Talking to Strangers: Decatur, GA

Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

By Melysa Martinez

Sasha, 31

What's your occupation?
I'm currently unemployed. Normally, I do operations and accounting and office stuff.

Have you ever gotten laid because of your job?
No, not that job, but I got really interesting dates out of my job when I worked for Waffle House. For Waffle House, not at Waffle House. I was in Human Resources, and guys come in. Attractive older men come in, and take you on dates on helicopters.

I'm sorry?
A guy asked me out. He was really charming. His friend was charming. I was probably twenty-three, and he was probably thirty-four. I said yes, and he picked me up and drove me in a Hummer to a little airport and took me on a helicopter ride. And then he flew us to Chateau Elan where we had dinner and wine, and then we flew around the city and that was it.

Do you have a thing for older men?
I think I did have a thing for older men. I think I have daddy issues, and I found comfort in dating an older man at a time in my life. But I started getting sick of how all the older men had so much baggage, and so many issues. They all had so much time to build up their issues. So I somehow started dating younger guys for a second.

When you say younger, do you mean younger than the older men, or younger than you?
Younger than me. That was terrible, too. [laughs] They're so cute and they're naive. You have to be intuitive and pay attention to the details and the interactions with a woman to know what the next step is. Younger guys don't have that at all. At all.

At what point do you think men and women figure that part out?
I don't what the dividing line is, but I'm thirty-one, and I'm loving my thirties. You know what you want in your thirties. You know what's bullshit, and what's worth your time, and what isn't.

What are some dealbreakers for you?
I remember a dealbreaker for me once was — and I feel like this sounds like a Seinfeld episode — but, a guy didn't say bless you to me. The first time, I called him out on it, and he thought I was crazy. And then the second time he did it, I sneezed and he didn't say anything, and I just saw there and I brewed and I brewed, and I didn't go out with him on a date after that. I have manners issues. I think when I was single, I tried to tell myself, "This is not a dealbreaker. This is silly," but now, if my husband didn't say, "Bless you," to me, I'd be pretty pissed.

Prior to being married, how did you approach guys?
I'm a big fan of the eye lock, and I definitely would never suggest approaching someone before you can make eye contact across the room, because then when you talk to them it's like [imitates trumpet fanfare]. It feels like there's a moment then, as opposed to a person just coming up to you. I think the most important thing is to look approachable. I swear, I see people all the time, and they look like they're smelling something bad. They just look unhappy. Nobody wants to talk to you if you're like that. And not even just you — if your friends are like that, then you're just as unapproachable, because you're surrounding yourself with these negative-looking people. Smile.

If there were a book written about your sex life, what would the title be and why?
Oh shit [laughs]. Trials and Errors. I've made so many mistakes. When I look back at my twenties, I feel bad for myself. I was just so starved for any sort of male attention. Almost like a child. And I compromised myself in so many ways. I always wanted to be the fun girl. I think it really does stem back to daddy issues and being an only child and my mother telling me that I was the most amazing thing on Earth and that no other love was every going to compare to that which my single mother could give me. I just had a really warped sense of what love was supposed to be like.

What's your definition of love now?
Love is home. It's where you feel comfortable. It's just where you feel at ease in yourself. That's the thing — when I look back at my early twenties, I wasn't really me. I didn't even know who I was. And I really thought I was looking for it, but I wasn't. I was conforming to this or that. I was a chameleon to the people around me. My husband was the person that helped me find out who I really am as a person. And I actually really like that person — I think she's pretty cool. [laughs]


Alfred Khalil, 31

What do you do?
I'm an executive assistant.

Has your job ever gotten you any dates, or gotten you laid?
Absolutely not. It's not about what you do nowadays — it's how you look, what subculture you belong to, that gets you laid. My spectrum of what I like is vast. I think I look for how a person carries themselves — if they show confidence, personality. If they're funny, that's really sexy.

Where do you go to meet people?
There are really no places specifically to go. You can go the whole club route, but any stereotype you've ever heard about meeting someone in a club setting... a lot of people are extremely intoxicated, and some of them are there just looking for someone to have for that night. You can go to a neighborhood bar or restaurant, and the odds of you meeting someone of quality have been upped a little.

How do you approach people?
Me, personally, I don't approach. I've found in the past when I approached, maybe the guy isn't gay, or maybe he's taken off guard and made uncomfortable, because it's such an aggressive move for someone like me. And when I say someone like me, I mean that a lot of people tend to think I'm too attractive to do something as bold as that. Nowadays, I tend to act like I'm having a good time, either by myself or whomever I'm with, and if they're interested, then they're really going to have to approach me.

