Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Jean-Philip, 27

What do you do for a living?
I'm a musician. I do my own stuff; I play a lot of instruments; I produce stuff.

Does your job get you a lot of dates?
It doesn't, because I've been in a relationship for eight years. I live with her. But I guess it gets me a few interested people.

Where are you from?
I'm from South Africa.

How is the dating scene different in New York and South Africa?
I think in a weird way people are a lot more stuck-up in South Africa. People have a narrow view of what a good partner is supposed to be. In New York, I have a lot of friends who have been through horrible relationships. People are less attached to their idea of what a good relationship should be. It's normal and cool to have weird relationships here. There are a lot of singles in New York who think they want a relationship but don't really want one, and that can cause a lot of distress.

Being in New York with all these singles, are you tempted?
I'm definitely tempted. I'm definitely tempted often.

How do you resist temptation?
Well… I don't always resist temptation. It's a case of, I think, what would it get me? At the end of the day, I'd just be having sex with someone. I really love my girlfriend but we have the kind of relationship where we understand that sort of thing. We've been together a long time, and we're not always going to want to have sex with each other all the time. If there comes a time when I'm like, "Oh my God, I have real chemistry with someone," we allow each other to do that. It hasn't happened often at all, though.

When's the last time that happened?
A few months ago, we were going through a weird patch. It was really eye-opening, and I think it brought us closer in a way. I was with someone else, and it just made me think, "Wow, my girlfriend is really good in bed." It reaffirmed it. When you're in a relationship for a really long time, you crave the other side of the fence. A bunch of your other friends are single, and you see them having loads of fun, and you crave that. When you're fantasizing about something, it's more attractive than when it's actually happening. My philosophy is you should let each other be free and not get too jealous.

That's smart. But how do you combat your jealousy?
I completely embrace it. I'll say how I feel, but I know it won't matter. But I think it's really important to voice those things and communicate with each other. I believe that by being open, you'll know what the truth is. And if it comes to the point where you have to break up, then that's how it's meant to be.



Audrey, 23

What do you do for a living?
I work at an advertising agency. I'm a group assistant for Johnson & Johnson.

Does that ever get you laid?
Nope. Friends of friends is usually how I get laid. Meeting guys at bars is sketchy. You could be diseased. I don't know you. With a friend of a friend, I know you. If you give me a disease or something, I can trace you back. I'll find you.

Where are you from?
Connecticut originally, but I live in Brooklyn now.

How is the dating scene different in Connecticut?
In Connecticut it's lots of guys looking for sorority girls, and I'm not that at all. Brooklyn is different, but there are still lots of flaky guys.

So basically the dudes are the same, they're just wearing different outfits.
Yeah, exactly.

What do you do when you meet a guy you like?
Well, I try to look cute as hell all the time, and try not to scare them off. It's hard because when you're a successful female who knows what she wants and has a good, steady job and isn't into fucking around, they get scared. I don't understand it, but it happens.

What's the craziest thing someone has ever asked you to do in bed?
This is really bad. But once, this guy asked if I'd butter him up — like actually rub him down with Crisco — and cover him in Saran Wrap, and leave his junk unwrapped, you know, and then have sex with him. I said no. It was at the beginning of the end anyway, and that was it. He had done things before, like spank me, but nothing too crazy. All that was cool. But then the Crisco — that was it.

What are some other dealbreakers?
Anyone who likes bad music. John Tesh? No. That's really bad. If you really want to see Maroon 5, I'm sorry. I usually go for metrosexual guys, that's a turn-on.

Hair gel: yes or no?
Yes. If you have the right haircut, it can look really good, as long as it doesn't end up being all Jersey Shore.



Johannes, 28

Where do you live?
Germany, I'm just visiting New York. I've been here twice for four weeks this year already.

Have you dated anybody in New York while you've been here?
Not dated, but I've met some women.

How is hooking up in New York different from hooking up in Germany?
In New York, women are much more direct. It's quite easy to get to know women here. There's a lot of nightlife. All day long we are working in the studio, so it's the nightlife where I get to know women. It's interesting to meet women here, in Germany, in England, everywhere.

Fair enough. You're a musician, does that get you a lot of ladies?
Oh yeah, it definitely helps. I'm a singer/songwriter.

What do you do to impress a girl you're into?
Ignore her. I sound like a complete asshole, but women aren't interested in men going after them too much. I think you have to be a bit arrogant. You shouldn't look like you're interested in her. Obviously you have to show it a little, for just for a few seconds.

What's your craziest hook-up story?
Well, once I was having sex on a boat in a city, and the next day my friend, who's a taxi driver, told me that some taxi drivers saw us and were talking about it over the intercom system all night long. So all the taxi drivers were talking about me having sex on a boat.

Is that the craziest place you've had sex?
On a boat, in the bathroom of a club, in a taxi cab.

