Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Atlanta, GA

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Rusty, 30

What do you do for a living?
I'm a songwriter and a DJ. 

Has that made dating easier? I'm sure women like musicians and DJs.
It's had no impact. I've never dated anyone because I was a musician or a DJ ever. 

What's a dealbreaker for you?
There's so many. I have two dating questions that have to be answered correctly: who makes peanut butter cups? 

Yes, you passed. But if you said "Reecee's," no way, it's a fucking dealbreaker. And I can probably tell you everything about your family, how your life was when you were a kid, everything, just with that one question. And then, a music-related question, but it's not as interesting. It's not important, but it's just things that you listen to growing up, and there are a large number of bands that if that was your favorite, I won't date you. 

Name one.
311. No question. Those are dealbreakers. But also, borderline personality disorder, being too clingy. 

Anything physically?
No, not on that one. Unintelligence is a turn off. A bad sense of humor is a bad turn off. Overly apologetic. 

What's your current romantic status?
I'm in a relationship. We met at the bar I DJ at,  but not because I was DJing. I met her outside while I wasn't working. 

You don't think she was impressed with your DJ skills?
Not at all. I think she could care less.  

How are things going with her?
I love her. I think she's awesome. She's my best friend. I don't have to go anywhere; I want to be with her.

Is it rare to find that type of friendship with someone you're dating?
It's my first time in thirty years. I don't think it's easy at all. You can find people you're attracted to or people you like being with, but not all the time. I value my alone time, and this is the first time that I'd rather not be alone. 

So you're kind of saying you don't want any space in this relationship?
For the first time, yes. I'm not kind of saying it, I'm saying it. 

Sounds like you're smitten.

Do you want to marry her?
If she'll let me, yes. 

So what are your feelings about monogamy then?
Monogamy is the way to go. I don't think I know how to be in a relationship that's not monogamous. Nor do I want to be. I don't think I would value that person. I wouldn't be capable of trust and love with someone I wasn't monogamous with. Or, it would just be sex-centered and all about pleasure, and I don't think relationships and love are all about pleasing yourself.  

What's the last romantic thing you did for this woman?
I don't know how romantic a guy I am. I've made her bed every day for the past eight months. 

She's never made her bed. I actually think that's pretty romantic, because people like getting into a made bed and not a messy bed. But that's more for her and not for me. I've bought her flowers, but I don't think that competes, personally. It's about smaller things. 

So how would you describe your sex life?
Private. But… yeah, private.

So have you written a song about her?
Not for her, but about her, yes. And I think they're two different things. You can write a song for somebody, and you can write a song about somebody. 

How is that different?
It's for me, or for someone else. But it's not for her. It just happens to be about her. 

Is she going to hear it at some point?
She already has. She just doesn't know it. No, I've never sat down one-on-one like fucking "My So Called Life" on MTV and played the song for her. I have played it at a show, and she's heard it but didn't realize it.


Hien, 29

What do you do for a living?
I'm an international sales rep. 

Does that get you laid?
Not yet.  

When was the last time you had sex?
Sunday. I was really wasted. We went back to my place.  

Was this a booty call?
No, not exactly. We'd hung out before but that was the first time we slept together. We're kind of acquaintances, friends through friends. I kind of accidentally hung out with him one night. He works at a bar, so I kind of closed down the bar with him. I was hanging out with him and one of my friends. We went back to his place, drank wine, and watched the Muppets.

Do you like him?
Yeah. I'm going to see him this Sunday.  

Are you looking for a relationship?
No. My last relationship ended in September, so I haven't been single for too terribly long. So no, I'm not looking for a relationship. That relationship lasted for about two years, and it just wasn't really going anywhere. It fizzled out. Nothing bad happened or anything.  

Who broke up with whom?
I broke up with him over the phone.  

Was it long-distance?
No, he lives here.  

And you still broke up with him over the phone?
Yeah. We're still friends. He took it fine. He doesn't show emotions really.  

Was it very serious?
Yes. His mom still contacts me, and we still hang out sometimes. 

Have you slept together since you broke up?
No. When I'm done, I'm done. 

Do you think he's still in love with you?
Maybe. Probably. I was his first serious girlfriend, so I'm pretty sure I'm the girl that he's going to compare everybody to. He'll compare every future relationship to this one, so yeah. I was his first girlfriend and first breakup. 

But he wasn't your first.
No. I've had several serious relationships. I would say I'm probably a serial monogamist, since I was eighteen. Probably the longest I've been single between relationships is six months. 

So we're approaching that mark. It's about time for you to get together with someone.
But it just happens. I don't plan on it. You hang out, then you slowly start to hang out every day, then you slowly start to sleep together at night, then you slowly start to eat dinner together every night. It's this weird, unplanned progression that I am consciously now trying to avoid getting into again. It starts feeling like a marriage, a routine. And that's not what I'm wanting. 

