Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Cardiff, Wales

Pin it

"I tried to tell him, 'This is how I like it.' And he said, 'I know what I’m doing.' But I said, 'No. You don’t know me.' And we just forgot about it and had not-that-good sex." 

BY JENNIFER BURNS

Marianne, 23

Are you dating anyone at the moment? 
I’m very single. 

How do find dating here compared to back home in Norway? 
It’s different to what I’m used to. People don’t beat around the bush. They ask you if they can ask you on a date, instead of just seeing what happens. 

What would be a deal breaker? 
Arrogance is a big turn off. I’ve had that experience recently. I was seeing this guy, and I really liked him in the beginning, and then it turned out he was really arrogant. He had these really high thoughts about himself and what he’s capable of. And I just thought, “Be a bit more humble.” I didn’t believe most of the things he said. 

What kinds of things did he say? 
Just how awesome he is. And how awesome he was when he studied. And how awesome his brain is – and how that isn’t normal – and how awesome he was when he got this-and-this job. 

I find it usually means he’s insecure or lacking something.
I think it’s charming if it means he’s trying to “woo” me, but I’m not really into that. I’d rather just have honesty. I just don’t see where it’d go from there. And this guy, he thought he was such a good lover. 

Everyone thinks that. 
And he’s my age! I normally go for guys who are at least five years older than me, because they have more experience. But this guy thinks he’s got the best lovemaking skills in the world. I tried to tell him, “This is how I like it.” And he said, “I know what I’m doing.” But I said, “No. You don’t know me.” And we just forgot about it and had not-that-good sex. 

What advice would you offer him? 
Get to know the person you’re having sex with. Don’t just think that the way you have sex is the way to have sex with everyone. He just didn’t seem to be interested in what gets me off. 

How are British guys different to Norwegian guys? 
Norwegian guys are “Kens,” as in Barbie and Ken. They have the genes on their side. And so do the girls. And that means the majority of people in Norway, in my eyes, are superficial. And it’s intimidating. But here, guys think I am really beautiful. It’s like I’m exotic, so I find that they give me more attention. And there are more boys here who aren’t as concerned with their looks, which I find really attractive. Looks are just one small aspect of the whole picture. And in Norway, that’s a big part of the picture. 

Have you been to the States before? What do you think of American guys? 
Yes, but I went there with my ex-boyfriend, and he is a horrible person. So I didn’t dare talk to anyone because he was so jealous. So I’d just look at these American guys and think, “Hmm, you seem nice.” I was afraid my boyfriend would tell me off. 

So a really jealous guy, then.
Yeah, he has a personality disorder, I found out later. 

Which one? 
I don’t know. It’s when you get into intimate relationships and just can’t handle it. He tried to control everything and was really horrible. But I’m really happy that it happened. It was really bad, in that he tried to manipulate me, control me and make me believe horrible things about myself that weren’t true. But then again, I stayed in it for a year, got out of it, and started seeing a psychologist, broke down what actually happened, learned that he’s violent, and now I know that that will never happen to me ever again. I’m a lot stronger now. So I won. 

Ozzy, 30

Are you single, married or in a relationship at the moment? 
I am divorced. 

Yeah, me too. How long were you married for? 
One year. 

So are you dating anyone now? 
No, I’m single at the moment.

How do find dating in Cardiff? 
Love, it takes time. Sometimes it can happen in minutes, but sometimes it takes ages. I was in love with someone for eight years. But when I’m in love, I can’t finish it and then just start a new one, you know? I believe that in relationships and friendships, it’s all about trust and respect. If you don’t have respect, there’s no love. If I see a person, I can tell straight away if that person is trustable or not. 

Really? How can you tell? 
Because I’ve got experience with people. Not only with women in relationships, but with everybody. If I see somebody come into my store [motions to the door], I can tell if they’ll steal or not. 

No way. So what do you think about me? Am I trustworthy?
Yeah, you’re a good lady [laughs]. The way people talk, the way they sit down, the way they get up, how they act when they see their elders and their youngsters – I can tell their character. 

That’s a handy skill to have. So what do you think about love at first sight, then? 
I do believe in it. I saw the girl – the girl who I was in love with – I saw her once, and then I was in love. And it took time for me to get in touch with her. And then I found out that I had had a fight with her brother. And I said, “Oh no.”

So wait, this was before you knew who she was? 
Yeah. After that, it was way harder for me. Then I became best friends with her brother. And then I thought, he’s going to tell me, “We’re best friends – so how come you’re in love with my sister?” So it made it harder and harder. 

