is in this show tonight. It's called Jesus and 40 Thieves.

Are you in it?
No, it's puppetry.

Have you ever done anything dirty in a movie theater?
Not that I know of.

What's your favorite movie sex scene?
I Heart Huckabees, when they're making out in the mud.

Oh, nice. Have you ever made out in the mud?
Not yet. Every time it rains really heavily I want to go run through Candler Park in the mud and get really slimy.

Maybe you could get your new boyfriend to do that sometime.
That's the plan. We could find a big mud pile.

What kind of kinks are you into, other than rolling in the mud?
Rolling in the mud would be awesome. I'm really into yoga and stretching, so I always imagine being tied up to one of those machines that would stretch me out.

Like a pilates machine?
Yeah, something like that. Something where I could be tied up and stretched.

How do you feel about watching porn?
I think it's lost its artistic credibility. I've seen Deep Throat, and that's the classic one, and it really has a point to it. It's a film, and really well done with cinematography and the angles, and what they're trying to portray isn't just this ultimate ending. I think today it's just execute, execute, execute.

There a couple in Brooklyn who started their own porn company and starting doing DIY porn. Have you heard of them?
No, but that's really interesting. I think there's definitely a need of revitalization of the porn industry. There's nothing wrong with seeing it in a moving image, but just the way that it's done now is so patriarchal. It's not for women.

Since your boyfriend's a filmmaker, would you ever let him film you guys having sex?
Yes. I trust his artistic values.


Patrick, 26

What do you do for a living?
I work at a bar washing dishes.

Does that ever get you laid?
Yeah, it has. It's always a bad idea.

Laid with other coworkers, or patrons?
Let's not get into that.

So you're in a new relationship with April. How did you guys get together?
I'm not really sure — it was sort of organic. We'd been friends for a long time, but I'm not sure who made the first move. I guess she did, because I'm kind of a coward. We'd both been in sort of messed-up relationships. And I liked her, but I didn't want to bring in my bag of shit. Then finally we both liked each other and decided to try it.

How long have you lived in Atlanta?
Four years.

How would you describe dating here?
It's all right. It's the same as everywhere, I guess. There are a lot more shallow people than other places I've lived, so that's kind of aggravating.

What characterizes a shallow person?
Being more concerned with material stability than actual self-fulfillment — I think that's a good definition. If your concerns are petty — about, say, the shoes you've bought, rather than the people you know and the things you've accomplished in your life.

What are your other dealbreakers?
Small dogs are a warning sign.

A warning sign of what?
I don't know. It's just been a trend. Especially small chihuahuas. Steer clear.

What are your major turn-ons?
It's all personality and creativity and the ability to hold a conversation. And I talk a lot, so having someone who can hold a conversation is important, but so is having someone who can be quiet and listen to me talk for four hours. Just kidding! Glasses are also a big turn-on. And I guess I'm a leg man more than anything else.

What do you think about watching porn with a lady friend?
No. I don't know that I'd ever want to. I used to look at a lot more porn. Then I got a girlfriend. Porn is a fantasy, and it's not the same as sex with another person or being in a relationship. So that's not a fantasy space I want to share with someone else. That's more of a personal space. I wouldn't want to watch someone else masturbate and I wouldn't want to masturbate in front of someone else. That's private time.

Is there something embarrassing about watching porn with someone?
It's a little awkward, and most porn is for men, and a lot of woman aren't into it.

Would you be down if a woman instigated it?
I guess I'd try it. I'm down to experiment, but more specifically I like to try something that someone else is into. But I wouldn't be the one instigating it.

What's your favorite movie sex scene?
Is there a sex scene in Jaws?

Um, not that I know of.
Well, if there is, then I'd say Jaws. Sharks are sexy.

Have you ever had sex in a movie theater?
No, I haven't, nor would I want to, because movie theaters are gross, and your feet are sticking to the floor. Who sat in that seat? And in New York, that's how bedbugs spread.

Those are all good points.
It's fucking gross.

Have you ever had anything weird happen to you in a movie theater? For instance, I was in a Michael Bay movie once, and a guy was jacking off next to me.
Was it Michael Bay?


Friday, 26

What do you do for a living?
I'm an artist-slash-photographer.

Does that ever get you laid?
Whoa, no. I keep it separated.

Are you in a relationship now?
Yeah. It's a fresh one. I was single for the past four years and now… it's actually weird sometimes not being able to mingle. There's this side of me that still wants to be able to flirt and be myself.

What drew you to dating this girl after being single for four years?
That's a good fucking question — I don't know. She just struck my attention over time. You spend enough time with anybody and you can build something, and that's what we've been doing: building emotional Legos, one on top of the other. We're here today trying to work things out, keep it going.

What are your turn-ons?
I appreciate a good face, a healthy smile. I used to be an ass man, and I've moved back to breasts. But other than that, I just need someone who's not uptight. I don't need a hardcore person who's like "That's not right!" I need someone who has a looseness about themselves. I'm not asking too much from anybody.