What do you like and dislike about the Atlanta dating scene?
It's probably the places I go to, but I feel like the girl-to-guy ratio is in the guys' favor. I also feel like a lot of girls in Atlanta are… loosey-goosey? The guys here have a lot of girls at their disposal, let's put it that way. I think a lot of the guys I'm attracted to are the creative types. They're always broke or they don't have cars. So dating in Atlanta is very frustrating and limited. I don't go to places like Midtown or Buckhead where there are probably more successful young professionals. I did try dating a young professional once. He was cool, but I felt like he was looking to me to bring flavor into his life. The guys here in Atlanta who have their shit together and are successful are usually pretty dull. Conservative. Boring. At least the single ones. I usually try to sleep with people when I go out of town. 


Thomas, 24

What do you do for a living?
I serve you at The Earl, as is happening here right now. 

Does that get you laid?
No, never. I'm working; I'm not here to pick up people. I'm here to make money. 

Describe your sexual persona as an animal.
Grizzly bear.  

So you're just going to maul someone?
Maybe. If that's what she's into. I think of a grizzly bear as, you see what you want, and you take it. Not in like a raping sense. Not that, okay? 

What's the last relationship you were in?
Five months ago. I walked away because I wasn't happy. I love being single. It's way better. Summer's around, bathing suits, summer dresses, I'm into it. 

Is it easy to get laid in Atlanta?
Well, there's Buford Highway, so you can always get laid for like $200.  

Have you done that?
No, never. But some people I know have. But getting laid in Atlanta isn't bad. I mean, it just depends on what you're looking for. I don't really go out with the objective of getting laid, but if it happens, it happens. I'm not a scumbag. 

You're not always inviting people back to your grizzly den?
To my cave? My man cave? No, not many people get to come home.  

Do you prefer to stay at women's houses?
Yes. I love staying at women's houses because then I can leave whenever I want and I don't have to be like, "Can you go home now?" That's the worst. 

What's something kinky you like to do in bed?
I can't answer that. It's a surprise! You'll have to find out. I have my ways. I don't know, I don't really plan anything. I just go with the flow. I'm into most anything. Why, what about you? 

This isn't about me. What's the worst hookup experience you've ever had?
I woke up once not knowing where I was, butt naked, turned around and was like, "Hi, my name's Tommy." I had no recollection of where I was and I was really far from my house, so that kind of sucked. 

Was it somewhere on Buford Highway?
No, never. Never that far. I try not to go anywhere outside the perimeter. It's bad news. 

Have you ever had a threesome?
Yes. I've had a few. They're fun. 

Is it typically two girls?
Always. No guys, no guys. 

Isn't that a lot of work pleasing two women?
It depends. I guess. It's not that bad. It's a good balance if the girls are into each other. It makes it easier.  

Any with lesbians?
Not that they told me, but it could've fooled me. 

If you've had so many, are you constantly just going up to ladies and propositioning them for threesomes?
No, never. It's always been one girl approaching me asking me to join. It's never been, "Hey, you wanna pick that girl up?" A guy doesn't get to choose; it's always in the woman's hands.  

What do you think about monogamy?
Monogamy is for people who are — I want to word this correctly. Monogamy is almost like people give up finding new and interesting things. They want to stay in the same category or the same life for their whole lives. I don't really agree with it. It's nice to wake up to the same woman, but it's very hard to be with one woman for eternity. It's very difficult. You argue, things don't go the way you like. Temptation. It's all about what you want personally. To each his own. 

Can I get another High Life?

Jacob, 26

What do you do for a living?
I work at a bar and a record store.  

Record stores are kind of romantic, right? Do you ever get dates from work?
No. Someone once asked me out but I said no. It was actually a friend of mine, and I literally just said, "No."

That's pretty awesome. Because the rest of us don't know how to say no, and we really wish that we did. So are you dating anyone right now?
Yes. She works next to the record store. I've known her for a while. I'm friends with her ex-boyfriend. But I'm not good enough friends with him that I feel uncomfortable about dating his ex-girlfriend. We've only been dating for about a month.  

What's your first fight going to be about?
I don't know. Probably something petty. She's very, very nice.  

You probably get approached by girls at work all the time. What's an immediate turn-off?
I really hate when girls try to pander to what they think I'm interested in. 

Like music?
Anything, but that's the worst. People do that a lot. Because I work at a record store, they think that that matters whatsoever, that they like things that I might like, but I don't care about that.  

Would you ever go on a blind date?
No. That would put me in a position of being a jerk, like if I sat down then just got up and left. I'm impatient.  

Do you think it's sexy if a girl approaches you, or do you prefer to approach her?
I do think it's cool if a girl approaches me, but I like it more when two people kind of approach each other. I like it more if you're having a conversation with someone and it's obvious that you both like each other. Then you both kind of awkwardly ask each other to hang out at the same time.  

What's the worst date you've ever been on?
I bet I've been on dates with people where I didn't even know we were on a date. Where I thought that we were just hanging out as friends. I'm pretty sure that's probably happened. I can't think of a specific bad date because I'm not really the kind of person to just date, like, "It's a Friday night so I'm going to go on a date," then never talk to that person again. I've never really done that, so I don't know.  

