Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Mark, 20

Is there a type of girl you normally go for? What's your weakness with the ladies?
Cute. I like cute faces. Silliness. I don't know. I've had really bad luck with women up until this point.

Oh really? Any crazy stories or just bad luck with women in general?
I was dating this girl who weighed more than me — in muscle, but like leg muscle. She was completely a regular person but then she was on the rowing team, so… it was just very awkward because it never worked.

It never worked in the bedroom?
Yeah. And it didn't occur to me why — and then I figured it out, why I was disgusted by her.

Have you ever been in any crazy relationships?
No. I mean, I had a crush on this girl in high school for like three years, and then she started dating my best friend when I went to college and they didn't tell me. That was the craziest, because it was just really sad. I was like, "Why didn't you guys tell me?" So now I don't talk to her. But he's still my best friend. He was like, I'm just really sorry, I screwed up. And I was like, it's okay. I don't really hold him accountable. It's her fault.

Have you ever done anything crazy to get laid?
No, I was a virgin for so long and then I didn't want to waste it! So I had my, uh, crew girlfriend, and then I met my current girlfriend. So I never had to do anything crazy. But I was really stressed out on my way to stats one day, and we went into an elevator and I got a blowjob. It was awesome. No one came into the elevator. It took like forty-five minutes. And then we left.

It took forty-five minutes?
Well, we were just making out for the beginning bit. And then someone walked into the elevator two minutes after we left.

That's crazy. Do you think people knew what you were doing?
No, it was relatively unknown elevator. I mean, no one uses it except for disabled people. Which is sad, but…

So, they couldn't get upstairs, because you were getting off?
Well, if they'd opened the door, it would have been the most awkward situation in my life.

Sarah, 24

What do you for a living?
I'm a student. Fashion design.

Does that ever get you guys?
Ha, no.

Yeah, as soon as I asked, I was like, probably not. Do you have any crazy romances in your life?
Yes, actually. I dated a guy for five years, from sixteen to twenty-one. It ended really badly. I just had this crisis where I was like, "I don't know what I'm doing with my life!" and broke up with him. He was in love with me and it was really messy. He was crazy. Even when we were together he'd call me seven times a day and if I didn't answer, he'd freak out. He was just really needy. And at that young of an age I didn't realize how bad that was. Now if you did that to me — if you called me even three times a day and were like, "Where are you?" — I'd dump you immediately.

How did you eventually cut him off?
I just had to break things off. We were friends and we thought about getting back together — but it ended up being best that we just broke up.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories — or disastrous hook-ups?
I don't want to dwell on the negatives, actually. The guy that I'm dating now, on one of our first dates, we went and hit balls at this driving range. Then we went back to his house and ate and watched a movie about this really cheesy, classic '80s rock band that he projected on his back wall with his friends. And then we all got really drunk and sang karaoke. It was the funnest time ever.

Any night that finishes with karaoke is a good night. How long have you been seeing this guy?
It's actually been two years, a couple days ago. He's awesome, I love him to death. We met in Arizona, where we both used to live. I moved to New York and now we're doing long-distance. So that sucks.

So you moved from California to Arizona to New York. Are there differences between the guys in each place?
I'd be so scared to date guys in New York. I feel like here you always have the option to trade up — because you meet so many people every day, you'd always be on the look out.


John, 28

What do you do for a living?
I'm an illustrator.

Does that ever get you dates?
No, I'm married. It used to.

Congratulations, dude. What do you look for in a woman?
What did I look for? Someone who's creative, comfortable with themselves.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Yeah, laziness is a real big dealbreaker. Immaturity.

Do you have any crazy ex-girlfriends?
Yes. Oh Jesus. Tryin' to sum up my crazy ex-girlfriends… There was one girl who was really chaotic, dramatic, and high-stress. She had a cheating ex-boyfriend — who was really abusive to her — who she broke up with to be with me. He'd piss in her shampoo bottle and give it to her. It's all coming back to me now — he was just really forceful in any possible way you could imagine. He was away at school and we started dating. Then he came back so she broke up with me to be with him, like that weekend. To be with the shampoo-pissing guy.

That's insane. Was she ever paranoid about you trying to pull shit?
No, I think that was a lot of the appeal to me, at first. Naively I thought that I would change her or win her over. But once someone's used to being abused, then they're always going to go back to that.

How did you meet your wife?
I met my wife on the dance floor. And I proposed to her on the dance floor, as well.

How did you pick her up?
She was hanging out with a bunch of guys that I didn't know were gay at the time. She was putting her head on their shirts, just like sticking her head onto their shirts, and I was like, "How come you're putting your head on their shirts and not mine?" And it was Cupid arrows from there.

Amanda, 32

What do you do for a living?
I'm an interior designer.

Is there any type of guy you always fall for?
The tortured artist is a weakness. Tortured musicians.

Do you have any crazy exes or anything like that?
I have one that I seem to run into every few months or so, who's always going from job to job. You know, very, very smart but very insane. Yell at you one minute, cry the next minute. He's not very stable.

Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
On a bus coming back from a high-school field trip. It was one of those trips — I'm from upstate New York — and we used to come to the city a lot and take museum trips. That particular trip we had two buses — those big chartered buses, not school buses — and there were only five people on one bus. Everyone was asleep and we were sixteen and it was like, "Let's see what we can do." Now I think back on it and I'm like, "Jesus Christ."

Has anyone ever offended you in bedroom?
I've been asked some things I didn't want to do, like, please pee on me, that kind of thing. I just said, "I really don't want to, why would you want me to do that?" And then what do you do? And I didn't understand logistically, like, how's that gonna work? How are the sheets not going to get wet? It just seemed bad all around.

What's the kinkiest thing you'd ever do in the name of love?
A guy who I was dating was kind of bi, I guess, and he wanted me to use a strap-on. We never actually did, but I was totally willing. He was one of the tortured artists. He still sends me a message every now and then. He has a girlfriend now, but he's like, "You're the one." And I'm like, "I don't think your girlfriend would really be down with you talking about this with me."

It sounds like he might still be in love with you.
I think men are just like that. They like to keep you on the back burner, just in case.


Jason, 36

What do you do for a living?
I'm a graphic designer and music producer.

Any good stories from your DJing?
I met this girl at a party in Toronto, where they gave us military dog tags with our names on them. I gave mine to her, we hung out that night, then I went back to New York. Two months later I met someone from Toronto and she was like, "I know you — my friend's your girlfriend!" I was like, "Who?" This girl had been wearing my dog tags for two months, and I didn't even remember her name.

Your friend over there seems to think you should tell us a different story?
Yeah, about some sex parties I've been to recently.

You go to sex parties.
Yeah. One Leg Up, do you know about this? You should check it out, It's like a swinger's flirtatious costume party.

What kind of costumes? Like Eyes Wide Shut?
There's a theme, one a month, and everyone dresses up, wears a mask for the first two hours, and then at one a.m. you take the mask off. It's couples and single ladies, they don't let single men in. I've taken girls I was dating. It's pretty fun. I mean, it's a dance party. They have house music and congas and live percussion, lap dances and a bit of everything.

Do you have a weakness, a certain type of woman you like?
Dark and petite. [Asks his friend] Do I have a weakness in girl types? I date a lot of Asian girls.

Do you have any dealbreakers — is it a dealbreaker if they're not Asian?
No, no, no. I don't only date Asian girls — I like petite girls with dark hair, so Latin, Italian, Greek. But I do date a lot of Asian girls because they fit into that category. My friends bust my chops all the time. Dealbreakers? Bad kissers, immediately. Girls who sweat in bed. That happened recently.

They sweat during sex?
No. I woke up in the middle of the night and I was like, "What?" I gave her the benefit of the doubt, that maybe she was coming down with something. I told my friends she was sweatin', soakin' wet and they were like, "That's really weird, maybe she just came down with the flu?" I stuck up for her, but I never called her again.

Are looks important?
Looks have to get you in the door, but personality has to keep you in the room.


Marian, 32

If you like a guy, how do you show him you're interested?
I guess I call and text and — God, I don't know. I've been single for awhile.

Do you have any crazy ex-boyfriends?
Yeah, I do. You know, stalker-y kind of stuff. One night he tried to break into my house. He was kind of a heavy drinker and I guess he wasn't in his right mind at that moment. I woke up in the middle of the night because I could hear someone at my door and at my window.

Did you call the cops? Did he get arrested?
He didn't believe me that I was going to call the cops. And then I did — I was living in Austin at the time, in this little house — and when he saw the cop car pulled up, he ran to the back of the house and climbed over the fence. He got away.

Did you ever hear from him again?
Yeah. He didn't try to break in again, but he was really mad at me about that and left several threatening messages. I moved and still, every now and then, I get a weird message from him.

What do the messages say? What does he have to talk to you about?
It's just the same thing over and over, basically we were meant to be together… And then actually, this is funny, two weeks ago I get this phone call from the Austin Police Department. They were calling to ask if I knew him because he had gotten pulled over for a DWI and they'd put him in jail and he didn't have his cell phone — and the only phone number he could remember was mine! When I got the call I was like, "Why do you want to know if I know this person?" I was like, if I tell you that I know this person, am I actually helping him out? He should just stay in jail.

Is that what you said? What happened?
I mean, he got the DWI and ended up in jail for the night. They released him the next day on bail or something. I don't understand how all that stuff works.

Was he crazy while you were together?
Not at the beginning. [He seemed] relatively normal and then it got real weird, like drunk-y, yell-y, always fighting.

Wow, I'm sorry. Do you have any favorite dates?
With him? Or just in general?

No, no, in general. Any time a guy's really impressed you? Trying to keep it positive!
Maybe this is part of my problem. I am easily impressed if someone is just well-mannered. Interviews by Meghan Pleticha. Photography by Sean McGurn.