Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Chicago, IL

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Andrew, 27


What do you do for a living?
I'm a designer.

Does that get you laid?
Oh man, no. It does not. Nobody's interested in designers. It's like the nerd version of playing guitar — everyone does it and no one notices anymore.

Have you ever been cheated on?
Technically, no. The girl wasn't "technically" my girlfriend, we'd broken up but then she kept treating me like her boyfriend and leading me to think that things were going to go back to the way they were but then it turned out she was interested in this other guy and if we remained broken up she wouldn't be, you know, a liar. So she was trying to have both, which was, you know, not great for me.

Do you have any dealbreakers in the bedroom?
Not that I know of so far. I mean, no one's ever pushed me too far. So maybe I just haven't found that person yet. Which will be uncomfortable, I'm sure.

Have you ever been insulted in bed?

Have you ever insulted anyone else?
Not that I know of. Maybe I did and they talked to their friends about it later or something. but no, not to my knowledge.

You seem to have a pretty good track record of "no's" going. Any highlights in there?
This is going to sound really corny, but I think probably my girlfriend of two and a half years is the highlight. I think love really makes the best experience.


Nicole, 23


What do you do for a living?
I'm a freelance lighting designer in the music industry.

Does that give you a chance to meet people?
Well, it's a very social job. I mean, one of the basic elements of my job is networking, so you can meet people that way. The music industry is very male-dominated, so being a female working your way through is a careful balance of respect and mystery. You have to set yourself aside — you do not want to get involved with the people you're going to have to work with — but you still want to work what you've got.

Have you ever slept with anyone you met on the job?
There was this one time that I met this amazing guy — and it was the only time I've met an amazing guy in the music industry, out of all the bands and everything.

Do you have a type?
After working as much as I do with the people I do I can honestly say that musicians are not my type. I've met so, so many overly pompous guys that it's just the biggest turn-off. You'll talk to them and they just seem plastic.

So who do you like?
I have a weak point for men with charisma, and I usually associate it with being narcissistic, but it can still make me swoon. The guy I wound up fooling around with on the job was just all charisma, and we worked together the whole day and wound up sitting down and talking for a long time and then, obviously, having awesome sex in the green room. He literally just picked me up and threw me around and took control of the situation and I was all about it. It was such a different experience for me, because I'd never had anyone just have their way.

Normally, who takes control in the bedroom?
I like to be dominated in bed. It makes me feel more feminine, I think. I give a lot of orders at work and in my everyday life, trying to prove my abilities, so I want someone else to do that in bed. The person I'm with right now, actually, almost never takes control and it's a constant source of frustration for me.

How do you think women in Chicago present themselves?
The type of women I know here are very independent. They're very intelligent, they have a lot of things going for them. They're attracted to men who have a lot going for them and share a lot of those qualities. Women around here don't want to date guys who are just going to sit and watch TV all day. They know what they want.

Interviews and photography by Jamie Calder.