Talking to Strangers: New York, NY
by Daniela Cervetti
Are first impressions accurate?
Not always, no. You have to do a second take on it.
What are some false impressions men often have of you?
The main one has been that I'm unapproachable, or that I wouldn't be single. You know: "Why bother, because she probably already has someone." So I don't get approached very often.
Have you ever dated a high-maintenance man?
Yes, my ex-husband. [laughs] He was very needy. He always needed to be told that I loved him, and it didn't even matter if I showed it to him in actions. He just always needed to hear it.
Tell me about your first kiss.
I was sixteen. It was my first boyfriend, my high-school sweetheart. I was always very sheltered by my mom, so that was the first time I had experienced any type of kiss that meant anything. I went to his house and his parents were out, we went down to his basement and he was making brownies, and then he just leaned over and gave me a kiss. There was no inkling that it was going to happen. It was a weird thing. I expected flashes of light and all that. But it was memorable. I was very tense and shy about it, but I remember relaxing after a while. [laughs] We ended up dating for about four years, which was great. He was also the first guy I had sex with. We still go out a couple of times during the week, and it's great. He's still a very good friend. We're surprised that we know each other still, and that we still maintain a good communication.
What's the craziest thing you've done to sexually please a man?
Oh lord... I've done a lot of interesting things. With my ex-husband, we were at South Street Seaport, and we got out of the car and, right in the parking lot, I just lifted my dress and we had sex. So... [laughs] People were passing by. I don't know if they noticed or didn't notice, but it was great. I took him by surprise. He was like, "Oh my God, people are going to watch." And I was like, "I don't care." That was the craziest thing I've ever done.
What time of day was it? How long did it last?
Summer, daylight. It lasted not even ten minutes. It was a quickie. And then we laughed and walked away, and that was something that we could always remember. That was around the time that we met, so there was always something crazy going on.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a promoter.
What's the boldest thing you've done to get a woman's attention?
I spilled a cherry Slurpee on a girl's white sneakers. I did it on purpose. We were in the South Berry station on Staten Island, right outside the station. When I came in, she was looking and our eyes connected. So I said hello first, and when I said hello, I spilled the slushie and it got on her laces. I'm always playing around. I had some money on me, and I already knew that I was going to give her eighty dollars for her sneakers.
That's an expensive way to pick up ladies, isn't it?
I knew that if I did the whole thing right, and she didn't have a man, she'd give me her number. So, she starts flippin'. I'm like, "Where's your man at? I can't go hooking you up with more sneakers because I don't have any money on me!" and she's like, "I don't have a man! Don't be asking me all these personal questions! You just spilled on my Ups!" I was like, "Well, look, here's eighty dollars right here. Boom!" and she snatched it from me real quick. I start kickin' it to her, we started talking about clubs that we had been to, and I was like, "Yo, look, I'm a cool cat. If you ain't doing nothing, let's link up and go shopping on Saturday, and let's go hit the club." I actually didn't tell her that I did it on purpose until the night that I called her. She was like, "You know what? Your approach was kind of like you did it on purpose, because I saw your hand when you poured it, and I was so mad. I didn't know if you were some dude who had lost his mind for a split second or what." I think it lasted with her for about eight months.
Before you gave her the money, were you thinking, "I better get something for this?"
I know black girls like the top of my head, you know what I'm saying? Growing up where I did, going to school, going to college, I know them on that level. I couldn't really do something like that with a girl who wasn't from the same place as me. Even if she was from the same place but she still wasn't black, I still probably wouldn't have done it. I know how black girls act when they're approached by a black guy. It was kind of dirty what I did, but I felt her a lot, so I was like, "I know she's going to go for me. I know she's at least going for the money, and then after I give her the money, I know she's going to give me some type of information." I could just tell from her eyes and the tone of her voice.
How many women do you date at a time?
The most I'm at is two at a time. I don't have the money for a bunch of girlfriends like that.
How do you determine if you want to keep a girl around?
