Talking to Strangers: Madison, WI
Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.
by Austin Duerst, Nina Ham, and Joyce Edwards
Do you have any especially strange dating stories?
I dated this guy who was a commercial pilot, and he was just super-awkward. He never met any of my friends. I dated him for maybe six months. I met him at a Natty Nation concert [laughs].
That's very Madison.
My best friend was here visiting over Thanksgiving break and wanted to go see them, so we got super-high and went to the show. This guy was the cousin of some girl that went to my high school. He was shitfaced drunk and I couldn't tell if he was on drugs. Anyway, he made all these funny references to The Great Gatsby and I was kind of like, "He's not my type at all but, yeah, okay, he's a fun guy, whatever." So that's how I met this guy. He wouldn't leave me alone and I gave him my number while my friend was like, "Do you need help getting out of this?" But I was like [drunk voice]: "Nooo, it's okayyy." He put me in his phone as "Tall Beautiful Woman" and didn't remember my name until, like, our third date.
So is it pretty normal in Madison to meet people randomly around town and start a relationship?
I'd say so. I was at the grocery store with my mom and this cute guy kept following us around the store. My mom kept whispering to me that he was checking me out. So when we were heading to our car he approached me and was like, "Are you Lydia?" And I was like, "Uh, yeah." Then he introduced himself and explained that we had gone to elementary school and middle school together. But he was like, "Yo, you look really good. Can I get your number? I'd like to hang out." It was right in front of my mom, who's always saying to me, "You should date someone. When are you going to date someone?" I was kind of put on the spot, and I couldn't say no, so I gave him my number. And he said he didn't have a phone at the time but gave me what turned out to be his parents' house phone number. It was really weird. He was forty-five minutes late to our date at Chipotle. After calling what I thought was his number and actually talking to his dad, I started walking towards my car. Just then he got there and noticed me down the street, but I just kept walking and pretended not to hear him.
Have you ever hooked up with someone outside?
Yes. Like in the grass or something? I mean, yes.
What about at really public places like Picnic Point?
I've only been there with my best friend to smoke a j, but seriously, that place freaks me out at night!
What's the craziest thing you've done to get a guy's attention?
Probably skinny-dipping. At this summer camp I worked at there were all of these really attractive men from Israel. The lake the camp was on was pretty murky and disgusting and no one wanted to get naked. But I was like, "I'm going to do it," which is something I'd normally never do. I got algae where algae should never be.
Did your bold move work?
[Laughs] No. I mean everyone else jumped in after, but no one was like, "Oh yeah, that girl's cool!" I lost my virginity with someone from that camp though.
Could you tell us that story?
I lost my virginity in Madison at this disgusting house, a house that I actually pass every day as I'm riding my bike. Someone's friend or something had the house, and on the weekends we'd all try to go out to bars downtown. I was nineteen, and I had my friend's fake ID from Canada. I was with a bunch of older people and I wanted to be cool and keep up. I ended up getting so fucking wasted on Long Island ice teas. I remember just being totally shitfaced and walking back to this house with everyone. There were mattresses on the floor where everyone was just lying around. And there were a lot of us — all of the staffers had their twenty-four hours off, and there were also friends of friends and people everywhere. The room was filled with mostly dudes and my best girlfriend from camp. I was lying on my side with a blanket and all of a sudden this guy started fingering me. But it was the worst fingering ever. It was basically just his finger in my vagina going in and out. There were other people around me too, and no one knew what was going on under the blanket. He continued to finger me horribly and all of a sudden I felt his boner on my back. And I was like, "Oh my God. That's a hard penis." As soon as everyone realized that we were getting it on they shuffled out, but we started having sex with everyone there. It was definitely consensual sex, but it's not like there was ever a conversation. It was more like, "Okay, I'm going to do this." Anyway, worst sex of my life. Not sure if anyone's first time is that great. My friend came to door to see if I was doing okay, and I peeked out and said I was fine. She's such a good friend. But I ended up making him stop. No one finished. By the way, I was actually living as an Orthodox Jew at the time. It was a weird time in my life.