Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.




Sam, 24

What do you do for a living?
I'm a student and a waiter.

Which one do you think gets you more play?
Waiting tables. You have to flirt with people to make money.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
The first time I ever had sex was in a baseball field, in left field. We were drinking in the dugout and I told her I was a good outfielder. A lot of grass stains — let's just put it that way.

Do you have any crazy ex-girlfriends?
I had one who was just a boozy nutjob. She had a lazy eye that would get worse when she drank. You could tell how drunk she was because the one eye would drift over to the side of her face.

So why did it end?
Because it really wasn't worth the time I was putting in anymore.

Was it an ugly breakup?
Yeah, I guess so, but I was also like seventeen. I think every breakup is ugly when you're seventeen.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
Let's just say — you know what a handjob is?

Yeah, I'm familiar with the concept.
I was offered not a handjob, but a footjob. There's a dealbreaker! I don't like feet in general.

What did you do?
I politely declined.

That's classy. Did you have sex with her after that?
No, it really killed the mood.



Paige, 22

What do you do for a living?
I'm a writer, and I'm also a nanny.

What kind of writing do you do?
Fiction, and I also have a website about artists twenty-five and under.

Are you from New York originally?
I've lived here for a year, minus three months in Barcelona. But I'm from south Florida. 

How are guys in New York different from guys in Florida or Barcelona?
In Barcelona, everyone's just your best friend, guys and girls alike. There aren't a lot of boundaries. In Florida there's more formal dating. And New York has more hooking up.

Do you think the guys are different, or is it the girls?
I think it's just the culture, and it also has to do with the pace of the lifestyle here. There are so many choices, so many people, everyone's so busy — it's hard to make time for your friends or some guy you just started seeing. 

What kind of guys do you like?
I've actually never had a boyfriend who wasn't a skateboarder. But that's not intentional.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Guys who have no interest in traveling, or who don't read.

Like, guys who are illiterate?
No, like if I asked you what the last book you read was and you were like, "Whatever Mrs. Jacobs assigned in tenth-grade English."

Do you have any crazy ex-boyfriends?
No, I've been pretty lucky. But I kind of have a stalker right now.

Wait, you kind of have a stalker?
I met him in Union Square last summer, right before I left for Barcelona, and he was weirdly upset that I wouldn't hang out with him the day before I left. When I came back I ran into him again and gave him my number. Then I got on the train and by the time I got off, uptown, he had texted me five times.

What did he have to say five times?
Like "Hey what's up?" "Hey, you there?" "What's going on?" I responded once, just to say "Hey, everything's good. I can't really talk. Have a good day." He texted me twenty times that day.

I never texted him back. He called later that night and I didn't answer, but I got five more text messages from him before I fell asleep. This went on for a few days before I finally texted him and was like, "I'm really busy and I don't like getting text messages." I've seen him a bunch of times since then, around Union Square, and he just stands and stares at me. It freaks me out. When I have to go down the stairs to the L train, I look to see if he's following me.



Alex, 28


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

Does that ever get you dates?
Not specifically. I've definitely met plenty of clients where the desire's there, but I try not to date my clients.

Where do you get your action, then?
Mostly girls I meet at bars.

Where are you from?
I moved here a little over a year ago. Before that I was living in Richmond, Virginia, and I actually grew up in Holland.

How do you think girls are different in New York?
In Richmond, girls want to be pursued. In New York, half the time girls will come up to me. That was a shock. And people here actually date. That's a completely new concept for me. In Richmond it's like, "Oh, we got drunk and slept together last night. I guess we're girlfriend and boyfriend."

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
About a week ago, I was out seeing a band that some friends of mine are in. On the way home, there was this cute girl on the train, and we were smiling at each other. We both got off at the same stop, and I was like, "Hey, you wanna go grab a drink?" We had one drink and headed back to her place. Turns out she lives in the building next to mine.

So you're over there a lot?
No, I haven't even talked to her since.

Do you have any dealbreakers with people you're just casually going home with?
If I disagree with you on any fundamental moral or ethical issue. Like, if I find out that you hate gay people, I'm not going home with you. I don't care how drunk I am.

Do you have any crazy ex-girlfriends?
I dated this comedian for a month and a half or so, and I don't know how I didn't realize how fucking insane she was. Every once in awhile, she'll still call or text me in the middle of the night. I try to be friendly with her because I'm a nice guy, but it almost always ends with her being like, "Stop talking to me or I'll get a restraining order!" I'm like, "I haven't talked to you in three months! You're the one who's calling me!

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Tim, 22

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

Cool. Does that get you dates?
I'm in a relationship now. But I also own my own t-shirt company, so I guess that gets people interested.