I like to be in control of the moment, so that no serious feelings get involved. So I'll date girls who don't live near here. I live in New York, so she'll live in Jersey, or Connecticut. If you live near me, I'll let you know what's going on from the beginning: I'm not trying to get married. That's why a lot of the girls I date are lesbians, because then —
You mean bisexuals?
Yeah. That way, they always have somebody there, just in case we don't work out. I just don't want there to be hurting and crying and tears and all those hard feelings. I'm not about all that.
Was there ever a time when you got attached and the woman wanted things to be casual?
It's never happened to me before.
Have you ever been in love?
Do you want to tell me about that?
Not right now. [laughs]
Going back to the slushie incident, is your approach always premeditated like that?
Always. Because you know what happens? You'll get to talking to a girl, and then she'll tell you she's got a man. Then you just wasted twenty-five minutes of conversation with this girl. So I'm like, all right, let me plan this out. That way, I can get in and stay in if she doesn't have a man, and if she does have a man, I can get out real quick and I'm not too rude. I really don't want to be rude. Even if it's nothing but a tiny bit, it's always premeditated so I don't go up in there sounding stupid. Females will get you quick and just turn their heads and decide they don't like you.
Maybe you were dissed once, and that's why you're more careful now?
I've had a girl break up with me before. But I haven't been dissed, because I always go up to a woman like I got some sense. The only guys who get dissed are the dum-dums — the guys who just go up to them and they're like, "Yo, let me get your number." I'm like, "How is she gonna give you her number if she doesn't even know your name? You got nerve. We live in New York City." That might work with some girls, but not the kind I like. I like office girls. A girl who's not just hanging out, letting years pass her by. I ain't with that. I like girls who have something of substance and relevance to talk about. I also don't like quiet girls. All that shy stuff is like, out the door with me, yo. [laughs] I can't deal with it. I could even set up across the table from you and hold the conversation myself, but I ain't doing that. I want to hear what you're thinking. I want to hear what you're about.
Random question: how many strangers have you mentally undressed today?
Probably about three.
Is this a normal, everyday thing?
Um... I wouldn't say it's a normal thing. But if I happen to see someone I find attractive, then I'll totally do it. [laughs]
Have you ever been caught gawking at someone, mid-fantasy?
Oh yeah, for sure. One time on the subway, I was checking a girl out who actually looked a lot like my girlfriend. I was staring at her for the entire time. She finally looked at me and she was like "Yeah? What?"
Are you bisexual, or are you gay?
When did you first know that you liked girls?
Probably when I was six or seven. I remember being really young and having the girls from my neighborhood come over to play house or whatever, and I'd always end up being the dad. I remember kissing the girls, too. I just pretended that I was a man. In middle school, I was really close with some of my female teachers, and in high school I would have my teachers' numbers and we'd go to dinner. I was always very into my women teachers. My mom told me that she knew since I was younger, because I always wanted to be with an older woman I could talk to. I think it was my junior year of high school when I was finally like, "Okay, I'm ready to come out." There was just no question about it.
Tell me about your first lesbian experience.
It was my first semester of college. I went to a musical-theatre conservatory, and she was my counselor. We had to learn all these different tap steps for the next day of class. I'd had a couple drinks before practice, so I just went ahead and told her that I thought she was really pretty and I really liked her personality. Then she invited me over to her house, where we had a few more drinks, and we ended up going to bed together... It was pretty good. [laughs]
Are you in a relationship now?
How did you meet?
She worked with my mom a long time ago, probably when I was twelve or thirteen, and I saw her then, and I thought she was really pretty and I used to joke with my mom that she was "my girl." And then I went up here and years went by, and then she ended up adding me on Facebook and we started talking on there.
What have you found in your current girlfriend, and nobody else?
Total understanding. No matter what comes out of my mouth, even if it's something she doesn't agree with, she takes the time to think about it and see where I'm coming from. I just adore her, and there's no one else for me. She's extremely smart, and I really love teachers or just very smart women, in general. She's also a really good writer — she writes fiction. And everything about her face is just adorable, like the way she'll just crinkle her nose... it might sound clichéd, but I just think she's adorable.