Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Talking to Strangers
Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Dori, 21

What do you do for a living?
I sell phones.

How's that going?
I hate it. But, it pays the bills.

Does it ever get you guys?
Very rarely. Very rarely actually.

Do you hit on guys while you sell them phones?
I've done it once or twice. Guilty as charged.

I feel like that would be a convenient way to hit on boys.
Surprisingly, it isn't. Because you can be like, "Oh, here's my number if you need anything," but that's so easily taken for great customer service.

Which of these dogs is yours?
This husky. His name is Everest. He gets me guys. Honestly, he attracts a lot of attention in general, but guys especially. I never thought about it before I got him, but I feel like usually they're thinking, "Oh, it's a big dog and she's a girl. This is interesting."

What kind of guys do you usually go for?
I don't have a type at all. I've not been able to find a pattern in any of the guys I've dated. I've definitely dated really, really hipster. I've also dated really prep, straight-edge, yeah.

Have you ever offended anyone in the bedroom?
Possibly. Maybe not so much offended. Maybe a little more surprised.

How so?
Possibly biting.

Oh, I see. Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
I do actually. I met this guy randomly. Actually, I went to a party. Turned out to be nobody there. Met him. He was like, whatever, we got along. We got to talking. He was a backup dancer for some celebrity.

This wasn't K-Fed, was it?
No. I made that joke, though. But yeah, he was a backup dancer, and he was like, "There's this party that I'm going to. Do you want to go?" I was like "Sure, what kind of party?" and he's like, "Swingers party."

Have you ever been to a swingers party?
That was actually my first time. It went surprisingly well. It was kind of a mix between somebody's really nice apartment and a club. It was a really nice place. There was a cover charge for couples, but as you entered there was a living-room-slash-dancing-area. It was open bar, so they had a naked bartender. Obviously the mood was set, the lighting and stuff. The next two rooms were really loungy couches, love seats. You just did what you wanted.

Did you guys go on multiple dates?
No, I wasn't very interested in him. I just went for the fun.

Do you have any dealbreakers with guys?
Small hands.

That's creepy.
It really is.


Nate, 24

What do you do for a living?
Graphic designer.

Does that get you girls?
Um, it has. It's not something that an everyday person answers that they do, so it's a good conversation starter.

What kind of girls do you get?
There isn't really a specific kind, but I went to art school, so I guess the artsy, liberal type.

If you like a girl, how do you show it?
Strategic text messages, or lots of eye contact.

What makes a text strategic?
Engaging something that will elicit a response or series of responses to capture interest. I didn't really have to say anything to her [gesturing to friend]. I just blew in her ear.

Do you have a favorite story?
I was sitting in my room in college, eating dinner, and all I had on was basketball shorts. This girl that I didn't really know came into my room and asked if Nate was there, and I said, "Yeah, how can I help you?" She said, "Do you wanna make out?" I told her, "If you give me a second, I can brush my teeth," because I was in the middle of eating. She said something to the effect of, "Oh no, that's okay. I'll just be leaving, I guess that only happens on TV." Well, I'm like, "If you tell me your room number, I'll come and find you or give me your number," and then she walked out. I spoke to one of her roommates the night after, and she told me that the girl had a condom in her hand, and she was coming to basically have sex right on the spot. So, that was probably one of the most…

So wait, how did she know you?
I didn't know her, not personally. I knew some friends of hers. She was a girl with a plan, but unfortunately, she wouldn't let me make it up to her, because whenever I saw her again later, she was very embarrassed.


Amy, 22

What do you do for a living?
I'm a mosaic artist and I also do a ladies' smutty magazine, Candy Rain.

Candy Rain? That sounds hot.
Ladies love it.

Do either of those things get you dates?
Not really. In fact, probably doing the porn, people get intimidated by it.

If you like someone, how do you show them that you like them?
My signature move is just getting drunk and embarrassing myself.

Any specific instances?
I met him [gestures to friend] when we were shotgunning beers. He pushed me off my bike and we made out. [Guy: "You guys are like eight years old, it's okay."]

What kind of guy do you usually go for?
Oh, I go for the worst dudes in the world! I've dated scumbags, ex-cons, you name it. I dated a dude with three teeth one time.

What? Why did he only have three teeth?
I have no fucking idea. He must have gotten them knocked out at one point in his life, but he literally had like three teeth in his head.

How does a man of that caliber get a lady of your caliber?
I think it's some sort of internalized self-hate.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Yeah. Low as they may be, I do actually have standards. No drug addicts. Nobody with a serious substance problem. And you need to have a job and your own house.

Are these things you learned by trial and error?
Yes! But the thing is, the one common thread all these dudes have is they're actually really funny.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
If anyone was to be offensive in the bedroom, it'd probably be me. I get real mean about shit. I've had a dude just straight up walk out.

What happened?
I've had loads of bad sex in my day, so I've come to the point where, if I even think there might be some sort of sophomoric fucking going on, I'm just like, try again later or get the fuck out. I've mostly yelled at dudes for not getting hard. It's never gotten the reaction I wanted, but…

If you like a guy, how do you let him know you like him?
I don't know. For all the game I talk, I get really bashful about it. Which is why, generally, I don't get dudes that I like.



Caroline, 27

What do you do for a living, Caroline?
I am in sales. It definitely works in my favor that I'm a woman and I'm young in my industry. A lot of elderly men in my industry.

Does shit ever get creepy?
There are definitely some creepers in my office. Definitely. IT guys, they're usually the ones that creep me out the most.

That's interesting. Most of the IT guys I know are pretty chill.
Definitely not the ones at my company.

So where do you go to meet guys?
Murray Hill.

