Talking to Strangers: Atlanta, GA

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?

Commentarium (71 Comments)

Mar 24 11 - 1:26am

Wow. These people are awful. Esp the last two,one bitch one douche. I for one would like to propose putting and end to this column, it's pointless and useless and only makes me hate everyone even more when I read it.

Mar 24 11 - 11:06am

I would like to offer the counter-proposal that you stop reading this column if you don't like it. Some people really enjoy it, even (and especially) when the interview subjects say douchey things.

Mar 24 11 - 2:13pm

FuckYou has achieved success as being Official Nerve Troll. Congratulations!

Mar 24 11 - 11:17pm

A truly charming individual, for sure.

Mar 25 11 - 12:49am

FUCKYOU is soo clever...
just look at his s/n, lacking alliteration, poise and so much more, yet gets the message through!...Good for you, idiot.

Mar 25 11 - 10:13pm

I hate to examine my conscious and admit it: FuckYou is right about douchette Analea and douche Josh. Annoying.

Mar 24 11 - 2:19am

These are the worst yet--where do you find such dirtbags?

Mar 24 11 - 3:20am

Actually, now that I think about it? I'm kind of a douche. I'm homophobic, racist, cynical, pessimistic (that's a given). I guess I shouldn't be such a troll. Besides, it's pretty stupid to hate other people for all the reasons I hate myself!

Mar 25 11 - 12:50am

just stop, stop.

Mar 24 11 - 4:49am

Am i the only one who immediately scrolls down to the comments section when reading any article online? Seriously...I might totally skip articles(not just on Nerve) and just read comments sections. What does that say about me?

Mar 24 11 - 7:20pm

Guilty! Come sit next to me.

Mar 25 11 - 10:14pm

Wow, infuriating.

Mar 24 11 - 6:00am

I think it's great to have a batch of dirtbags here and there. They can still be insightful, even if it's a look into a world you'd rather not touch. For instance, Rusty. Do you really want to be the guy who has band-specific dealbreakers at age 30? Yes, 311 sucks, but are we still in high school? It matters _that_ much to you?

Mar 24 11 - 9:39am

I don't know. Do you really want to date someone who likes 311? That's like the musical equivalent of being a Holocaust denier.

Mar 24 11 - 10:34am

I chuckled at your comparison, but as someone who has been through the musical/cultural/etc version of the Holocaust, i.e. persecuted and marginalized for my range of personal tastes, I could never do that to someone else. In the same way the ACLU sticks up for the Westboro Baptist Church, so do I stick up for 311 fans!

Mar 24 11 - 5:32pm

Well, in fairness, the only person I know who is a 311 fan also gets really excited when that Sublime cover band comes to town, and he also posts links on Facebook to the stupid "9/11 truth" videos. All of which I think is somehow 311's fault.

Mar 24 11 - 6:49pm

I won't date someone who likes Creed. And I'm 26.

Mar 25 11 - 10:32am

How about something truly offensive, like Nickelback?

Mar 24 11 - 8:38am

WHAT A COLLECTION OF ASSHOLES! Why do you keep doing this every week? Time after time, these unique individuals prove to be boring in exactly the same way. Stop wasting the effort.

Mar 24 11 - 9:40am

Can Nerve do a "Talking With Strangers: Anonymous Internet Commenters" column? That would be so, so awesome.

Mar 24 11 - 9:13am

Rusty won't date people who say "ReeCee's" but walks right into the "could care less" fallacy?

Mar 24 11 - 10:30am

haha i had the exact same thought

Mar 25 11 - 2:27am

me too:). If you are going to be a snob, do it right!

Mar 24 11 - 9:48am

They are some of the more honest of the bunch, grant them that.

Mar 24 11 - 9:52am

"you're just ignorant if you don't like to travel"??? what a bitch. What a shallow, stuck up bitch. She's successful because she works as a hairdresser in a stripclub? jesus.

Mar 24 11 - 10:06am

why is everyone so negative? I enjoy this series, and this installment seems equally as fun as all of the rest. So what if some of the people come off as assholes? That's part of the fun of it. Does everyone have to be a saint for you all to enjoy reading about them?

Mar 24 11 - 10:32am

I agree completely

Mar 24 11 - 3:43pm

Agreed...haters gonna hate

Mar 24 11 - 10:23am

Theory: We send a smart young writer out every week to get a bunch of interviews --- but only with assholes -- and then pick the biggest dickheads of the bunch for your reading pleasure.

Theory: These are just people, and commenters are kind of judgmental.

Mar 24 11 - 10:27am

Interesting theories.

Mar 24 11 - 2:39pm

Insider scoop!

Mar 25 11 - 1:10am

Or, another theory: there's only a certain type of person that agrees to have their picture, name, age, and the intimate details of their sex life scrawled across the intertubes for the world to gawk at/envy/belittle. To say they're "just people" is maybe technically true, but clearly they're a pretty select sliver of humanity - which is why it seems so odd on the rare occasion when you get someone who isn't bragging about their last three-way or drunken booty call.

Mar 25 11 - 2:41am

I'd be totally down for reading a "Talking to Dickheads" column.

Mar 24 11 - 10:24am


people are negative because the authors go to essentially the same hipster bar in a different city and talk to the same white barely employed people in every week. Next time go a TGIFriday's and talk to the secretary's who are going out for drinks, go to a swanky hotel bar and talk to the bankers, go to a dive bar and talk to garbage men.
This article would be more interesting if there were a wider array of kinds of people represented.

Mar 24 11 - 11:17am


Nerve is no longer 'Talking To Strangers'. It seems like Nerve only feels safe talking to the same type of people and this series is getting boring. The only thing that varies is the moustaches, bad tattoos, and levels of "funemployment".

