Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Los Angeles, CA

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we've just met.

Kerri, 34

What do you do?

I'm an actress, writer, and producer.

Does your career get you a lot of action? 

You'd think so.

What is your type? 

Smart, funny, Jewish, successful.

What's the craziest pickup line you've ever heard? 

"I'm buying an island, and I want you to live on it." That was a cheeseball self-help guru my friend hooked me up with. He lived in a swanky apartment in Marina Del Rey that was decorated in the latest corporate décor. It looked like an office. So we walked around the marina, talked, and went to a record store. We passed a rack of CDs, and he chose Michael Bublé for me. He said, "He's a genius."

Did he try any smooth moves on you? 

Yeah — we walked back and he poured a glass of wine and talked about the island, and the next thing I knew I was on the floor and he was on top of me! He, like, flipped into the position! And I said, "I gotta go," and he said "Why? We're both adults."

Do you think the island line gets him a lot of action? 

In his circles, yes. He was like Tom Cruise's character in Magnolia — a real-life cheese you could slice with a knife.

What was the hottest hook up you've ever had? 

Mick Jagger.

Really? What was it like? 


Was it good? 


Did Mick Jagger meet your parents? 

No, my mom was a Beatles fan. But I bumped into him recently. He's a pleasure. And very taken now.

What was the worst hookup you've ever had? 

A guy who doesn't like to go downtown. That baffles me. I tried to date a friend whom I'd known for seventeen years after he separated from his wife; I quickly knew why they didn't work out. He's just closed off, shut down, so self-serving. I tried but I might as well have been fucking the wall. He fucked all my neighbors too, and of course all the girls talk, and he's not into eating pussy. He's selfish. They all concurred that he was lame in the sack due to his selfishness.

What's the most daring or unusual place that you've hooked up? 

On a bar stool in a crowded bar next to the L train in Chicago. I lifted my skirt over him and we were having sex in this crowded bar. Then we had sex on the L platform. It was very Risky Business.


Joe, 32

Do you get a lot of action from your job? 

Yes, compared to other jobs. If you're a comedian it makes it easier to meet girls.

How do you start a conversation with a girl? 

By being funny. That's the only way I really have to impress a girl.

But what's your line? 

Well, sometimes I'll just be like, "Are you Kate?" "No, I'm so and so." "Oh, you look exactly like this friend of mine!" Then I'll just start talking and if they're interested at all in what I'm saying, I'll know they want to talk. And I think in this initial conversation, the best move is to talk to them like you're not trying to fuck them, even though that's in the back of your head. That's the move. Or I would say, "Hey, I think I know your boyfriend." And she'd go, "I don't have a boyfriend," and then I'm like, okay, now we're talking. That's about the extent of the methods I have.

That's pretty good.

One time I was at a restaurant, and one of the waitresses was really beautiful. I really wanted to talk to her. And sometimes you don't find out they have a boyfriend until two or three minutes into the conversation, but I had to figure it out sooner, because that also seems like one of the quickest ways a girl will blow you off: "Oh, I have a boyfriend." If you can eliminate that from the start, they might have to talk to you a little bit longer until they can find another way to blow you off. So I said, "I just wanted to find out if you had a boyfriend from the beginning." She didn't. She laughed and I invited her to a show and she came with her friends. 

What if multiple girls come to your show on the same night? Do they get offended that you invited more than one? 

That rarely happens, because I rarely invite that many girls. I used to be that way, but now, if I find someone who I actually like — they're so few and far between. I mean compared to other guys I hardly talk to girls or ask them dates. A lot of guys are always trying to sleep with girls.

Are you just more interested in comedy? 

No, I just don't like wasting energy on trying to sleep with some girl that I'm kind of annoyed with. There were some times I went on dates with girls I wasn't really attracted to, and in a weird way I almost felt lonelier. I'd rather hang out with my friends.

Sounds like you might be more "sensitive artist" than "sport fucker." 

When I did get a lot of girls, I was a germaphobe about it, so then I'd go home and be worried about diseases. 

Why are so many comics germaphobes? 
We're neurotic and overthinking in every aspect of our lives. It's a mental process of overanalyzing and obsessing about things way more than other people do, and it manifests in other ways, like being Purell Hand Sanitizer Guy. I'll be thinking, "This microphone is so dirty right now."

Where did you meet the sketchy chicks of your yesteryears? 

