Talking to Strangers: Bonnaroo Edition

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

By Ruth Tam

Sasha, 22

Where are you from?
Asheville, NC. I was an anthropology and environmental-policy major.

What do you do?
I just graduated from college, so... nothing!

What's your relationship status?
I'm in a fairly open, long-term relationship of three years. We have a long-distance thing, so if we're together, we're together, but if we're separate, we're allowed to do whatever we want with our own judgment, as long as it's a lust thing and not a love thing. But neither of us are really keen on really intense, jealous relationships. They just cause arguments.

Outside of your long-term partner, how many partners have you had?
I had a really cool one last night! In the past three years, probably ten. But not as continual things, just a one-time kind of deal, for kicks.

What do you normally look for?
I don't care if you have money, I don't care if you're cute, but if you have your shit together and are nice to other people, you're good.

How do you go about impressing love interests?
Depends. It's easier to seduce people at parties. You've got to give them the sex eyes. It's a universal thing. People know when they're getting checked out. If you look away awkwardly, then you can move on, but if you keep looking, then it's like, "Hey! I'm checking you the fuck out!" It's easier to walk up to them later because it's like you've got an in. You don't even need to have the conversation. Straight from sex eyes to make out. No drama.

Any good hookup stories?
I made my long-term partner do it with me in public for Valentine's Day. When we were living in Australia together, I picked a playground during full daylight next to a road just to see if he would. He's a little more straight-laced than I am. And it was great! It was classy. Did a little pull-up on the monkey bars.

Were there kids around?
Oh, no. I would never do it around kids. I teach kids, so that'd be like, "Whoa."

Where else have you had public sex?
On the front lawn of a fancy cocktail dinner-dance for a post-graduation schmooze.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
Guys think that getting head is a right, not a privilege. You know the ones who just push your head down? Nobody wants that! That is my mouth! Get your dick out of there.

Do you not like giving at all then?
No, not my thing. Girls are funner.

What's hooking up with a girl like?
Great. The first time I ever hooked up with a girl, it was actually with two girls. College is so fantastic.

What the difference between hooking up with girls and hooking up with guys?
Girls get you off better, that's for sure. It's easier. You know exactly what they want, because you want it too. Everyone's still different, but it's easier to figure out. Girls don't fall asleep after; they want to keep going. Way cooler. That's the best part of having a threesome with a girl and a guy. The guy will pass out, but the girl will keep on going.

Craziest thing you've done to get laid?
I don't really chase people who aren't easy.

One thing you wish you could change about the opposite sex?
The getting-off-too-early factor. Personality things can be trained a little, but if I could make every guy read the book She Comes First, the world would be a much happier place. It's about how to give a woman an orgasm, because guys have no idea. They just think we want to fuck really hard, and that's not how it works at all.

Is there one person out there for everyone?
I think there's like five people out there for everyone.


Neil, 31, and Tessa, 23

Where are you from?
T: I'm from Atlanta and he's from Michigan.

How did you meet?
T: At Terrapin Brewery in Athens, Georgia. We were in love in a week and I moved to North Carolina for grad school in week two. We did long distance for four months. He found a job to North Carolina and we moved in together. He proposed a week or two later. We were engaged for about a year and a half and we just got married! This is our honeymoon.

What did you do to impress each other?
T: He spoke Latin to my friend, because she was a classics major. But I think what impressed me in the beginning was the honesty. I was honest about moving and I wasn't sure if I wanted to be in a relationship.

How did you feel at the beginning of the relationship?
N: I was really intimidated, because she's pretty beautiful, you know. That makes it hard for guys. And she was moving.
T: He was aggressive in the beginning. We had those conversations up front, though. I said that there was a forty-percent chance that it would work.
N: The odds were not in my favor.
T: In the beginning, you don't think that a guy will commit to long-distance, but he proved that wrong. After three or four days, there was a lot of good teamwork. We saw each other every day even though we lived an hour apart, and then we said "I love you" after four or five days, and we went to a rugby tournament. I was asleep in the backseat, and he turned to his friend and said "I think I'm going to marry this girl."
N: I didn't start talking marriage until a month later, though.