Like, "Oooh, you own something."
Yeah, that has worked.

How did you meet your girlfriend?
I needed a partner for beer pong. She came over and twirled her hair and was like, "I'll be your partner." It just snowballed from there.

Do you have any favorite hook-up stories?
My friends used to have this apartment where we threw big parties, and they had a Jacuzzi. This girl and I snuck away in the middle of the party and did it right in the Jacuzzi. There was this big window behind it that looked out into the street.

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to have sex in Jacuzzis?
You just kinda go with it.

Well, I was really wondering if there's any trick with the water.
With the water? Oh. Actually, we didn't have the water on. It just seemed like a good idea because it was a big space.

Do you have any crazy ex-girlfriends?
It seems like after I break up with girls, they kinda go crazy. One girl became a cokehead. One girl went into porn.

Have you seen anything she's been in?
Yeah. She has a nice body. But then I was with a girl who came out of the closet as a lesbian. And another girl, in high school, tried to date me while she was pregnant. I didn't know she was pregnant. I was fifteen. She used to borrow my sweatshirt from my locker and wear it to hide her belly.



Natalie, 28

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

Does that get you dates?

Where'd you meet your boyfriend?
I met him at work. So I guess actually it does get me dates. I just lied.

Wait a fuckin' minute!
Apparently dudes in Brooklyn have a librarian fetish.

So you guys were working together and got hot and heavy in the stacks, what happened?
That did happen one time. But it was after we'd been dating for a while. We went in late at night.

What type of guy do you usually go for?
Usually they're nerdy and have a Mick Jagger body type.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Emotional problems. I can't deal with depressed or bipolar. Even though I understand they can't help it, it's a dealbreaker. I can't deal with it. I feel guilty about it.

Did you date a bipolar guy?
Yes. When he was up, he was really, really charming and made me feel like I was the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing person in the world. But then when he was down he was telling me I was a fucking slut, whore, bitch. I mean it was like night and day. And of course I didn't know he was bipolar until I found his bottle of lithium in the medicine cabinet.

Was it crazy when you broke up with him?
Yeah, I had a lot of my stuff at his house and I brought a bodyguard with me, like a big dude friend to help me get my shit out of his house because of what he was saying to me over the phone.

How did your current boyfriend get with you?
It was more like I made it happen. I started working at this place and immediately I thought he was very attractive, but we were both seeing other people. Over time he broke up with his girlfriend and I broke up with my boyfriend. It was one of those friends-to-relationship situations that involved a lot of alcohol.

So you made the move.
Yeah, I made the move. We've been together for three years now, so it was the right move. I'm always the one making it happen. I'm the aggressor. I can't think of a boy that seduced me versus me trying to seduce him.

I love it. You're like a librarian dominatrix.
They're weak! They're all weak.



Molly, 30

What do you do for a living?
I'm in library school, and I'm working as a librarian. Natalie and I go to grad school together.

Nice. Do you get a lot of play as a librarian?
The number of straight men in library science who aren't married or don't have girlfriends is pretty minimal. There are dudes, but most of them are gay. But a guy once said to me, "If I learned anything from '80s videos, when a girl in a library climbs onto a ladder with wheels, things get sexy."

What happened with that person?
We're still talking. But he's had mono for three weeks.

I'd probably fuck a dude librarian, just FYI.
Yeah, just find a straight one. Good luck.

Do you have any crazy hookup stories?
This guy I was seeing lived on the second floor of a two-floor apartment. He had basically a private staircase. We were coming down the stairs and he pushed me against the wall and I fucked him in the stairwell, with the door open to the street basically. Skirt, boots — it was super-hot.

What do you look for in a guy?
Apparently the guys I like are emotionally unavailable and sad, like, "Some girl hurt my feelings five years ago so now I can't talk."

Who are these pussies you're dating?
I'm not going to say any names, but they all live in Brooklyn. And I meet them all on OkCupid.  

I'm on OkCupid! It always starts out so well!
My friend met her boyfriend on OkCupid and they're very happy together, but before that she called it OkCrazy. She once went on a date with a guy named Apppollo — no lie, three Ps in his name. He smelled his hands throughout the entire date.

It's such a crapshoot. I go on it when I feel bad about myself.
Right! When I have really low self-esteem, I look for guys who have really low self-esteem, too. I am a member of another online community — not OkCupid — that will remain unnamed. I met a gentleman there who I dated for a while, and in retrospect we shouldn't have dated. He was a forty-year-old divorced father of two with a recreational coke habit. The sex was good, though.

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