How did you overcome that? 
Well, my family knows her family – but that came after everything. For me, it was a hard time. 

Do you still talk to her? Are you friends? 
No, we ended up bad friends [laughs]. But you know, when you love, you can’t hate. Doesn’t matter what happens, you can’t hate. So if you do, that means it was not love. I’ve gone through loads of things with her, but still I can’t hate her. Even if my mind does, my heart won’t hate her. My mind and my heart are different. 

If you were to take someone new on a date, where would you go? What would you do? 
I am a shy person, sometimes – at the beginning. I would prefer to walk on the beach, or if it’s rainy day, I would walk in the rain with her. 

Umbrella or no umbrella? 
No umbrella. 

So what do you when your clothes are all wet? 
That’s the love, innit? If she’s not running away, and just staying right next to you. I’d love to get wet, you know? I don’t mind. With love, you need to give what you got. You need to understand each other – some people go too fast into the next relationship after a break up. If you don’t understand each other, every day you’re going to have an argument. 

And that’s exhausting. 
Loads of people will argue with their girlfriends all the time. But I was never in that position. If I do something wrong, I will say, “I’m sorry.” It’s nice to be nice. But in relationships, I don’t like other people getting involved. Because whatever happens, it is between two people. When someone else gets involved, it breaks the trust. And you can’t hurt your lover’s feelings in front of everybody. 

Sammie, 21

Which club are you passing out flyers for? 
Live Lounge, just round the corner. 

Are you dating anyone at the moment? 
No, I’m single. 

And how do you find dating in Cardiff? 
It’s quite nice. I’m at uni, so I’m quite busy, and I don’t really have time for anyone else, so it’s just kinda nice to be single and do what I want, when I want. I have a lot of uni work – because I do textiles – so it’s heavy course work. 

Do you get a lot of guys hitting on you when you’re working? 
Yeah, generally, in this job, you do. They’re drunk, and you’re standing here, and you’ve gotta talk to them anyway. It makes you easier to approach. And you get guys coming up to you and being like, “Give me a kiss.”

Have you ever done it? 
Oh no [laughs].

What’s the worst thing a guy’s ever said to you?
Oh God, you get some really crude stuff. Like someone once said, “Fuck the shit out of me.” I was just like, “Um, right.”

What did you say?
I don’t know [laughs], I just kind of walked away. I was like, “Uhhh…”

Do you have free reign to punch someone in the face when they talk to you like that? 
No, you have to take it. One of my mates, someone spat in her face. And in that respect, then you can, because someone assaulted you. Generally though, you just have to bite your tongue. 

Has anyone done anything nice to get your attention? 
You’ll have guys say, “You’re pretty” or “You’re the prettiest girl I’ve seen tonight” – that crap. 

Got any dates lined up? 
Well, I’m meant to be going on a date this week, actually. It’s kind of like a “mess around” – it’s with a few of my work mates, like a little double date. It’s me and my best mate – we’re going to go on a date with our other mate and his best mate. 

Have you met him yet? Is it like a blind date? 
We went to the park yesterday, actually, and hung out and had a little picnic. So that was quite nice. I think we’ll be going to the cinema at some point this week. 

Are you excited? 
Yeah, it’s all right. We’re good friends anyway. So it’s more like we’re just hanging out as mates, rather than as anything else. So it’s just a bit of a mess around. 

“Mess around?” Is that just like, hanging out? I’m old.
Yeah [laughs]. I don’t really find people attractive without knowing them. It’s nice to know someone’s personality first, see if they can make you laugh. 

What else makes up a good personality? 
Being generally nice. I hate rude people – it really irritates me. If they can make me smile, then that’s a good sign. 

What advice would you give yourself five years ago? 
Not to give it out easily, but it’s not something that I really do anyway. In the last five years, I’ve grown stronger in myself. I had my first boyfriend when I was 14, and after that, I’ve went from one relationship to another long-term relationship.  I’ve been single now for about two years, and it’s been really nice to have some time out on my own. I think it’s important – this sounds a bit cliché – to love yourself. And to love your own company before you can enjoy spending time with someone else. So yeah, I’d tell myself to be strong and not get messed around. 

Has a guy ever done anything to offend you in bed? 
One of my exes tried to do me up the ass. And I was like, “No.” I was only like, 16, as well [laughs].

Oh no! 
Exactly.  But that’s the worst thing, really. For the most part, it’s been pretty tame.