So you want someone who is independent?
You mean financially? Mentally, mainly. I don't know how the hell you get your money, you know. You get it how you want it. But mental independence, definitely.

How do you feel about sexual monogamy?
I love the idea. But then, I have friends who are polyamorous and are able to make it work out. I don't see how the hell I'd be able to do that. I don't really want to see her with someone else over there. But if she does, that's cool — I just don't want to hear about it.

How about for you? Is it hard to just have sex with one person?
Yeah, I'm down. You just need to find more tricks behind the curtain. Like role-playing, that's cool. And I like outdoor sex. That's the shit.

Where's the coolest place outside that you've had sex?
A junkyard. Yeah, it was pretty tight.

Where do you have sex in a junkyard?
In cars! I mean we didn't just find a nasty Buick and do it in there — I got my car and we found a spot where it blended in. It worked.

Since we're right next door to a movie theater, I have to ask — have you ever had sex in one?
Not yet, I'm working on that actually. The back-row thing, a handjob or something. I'm down.

What about watching porn with a girl?
I've never done that. I'm more trying to get my lady and me to film each other and then upload it on YouTube and shit.

So have you filmed someone else and yourself having sex?
That's some good shit, but I haven't done that yet, no. It's not too far-fetched.

I'd be nervous filming myself. I'd be worried others would see it — that it would get leaked.
Really? Leaked? You're not a rapper or anything.

Maybe you just haven't heard of me yet.
Ha, that's hilarious!

What's a dealbreaker for you? If you see a hot girl, what would be an instant turn-off?
Stupidity. At least some form of ignorance about the world. Shallowness is a huge turn-off, like "You have to have this car," or "I don't like what you're wearing." Stuff like that is for the birds. Don't be an asshole and we're good.

You're a pretty stylish guy — do you like girls who also have a sense of style?
That would really fucking help, but if you don't, you don't. I just need a sweetheart with a big ass!

Hannah, 22

What do you do for a living?
My family has a traveling corndog stand, and we go around to festivals across the country. That's currently my main income, and I also intern at Art Papers magazine. I also recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Thank you!

So does the corndog stand ever get you laid?
Nooo. No, it doesn't. Despite the fact that the corndog is a very phallic thing, it's very unsexual. Sometimes there will be a guy who will come up to the stand at a festival and will be hanging around and be all cute. But never has it gotten me laid.

How long have you been living in Atlanta?
I was born here. Except for the past four years living in Rhode Island, I've lived in Atlanta.

How would you compare Rhode Island guys to Atlanta guys?
Rhode Island guys are way more scared to approach girls. Everybody's more standoffish up there. I would say that Atlanta guys are way more willing to be open about being into you, whereas guys up there are going to play it coy and not be so obvious.

So is your dating life much better now that you're in Atlanta?
I mean, I've only been here for two weeks. Not yet — let's just say that.

What are you looking for in a dude?
It's less about look than about just having their own thing — being really confident but not obnoxious and not needing me to validate them, and also not feeling like they need to impress me. I try not to go into it thinking of a certain thing because then I'm always let down. But it's definitely a red flag when there's someone who doesn't seem happy on their own. That's basically what I'm looking for. And also someone who's outgoing but also willing to hear me out.

What are your dealbreakers?
Weak hands. You have to be strong. Dealbreaker number two, and this is probably the most important one, is shoes. You can always tell what a guy's like by the kind of shoes he's wearing. I believe that very strongly. He could work whatever shoes he's wearing but for some reason, the shoes are a projection of their ego. Same with sunglasses. If they're weird, dorky sunglasses. Also bad bathing suits are the worst. Like, hula-flower bathing suits.

Have you ever had sex in a movie theater?
No, but my first kiss was in a movie theater, during Hero, this Chinese martial-arts movie. It was with this guy, and we missed the whole movie because we A) got there late, but B) were making out the whole time. So we stayed for the next movie, too.

Have you ever watched porn with a guy?
Yes, I have. Over the telephone.

Yes, I have. I was in this long-distance relationship, and I was having a hard time bringing out the sexual aspect of it because of how far apart we were — Chicago and Providence. And there was one time he called and somehow I got him to go online and watch porn with me. He was talking about this CGI porn.

CGI porn — what?
Yeah, we were on this weird porn site and looking at all this weird stuff. It wasn't even really sexy; it was mostly just laughing at it. That's not to say I don't watch porn on my own in a sexy way, but I don't watch CGI porn or anything.

Was there much sexting involved with this long-distance relationship?
There was nothing like that! It was kind of a bummer. It was hard that way, which is probably why it ended recently. But that's the kind of thing where you make subtle hints trying to kindle something. Like, "Oh, I found this video of men's underwear online that I really like." And I would send him photos of myself, and he started swimming and — he did this on his own — he took a picture of himself in his little Speedo and sent it to me. It was cute; he was trying to make an effort.

Cute but not arousing?
Not really. It was funny though. Not that he wasn't a really attractive guy, but I realized that that's just not what I was into. But it was cool.