Tessa, did that freak you out?
T: Well, I had just graduated from college, and I was moving to a new place, and it was a lot of new things at once. I was fine with the love bit, but talking about "forever" kind of freaked me out for three months. But then we started looking for engagement rings.

Do you guys believe in soulmates?
T: I do. Although he would go into some philosophical diatribe over whether or not the soul exists.
N: I think I have to believe now.
T: Before I met him, I was like Swiss cheese. There were holes in my life that I never knew were there. And now I'm like a block of cheddar.
N: Sharp cheddar. It seems like there's gotta be a match for everyone. But it probably takes some people a lot more searching. There's some chance involved.

Yeah, a lot of people die single. You guys won't have to.
T: Hopefully.
N: In fact, that's the subject of our wedding logo. We had a reading done at our wedding. The myth of Baucis and Philemon.
T: By Ovid.
N: It's a Greek myth about Zeus and Hermes going to find hospitality disguised as beggars. They're turned away by everyone except a couple in a really humble home, who give them their last food and wine. When the wine keeps refilling itself, the couple realizes the beggars were really gods.
T: Zeus grants them one wish. They say, "We don't ever want to live a day without the other." And so, eighty years later when they're dying, they turn to each other and embrace. As they embrace, they look at each other's faces and they begin to sprout branches and their skin turns to bark. They become two trees so that they never have to exist without the other. The two trees were our symbol. Neil translated it and my stepdad read it at our wedding.

Bonnaroo can get very grimy. How do you keep it romantic?
T: The fan.
N: There are showers. They're almost too cold to have sex in, though.
T: Almost.
N: The fan, though, is the key to getting frisky.

What will you tell your kids about this honeymoon?
T: We'll tell them to bring them handy wipes if they ever do this.


Briana, 22

Where are you from?
Louisville, Kentucky.

Who are you here to see?
Arcade Fire, who were awesome. Lil Wayne — he is, like, my boyfriend. I was in the front; I'm so obsessed.

What's your relationship status now?

What do you do?
I just graduated from Princeton. I studied political science.

What do you look for in a guy?
He has to be funny, chill, and fun. And down to do whatever. I usually have crushes on really awkward, nerdy guys. Those are the ones I get all flustered with. I don't know why.

How do you impress guys?
Sometimes I'm really awkward about it and creep from afar. But sometimes people will start talking, and then I get in their face.

Got any good hookup stories?
I have a lot of gay friends who wanted to go to this sketchy bar in Trenton, and it was the most ridiculous thing. My friend was looking for a girl to hook up with. We thought it was college night, but it ended up being karaoke night, and it was really awkward, so we just got really drunk to deal with it. We were talking to this guy, and I thought he was gay. So I was trying to get him to talk to my gay friend, but it turned out he was straight. I ended up going home with him and I was the only one to hook up with anybody that night. At a gay bar.

Most daring place you've had sex?
I tried at Myrtle Beach on the sand. It's not as romantic or cute as it seems to be. It's not comfortable. There are shells and rocks.

Dating dealbreakers?
I don't like dating people who don't smoke weed. It makes it awkward for me. Sex when you're high is a lot better, so both parties should do it.

Have you hooked up at Bonnaroo?
No, there have been many opportunities, but no. It usually happens late at night when I'm really drunk or really tired, and here I'm just sweaty and gross. Regardless of how fun it might be, I don't want to rub my sweat into your sweat. I can't really sexile my tentmates either.

Commentarium (52 Comments)

Jun 15 11 - 1:04am

Sasha: pretty much summed up the current sexual climate at most liberal arts colleges and universities
Tessa and Briana: fucking hot

Jun 15 11 - 1:06am

"Or when a girl wants to kiss after going down on me." Fuck you.

