Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Montreal, QC

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Angela, 30

What do you do for a living?
Silkscreener, musician, photographer, model.

Do any of those pursuits ever get you dates?
Mmm… no, not really. I'm not single at the moment, and I don't like mixing work with pleasure either way.

Tell me about the person you're dating.
Oh, he's great. He's an artist as well, and we've been hanging out for about two years, and things are pretty sweet. It's an open and honest relationship. It's wicked.

How did you two meet?
Craigslist! Men looking for women. I actually wasn't even looking to date anybody — I just went on for like, pure entertainment value. And then his ad was just like, "I'm big and I'm hairy and I drink beer and that's it, so if you don't like me, go fuck yourself." I thought I'd at least tell this guy that that was awesome, because most ads on Craigslist are disgusting, and have like, cell-phone pictures of boners and stuff like that.

I don't know why men think that women are attracted to that.
Yeah, it's like, "Ooh, yeah, I'm really gonna call you now."

What did you two do on your first date?
It was actually before one of my shows. We went out for dinner, we hung out and we hit it off pretty good. And then I did my show. It was awesome.

What makes your relationship so good?
Well, we're very honest people, and our communication is like, mad open. 

Are you guys monogamous, or do you occasionally date other people?
No, we're pretty exclusive.

How do you think that your upbringing influenced your sexuality?
Ooh, that's a good question. It was very repressed — I grew up in a very religious household, and during my teenage years, I was kind of out of control when it came to sex, because it was just something that you weren't supposed to do, so I kind of overindulged. But because of that, I think it's made me a lot more well-rounded in my thirties — like, I'm not shy about sex at all, and I enjoy it… quite a lot [laughs].

How has your outlook on sexuality evolved over time?
I think it was more that I was a little more closed off. Not to, like, ideas and different lifestyles or anything like that — it was just something that wasn't 100% acceptable for a woman to enjoy it, and I just had these weird hang-ups. And the older I got, the more comfortable I became with my body, and the fact that women are allowed to enjoy having sex, and it's something that we shouldn't be ashamed of. And if you're promiscuous, that's fine — you shouldn't be embarrassed about that. That was really cool to come to terms with, because I was very promiscuous growing up. It's cool. I've come to terms with who I am and what I enjoy. I think one of the other biggest things that got me turned on to sex was my first sex toy. It was a Rabbit. I was about sixteen years old.

Do you have a more substantial collection now?
I did, because I used to actually own a sex-toy distribution company, that we'd make commercials for and air them in the States on television — so I had the biggest collection of the dirtiest things, and I pared it down a bit, because my tickle trunk was a little big. I have my standard dildos, a couple of butt plugs — I have a few made out of glass, which are really awesome. Love those. And that's about it. I kind of got turned off vibrators. Now it's just like — give me a dildo. I think I was getting over-stimulated with the vibrators. I was like, "No man can compete with this. This isn't fair to mankind at all." You can get carried away. If you watch too much porn, you can just keep pushing it and get carried away. Same thing with toys.

What's the most unusual place you've had sex?
In a chapel. My mom used to ship me off to Christian camp during the summer, and… yeah. Most parents that sent their kids there were, like, parents of disturbed children, so they thought that Christian camp would be a good idea — but it ended up being 300 bad-ass kids hanging out for the summer.

So it was a petri dish of bad kids?
Yeah, basically — doing a lot of drugs, and booze, and sexual fun-ness. It was a good time.

Did you get caught?
Yeah, I actually did — well, not doing an act, but I got caught coming out of the guys' showers, and there was a guy in there, and I was like, "Aw man, I'm in trouble."

But did you get caught when you were in the chapel?
No, no. But I think I'm going to hell for that one. [laughs]


Danny Rebel, 23

What do you for a living?
I play music, and I work. For most of my money right now, I do snow shovelling. I work seasonally — I'm a landscaper. We do — what's it called? — we do a lot of stonework, we do a lot of fencing, we do all kinds of stuff that involves your household.

Does landscaping ever get you laid?
Yes and no, because some girls like that when you're landscaping, you get all sweaty, and you're shirtless. And people are around and they're like, "Look at that guy, he's sweating and he's shirtless."

