Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Talking to Strangers - Jeremy

Jeremy, 24

What's your profession?
I'm currently teaching a summer program.

Could that get you any dates?
I hope not.

Where's the craziest place you've ever gotten laid?
Coffee shops.

Coffee shops, plural?
In the bathroom of the former Pacino's on Magazine St., and at C.C.'s. I've just dated people who've worked at coffee shops, so when it was slow or something… Both times, the place was open but relatively close to closing. I will say that those were probably the quickest sessions I've had in my life.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Absolutely not.

Has someone you were in love with ever broken up with you?
No, but I broke up with someone while I was in love with her. We were living together. It was a slowly dissolving situation, and it cultivated a sense of dependency. I don't think you should be with somebody until you've become an entirely self-sufficient person on your own — until you've learned that another person only enhances your happiness. They can't create it. You can live without that person. In this one instance we both got to the point where we both felt like we needed each other, and especially on her part it created this level of control, as well as jealousy towards every female friend I had. It was very unhealthy, and it was very hard to end.

So jealousy is like a dealbreaker for you?
Absolutely, I hate jealousy. It's just your own self-esteem shit. This particular girl was just rampantly jealous all the time and made me feel uncomfortable with my life outside hers.

What are your turn-ons?
I think feet are very cute, but I wouldn't call it a foot fetish, because it's just something that I find charming or endearing. It's not something that I get sexual gratification from. There are some feet that I don't find appealing, with really substantial arches, like dancers' feet. Sometimes they just look like they serve an orthopedic purpose, which doesn't really excite me.

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
Well, I really hate being handcuffed. She was being really overtly sexual with me when she did it, and she kind of surprised me with it, but if I can't touch you, if I can't do something back, then it's just boring.


Talking to Strangers - Katie

Katie, 22

Where do you work?
A very temporary desk job at a university.

Do you get any dates from your job?
I could if I weren't already dating someone. I work at a front desk where there's a lot of one-on-one communication. Lots of opportunities there, I feel.

What kinds of guys come in?
All types of guys, many around my age, looking to enroll. It's not so much the guys that come in, though. If I weren't dating someone, I think there could be a very good chance of seeing a few of my coworkers.

What do you look for in a guy?
Primarily, a sense of humor. There should obviously be a connection. You know, I want to be able to laugh with him. I also need to see that he has equal respect for women and men. That applies to my friends as well.

If you could change one thing about men what would it be?
I probably wouldn't change anything about men. I love men. But I would change the way most males are raised in society. I think it's important that men and women grow up knowing that they can be whatever they want to be, regardless of the roles that society has set for them. I hate that some women grow up believing they are inferior to men and feeling that they need to get married and have kids for security.

Do you think there's one person for everybody?
No, I think out of the six billion people on this earth, you can make a deep and lasting connection with several of them. I mean I've met people in my life whom I feel I'm compatible enough with to have a lasting relationship. I just haven't met anyone that I like more than my current boyfriend.

What's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
In a very open area in a park during the afternoon. It was raining so hard that we felt no one could really see us. I'm certain they could, now that I look back. I love daytime rain.

Do you have any turn-offs?
Lots of them. Most importantly… don't call me "sweetheart."


Talking to Strangers - Ted

Ted, 25

What is your profession?
I am a census enumerator.

Have you ever hooked up on the job?
No, no job ever.

Do you have any crazy exes?
I have multiple crazy exes. I have the craziest-exes-of-all-time exes.

Are there any specific things that have happened?
One ex told me that she spoke Swedish, and I thought it was awesome. Later I found out that she did not speak Swedish. When she was pretending to speak Swedish, she would do this muppet thing where she kind of made up crazy noises, and it was like Swedish, but it was just gibberish.

What's something you wish you could change about the opposite sex?
A lot of girls don't know anything about cars. I don't know anything about cars at all, but my girlfriend knows everything about cars and that's good. That's flipping a 180 on the whole thing.

I know two girls who know a lot about cars.
Cool, that's what we call the future.