Jun 15 11 - 2:28am

My thoughts exactly. So a girl can swallow your come but you can't kiss her afterward? WTF. It's sexy to kiss after, not gross

Jun 15 11 - 8:01am


Jun 15 11 - 9:42am

agreed. rude.

Jun 15 11 - 9:54am

This was the only response that made me do a double-take. She just did you the favor of going down on you. Kiss her, dammit!

Jun 15 11 - 12:16pm

aaaaaaaa..........Its your choice if you wanna take a shot in the kisser. And its ours not to kiss you afterward, or at least till you take a swig of the Gatorade on the night stand. He's not an asshole, he's just not into jizz kisses or dick taste.

Jun 15 11 - 12:37pm

because dicks have a taste?

Jun 15 11 - 5:58pm

his penis must smell and taste like rotten cottage cheese

Jun 15 11 - 8:37pm

So one girl says she can't stand giving head, and another guy doesn't like kissing girls afterward, but only one is an inhuman monster. I'm not saying I agree with him (people who aren't into oral weird me out in general) but come the hell on. It's a ridiculous double standard.

Jun 15 11 - 11:57pm

Logic fail. The girl didn't say she doesn't want to kiss the guy after the guy performs auto-fellatio. She said she doesn't like sucking dick (and this girl can't blame her. Yuck. Ew).
The guy didn't say he didn't like to suck dick. He said he doesn't like to kiss the girl after she's done sucking his dick. Which makes him a dick.

The end.

p.s. google "double standard"-- it may help you understand the concept better.

Jun 16 11 - 12:01am

no, dude, just tastes like penis, which is gross enough

Jun 16 11 - 3:11pm

"Auto-fellatio" means blowing yourself, no? I think the analog would be if she didn't want to kiss him after he goes down on HER. I guess that would still make it a double standard, but the circus trick adds a whole different dimension.

Jun 16 11 - 11:24pm

You're right buddy, I went a little literal there (actually I really just wanted to make people think of auto-fellatio).

Jun 15 11 - 1:38am

God, I hope from here on out at every Bonnaroo festival, a whole squad of bombers flies over, bombs the fuck out of it, and kills everyone there!

Jun 15 11 - 1:54pm

Ah, douchebag is back.

Jun 15 11 - 11:03pm

Never went away, douchebag

Jun 22 11 - 6:03pm

haha, "fight, fight, fight" for the photographed D-BAG
if the girl was hott enough, im sure that spaz would tongue
the hell out of her...

Jun 15 11 - 5:39am

Is it weird to say that Briana has beautiful teeth? It is, isn't it.

Jun 15 11 - 3:12pm

haha yup

Jun 16 11 - 4:24pm

Nope, she DOES have beautiful teeth!

Jun 15 11 - 6:27am

Is Batt Danny Dyer's long-lost brother?

Jun 15 11 - 11:57am

Right on.

Jun 15 11 - 6:45am

Sasha, i sincerely hope that one day you have the chance to play with a guy who knows what they are doing.

Jun 15 11 - 9:24am
For Serious?

Wedding logo? That's a real thing?

In the words of my Meemaw...oh, forevermore!

Jun 16 11 - 2:29am

I'm guessing it was a misprint or misuse of "logos," the Greek word that can mean "speech" or "discourse" (thanks, Internet). He goes right on to say they had a reading of Ovid at their wedding. I'm guessing he wasn't saying they had an emblem designed for their wedding. That did make me look twice, too, though.

Jun 16 11 - 10:57pm

They did have a logo! It was a graphic representation of the myth: two trees intertwined.

Jun 15 11 - 10:55am

Briana wins everything. EVERYTHING!

Jun 15 11 - 12:53pm

most definitely. i want to smoke with her.

Jun 15 11 - 2:49pm

Man. Batt is a douchebag.

