Talking to Strangers: New York City

Q: How do you normally handle a bad date? A: I will just get up and leave. 

by Daniela Cervetti

Aria, 23

What’s the boldest move you’ve ever made?
I actually know what it is [smiles].  This past Christmas.  I…fell for this guy really hard over the summer, and he came to visit me for Christmas, and—we’ve been having the on-and-off. All I know is, I felt sometimes he was hot, sometimes he was cold—and I felt something for him. And I know I could have previously told him (over the summer). But we had gotten back from a friend’s place in Long Island and we were parting ways at Penn Station, he was heading to his mother’s place in Westchester—we had this huge talk on relationships and stuff on the train back (to Penn Station).

When we were walking away from each other, something in me snapped, and I literally ran through Penn Station to catch him. He was walking to Grand Central and I was going to jump on the Downtown A…and I just couldn’t. I had literally gotten through—I had swiped my Metrocard, got through the gate, and I couldn’t take another step. Something in me was just like, “You have to go back. You have to at least try it. If you don’t at least try to say something, you are going to regret this.” When I caught up with him, I asked him out and we had a long heart to heart on the street in the rain. I talked to him about possibly moving here, but he wasn’t ready. I was crying pretty hard, and he stayed with me until I calmed down. After that night, we spent a crazy week together—it was a very crazy Christmas and probably the worst one I’ve ever had. He’s currently on the other side of the country, so that didn’t work out. But that was definitely the boldest thing I’ve ever done, running at two in the morning through Penn Station, shouting after somebody [laughs].  And it wasn’t the most favorable outcome, but at least I can say I did it [smiles].  

How old are you, by the way?
I’m twenty-three. 

I want to be twenty-three again.
No you don’t, it’s the most awkward age! I’m sitting here with memories of high school and college still, and I know…that really wasn’t that long ago. And then I have—on the other end of the spectrum, my friends are getting married, settling down, having kids, and I’m caught right in the middle. It’s probably the most awkward ground, because I’m still really young but I’m not really that young. I’m an adult. I’m blatantly an adult. I have to learn to not try too hard to make things work with anything—jobs, friends, relationships. If you force it, it’s going to break. If you don’t try at all, it’s never going to happen, so…you just have to make a conscious effort, but a relaxed one. And that’s what I’ve been slowly learning, and still working on. 

Have you (ever) done something foolish to hold on to a guy?
Yeah. [laughs] I can say that about the guy who I was seeing over the summer. I will blatantly admit I’m still madly in love with him, and I know I have to let go…and I’ve been trying to. Some things are just easier said than done, though. And I feel a little foolish for still feeling that way, but at least I’m not lying to myself about it. I still have feelings for him and I know that, but at the same time it’s not like I’m holding on too tight, because I’m still trying to see other people—case in point, the guy who I’m kind of not sure if I’m with

How do you normally handle a bad date?
I’m an asshole. I will just get up and leave. I will [laughs].

Yeah? No explanations or excuses?
I will get up and I literally will say, “Sorry, can’t do it. Nice seeing you. Bye.”  And…I have put money down on the table if say, we were out somewhere eating, but other times I’ll just be like, “I just can’t do this. I have to go.”  

What makes a date (so) unbearable?  Is it arrogance? Awkward conversation?...
Weirdly enough, I can do arrogant guys, because I just find it fun to put them in their place. And they always seem to admire and respect somebody who puts them in their place. Awkward guys, I tend to avoid because I’m just not comfortable around awkward people, so that just doesn’t happen to start (begin with). But if someone’s just having a really bad conversation or if they’re just being blatantly, like—I can’t stand racial things, I can’t stand homophobic things, I can’t stand—if someone wants to be religious or not, that’s their right. They have their faith, I have my faith—But overly judgmental and hateful things…I can’t do it. I don’t want to talk to them. I’m sorry. If you can’t be a loving individual, why do I want to be around you? 

What’s the most arrogant/obnoxious thing a guy has ever said to you?
I was in this spot where…I had to get out of the place I was living, because I was living with a fucking psychopath—like,  flat-out…screaming-at-you-in-the-morning-about-toilet flushing …kind of psychopath, and…creepy.  So, the crazy guy locked me out of my place, stole my key from my room, and I couldn’t get back in—I had to get the cops to get in and everything—but I had called a bunch of friends, and at the time, I was going on a few dates with this one guy.  And I called him up, I’m like, “It’s just for a week, until I can get the cops over there and I get everything sorted. Can I just crash on your couch?”, and he said, “You know, if you come here, you’re going to wind up pregnant in a week,” and I was just like, “What?! Wait, wait…what are you talking about? I’ll sleep on the couch, we don’t have to have…anything. That’s just the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard.” And he’s just like, “Oh, no, you don’t understand. I’m Venezuelan. It’s bound to happen, it’s just in my nature.”

What compromises will you never make for a man?
I will never compromise my morals or who I am for somebody—like, if I believe in something I’m not going to—You can tell me, “I really want to go to this one place”. If I really don’t like the place because I know they treat people horribly there—and I know this is a stupid example—but If I’m really firmly set in stone about it, I’m just not going to go. Or if somebody wants me to change something about my appearance like, “I like it when you have bangs. Cut your hair to have bangs”, or “I don’t like your piercings, take them out”, or “I really wish you would wear clothing that covered all your tattoos, or covered your chest more…Don’t wear such revealing, sexy outfits”, or even like, “I don’t like when you listen to this band or that band, or eat these foods.”  I can’t compromise for people who want to control me. I can’t. I’m very patient. I do compromise a lot on stupid things, like if someone wants to go somewhere early or wants me to stay a little longer because they’re having a good time—or they haven’t arrived yet, they want to arrive and not be alone. I’m fine with that stuff, but…if somebody’s sitting there and telling me, “I want you to change who you are”, it’s just—No. It’s not going to happen with me. 

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