Biggest turn-on?


Analea, 24

What do you do for a living?
I'm a hairdresser at a strip club.  

Did you ever dance there?

But you're friends with all the dancers?

Do you get laid from that?
No. I don't intertwine with my work.  

Do people think they can score with you because you work at a strip club?
No, I think I'm more intimidating than that. I'm kind of a bitch sometimes.  

What's the bitchiest thing you've ever done to turn a guy away?
This sounds so terrible, and I can't believe I'm going to tell you this. My friends and I were talking about how guys buy you drinks all the time — but how long do you have to talk to them after they buy you a drink before you can leave? So in New Orleans one time, some guy was like, "Can I buy you a drink?" and I was like, "Yeah, sure." So he bought me the drink then I left. Then I went back to my boyfriend. 

How long do you have to talk to a guy if he buys you a drink then?
Apparently only three minutes. 

Is that the rule? Because I've been wondering that myself.
Apparently only three minutes, because he didn't try to come talk to me after I took the drink and left.  

One day, I want you to ask a guy how long you have to talk to him after he buys you a drink.
Okay. I'll do it. I'll do that one. 

Are you in a relationship now?

Are you sleeping with anyone?
When I'm drunk, every once in a while I will call a certain someone. I have a booty call. It's not an every day or every week sort of thing.  

What do you look for in a guy?
A good job. Smart. Can hold a conversation. Isn't an asshole.  

What kind of guy do you feel like you attract?
All of them. Assholes. I think I attract more of the guys who don't fucking do shit with their lives, who are fucking stupid. Then they shortly realize that I'm not the bitch for them. The bitchiness detours the douchebags, but it also gets the guys who are like, "Oh my God, she's a bitch and she doesn't care!" 

Like, she'd probably spank me in bed, and that'd be hot…
Yeah, yeah. 

So if your sex life is an animal, what would you be?
Maybe a mix between a black widow and a praying mantis. Because it could work, or I could eat you alive.  

Do you have any dealbreakers?
A lot. 

Just start listing them.
I would never date someone who slept with, hit on, or made out with any of my friends. I might sleep with them still, but just because they're easy and I'm kind of a man at heart. Another dealbreaker is if you don't have a job. I'm successful, so I need someone who's equally or more successful than I am. Maybe a little less. I can be the breadwinner as long as you have a job and can pay rent. You have to like to travel. You're just ignorant if you don't like to travel. You have to drink. I'm not a lush but I like to drink. You have to like cowboy boots. Jameson. 

You have to like Jameson?
Yeah. Well, maybe not. Weed. Oh yeah, you've gotta smoke weed. I love that in a man. If we can smoke together, that's beautiful. Just lie in bed and smoke a bowl. 


Josh, 26

What do you do for a living?
That's a good question. I'm not really sure. 

How does "not really sure" work for your dating life?
It works fine; it doesn't really play into it. I work at a couple of restaurants and play music. I've pretty much worked in restaurants since I started working and I'm trying to be an artist and do that stuff and get away from working in restaurants. 

Do the ladies like your art?
So far, I think so. 

Do you romance them with your artistic skills?
Not really. I just sit back and let the magic happen, I guess. I'm kind of casual and let whatever happens happen. 

How's your romantic life right now?
It's pretty good. It's steady for the first time in a few years.

If your bedroom style were an animal, what would it be?
I actually did, when I was really drunk, attack my girlfriend for thirty minutes making an unknown animal noise, which wasn't sexual at all really. It was just me acting like some sort of mutant wolf for thirty minutes the other night. So the animal we'll say is a mutant wolf. 

That's terrifying.
Terrifyingly beautiful. I'm a very caring mutant wolf. 

When you're not being a mutant wolf, what's the sexiest non-sex act a woman has ever done to you, like making dinner?
Making dinner definitely wouldn't be the answer. I can make myself dinner. I like doing stuff outside. A lot of things I end up doing involve not the most legal activities, so, people who are willing to put themselves out there. People who are willing to do things that will potentially be dangerous but who are conscious of what could happen. 

Any dealbreakers?
I have a ten-year-old son. I'm a musician. I'm an artist. I work two jobs. I have a lot of things going on in my life. I appreciate my time to myself. So balancing my time is difficult, and a person who doesn't respect that is definitely a turnoff. It's okay to need something from someone. But you need a balance.

Has your son ever been a dealbreaker for someone else?
Not yet. I've been lucky. The fact that I'm involved with my son's life hasn't come up yet. Maybe it's because certain people I dated never got close enough to me to where that was an issue, or people who get to know me and we actually date for a while see that it's not going to be any sort of hindrance to our relationship.  

What was the last romantic thing you've ever done for a woman?
This morning my girlfriend told me she didn't want coffee when I left to go drop my rent off at my landlord's house, but I got her coffee anyway.  

That's it? Coffee?
I'm just saying that was this morning! That was recent. My memory isn't what it used to be. I have been criticized before for not being romantic enough. I'm just a spontaneous person, and things that are planned, I'm working on that. I'm working on my romance.