Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

BY Daniela Cervetti

Jihanne, 22

You look like an artist of some kind. What do you do?
Right now I'm working on movie sets as a freelance makeup artist, and I do wardrobe styling too. But to make money, I'm a bartender.

What's the craziest way you've been hit on?
Usually, I find men are very polite to me. They'll say things like, "You're really pretty," or — this always gets me — they're like, "I hope whoever you're with understands how lucky he is," and then they'll just walk away. That may be kind of cheesy, but it's still sweet. The sweeter ones are usually the ones who catch me off-guard, because as a woman, you know, you expect the "Hey, shorty…"

"What up, ma?"
Yeah, "What up, ma?" or some comment on your butt. But I haven't had any scary situations. You know what, though? This one time, I did something really stupid. This guy asked me for directions. He was like, "You're really pretty, and I'm kind of lost." Then he asked me where I was going, and he offered me a ride. And I never do this, but I was running late, so I thought, "What's the worst that could happen?" He didn't seem crazy and I didn't get a bad vibe. And he wasn't crazy. He was just weird. So I got into his car, and he was like, "I'm an exhibitionist. Can I show off for you? I did it once before with this other girl who allowed me to do it. I just masturbated in front of her, and that was it." And I was just like, "Wow! Interesting. More power to you." You know, men have these weird sexual things, and it doesn't mean that they're necessarily creepy, even though it may seem creepy because I'm not into it. So, he pulls up right in front of where he was dropping me off, and he proceeds to drop his pants and jerk off. Mind you, my male friend was waiting for me right there, in front of the car. It was like, the worst two seconds of my life. It was so quick.

Wait, had you agreed to watch him?
I was just like, "You know what, man? Do what you need to do." Because at that point, I was like, "If he is crazy, I need to be calm." So he did it, but it was the quickest — I literally looked down, then looked up, and it was done, and I was just like, "Okay!" So, that was a weird way to get hit on.

Did your guy friend see it?
He didn't see it, but I got out of the car and I was like, "Do you know what just happened to me?" And after that, it happened to me again, on the bus. I was reading a book, and then I looked down to see a guy masturbating. It's traumatizing, but I wasn't like, "Oh my God. I'm a victim," because the men who do ask, they're not creepy. They're not forceful. The guy who dropped me off was very polite. Even when he was ready to come, he asked. I don't know if I should be flattered, or just extremely creeped out.

Or start asking yourself some questions.
Yeah, like, "Hmm, I'm too nice." The guy on the bus, when he got up and left, he said bye to the bus driver, like he knew the bus driver. I was like, "What is going on in the world? Is this, like, a normal thing?" I mean, everyone masturbates, but usually they're not that comfortable.

On that general topic, has anyone ever offended you in bed?
When it comes to sex, I'm pretty open. I'll try anything at least once, you know, and if I'm just not comfortable with it, I'll just say, "This is not for me." But I haven't gotten anything super-strange, like, "Let me... stuff you with... jalapeños." [laughs] I don't know.

Have you offended anyone?
There was one guy who was younger, and he was like, "I don't go down there. " And I was just like, "Pssshhh." That probably made him uncomfortable, because he didn't want to do it, but that's just a dealbreaker for me. You have to do that. Come on. [laughs] The thing is, before me, he was in a serious relationship, and I asked him, "You didn't do it for her, either? Maybe she didn't tell you, but that's why you guys broke up." It really is part of the whole experience. I can't even imagine sex without it. I'd be so unhappy!

Did you put him on the spot, and say, "Well, don't you expect it, too?"
Yeah, I did, and he was like, "Yeah, if that's what she wants to do," and I was like, "No, you want her to. Don't kid yourself."

And you were with him only once?
I was with him once, and I just ignored his phone calls after that, but... you know, men do it to us. And I've learned — I want to have fun, okay? I'm human. I'm from an extremely religious background, and I was ashamed of my sexuality. Now, I don't wear it on my sleeve, I don't walk around half-dressed, but when a person gets to observe that side of me, I enjoy it and have fun with it.

Did your parents want you to save yourself for marriage?
Yeah, my mom probably still thinks I'm a virgin, and that's fine with me. She can think that until I have babies. My mom is really religious, but she's pretty cool. She doesn't ask. I think she knows it but she won't ask. It was interesting growing up, in that kind of background, and being immersed in a culture where sexuality is everything. When I was younger I was really ashamed about it. I think that was a big part of why my last relationship didn't work, because I just felt so guilty being with him. It affected the relationship, to the point where we both shut down.

Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
Well, this one time [laughs]... it was just in a guy's house, and he told me it was his sister's room, but it was full of woman shit, like his mother's church hats. It was the most uncomfortable sex that I've ever had. I was like, "I can't do this! Your mother's church hat is falling on me!" And there was one time this guy I was dating asked me to have sex on a train.

Risky Business style.
I'm just like, "Oh my God, you're being ridiculous!" It was a PATH train, and he was so loud. He was like, "Let me eat you." I was just like, "I'm not that bold." Maybe one day. Honestly, I told you, I'm pretty free-spirited when it comes to sex. I'll try anything at least once, but within my comfort zone.

Are you ever the sexually dominant one?
It usually depends on how many shots I've had.

NEXT: "I found out in the most awkward way possible..."


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