One time I got offstage at La Jolla Comedy Store and this girl walked up, grabbed me by the hand, dragged me outside, and said, "Hey, I want you to meet my friend." The friend took me to a car and blew me in the back seat. She was super-hot, but it was one of those situations I didn't know how to deal with. She asked, "Are you going to have sex with me?" but I didn't have a condom. And I don't drink, and I realized it was just a gnarly situation and I had to get the fuck out of there. Who the fuck does this? At the time I was buying into the whole idea that I was a star, kicking ass on stage, but then I was like, "This is crazy." I never even knew her name.

Was she high? 

She definitely had a buzz on.

Was she bummed? 

She was disappointed, yes.

What's the most unusual place you've had sex? 

At a park. We were breaking up. I was madly in love with her and hysterically crying because she was breaking up with me. We started making out, and it was really gnarly, because it had mellowed out sex-wise with us since we'd been dating a while, and suddenly it felt like kissing for the first time again. We just went off to the side and fucked. Runners could've seen us, children were present, but we needed to do it! Then we broke up. It actually made it easier for us to have closure.


Drew, 28

What's your type? 

Gangly, cognizant, immature.

Do you have any crazy exes? 

Yes, I have one who, while we were together, remembered that his parent had committed suicide during his childhood. Once he remembered it was sort of game over.

Did he have flashbacks? 

Yes, and intimacy hives.

Was he in therapy? 

After our relationship was over, yes. Male aggression and compulsiveness caused him to punch me in the face.

Did you stop seeing him? 

Immediately, but I already got a broken tooth.

Did you go to hospital? 

No, I just let myself have a broken face for a while.

Where'd you meet him? 

Comedy troupe. Don't date comedians. If he's talking about his rage the first few times you date, then you should probably not date him. 

What can you tell other girls who've been abused to help them move forward? 

Be single for a while, and try to notice the difference between how you think of yourself and how others think of you. Make mistakes, but don't blame yourself for other people's mistakes.

Guys must hit on you a lot. What's your type? 

At least as smart as me, has charisma, a great sense of humor, emotionally intelligent, and appreciates my better qualities. 

What's a great date? 

A great date is one where I'm allowed to make the cocktail and feel like an utter boss. I like to cook for people, pick something cool to do, mix cocktails. I like to feel like I'm participating and not just happening along.

What's the nicest thing a guy has done for you? 

Pimped my writing to people that I'd be too shy to pimp my writing to.

That is really nice.

Yeah. It doesn't hurt.

Do you have any advice to guys to help them with women? 

I'm so grossed out by guys hitting on girls only because they're pretty. Think real seriously about whether you're going to still think they're pretty once you know their personality. I know some girls who have excellent personalities who don't get hit on because they're not pretty in super-obvious ways.

Tory, 36

What do you do?

I'm a Kitchen Coach.

Do you get a lot of action at your job? 

No, I don't date clients.

But does cooking win a lot of points with men? 

Oh yes, but it's a lucky guy who gets invited for dinner. Once they taste my food, they're smitten and I can do with them as I please.

So the way to a man's heart really is through his stomach? 

I think food is the way to everyone's heart, but I prefer men.

You graduated from Vassar. Was Vassar a happening singles scene? 

Yes, Vassar was a sexual playground. No judgment, no name calling. The only requirement was that it be consensual and respectful — but beyond that anything goes. Very sexually liberated.

Which major is the horniest? 

Every major! Everyone at that age is horny; heck, I still am.

Where do you meet guys? 

I get hit on in cafes and at parties. I also meet guys on the internet — everyone does now.

Who is your ideal guy? 

A man who is self-aware, self-supporting, kind, compassionate, well-read, funny as hell, a good eater — and someone who will dance with me.

What's a good pick-up line? 

"Hi, my name is ___ and I'd really like to meet you." Simple, nothing contrived.

How do you handle a break-up? 

I think the most important thing is to accept you're going to be sad and miserable for a while and not fight it. There's more pain in the resistance. I try to let myself cry when I need to and not judge it. Also, I try to seek out what gives me comfort: quiet dinners with friends, birthday parties, good macaroni and cheese, and plenty of hiking and yoga. Miles Davis. The company of cheerful small children and animals. I spend a lot of time staring into fancy cups of coffee. I also avoid certain things: bridal showers, parties filled with happy couples and their cute babies, and the radio. Inevitably a song will break my heart again when I'm driving — that's no good. I also am not allowed to listen to Nick Drake post-break-up. Otherwise I'd want to jump off a bridge. Lastly, when I start feeling better, I try to ask myself what I can learn from the experience. That way nothing is wasted.


