Talking to Strangers: New York, NY
Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.
by Antonio Cuccu and Martina Dechevska
Where does your name come from?
I'm from Iran, but I study literary theory and psychology in New York. I moved here two years ago.
What's the dating scene like in Iran?
I don't know. I never lived there. I moved to Paris when I was nine months old. I'm culturally French. Do you want to know about the dating scene in France?
Sure, tell us about Paris.
Well, I feel like in Paris everything is more open. There is no ritual of dating. There's no like, "Oh, we're in a relationship, it's official, let's move in together." It's more casual. I feel like in New York, or in the U.S. in general, it's a little more strict. As soon as you're in a relationship, you're set in a box.
Can you describe Parisian men for us?
The thing is that in Paris, they seem like players, but they're kind of rigid and gentle. Here, they're more like "bros," and rough. Weird stuff here is not as weird as it is in Paris.
Who's better in bed?
I only had one partner in Paris, so I can't really compare.
Was he French?
He was actually Serbian. He was great. He was also a player, but very charismatic and sweet.
Are you in a relationship right now?
I'm seeing someone, but it's still kind of casual. I don't really want to get involved in something serious, because I freak out. I get really possessive, very jealous. So I don't let myself become that awful person, and I keep things kind of distant emotionally.
Do you do crazy things?
I don't do anything crazy to my boyfriends. I get insane in my head. It's more internal. I try to hide it.
Do you spy on them?
No, I never actually stalked anyone. I keep my lovers' hair [pulls out a little nylon bag with hair inside]. I also have dog hair, but that's something else.
What do you do with the hair?
I like to keep it as a souvenir.
How do you get it?
I either give them a haircut and I secretly keep some, or I find one blade of hair in bed and I take it.
When did you start doing this?
A year ago. It's kind of new, but I always wanted to do it. So I started when I got in college, because there you can do whatever you want. I have like five samples. I also have my friends' hair, so it's not only sexual. It's about important people in my life. I'm really into perfumes and smell, so the hair is really textural. I need to know how my friends' hair feels, or I don't have a good grasp of them.
So how long have you been seeing this guy?
Like a month. He's American, from New Jersey, and he just graduated from my college.
What hair colour does he have?
Dark brown. Almost black. I don't have his hair yet, though. I'll try to get it soon. He's a really cool indie dude.
Does he live in Williamsburg?
He doesn't yet, but he might live in Bushwick, which is even worse [laughs]. He's really skinny, he has two tattoos — one pizza slice, a stick-and-poke, and one other stick-and-poke which says "Straight Edge," 'cause he used to be a straight-edge kid.
What's your type?
I have many types, but I'm really into pale, blond, vampire kind of guys.
What's a dealbreaker for you?
He needs to listen to good music, but I'm pretty open. Also, if he takes things too seriously. I like people who have goals in life and passion. I don't like boring people.
What kind of music do you like?
Electronic, indie, new wave, '80s stuff. Bands like The Smiths, The Clash. I like Pictureplane a lot — they're a new electronic band.
Do you have any turnoffs in bed?
I'm hard to turn off. I'm kind of a freak, so I don't mind awkwardness and weird stuff. I usually laugh about it.
What's the weirdest sex story you have?
It was late at night and I was having sex in a small park next to the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg. And the cops showed up two minutes later. It was freaky, 'cause I could have been a sex offender. The weirdest thing in bed is if someone asks me to be a dominatrix. I don't want to be someone else. I don't like role-playing. It's not the weirdest thing I've done, but it's my least favorite. I like it to be natural.