Have you ever slept with one of your clients?
No, I like to keep it professional — and I have a girlfriend. I'm a very loyal boyfriend, and that's it.

How long have you been together?
Three years. We met at a bar, fuckin' stereotypically. It was just one night when we were playing pool with a couple of buddies. I didn't really have to do anything. She came up to me.

Very nice. Did she have a line ready?
Yes. It was very awkward, because that night, there was another girl I was interested in, and I had to, kind of, pick. [laughs] I hope my girlfriend doesn't hear about this.

What's she like?
She's very organized. Everything has to be done with a plan, and that's not how I roll. But it keeps the relationship kind of stable. And she's not very social, and I help her out with that at the same time, so we kind of get along with that.

Have you ever picked up anyone after a gig?
Yes. I have.

Got any good stories about that?
Let's see. I don't want to be too raunchy, know what I mean? This one happened with my old punk band — not with my current band right now. Right after a gig, I chatted up this one girl, and we eventually talked for about an hour, and then she gave me one of the best blowjobs I've ever had — in a parking lot. The dirtiest, stinkiest fuckin' parking lot, behind this dumpster. She knew what she was doing, and she dirty-talked. She kept talking while she was sucking my cock.

You're into dirty talk, then?
Yes. I love dirty talk.

Would you rather do the talking, or hear it?
I love hearing it. Well, I like to talk too, just to get her started — then she can take care of the rest. [laughs]

What's the craziest thing you've done to hook up with someone?
Half of them I don't really remember, because I was drunk most of the time, but the craziest thing would be going a long distance. Like, when you're downtown, and she's like, "Want to come to my place? I'll meet you there later," so I had to take a cab all the way to Laval just to get some pussy.

Is there something you wish you could change the way women approach dating?
I wish they were more forward with things, instead of just giving little signs, because usually you can't read someone fully until you get a real good sign. Just say it, you know? Instead of me having to make an ass of myself — "Uhhh, does she really… does she actually like me?

I guess you were pretty happy, then, when your girlfriend approached you.
Yeah. She's very good to me. She's never done me wrong.

Do you have any crazy exes?
Yes. I regret… most of them. I'm actually really good friends with some of them. A lot of my ex-girlfriends, we still talk.

What was the craziest thing that one of them did?
The craziest girlfriend, pretty much? One of my ex-girlfriends was associated with the Hell's Angels. She had to suck some guy's cock to pay them for coke that she owed.

Ah, so we're not talking a little crazy.
A lot crazy. I would never date someone again with that kind of problem, that kind of baggage.

Did you know that she was associated with the Hell's Angels when you started dating her?
Nope, nope. She told me herself. In tears.

Did she tell you by revealing this story?

Was that the end of it?
There was more to it, but, uh, it's not good to say. But she was also bulimic — she had, I think mental problems. She was very insecure about herself every day. Every time we'd go out to dinner, she'd feel really fat, and throw up all her food, all the dinner I just bought her. It was kind of a waste. I dealt with it, but at the end, I couldn't take it any more.


Drew, 34

What do you do?
Professional student, I guess you might say. I'm finishing a Master's degree.

What do you study?
Climate change.

Do you ever get dates through your studies?
No, no. I kind of keep the workplace off-limits for that kind of thing. I meet people through the usual channels — through friends, or, as a lot of people do these days, online.

Are you seeing anyone right now?
Well, I'm kind of in between that particular question. I'm sort of dating someone, but we haven't actually had "The Talk" yet. It's going really, really well. Remarkably fast, and entirely unexpected.

Do you feel there's some accuracy to the stereotype that gay men move faster in relationships than heterosexual couples?
Going by experience, I would say yes. I mean, it's all really a game of numbers, right? When you're a minority to begin with, it's just harder to meet people. So when you do find that someone that it happens to click with, you tend to jump on it a little harder.

Do you have any favorite hookup stories?
Ah… oh my. That's an interesting question. Yeah, I suppose I do. I've got a variety of them, in fact. What are you looking for? Risqué? My favorite hook-ups actually happened at my parties. My birthday parties were fairly renowned for people to hook up and meet and so on.

