Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.



Maren, 22

What do you do for a living?
I just got fired, so I'm unemployed. But I'm actually a musician.

What'd you get fired from?
A salon job. Just a random New York paycheck job.

Well, I'm sorry you got fired. What kind of music do you play?
In the past it was rock, and lately it's been more traditional country music. I play a little guitar, but I'm mostly a singer. 

Which of those gets you more action?
As a girl? Being a singer.

What kind of guy do you go for?
Dirty dudes. Basically, all I've dated are musicians — people who've been on the road for a long time and don't really get a chance to shower. The more they're into playing their instrument, the hotter they are. I've only dated lead singers. I dated one drummer and that turned out to be a disaster.

Drummers are kind of crazy.
They are. Not as crazy as lead singers, but I can handle lead singers, because I can relate to them.

Do you have any crazy exes?
Um, all of my exes are crazy actually. 

How do you know they're crazy? 
Well, they call me names after the fact, and then a year later I find out they were cheating on me the whole time. And they act like they did nothing wrong. But that's just musicians. That's life.

If a guy wants to get with you, how does he make it happen?
Either play me a really sexy song or get me a lot of whiskey and I will be yours. 

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
No, I haven't. I've dated perfect gentleman in the bedroom, which is unfortunate. 



Anthony, 27

What do you do for a living?
I have a business consulting company in Hong Kong. 

How are the girls different abroad?
That's a very long conversation. A lot of it comes, obviously, with the basic culture being different. But in China, there's none of the phobias with Christian morals and Christian ideals. They have Christianity there, but it's not, like, the basis of the culture.

Is it an advantage to be from the States?
It is definitely an advantage to be a white male, single, and in your twenties.

What kind of girl do you usually go for?
Um, I really like girls who are articulate. Who can express their ideas. I actually expect a somewhat culturally savvy person. You meet a lot of girls who have never been abroad.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
A friend of mine said to one of his girlfriends, "Tell your friend she can fuck a foreigner." And then she pretty much walked over and was like, "Can we go home now?" 

Oh my God.
I'd met the girl less than five minutes ago. She was like, "I've never had sex with a foreigner." She was rich and young, and she offered me the keys to her apartment. Her father had some huge-ass factory somewhere and she had nothing to spend her money on. She saw me and was like, "Can I buy you?" It was quite flattering. 

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
Once I was with a girl, and you know, I had whiskey dick. I mean, it was hard enough, but not hard enough to come. She was insulted, and I was like, "It's not you." You know, I try to please. And when you think you're pleasing a girl and then she's still unhappy… I was somewhat offended. I mean, I put my ankle into it, if you will.  

That's a Southern term. Might have to look that one up.



Kisha, 30

What do you do for a living?
What do I want to do, or what do I actually do?

I want to do all things creative. I'm actually a development manager for a non-profit company. 

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories? 
I actually met somebody here, in this bar, and we got along and we were both very sad that we couldn't leave New York for the holidays. And then I went to his apartment and we had sex. 

So you eased your sadness?
We commiserated.

What do you look for in a date?
Definitely a sense of humor. And then, I guess, as far as physical features — probably eyes, and then hands. I like masculine hands that look like they can grasp the small of my back between, like, his thumb and his forefinger.  

Do you have any dealbreakers?
I don't like guys who have hair that's completely gelled back. 

You want to be able to run your hands through it.
Sure, I like the running of the hand.

Do you think you've ever offended anyone in the bedroom?

You say that like you did.
I think that physically, I come off as a more demure woman than I am.

Is this a specific story? Are you just generalizing here?
No, I basically…We were having sex and it got a little crazy. He wasn't really expecting that. You know, females in the South, we glow! And we bake cookies. I mean, we don't have bodily functions and definitely don't get crazy in the bedroom.

What kind of craziness are we talking?
You know, ask for a little spanking and choking. I don't know. He just wasn't into it.


Wes, 27

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

Does that get you any action?
Kind of, sometimes. When it's 5 a.m. and everyone's drunk and you say you're an attorney, sometimes it works.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
I had sex with an engaged girl. We were kind of drunk and we got in a cab, but I couldn't remember how to get back to my house because I had just moved there. So we went to the W Hotel and she had her fiancé's credit card, and he paid for the hotel room.

Did you know she was engaged?
Yeah, because I went up to her and talked to her about her ring.

What do you look for in a woman?
To hook up with or to date?

How is it different?
Apparently with dating, I look for someone who's prudish.

Why do you say that?
It's from experience. The last couple girls I've dated here in the city have been on the nun-ish side.

Did any of the nun-ish girls sleep with you eventually?
One out of three.

Was it worth it?
No, of course not. Is it ever worth it?

I don't know. I've never had anyone hold out for very long.  
I don't think sex is ever worth any sort of money, even if it's just dinner.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?

That took you awhile.
No, I've never been. Although… no, I've never been offended.

What's making you pause?
Sometimes girls will say that I have a small dick, but I'm not offended by that. Although I can see why someone might be.



Sara, 31

What do you do for a living?
I'm a bartender.

Does that get you any action?
I don't like to date customers, but it could get me a lot of action if I wanted it to.

Do you have a favorite hook-up story?
They're all kind of the same. I mean, I don't really put out when I first meet somebody. I'm a make-out slut. You know, some girls sleep with dudes — I make out with them. If you don't kiss the same, there's no reason to go any further.

Do you have any dealbreakers with guys?
If they do drugs harder than weed. I had a boyfriend who I didn't know was a cokehead, and he would steal money out of my purse when I was asleep.

Jesus. How long did that last?
I had just moved here from the Midwest, and I was all naïve about drugs because I had never dealt with them. Our relationship was over like a month in, but we ended up being together for a long time. He was crazy and moved in with me, and I didn't realize it. 

Wait, you didn't realize it?
He was like, "I'm gonna go home," and I was like, "Oh, where's your home?" And he was like, "I'm going home, back to our apartment." I thought we were just hanging out, and we ended up somehow living together and I paid for everything. I also had an ex who cheated on me with three girls. I had a party and they all came to my house. They told me they were fucking my boyfriend and proceeded to get in a fight with each other and I told them they had to leave or I would call the cops.

Did they show up just to tell you?
One girl did. And then she became my best friend. 

That's nice, you guys had something in common. 
Yeah. "You fucked my boyfriend? Oh, let's be best friends."



Mark, 31

What do you do for a living?
I'm a musician, a songwriter.

Does that get you laid?
Yes, it does.

What kind of girls does a musician get?
Crack-whore skinny.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
Like, asked to leave? Like, the girl had disappeared when I woke up in the morning, and the clothes that I gave her were hanging on the bed? Yeah.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
What is that? Like, does she have a tail?

I like to fall for crazy girls, so that usually gets me in trouble. The dealbreaker should come earlier than it does.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
I actually do. This was in Florida. She was a Magic Dancer.

Oh, the cheerleaders?
Yes. We're at a party. We're going at it on the couch, but we're so fucking drunk that we both pass out.

In the middle of the party?
No, the party's way over. The sun's coming up. She's getting up, and that wakes me up. And I'm like, "All right, round two!" But it's not looking too good. She goes over to the stereo, turns around, unbuckles her belt, pulls her pants down, and starts peeing on it. I'm laughing and trying to figure out what to do, and she's looking for the handle, trying to flush the stereo.

Interviews by Meghan Pleticha. Photography by Sean McGurn.