Do you judge a lover by his cover?
That's a tricky thing, especially in the gay community, because so many guys have had to act their whole life. They've had to put up some kind of front about their sexuality, and in a lot of cases that acting can carry over into the gay world. Who they are on the outside is not really who they are on the inside, or behind closed doors. Maybe a guy wears a shirt and tie forty hours of the week, and he's extremely masculine, but on the weekends, he goes out in drag. Running into someone like that, if you met the guy in a suit first and you were totally attracted to that, you'd be in for a big surprise. And for me, that would be a total turn-off, because I want what was presented to me.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get laid?
Maybe just totally expressed what I want in the form of a text message, versus insinuating. Actually, it was via Facebook.

If there were a book written about your sex life, what would the title be and why?
Being Gay Sucks. [laughs] I think it's harder for a gay man to find a meaningful and long-term relationship.


Ruby, 35

What's your occupation?
Artist. I do illustrations and fine art murals.

Has your job ever gotten you laid or gotten you a good date?
[Laughs] Nooo. I'm married.

Oh, well, that will certainly do it. How did you and your husband meet up?
At a bar. He hit on me. He actually stole my ID from behind the counter where I had it stored, and ran up to me and asked me if my name was Ruby or Nicole, because he wasn't sure if it was the first or the middle name, and I was just kind of like, "Who the hell is this guy and why does he know my name?"

And what about him turned you on?
Well, it was fetish night at the bar, and he was dressed as The Crow. He said I didn't have on enough eye makeup, and he asked if he could put some on me. So he did, and he kissed me while he was putting on the eyeliner.

Forward! Okay, what are your turn-ons and turn-offs?
Turn-on: I love having my toes sucked. That's my favorite. Turn-off: too much pain. I like a little bit; too much, and I'm done. If you spank me too hard or bite my nipple too hard, I'm done.

Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
I used to have sex on the roof all the time when I lived in this apartment building, and there was a skyscraper that was right behind us, so we always knew somebody was watching. I mean, out of the 500 apartments looking at you, somebody was looking.

You're pretty open about sex.
My parents are very conservative Christians, but my grandfather was very into Playboy, so I experienced Playboy at a very young age — when I was about four or five — because I used to find his copies. I thought the women were hot. They were sexy, and I guess I wanted to feel that way.

Have you ever hooked up with women?
Yes. It's just as good. Boobs! I like boobs. Nice boobs. Like, boobs that are good for the body. I don't want her to look like a boy, but they don't have to be ginormous. I worked at strip club for a while as a cocktail waitress, and I got to experience the real versus fake. If they're good fakes, and you can still feel the breast, then that's fine, but when it's hard and lumpy, it doesn't feel good.

What was that job like?
I tried to stay out of the drama, but it was a lot of fun getting to work there. I would never trade the experience for the world. I learned how women worked, and I learned how men worked.

How would you contrast how each sex worked?
There's a difference in men. I more enjoyed the men who were there for the companionship of the women and treated them with respect, rather than the ones that were like, "Bend over and show us!" Some of the girls had kids, and were completely normal outside of work, whereas some of them weren't, and so there was this big difference on levels of thinking, and actually, the ones who had kids and had normal lives and were normal people, were kind of more real.

Have you ever considered being a sex worker? What do you think the pros and cons of that would be?
Pros: getting paid to do what you like. [Laughs] Cons: disease. Getting in trouble. Getting in a situation that you couldn't get out of. But I do know some sex workers. That community attracts all kinds of different people. They're more accepting of everybody. Just this past summer, I recently hung out with quite a few and enjoyed their company. They're real people, and you wouldn't go, "That woman is a prostitute," but that's what they do. And I'm talking about men and women.

If you had to write a book about your sex life, what would the title be?
I'm actually about to write some pirate-themed sex novels. There's a huge fetish movement, but in addition to that, people just seem to like pirates.

Commentarium (41 Comments)

Sep 15 11 - 1:00am

"You know, sometimes I just feel like I want to be attacked by a man." And then I kind of touched her arm really, really gently, very, very nervously, and then she left.

Ahah! greatest line ever.

Sep 15 11 - 2:13am

I second that.

Sep 15 11 - 1:38am

Winston is adorable.

Aug 18 12 - 10:17pm
Some chick

....and a waste of good looks. He sounds like a douche.