And the taxi driver was cool?
Yeah, he was cool. He acted like he didn't see anything.

That's nice of him.
It was really nice of him. I was very thankful.


Michael, 26

Where are you from?
Texas. I've been in New York for seven years.

What do you do for a living?
Hair. I'm a hairdresser.

Does that get you laid?
Yes and no. I have good hair, so yes. But I work with a lot of gay men, so that doesn't help. But I have gotten laid from my job.

So hooking up must be different in the South, right?
So different! Very different.

What's the craziest thing someone has ever asked you to do in bed?
I'm so private about the boudoir — I don't think I can even answer that question.

Then what's the sexual philosophy of a Texas girl?
Legs crossed, mouth shut. Things are quieter in Texas than they are in New York. I work with whores all day. They just happened to be dressed in business casual.



Mordecai, 31

What do you do for a living?
I'm an associate producer and studio manager at a game-developing company. iPhone games, applications, real-world games.

What's a real-world game?
A game where people interact in the real world. Like social games.

LARPing. Live Action Role Playing? You are a LARPer?
Ha, LARPing. Yes, I LARP. What did I say my name was? Mordecai? What I meant was "Sheeba, King of Thisestan."

Now that is sexy.
Not really.

Does your job get you laid?
No, but having a job is more likely to get me laid than not having a job. In New York, there are a lot of attractive people everywhere. But I don't seem to be with them. I'm a good dude, and there are so many attractive people, and I can't believe I'm not with them constantly.

All right, so how are you going to get with all these attractive people?
Be myself, I guess. But that's not really working, so maybe I'll be someone else. One thing that's weird: I am immediately attracted to people I've gotten with in the past. I don't have a type, but maybe my type is "people I've already hooked up with."

That's not very adventurous. What's the craziest thing that's happened to you during sex?
Well, I hooked up with this girl one time, and then I saw her at a party. She came up to me, asked me if I wanted to get out of there, and I said yes. We got a cab, were having a great time in the cab, and we got to her place. It was really getting wonderful, incredibly sexy. We got to her place, I was super excited, I really liked this girl, and we were hooking up in her room. She took her clothes off and said, "Do whatever you want to me." But so, the last time I'd hooked up with this girl, I'd gone down on her, and she'd fallen asleep. Yeah. So this time, in my mind, I was thinking, "I have a wonderful night ahead of me, I can do whatever I want to this girl." So I thought, I want to go down on her. Then when we were done, we were face to face again and she looked at me and says, "I think I need to be alone tonight." It was super fucked-up.

Ouch! Did that make you question your abilities?
No! It made me question her sanity, because I'm wonderful.

Attempt 1: Asleep. Attempt 2?
"Get the fuck out of here!"

Yikes! How do you bounce back from that?
I'm pretty sure I haven't bounced back from that. But you know what my number-one wish is?

To be able to eat anything I want and never get fat. Do you know what my number-two wish is?

No, what?
To sleep with this girl, because we never even got to do it!



Jennifer, 25

What do you do for a living?
I'm a teacher right now. I teach Special Ed in a third/fourth grade in the Bronx.

How long have you been a teacher?
Four years now.

Has your job ever gotten you laid?
No way! It's funny because I do art and I have an art degree, and I want to start getting into tattooing, and all the people I work with are pretty much the kids I made fun of when I went to school with them. So we don't get along that well. They're nerdy.

What do you do to get laid?
I was born and raised in the Bronx, but I was always out of place there. When I was in the Bronx, I didn't get a lot of girls at all because they all wanted the girl with the ponytail and the Shape-Up, which is not my style at all. I dated a girl for six years, but she was totally settling.

She settled for six years? That's a long settlement.
Yeah, she was also really neurotic. But when I moved to Brooklyn I realized that I'm hot and I can get girls.

What's the craziest sexual request you've ever gotten?
Actually, I've only been with five girls, so it's been pretty tame. And some of them were straight.

Okay, so how do you nab straight girls?
Oh, I'm always their first. It's funny, because you know when you watch a movie and the guy says all the right things? Well, since I'm a girl, I know the things they want to hear, so I can trick them into sleeping with me. It's more of a conquest that way. It's a challenge so it's more fun.

Clever. What do you tell them?
Tell them they're really beautiful, even if they're butt ugly. Just tell them they're beautiful. They'll eat it up. Compliment their personality and make them feel like a full person who has so much to contribute. It's not an immediate thing — you have to get really close to them and make them feel really warm and comfortable, and since I'm so masculine they start to get really confused and think, "Oh man, I kind of think she's really hot, but maybe I shouldn't." You always plan on that, go for that. Like, I'm going to confuse the shit out of this girl, and then I'm going to screw her!

Yeah! No, but really I'm more of a relationship person, because I feel kind of guilty and bad about it. I don't like hurting girls' feelings.

Interviews by Juliet Linderman. Photography by Talisa Chang.