Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Brooklyn, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Alejandra, 21

Are you dating anyone right now?
Nope, I'm single. I actually met a guy on this trip to New York, but nothing serious at all. I haven't hooked up with anyone in a long time.

What was your last boyfriend like?
I've actually never had a boyfriend. I don't know if I'm picky, or if it's just that the guys I meet aren't my type. I just haven't met anyone I'm interested in.

What's your type?
I like smart and funny and tall guys. I usually go for black guys, too. I don't know. Looks are definitely important to me. I met one guy in Houston recently who I was really attracted to, but he wasn't that smart. I feel like I meet people who are usually smart or good-looking. I don't really mind though. I like being single.

What's the worst date you've been on?
A friend of mine was getting married, and she invited me to come, but I needed a date to go. That's kind of how it is in Mexico — you need a plus-one as a woman. You can't go alone. So she set me up with her cousin. She has really cute brothers, so I thought that the cousin would be the same, and if not, that he'd be cool, so I didn't mind. I went and he looked like the The Penguin, from Batman. He was almost ten years older than me and only talked about himself the entire time. I tried to have conversation with him but he was so cheesy. At one point I asked him if he liked music, and he told me that everything is music to him — like raindrops and the wind.

What's a usual date like in Mexico?
Usually it's dinner and then a party, or a movie and then a party. We party a lot, so that's usually what we end up doing. It's a fun way to get to know someone quickly.

How are Mexican guys different from guys in the United States?
I think that Americans a lot of the time are kind of boring and just want to sit around and drink and talk. If you go to a bar in Mexico, it's a crazy party and it's really entertaining. But Mexican guys are also a lot more traditional.

Do you like traditional guys?
No. I really like non-traditional. I'm not a big feminist, but in Mexico, the man is the one who has all of the control over everything. Like, we can't even really drive home alone or invite a guy out to do something. As a woman, you're supposed to be invited. People also think it's weird if you call a guy first in Mexico. You're supposed to wait until guys call you or reach out to you. I think it's really outdated.

Lucia, 21

Where are you from and what do you do?
I'm from Mexico and I study fine arts. I focus mostly on painting, sculpture, and photography.

Are you currently dating anyone?
Yeah, I'm kind of seeing one guy. He's smart and funny and good-looking. I'm really into him right now.

Do you have a type?
Not really. I like a lot of variety. I definitely care about looks, but I don't care too much about particulars. I guess I'm more drawn to brunettes.

How did you meet him?
We met at a nightclub. I think he said something cheesy like "Don't I know you from somewhere?" It was kind of funny. We ended up dancing and hanging out that night and he asked me for my number.

What was your first date?
We went to a party at a friend's country house. A lot of people in Mexico have country houses and it's always a  big party. I actually don't drink though, so everyone else was really drunk and crazy except me.

Does being sober ever cause problems in your relationship?
Not at all. He drinks but he doesn't care that I don't. I still love to party and have fun, and I don't give him a hard time about drinking.

What do you see happening with him?
I actually don't know right now. It's a little bit complicated because I'm leaving to study abroad in Europe, so I won't be in Mexico with him anymore. I like him a lot, but I want to be single when I'm abroad, and I don't want to have to worry about being held back if I meet someone else or holding him back if he does. Right now I feel like we have a good situation of just friends with benefits.

What's the worst date you've ever been on?
I was out with this guy who was so incredibly boring that I ended up just leaving. He barely spoke at all the whole time. It was awful. I just kept rambling on about random things just to fill the silence, but it was so awkward.

How do guys usually approach you?
I feel like I get a lot of cheesy lines. Mexican guys are great because they're kind of gentlemanly and take care of women a lot more than other kinds of guys, but they can be really fake. They say all kinds of ridiculous things about girls' eyes and the stars and moon and all of this over-the-top stuff. I like Mexican guys usually, but I get a little sick of them.

What was your last boyfriend like?
He was a lot older than me. Like at least ten years older. It was a lot of fun at the beginning, and we got along  well, but I didn't really see a future with him. He was lazy and didn't like to work at all. If he was my age, it would've been more cool, but since he was older, it was a bad sign. I like when guys are more ambitious and kind of know what they want to do or where they're going. I don't want to have to worry about supporting anyone or having to take care of anyone financially.

Jen, 24

Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in Greenpoint, and I'm a waitress and a musician. I play keys and guitars.

Do you ever meet guys at shows?
I meet a lot of guys at shows I go to, but not really at shows I play. As a girl who plays music, I feel like guys are more intimidated by me. I feel like when I get off stage, all my male bandmates get a ton of attention from girls, whereas guys come up to me and say, "Hey, good job," but don't exactly hit on me. I used to feel offended, but now I think it's more that they're intimidated. It's a lot easier to meet guys when you're not performing.

So how do you usually meet guys?
Usually through friends. I wouldn't say that I've ever met anyone from going out to a bar or anything. More just through friends or music collaborations. I'm actually seeing someone right now, though.

What is he like?
We both have our own things going on, which I feel like is a very New York thing. It's like a few days on and a few days off kind of thing. We both have jobs that we're really involved with, which is good. We have opposite schedules.

Is he your usual type?
I have no type physically at all, I feel like, but he's definitely my type personality-wise. He's really funny. I think humor is an expression of intelligence, and that's usually the thing that I think is most attractive and lasting and meaningful.

Do you see it becoming more serious?
I think it could. Definitely. I think that would be great and I wouldn't be afraid of that at all. But, we're taking it one day at a time right now. We aren't rushing.

What's the best date you guys have gone on?
I guess it would be this time when we found a hotel room.

How did you find a random hotel room?
We were at a party with a bunch of people all sharing one room, and we decided it was too crazy in there, so we went on a walk down the hall and found an empty room. We went in and stayed up and drank and watched Police Academy. In the morning the maid knocked on the door, and we pretended like we were about to check out. It was a really good date.

What's the hardest part about dating in New York City?
I think it would be that it's so easy to not date. You don't need anyone here necessarily. You can really distract yourself on every level here and not even think about it. I think if you can be with someone else, it means you've achieved a lot of things personally. If you can choose being with someone here, when there're so many options, it's a really important thing.

What made you feel like you were ready to start seeing someone?
It was really just the right person. You don't need people here, like I said, but when you meet the right person and they see potential in you to be a good partner, you're just like, "Yeah, I think I could be that strong."