How do you impress girls?
I impress girls in a lot of ways, mostly like in the way that I comb my hair really cool in the morning. I pay really really close attention to proportion and balance, the way it all falls on my head.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
When my current girlfriend and I saw each other we hated each other for like a month, but underneath all the hate was a little bit of love, and that's why we love each other today.

Talking to Strangers - Julianne

Julianne, 21

Where are you from?
I'm originally from Baton Rouge and Belfast.

How do the dating scenes compare between those two places?
Well, in Belfast it's more like, "Oh, are you good looking? Yeah, I'm good looking too. Let's bang." In Belfast it's like everybody's at a rave. In Baton Rouge, not so much.

What do you look for in a guy?
I like skinny boys, I like boys who like obscure music, I like boys who have awkwardly cut hair. You know, "My hair is halfway over my eye and halfway down my ear." I'm totally into that. I buzzed my hair in January of 2008.

Like all off?
Yep. I got a bad haircut and my only solution was to cut it off.

What's the craziest place you've had sex?
Florence, in a tent. My boyfriend at the time and I decided, yeah, we're going to backpack Europe. We were gone for five and a half weeks. One weekend, we were in Florence, and we were drunk, in a child-sized tent, you know… It was awesome.

What are your turn-offs?
Little dogs. Like that one [pointing to a man and his dog walking by]. I'm not saying it's giving away their penis size, but I mean come on, you have a Pomeranian. My stepsister has a Pomeranian.


Talking to Strangers - John

John, 33

Where are you from?
New York.

Do you see a difference in dating between New York and New Orleans?
The best way to put it is that there are three million more people to talk to in New York. And I've got to talk to you before I know if there's going to be anything between us. People can look very pretty, but if you don't know what's inside them, you can't connect. More than anything else, I think variety is the spice of life.

What's your profession?

Do you get a lot of dates through law?
None at all.

So where do you usually find dates?
I don't. It's a desert right now.It's been the rainy season, now it's the dry season.

When it's not dry, what do you do to impress?
Go outside, meet people, try to remember their name, and hope that community service means something.

And what do you look for in someone else?
More than anything else, honesty. And good conversation. Somebody who knows what they're about, and somebody who likes themselves and also is ready to like other people.

What do you like to do on a good date?
I like to climb trees. I like running, climbing trees, I like City Park a lot, I like the museums. A tree is a good place to fall asleep in somebody's arms.

What's the craziest place you've had sex?
I'm not crazy so it's hard. I've had sex in a car while driving at sixty miles per hour on the interstate. But the craziest time has to be on a rooftop in a public place.

What was the public place?
I'm not telling.


Talking to Strangers - Maureen

Maureen, 24

What do you do for a living?
I just graduated from Tulane. I have a degree in psychology and also in print making. I'm currently living at home because I don't know what I want to do and I don't know what I'm qualified to do.

I'm in that spot too. It's scary.

What do you look for in guys?
Good taste in sweaters. Boys who are willing to stay up with me all night while I'm doing homework. I've had a couple of boys who have met or exceeded my expectations as far as being there for me while I was stressed. That was nice.

What about turn-offs?
North Face clothes. Cargo shorts. Though, I can appreciate that all boys have gone through cargo-short phases. I think every boy has owned a pair of cargo shorts at some point in their life, but if they're still wearing cargo shorts, I think it's a no. Also, I'm not into really short haircuts. I'm into hairy boys.

Do you have any crazy exes?
I think I'm a crazy ex. I always have grass-is-greener syndrome. I'll break up with someone, then I'll go out with someone else, and I'll be like, "Wait, no, I like that first person better." I change my mind and go back and forth, and that's really frustrating for people I've dated.

Are there any guys you would consider dating again?
There may be someone like that, but like I mentioned, I have terrible grass-is-greener syndrome. I'm saying this now, but when I was with him, I dropped him, right? I have this two-year limit, where I'm with someone and then after two years I feel like, "No, I don't want to do this anymore," and it makes me panicky.

How do you feel about love at first sight?
You can know really early on whether you could be in love with someone. But there's definitely something to be said for love developing.

Interviews and photography by Katie Putnam and Chris Givens.