Sep 15 11 - 2:24am
Alice Z

Haha John is adorable!

Sep 15 11 - 2:25am

aww, jane and john are so sweet, smart people make the best lovers, people fail to realize...

Sep 27 11 - 8:04pm

So true!

Sep 15 11 - 2:38am

i think this was the best edition of talking to strangers i've read EVER! great job!!!

Sep 15 11 - 1:50pm
Felipe Arcano

Ditto... These interviewees are the most real of any I've read about in "Talking to strangers".

Sep 15 11 - 11:58pm
melysa martinez

I hope you two aren't my friends in disguise leaving complimentary comments. I definitely lucked out on my subjects. Hot, smart and real. :)

Sep 16 11 - 1:26am

your replies were hot, smart and real!

Sep 17 11 - 3:17pm

and by replies i mean questions and interviewees

Sep 15 11 - 2:39am

John, I do not think "turn-on/off" means what you think it means.

Sep 15 11 - 6:02am

Aww Sasha is so cute! I'm in my late twenties and I feel the same way her.

Sep 15 11 - 9:12am

Sasha made my man-ovaries jangle...Lovin' her wise & uplifting words

Sep 15 11 - 9:47am

Ruby is awesome! Best.

Sep 15 11 - 7:07pm

Awe Ty!

Sep 15 11 - 10:58am

I hope that I, too, will be able to look back on my early 20s and laugh with relief, the way Sasha is doing. 'These are the best of times, these are the worst of times' - these are a woman's confusing early twenties.

Sep 15 11 - 12:36pm

I'm with Ruby. I love to have my toes sucked and licked!

Sep 15 11 - 7:06pm

it's like heaven isn't it?

Sep 16 11 - 9:04am

It is. When a guy does it or a girl!

Sep 15 11 - 3:08pm

re: sneezing
I *never* say "bless you"... you're the one making noise and spewing germs, why should I have to say anything at all? YOU should be saying "excuse me" just like you do if you burp in others company.

Sep 15 11 - 8:34pm


Sep 15 11 - 3:47pm

You're all making me sick!! Oh, he's so sweet, she's so cute!! Ohhhooooooahhhhh,
Yack all over my shoes!!!!

Sep 15 11 - 4:11pm

Ruby is the best ever.

Sep 15 11 - 4:33pm

mmmm... everyone her is hot!

Sep 15 11 - 5:02pm

I really liked John and Winston. Literature and novelists forever!

Sep 15 11 - 7:05pm

Thanks y'all. I was a little hesitant but at the same time, life is short, love is sweet and we should all be living like tomorrow never comes.

Sep 15 11 - 10:33pm

I don't know how I missed the pirates at the Decatur Book Festival a couple of weeks ago. I must have gone on the wrong day. Hooray for pirate sex! A good crowd this week, but you'll get that in Decatur. Fun fact: Talk Like A Pirate Day is Monday, September 19. Enjoy.

Sep 15 11 - 10:49pm

i've missed a couple TTS'. glad i got back on with this one. great people great advice

Sep 15 11 - 11:08pm


Sep 16 11 - 2:33pm

John belongs in a Woody Allen flick (neurotic and smart? Keeper).

One of my fave TTS: upfront, honest and genuine. Oh, a big lack of douchebags (except for the whiny guy with tats: you'll love again, don't worry).

Sep 16 11 - 6:38pm

Little harsh on Winston.

Sep 16 11 - 6:36pm

I laughed so much at this week's. Perfect! And John, thanks for making me feel normal, or maybe just that I'm not the only bookish person feeling unreal in real life. I would discuss literature with you!

Sep 16 11 - 10:49pm

Jayne is absolutely beautiful

Sep 17 11 - 11:12am
love it.

I want to be like Sasha when I grow up. And I want to be touched very, very nervously by John.

Sep 18 11 - 5:01pm

Definitely one of the better editions here. Sasha is such a stone cold fox in that hot librarian way...Ruby seems really fun but I do NOT get the allure of toe sucking...that can't produce orgasm, can it?

Sep 21 11 - 2:05pm

Um, yes it can. And you can always diddle yourself to help things along.

Sep 20 11 - 12:35am

WELL DONE NERVE! For the first time ever there are women I would drop D on up in this piece! Salud! Oh joy! God bless us, every one!

Sep 20 11 - 2:25pm

I find myself relating to John a little too well....

Sep 21 11 - 8:18pm

Mmmmm.... Sasha..... I'd fuck her, but I wouldn't vote for her.