Colin, 31


What do you do for work?
I do marketing for a technology company.

Does your job ever get you dates or get you laid?
No. When I was a photographer it did, but not anymore. When I was taking photography classes in college I dated a couple of girls in my classes, so that was a start. And I was working for a magazine and doing photos for festivals, shooting the bands. Ladies would see what I was doing and ask about it, and usually they were impressed and they'd be compelled enough to continue to speak to me.

How long have you been in Atlanta?
Two years now.

How would you describe the ladies here?
There's an extremely diverse range, from private-school sorority girls to tattooed hipsters to girls with a lot of soul — everything. But they all have that Southern stamp on them. I dated a girl from the midwest, and she was really different. A little more forward. Southern girls are more passive and play the etiquette game. Midwesterners are just as nice, but little more blunt. Southern girls have a way of finessing the situation.

Do you prefer forwardness or Southern gentility?
There's a time and place for each. Each have drawbacks. Southern women — sometimes they're busy finessing the situation and I need a straight answer. Then again, you don't always want a blunt answer — it can be kind of jarring.

Are Southern girls more prudish than other women?
That hasn't been my experience, no. I've never dated a prudish girl, except maybe in high school.

Are you in a relationship now?
Yes, I've been in one for a year.

Are you in love with this woman?

Do you think you're going to marry her?

What do you like the most about her?
Well, we met and were friends first, good buddies. She's really cool, very smart. We think the same way, care about same things. She's just good, real sweet, very genuine, very honest.

Is there a moment where you were friends and then you were like, "Hey, I want to date you"?
Well, when we were friends, we were in relationships with other people. We were attracted to each other and there'd be evenings where we'd have to leave and go separate ways so we didn't get ourselves into trouble. We had a lot of respect for each other and for not getting into trouble and I think that went a long way in terms of building a real relationship. Then when she was single, she was up in New York, and I went up and visited her. I'd always had a crush on her and I thought maybe we'd hook up and didn't really know if it would be more than that. But then it just clicked and made a lot of sense, and now she lives back here.

What's the craziest sex you've ever had?
I just can't have that story in the public domain.

Was it just one woman?
Two others. One of the girls and I were the birthday present for the other girl.

Is that a lot of work? Two women at one time?
I believe in a hard day's work.

Sounds like it takes a lot of focus!
Yeah, but it's easy to focus in that kind of scenario. It's kind of like being behind the wheel driving 150 miles an hour — you're gonna pay attention.


Brittany, 26

What do you do for a living?
I work in public administration.

And does working in public administration get you laid?
Yes, because I speak French. It's just very intriguing when someone speaks another language.

Do you think French is the hottest language?
Yeah, probably. It's the language of romance and it's rare for an American to be able to speak another language.

Are Frenchman pretty hot, as international guys go?
They're pretty romantic. Everything is a wild romance and has to be very dramatic. They get together really fast and break up really fast and have these dramatic breakups. They're also very much into spoiling women over there, much more so than over here.

Do you like to be spoiled?
Yes. Worshipped, really.

How would you characterize dating here?
I've had a rough time in Atlanta, honestly. Most of the guys that I've been into have been from elsewhere or here temporarily or moved here, or not based here at all. I just think I haven't had good luck with Atlanta men. It seems to be kind of clique-y here. And it seems like a lot of people date their friends, and I don't like to mix business and pleasure. It tears the friend group apart when things get awkward.

Have you ever watched porn with a guy?
I have done that. I don't really prefer to watch porn with other people. You just end up laughing and pointing out that it's really ridiculous. It's really hard to take it seriously when you're with someone else. My problem with porn is that it's too much of just the girl getting railed by the guy. Doing all these things to make the guy look really good and making all these sexy faces.

What are your top turn-ons with guys?
You definitely have to be funny. That's the most important thing — a good sense of humor. Being open to being spontaneous and doing things on the fly. And worshipping me.

What about dealbreakers?
Snoring. It's an absolute dealbreaker. I'll probably have to get over that at some point. That might be the only one. Oh! Here's a deal breaker: if you are not a feminist and don't understand the feminist cause at all. That was the worst date I've ever been on.

You're speaking from experience?
He told me on our third date that he would never vote for a woman, and that he didn't think women should be in office. Then he continued to ask me why there weren't as many well-known woman artists, woman musicians, women writers. It was the absolute worst date.

I take it there wasn't a fourth date?
There was not another date. I stuck it out and stayed until the end. Rather than going and calling a friend and having them pick me up because I knew that would prove his point because his whole point is that women are crazy and can't contain their emotions. So I stayed like a big girl and had him drive me home. And on the way home he told me that it was too bad because he was going to ask me that night to be his girlfriend. And I was like, I don't think we're on the same page here. So he dropped me off at my house and asked if I'd like him to walk me to the door, and I told him no, that I could probably make it by myself, since I was an independent woman. Believe it or not, I made it!

Interviews and photography by Cristen Conger and Gilly South. Want to talk to strangers in your town? Email