Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Brooklyn, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Lauren, 22

What do you do?
I'm a student right now, and I'm graduating in December, a semester late. I'm studying communication art with a concentration in journalism and graphic design.

Do you meet people in your classes?
I do, but I go to a really small art school called Marymount Manhattan, so I mostly meet people at bars in Brooklyn.

What's the worst date you've been on recently?
I was walking back from school and this guy told me he liked my backpack and asked me out on a date. He seemed nice and respectful and I said yes to getting brunch with him, but he wound up telling me about all the people he'd hooked up with at my school and giving me his address for booty calls if I ever wanted. He ended it by letting me know that it wasn't my backpack he liked, it was my ass. He literally told me this on the date. I tried to leave the date and he got really offended. He was like, "Is that it?"

Have you heard from him since?
Yeah, I got many, many texts after that. He told me all about how I'd given him a reason to drink and that he was shell-shocked and all these ridiculous things. I've been told I could write a book about my bad dates. I guess that's why you shouldn't go out with guys you meet on the street.

Noted. How about good dates?
I have been on some. But there haven't been as many of those. Recently I went with the guy I've kind of been seeing to the Museum of Natural History. It was really casual as opposed to being hit on randomly on the street.

So what kinds of guys do you like?
Looks-wise, it totally varies. I have a joke that as long as they're taller than me I don't really care. Fat guys, skinny guys, all different ethnicities, whatever it is. Personality-wise, I've gone for assholes, and I'm just realizing now that honestly, you don't get what you deserve. You get what you think you deserve. I was always comfortable with these guys who were treating me like shit, and it's easy to roll with the punches, but I'm trying to change that. I don't think that's healthy.

What kind of guy would you want to meet now?
Just someone who's doing what they love to do — a genuine person, as opposed to someone who puts on a front. I don't want someone who's following a fad or trying to be a total hipster. I just want someone who's really comfortable being himself.

What was your last boyfriend like?
My last real boyfriend was last summer, and it was actually really serious. He was an asshole. We were online looking at his Facebook together, trying to find a blog that his friend wrote, and I looked at his messages and saw he'd been having online sex with multiple people.

Like full-on a/s/l style chats?
Yeah, like full-on pornographic sex through messages with lots of people. I honestly wouldn't consider it cheating, but I did consider it a character flaw that I couldn't deal with. So I'm very skeptical now. I think you just have to respect yourself, watch out for yourself and for people who aren't treating you the right way, and hopefully you'll meet someone who's like you and understands you.

Do you see yourself becoming serious with the person you're seeing now?
Maybe. It's really casual right now, but who knows. He's really cool and seems very down to earth. I guess we'll see.



Zachary, 22

Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in Bushwick and I work at Whole Foods.

Do you meet a lot of people there?
It's in Tribeca, so yeah. Lots of rich people. I haven't gone on a date with anyone from there yet, but I wouldn't be surprised.

What's your usual type?
Recently, they've been quiet, slim men with tattoos, who are a little shy, but I can see something inside of them. Dark and silent.

What's the last time you were seriously dating someone?
I just got out of a year-and-a-half-long relationship. We're still living together, but he's moving out on July 1.

It's really difficult. We work together too. At first it was like, "Fine, let's just try the whole being friends thing for a little while," but that wasn't working out either. Now it's like, "Wow, I can't even talk to you and I'm just waiting for you to move out and get off the couch." It sucks.

Have either of you brought someone else back to the apartment?
No. If that happened it would get really crazy.

Why'd it end?
I just realized that I couldn't grow anymore within that relationship. I just wanted other things and more time to myself. There's so much to do and he's such a homebody, which is kind of the opposite of me.

Have you gone out with anyone else since you broke up?
Yes, and it was interesting, but I didn't really want to go out again, so I was like, "Let's be friends."

How'd you meet him?
It was a coworker's birthday. We all went out, and towards the end of the night, we'd both been drinking, and then the next morning we were like, "Uh, this probably shouldn't have happened."

Have you and your ex been fighting a lot?
No, it's pretty civil, because we don't talk to each other at all. It's silent. We just avoid each other. It's kind of fun in a way. It's like "Oh, this is different." I'm just trying to take everything as a lesson.

What have you learned from this relationship?
That I shouldn't live with my boyfriends. This is the third boyfriend I've lived with, and it's never me wanting it. It's always them being like "Oh, let's play house." But, I'm a Sagittarius and I get bored really easily. I tend to let things drag on way longer than they should. The next time I live with someone, it needs to be something I can see being really serious. This time we'd only really hung out twice and texted a lot before moving in. I'm not doing it again.

What are you looking for from your next relationship?
Someone who actually wants to go out and see what there is to do in New York City.

What do you like physically?
A little hairy, tattoos, bigger but not husky. Beards are always a plus.


Lucia, 29

What do you do?
Right now I work at a thrift store in Brooklyn.

Your boyfriend was here a second ago. Where did you meet him?
I met him through my coworkers. He's a drummer for a band.

What attracted you to him?
He's a really good person, and he proved it. That was honestly it.

What was your first date?
He asked me out so formally — "Let me take you out on a date" — and I was kind of just like, "All right, whatever." Every Thursday, I watch my friend's kid. So we met up for a beer after that, and I was ready to get it over with, but he was trying to hang out more. We ended up going to see his friend's band play at this BBQ joint across the street and had some more beers and talked about everything. But then this girl next to me got wasted and showed us her breast and started pouring mayonnaise on her face. It was 11 p.m. So we left and ended up at this place where you can play skee-ball and different games and we randomly played shuffleboard next to one of the older Baldwin brothers.

Which one? The one in Biodome?
Biodome. Yeah. That was our first date. It's been about five months now. It's not cut and dry. We actually broke up and got back together like two weeks ago. Not because of anything other than life. He respects that I'm really protective of myself.

What do you see happening now?
I don't know. Good things. He's an incredibly good person.

Could you see yourself moving in with him?
Maybe with time and if I was comfortable with it. I take a long time to figure things out. That's the "life" I was talking about before. But, because he respects it, it's possible.

Did you have a crazy ex who made you protective?
I was actually married for six years, and technically am still. That ended maybe two or three years ago, though. We're both too stupid and bad about paperwork to do anything about it though. This is the first time I've had a boyfriend since then.

Does your ex-husband know about your boyfriend?
I don't know. Probably not, but it's possible. Anything is possible when it comes to small towns, and I feel like the world is basically a small town.