Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Clevins, 21

What do you do for a living?
Right now, I'm a sales associate at Abercrombie and Fitch. But aside from that, I'm a writer.

Which of those jobs gets you more play?
There are a lot of attractive women at Abercrombie and Fitch, but if I'm at a party, or have a new project coming out, women are actually attracted to the fact that I'm a writer.

Do you have any favorite hookup stories?
I was an extra in a European beer commercial last year. I met this girl there who had a really serious face, so it was really hard for me even to think about approaching her. After the shoot, they gave us an unlimited supply of beer, so I just drank and drank and drank. Later, we both got on to the F train. We started talking and started to feel comfortable, so I was no longer the weird drunk guy, and I got her phone number. We're not dating anymore, but we still talk. And this one time I had sex in a public spot —

What kind of public spot?
York Street, the F train station.

In the station?
Yeah. It was the wintertime, and she had this really long Prada jacket covering us, so people would just think we were making out. But we were literally doing it in the station.

On one of the benches?
No, deep in the back, near the pillars. I was really paranoid, thinking I was going to get caught, so… how can I put this? I just wasn't as excited as I should have been. She thought I wasn't into her, but it's hard to concentrate when you have people all around you. It's not you, it's the rush hour!



Kiki, 30

You just got to New York?
I moved here three months ago, almost to the day, from Portland, Oregon.

How are Portland boys different from New York boys?
Oh my God. So different. North of L.A., by twenty-seven, everyone is married, engaged, seriously dating. Here, everyone is still single, but there are a lot more total douchebags. There are lots of douchebags in L.A., too, but here, the guys you meet are just like… good lord. Everyone works for a hedge fund. What does that even mean?

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
I feel like every girl has. Guys have a way of making you feel like you're not really that special girl. I remember this one guy, he was like, "I just love having a girl in my bed." He should have said, "I love having you in my bed."

What did you do?
We kept having sex, and I left in the morning.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
There was this guy who was the love of my life in high school. We dated off and on all throughout high school, and then we went to the same college. When I got there, he was a junior and I was a freshman. He was in a fraternity. I was in a sorority. My freshman year, we had sex in the corner of a dance floor.

How did you make that happen?
I was a freshman, and I was in love.

No, I mean, short skirt? I want logistics here.
Short skirt. There was a really, really, really dirty mattress on the ground. It was disgusting. I had these ridiculous platform heels on.

Did you wear them while you were…
Yeah. Then I stood up to put my underwear back on, tripped on my ridiculous platforms, and fell on the dance floor face-first.

Were your panties around your heels?

Did your man at least help you up?
I don't know. He was an idiot. About a year ago, he called me up to tell me he was engaged and that this was my last chance to marry him.



Lisanette, 25

What do you do for a living?
I'm a legal assistant.

What do you look for in a guy?
Um, I look for intelligence and someone I can relate to. Similar interests. I think looks go into it — like, I tend to go for guys with long hair.

Oh my God, it's the opposite for me.
Oh man, the longer the better. Well, I mean, it's gotta be well-maintained.

Maybe I just haven't seen well-maintained hair yet.
True enough!

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Poor hygiene. Guys who can't carry on a semi-intelligent conversation about something that interests them.

What if all that interests them is the WWE?
Well, people have varying interests. I once dated this guy who was a mechanical engineer, and he could carry on an intelligent conversation, but I was like, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Stop spewing math equations at me!"

Have you ever offended anyone in the bedroom?
There were a couple times where I was like, "Honey." It's the hygiene thing, you know. Some guys aren't aware of it.

Did you say something about it?
I did! I said, "Why don't we take this to the shower?" And he was like, "Why?" And I was like, "Because…"

"…your balls smell."
I mean, I didn't say it like that. I said it in so many words. "It's not so fresh, darling."


Israel, 30

What do you do for a living?
I'm going to school and working for CVS. I'm studying business.

What gets you more play: working at CVS, or going to business school?
I don't think either.

Do you have any crazy exes?
I've had a couple. With one, the break-up wasn't too good, and — I don't know, she would stalk me.

What kind of stalking?
Well, it seemed like everywhere I went she would show up. And then she got a hold of my phone bills.

I have no clue. She would call random people — she wanted to know who I was talking to. I moved, and she found out where I was living and she would sit outside in her car. She caused a lot of drama. It wasn't good. I had to get a restraining order.

At what point did you get the restraining order?
I waited like a month. I think I kind of liked the attention, but after a while it got scary.

Did you know that she was this crazy when you were together?
No, I didn't. It's so weird how you don't really know a person until you get them mad or something. I should have gotten to know her a little bit better.


Monica, 40


What do you do for a living?
Currently, I'm a full-time student at The New School, studying journalism. I love it. It's a very progressive, forward-thinking school.

Where do you meet dates?
I meet people randomly. I've met boyfriends at Barnes & Noble. At parties. I met someone at a comic-book store — we were both reading the same comic.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Oh wow, yeah. Being married.

Is this from experience?
No, no. I just never would. It's a hot mess. Also, depending on their age, kids can be dealbreakers. There's just drama involved with that.

Do you have any crazy exes?
There was this one guy who was obsessed with animation, to the point that his brain stayed in constant anime mood. He was in his twenties, but he acted like he was fifteen or sixteen.

Do you have any weaknesses?
Guys who can do martial arts. They're very hot. They have nice bodies. Also, guys who read comic books.



Sebastian, 26

Do you hook up on Craigslist a lot?
I have, yeah.

I've never done that. How does it go for you?
I mean, it goes okay. I'll post an ad strictly requesting head, and no reciprocation.

What do you look for in a guy?
A sense of femininity and masculinity, and good style — very James Dean.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
Once, yes. When I was with my ex, actually. Two years into our relationship, he asked me for a three-way and I think I was just too emotionally involved at the time.

What did you do when he asked for it?
I cried.

Did you really?
I really did — I didn't, like, bawl, but I shed a tear.

Do you think you've ever offended anyone in the bedroom?
I'm sure. When they ask me to reciprocate and I'm like, "Sorry. Nope."

Has anyone ever said anything to you about that?
I mean, yeah. Of course.

a What's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
One time, when I lived in Chicago, I was pretty drunk and I met this guy who was also really drunk, walking towards Wrigley Field. We start talking and he's like, "Hey, do you want to come down to my apartment and fool around?" And I'm like, "Sure." We walk down this alley that was literally right there — which I thought was very peculiar — but whatever. He's trying his keys in this door and it's not working, so he starts knocking on the door. Nothing. He's like, "Well, I'll just have to text my roommate. But can I give you head?" So he goes down on me. All of a sudden: sirens. I pull up my pants. The cops got a complaint from the woman whose apartment the guy was banging on. I didn't get indecent exposure — I didn't get anything. The guy was arrested because his pants were down. I'm sure they knew that my pants were down and that we were fooling around, but it was totally innocent on my part.

That's fucking insane.
Can you believe I just made that up? No, I'm kidding. That totally happened. It was horrible.

Interviews and photography by Meghan Pleticha.