Chris, 41

What do you do?

I'm a comedy writer.

Does being a comedy writer get you a lot of dates? 

It gets me so many dates that it's not even funny. No, never, but I've tried repeatedly and it still doesn't work.

What's the dating scene like here? 
It's a lot of glitter, and despite what Robert Plant suggested in "Stairway to Heaven," it's not all gold. I don't mean there's a lack of substance, so much as an enormous focus on exterior vs. interior. Which I suppose would qualify as lack of substance.

What do you look for in a girl? 

Honestly, I haven't found her yet so I don't really know. I've had repeated un-finding situations.

Do you want to have kids and get married? 

Tonight? No.

In general? 

Maybe if the situation presents itself, but not just because everyone else says I should.

Are you friends with your exes? 

Yes, but I wouldn't go to their weddings.

Do you have any crazy exes, and if so, what happened? 

I had a girl right after sex tell me the craziest people were the best in bed, and then she let my dog free. I found her, but it was a day and a half later, and my dog was pretty messed up.

So did you break up with her? 

Yeah, we called it off. When you mess with people's pets, that's Bad News Bears.

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom? 

No. She didn't let my dog go while we were fucking.

What's the unusual place you've had sex? 

Tour bus.

Were others in it? 


Did you have to keep it quiet 

You don't care in that moment. There's a difference between romantic and intimate and fucking some random person in Iowa.

What's the craziest thing you've done to get action? 

Once I dressed up like a walrus. She was into it.

Isn't that called "furry sex" or something? 

No, it was more cerebral: she liked the Beatles and I am the walrus.

Did you keep it on during the sex? 

Yes, I kept it on.

Did you fall asleep in it? 

No. It was very hot.


Megan, 27

What do you do for work? 

I hustle. I do a lot.

How are the men in L.A.? 

All men in L.A. are as dead inside as I am.

Oh. Are you really dead inside? 


So… how are the women in L.A.? 

Even deader inside than I am. They lack awareness and self-respect, because their desire to please trumps their desire to please themselves.

Do you meditate? 


Then how'd you get so deep? 

A lot of staring at walls, I guess.

What do you look for in a guy? 

An ability to put up with your shit.

What sort of shit? 

Uh, pathos and emotional weakness. An inability to communicate with another human being on a healthy level.

So how do you communicate? 

I don't. I'm a stoic type. I'm like a crying Indian.

Do you have any crazy exes?

Yeah, but it was more about my lack of self-respect to let someone else's psychosis overwhelm mine and become one enormous hive-mind psychosis that ruins everyone.

What does that mean in English? 

It means the ability to completely and utterly debase yourself in the interest of making someone else feel better.

Has anyone offended you in bed? 
I've had sex that resulted in me being kicked out of an apartment.

Oh man, were you okay? 

Well, I walked home and it only took two hours. Collectively, I mean, I'm twenty-seven, so there are many hours in the day and in life. So two hours really isn't that big of a deal.

Well, I guess that's a positive spin. What would you change about guys if you could? 

I wouldn't change anything at all. People are people.

Do you want to get married?

Not again.

How long were you married? 

Two years. Well, I guess I'm still technically married, but we're in the process of divorce.

What went wrong? 

Green card. I should've just let him get deported, and now I have all this crushing guilt because now he can stay in this country and I facilitated that.

What would you do differently? 

I would not meet a stranger from Australia on the internet and live with him in Australia and then come back to America. I'd already made a lot of bad decisions up to that point and I didn't want to admit that this was another one, so I just rode it until the train jackknifed.

Which internet site did you meet on? 

We met on a message board for an obscure band. I cheated on a guy I met on Myspace with him. First and last time I would see myself doing that.

So would you tell people don't marry for a green card then? 

It requires a lot of time and effort, and I would not recommend it. No, no, no. It's a regrettable situation.

You're still young; you have time to marry someone else. 

Yeah, I have T-minus five months until my divorce is final. Then I can find an American husband.

Interviews and photography by Melinda Hill. Want to talk to strangers in your town? Email