Tell me about your last wild birthday party.
Well, it was very big. There were a lot of people, and the bedroom was cordoned off as a den of iniquity, no-cameras-allowed zone. Originally, it was just a chill space, but it wound up moving on to more… adventurous pursuits. So you had the happy audience, and you had the active participants.

And which group were you part of?
[laughs] I was the birthday boy — what do you think?

Very good. What is the most unusual place you've had sex?
Ooh. I would honestly have to say, it was back when I was a teenager, I was in the reserves, and it started off on a tank.

You were in the army reserves, and you had sex on a tank? Was it with one of the other recruits?
Not particularly. It was with a non-com. Master corporal.

What is the craziest thing someone has done to get with you?
The craziest? I would have to say divorce his wife.

That's serious business.
Tell me about it. It wasn't entirely expected for me, either, when he showed up on my front door with baggage. Literally.

Tell me about the evolution of your relationship history.
Well, I originally started dating women, and that lasted for a good five years before I discovered that I had other leanings. I have to say that originally, my taste in men really did suck, so I've made some pretty glaring mistakes in my life. But out of the failed relationships, you grow to learn what it is that you're looking for, what it is you want, and above all, what it is you don't want — and to see those particular red flags early. I used to date quite a bit more quantity than quality, but as things evolved, I really did shift more towards quality than quantity.

What are you most proud of about your sexuality?
I think I'm actually really, really proud that I'm very non-judgmental, and in terms of boundaries — I don't really have very many. [laughs]

Laura, 21 

Were you born in Montreal?
No, I'm originally from Hong Kong. I'm still technically based out of Hong Kong. I came here for the first time in '07 to start university, and I go back to Hong Kong during the breaks. 

How do you find the dating scene here compared to Hong Kong?
Considering that I had one boyfriend for two years in Hong Kong, I've found the dating scene here to be far more full of opportunities.

So you're not with the guy who you were with in Hong Kong any more?
Oh God, no. [laughs

Are you with someone now?
Yep. This is a pretty good example of opportunities present even inside the college bubble. I had just gotten off my flight from Hong Kong to Montreal from over the summer, so I was in Montreal and I was back for school, and one of my friends had just become official with her very first serious boyfriend. This was a big deal because she grew up in a really evangelical Christian family and had never been kissed, and finally got this guy that she had been after for, I think they'd been going back and forth for five or six months, which was a really long time, so she wanted to introduce him to all of us. Her roommate instructed him to bring cute friends — and so he did. One of them was this random dude with a ponytail, and we all ended up in the living room playing this awful, awful drinking game with playing cards, and I think we bonded over Firefly. I think I'd known him for about forty minutes before it was like, "Ah… you don't seem single." "Neither do you." "Do you want to get out of here?" And that was that. We've been together for a year and a few months. 

Do you guys do freaky stuff?
Um… I guess it depends on whose standards we're going by. My buddy does some pretty freaky stuff with his girlfriend, as far as I know. They're in an open relationship and whatnot. But he's kind of the exception to the rule amongst my group of friends.

And what about you? How would you qualify your relationship?
I would qualify our relationship as flexible, right now. I don't think either of us is emotionally mature enough for an open relationship. We're both cool with dealing with people of the same sex, but if one of us were to go off with someone of the opposite sex or gender, it would definitely be something that would require conversation. I mean, not that that hasn't happened, but it's always been with both of us at the same time.

Have you guys had any wild, interesting experiences together?
We went out to Circus, the after-hours club, and spent the entire night dancing and chilling in corners with random people, having what we thought were really deep conversations [laughs]. We got out of the club at about eight in the morning, and ended up talking to one of the guys we'd met there and eventually taking him home. That was the first time that this had ever happened. It was something that I had actually been meaning to talk to him about for a while, but there's never really a polite way to bring that up if you don't know what their preference is. I mean obviously everyone's like, "Communicate!" My excuse is that I was getting around to it, and then it happened.