Jun 15 11 - 3:26pm
Rutherford B. Hayes

Dude, what's the deal with Adam's dad? My father would have been all "go to it, son!" Of course, things were different in my day.

Jun 16 11 - 9:07pm

I thought Adam's first hookup story was hilarious. It seems like something out of a comedy.

Jun 15 11 - 5:40pm

One Sunday afternoon after a night of vigorous Cocktail-style bartending, Robert Sejnowski rolled over in his twin bed, hungover and slightly depressed. He opened his Acer laptop and scanned youporn for something interesting. "Big Cock Snowball Fight," he murmured, "I guess that'll do." As he waited for the video to buffer, he caught a glimpse of himself in the long mirror he had propped up against his wall. He looked around at the cum stained socks and dirty button down shirts all over his floor, then returned his gaze to the mirror. He looked intensely at his sunken face and mouthed "Robert Sejnowski" slowly. He focused back on the computer. The wireless kept going out. No snowballs. A tide of shame washed over him. How could a 26 year old man live like this? How had he failed so miserably to become a man? He thought about his childhood. He thought about baseball and comic books and what it meant to be truly masculine, how he'd been cursed with both a first and last name. How his mother never really loved him and his father drowned in malt liquor every night to calm the relentless whispers of regret. Robert stood up and started shaving his chest. NO MORE, he said. No more. Later that day, he walked into TGI Friday's exuding confidence. "Hey Bob, we're going to need you to Bartend and bus tonight." As though he had finally become one with the universe and time itself, Robert seamlessly turned his head and said "No problem doll, but do me a favor, the name is BATT."

Jun 15 11 - 6:30pm

@nerve GIVE THIS PERSON A JOB IMMEDIATELY! I'm thinking a column :)

Jun 15 11 - 7:08pm

@jen bloomer. that was waaaaay funny

Jun 15 11 - 9:02pm

@jenbloomer I liked the part where he shaved his chest. Also I liked Big Cock Snowball Fight, it's underrated.

Jun 15 11 - 10:05pm

This is genius! Of course, it'd be funny if it weren't true.

Jun 16 11 - 1:52am

Actually, he's the best one in this batch.

Jun 16 11 - 4:28pm


Jun 15 11 - 7:48pm

Sasha was amazing... also I realized that @ 26 I'm pretty much too old to go to Bonnaroo... -__-

Jun 19 11 - 11:13pm

Fuck, I know. When did that moment of "too old" occur? Sigh...

Jun 15 11 - 10:05pm

Best Talking to Strangers segment I've ever read. Actually I usually don't like them so I don't read them. But still. Great.

Jun 16 11 - 9:21am

What the fuck kind of name is Batt? And yeah, total douche. He's probably terrible in bed.

Jun 18 11 - 12:04am

He told us he's terrible in bed: "Once a girl said, "Well, that didn't last long at all!" Or when a girl wants to kiss after going down on me. That's disgusting." He's grossed out by his own jizz and doesn't last very long. Also, why would you let a girl pee on you if you weren't into that?

Jun 16 11 - 11:27am

Christ this is giving me flashbacks to the one time I went to Bonnaroo and some kid died of a drug overdose right in front of me at a concert. And none of the filthy, stoned neo-hippies around us even noticed. Gross.

Neil and Tessa are cute, though.

Jun 16 11 - 4:28pm

Can no one who attends Bonnaroo give head?

Jun 16 11 - 4:29pm

...or receive it?

Jun 16 11 - 4:31pm

I'm not a huge fan of Sasha's contention that no men know how to please a lady. Otherwise quite an interesting read.

Jun 16 11 - 9:06pm

What's up with that weird bit of white hair on top of Batt's head?

Jun 17 11 - 1:17pm

I know this is wrong, but I find Sasha very hot. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't fall asleep in a three-way with her.

Jun 24 11 - 10:32pm

What did Batt mean about girls peeing on him?

Does he actually mean some girls pee on him without asking.. or is he mistaking female ejaculation for pee?