Mar 24 11 - 11:17am

Nope, wrong. People like to use "hipster" as a euphemism for "anyone under 40 who I hate for no reason," and if you spend any time examining the columns from week to week, you'll see that there is a wide cross-section of people represented - within the confines of what is possible for this feature. For example, the chance that a banker or secretary would agree to be published in such a context is almost zero.

Mar 24 11 - 3:44pm

@girl J...YUP

Mar 24 11 - 4:18pm

@ke Love the word "funemployment"! You've brightened my day.

Mar 24 11 - 11:11am
T Joe

I didn't realize 311 was on par to Nickleback with some people. Interesting.

And I loved the girl who thought she was successful because she was a hairdresser at a strip club. That's funny. I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn't be braggin' on it and calling myself successful.

Mar 24 11 - 11:45am

Being a hairdresser at a strip club is a lot harder than being in wardrobe. "Um, do you want the pink tassels or the red ones?"

Mar 24 11 - 12:21pm

Yeah, yeah, Analea was awful. But I really like this feature. I do think y'all need to go to less hipster-y places, though (not that there's anything wrong with hipsters).

Mar 24 11 - 12:47pm

As for how long you should spend with a guy who has bought you a about don't accept a drink from a guy who you don't want to spend some time talking to for awhile????

Mar 28 11 - 4:57pm

Now that's just silly... you can't expect us girls to buy our own drinks or worse!! stay sober!!

Mar 24 11 - 2:16pm

Oh, no, no, no, my friends. This was one of the first one of these where I fell a little in love twice. Josh for his looks (not so much the answers) and Rusty's answers (and looks). I also like that the beer order made it into the official interview transcript.

Mar 24 11 - 2:38pm

I love how people have all these "deal breakers" when you know none of them would follow any of them if the person was attractive enough...

Mar 24 11 - 9:44pm

Duh, that was a ridiculous thing to say. There is scientific proof that attractive people get their way more consistently than normal people. It is a flaw of the human race. We can't help but indulge the pretty.

Mar 24 11 - 4:10pm

When are you guys gonna come to Portland, Oregon? We gots some crazy-ass, diverse freaks out here and 75% of us might actually have something interesting to say...

Mar 24 11 - 4:28pm

We've done several installments in Portland, and we'd love to do more. If you're interested in doing interviews, or if you know someone who is, please let us know -- submissions at nerve dot com.

Mar 24 11 - 4:29pm

I believe they've done Portland at least once.

Mar 24 11 - 4:44pm

Bummer. I always miss out. Hey, I'm gonna hit Peter up and try to do one of these bad boys...

Apr 22 11 - 1:31pm

are you kidding me? portland sucks. what "diverse freaks?" you mean spoiled brats who front how hardcore they are, or how hipster or hippy? it is the whitest city in the whole country, per capita. the one art museum is so lame, dinky as fuck. it is the most pretentious and self-important place i have been, so self-consicously "alternative". there is no real art scene that is not the regurgitation of the same tired aesthetic. it is a really insular place. "keep portland weird" give me a break. put a bird on it!

Mar 24 11 - 4:15pm

Strippers get their own hairdressers?

Mar 24 11 - 5:45pm

to get a drink from a guy all you have to do is look cute and go up to them and compliment them on something random like their shirt or their face. i've done this twice and was asked if i wanted a drink within a minute or two. they both turned into really good nights.

Mar 24 11 - 10:25pm

If I disregard Rusty's juvenile comments about music and Reese's, he is quite the catch.

Apr 22 11 - 1:33pm

so rusty's got some dumb quirks, who cares? he obviously has a sense of humor and is capable of deep love, and of articulating that, which is fucking rare.

Mar 24 11 - 11:03pm

rusty can't date a chick that says reesee's, but he says "could care less." seriously?

Mar 24 11 - 11:53pm

You should interview people in small towns, or cities people don't know as well, such as Detroit.

Mar 25 11 - 5:41pm


Mar 25 11 - 12:19am

Come to Boston and hit up the Model Cafe--they will fit the bill nicely, providing much rocker-douche amusement. (Although I do agree that a socioeconomic cross section would be more awesome.)

Mar 25 11 - 5:40pm

Hey don't clown on Model, it's the shit

Mar 25 11 - 12:51am


-blow is wher its at!

Mar 25 11 - 11:08am

Ooof, 30 is too old to get worked up about shit like "ReeSee's." Whattadouche.

Apr 22 11 - 1:34pm

he was probably kidding, yo. he is clearly smart and caring - he loves his lady and is handsome as fuck. you are a douche.

Mar 25 11 - 2:39pm

what about new haven, ct?

Mar 25 11 - 10:15pm

Atlanta....what up with your natives!

Mar 27 11 - 4:32pm

I looove 'talking to strangers' - it's my favourite way to procrastinate - but these guys were boring. boring boring boring.

Mar 28 11 - 12:34am
Jj Abrams

God damn, what a bunch of shit heads...

Apr 01 11 - 3:12pm

Finally something that makes me want to move out of Atlanta. I always thought it was going to be the traffic.

Apr 23 11 - 2:48am

What I think is really interesting is the fact that people are saying whatever is on their minds, not really thinking about it. I wonder how they feel about themselves after they have read their own words. Do they realize their flaws? Do they realize that they are sharing very intimate details with the world? How does that make them feel? Don't get me wrong, I like the column, but it does present an opportunity for self-reflection and realization, good and bad.

Aug 02 11 - 8:01pm

At you abstract thinking