That's a lot farther than a lot of people ever get in communicating their interests.
Exactly. I count that as a really good thing. It was a crazy night, and good stuff happened, and I think we felt a lot closer afterwards, and more comfortable talking about… anything, especially sex. I still have issues bringing up the topic of sex when it's uncomfortable or negative in some way.

Would you say that your attitude towards relationships is more cynical or more optimistic?
Can I say both? Because I would say both. A few of my friends are in relationships that I'm — this makes me sound like a bad friend — that I'm pretty cynical about. If they work out, I'll be so much the happier, but the circumstances under which they formed and the way they interact sometimes make me question, not necessarily the truth of their love, or anything like that, but just whether or not it's a pattern that can continue.


Michaël, 27

What do you do for a living?
I've been a mechanic for about thirteen years.

Have you had sex on the job?
Yep, with a client. She came to me for an oil change. Classic.

That sounds like a total porno scenario.

What was she like?
Est-ce que je peux parler français?

Sure, go ahead.
Ma cliente était un genre de MILF. Simplement, elle embarqua son auto, en mini-jupe commando.

So she was pretty clearly looking for something when she got there?

Do you have any major hobbies?
Yep. I build hot rods, older cars, like '30s, '40s and '50s.

And does that ever get you dates?
Normally people think it's cool what I do, but I do it for myself. I don't show off my cars for fun. I've done road trips in my cars, though.

How many cars do you own?

How do you approach someone that you might be interested in?
I don't. Usually, they do. I just talk to them. That's all.

Do you have any good lines?
Well, I do like the, "Nice shoes — let's fuck."

How do you let someone down easy, if you don't like her?
Depends on the person. It's usually we both decide to just break up. It usually works like that, pretty mutual. I mean, my most recent ex, she left me, but I was like, "Okay."

So you didn't mind?
Of course I did, but I mean, what can I do? I spent a whole three months running after her, but after a while I was like, "Okay, self-preservation."

It's good to have perspective. Is there something you wish you could change about women?
About women? Nothing. I like them the way they are.


Nicole, 29

What do you do in life?
I'm a visual artist. Painting — oil, acrylics, that kind of thing.

How do you find the dating scene in Montreal?
It's great, it's really amazing. In Montreal you can find what you're looking for on any given night. You just have to not be too picky. [laughs]

So you can find what you're looking for, but you can't be too picky about what that is. What do you look for in a person you might be interested in dating?
Rockabilly boys.

Do you find rockabilly boys on a regular basis when you're out on the town?
No, unfortunately. Not as often as I'd like.

What do you do to get them interested?
Well, I'm opening a hair salon that caters to rockabilly boys, so that should work. [laughs] Just kidding.

Do you ever ask them to pose for portraits for you?
Oh, no, not yet! I think that I should try that — that would be great.

How do you impress a guy you like?
I act like a straight-up girl. I tell them I think they're cute — that kind of thing.

Has anyone done anything outrageous to get your attention?
Yeah, this one guy was a journalist from L.A., and he invited me backstage at a Thunderheist concert. He was like, "Hey girl, do you want to go backstage?" And I was like, "Sure." Soon enough, he was buying me drinks and flirting with me a lot. It impressed me.

Did that evening end as you would expect?
Pretty much, except we were making out, and then he suddenly pulled his hair off. He was bald — it was from alopecia. Later, he pulled his jacket off, and it looked like he took his arm off, too. He was missing an entire hand — he was disabled. So the night continued on, and it was fine, but I was a little surprised.

Did it bother you?
It kind of shocked me. I wished he had told me earlier. But I couldn't dispute the fact that I liked him, even with the fact that he had these differences.

Did it affect sex at all?
Surprisingly, no, not at all. I suppose he'd been working on his technique.

Are you interested in casual dating right now, or are you looking for love?
Looking for love. I've fallen in love before, but it's been a long time.

What do you look for in an ideal partner?
A big cock.

So you're looking to fall in love with a rockabilly boy with a big cock.
Yes, exactly.

Have you ever offended anyone in the bedroom?
Yes. I sprayed lube into his eye.

What happened after you sprayed lube in his eye?
We had sex. [laughs]

Interviews and photography by Jana Van Geest. Want to talk to strangers in your town? Email