Do you just go and stand in Murray Hill?
Honestly? I do a few laps. I have an old standby. It's a pretty transparent method, actually. I get a drink, I do a few laps, I collect the leers, and then I narrow it down.

You just sit at the bar by yourself?
No, I have a few partners in crime in the same mindset as I am. We figure we're only going to be single for a few more years or maybe a few more months, hopefully, cause it is kind of exhausting. But who knows? The next one who I meet might be someone I marry, just based on how old I am and what I want from my life. So why not just live it up? It's good for the ego. Murray Hill's good for the ego. I rarely have a bad experience in that particular part of the city.

You mean all the guys you meet are pretty solid?
No, no, no, not solid guys. But as far as my type… like, I always get attention. Versus like, the Meatpacking District, where you're vying for attention with models and European… models.

I can't quite handle the Meatpacking District. The drinks are too expensive.
That's the thing. At least in Murray Hill I can afford two drinks before I start expecting them to roll in for free. Meatpacking, I go and I've got twenty bucks to spend. Twenty bucks. That will buy me one vodka soda, and then I'm milking that vodka soda, and then my ego starts to… your sense of self starts to suffer a little bit. And then you lose that liquid courage, which is so instrumental in making the right moves.

Do you have any favorite hookups?
I've had some pretty funny dates since I moved here. I had a guy who was like, "Well, I didn't mind hanging out with you, so maybe we should do this again." That was my favorite line. And I was like, "Wow, you are a jackass." And he was like, "What? I have standards." And I was like, "Uh, and I don't?" He looks me up and down and says, "Yeah." He had a bowl cut! At twenty-six! And he had the balls to say that to me.


Mae, 23

What do you do for a living?
Graphic designer.

Does that get you dates?
Not so much.

Okay. What does get you dates then?
I don't know. Coming to the dog park.

Have you ever used your dog to flirt with someone?
No, actually. Peggy doesn't put out.

Do you have any crazy ex-boyfriends?
Yeah. All of them. I think some were just psychotic. I think they were just, like, clinically insane. I feel like I'm attracted…like I'm a freak magnet.

Is there a certain kind of guy you go after?
Not so much based on looks or anything. I think it's more of a…what people make or what they're interested in. Someone who's creative; someone who has intellectual drive or something like that.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
Offended? In what way? Oh God, I'm just imagining how this is going to look online.

You have no idea, the people I've talked to. There's nothing you're going to say that's going to shock me.
Offended in the bedroom… I feel like I definitely have. Sometimes when I'm getting sick of someone, I'm just really honest. Well, this morning, I told somebody he was a selfish loser and to leave.

Oh, wow. Is this someone you've been dating?
Yeah, for a few weeks, and then I had this glimpse of light and perspective and I was like, "What the fuck am I doing?"

What was his reaction?
I think he was really upset.

Well, you did call him a selfish loser.
He was! He is!

Do you have any favorite hookup stories?
Oh, God. Um…this is really bad. I was like, seventeen. I was at a sharks and mermaids party, or something. And I was really, really drunk. Obviously, right? And I apparently ended up having sex on the Slip 'n Slide in the front yard.

So he was dressed like a shark?
We were all kind of dressed like… like, really weird, yeah, aquatic gear. I feel like there were a lot of… what are those things? Flippers? There were a lot of flippers going around.

That's amazing!
It was awful. I'm telling the whole dog park this now. Really, I think this may be embarrassing and I don't really care. What do I have to lose after this morning? My God, you don't even understand. Everyone told me not to see this guy. I didn't listen and then it all hit me at once.


Samantha, 30

What do you do for a living?
I'm an artist and a teacher.

Does that ever get you dates?
Not the teacher part. But… not the artist part either. Neither of those things gets me dates. I see a cute girl and ask her out. Or I find them on the internet, like I found my girlfriend. Thank God for Facebook.

How do you make it happen?
I'm a very big flirt. I just flirt and I just don't accept that anyone couldn't be a little bit gay. You know what I mean? I just think, "She's hot. Maybe I have a chance," and I just go for it. Maybe that's the advantage I have as a woman, you know? Like if I were a guy, I might be more nervous to go up to a hot girl, but because I'm a girl, it doesn't make me as nervous. I can talk to a woman. I have girls who are my friends.

I thought you were going to say "I have girl parts."
Yeah, I have girl parts. They have girl parts. It works out.

Do you have any crazy ex-girlfriends?
Yeah, I've got like nine hundred. It's the bane of my current girlfriend's existence. It's hard because the gay scene is very incestuous. My best friend, whom I used to date, is now dating my ex-girlfriend's ex-girlfriend. But we accept it. We've got enough love for everybody.

So what kind of crazy are we talking?
One time I dated this girl from the Bronx. She looked like a little, beautiful Dominican princess, very tiny and girly. She came from a family of twelve brothers. I started hanging out with her, she's all sweet and everything, and then we went to some club and somebody said something to me and she beat the shit out of her. She took her on the street and beat the shit out of her, and the girl was like twice her size. Really violent, but she's tiny. I mean she weighed maybe a hundred and twenty pounds. But she just had this fire, you know?

Was that hot when it wasn't scary?
It was scary and actually ended up being kind of annoying — people who can't just relax and are looking for fights. You know? Another good one, I met this girl in town from Berlin. I was all excited, she was so hot. And I got her pants off and she had the head of Tweety Bird tattooed on her pussy. I hate Looney Tunes. It's not even cool as a joke, or something you can use because you're German or something and you don't get it. It's horrible. It's Tweety Bird!


Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
This girl I went out with, I got her shirt off, and she just kept telling me how gay she was. It was really weird. She just kept saying it, and it was making me really nervous. I was like "Okay! I believe you. As long as your shirt's off, say whatever you want."

Interviews by Meghan Pleticha. Photography by Sean McGurn.