Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

BY Daniela Cervetti

Ursula, 27

Give me your best first-date story.
I went on a really awesome date recently. The guy and I hit it off. I think it's just that everything was so relaxed and casual, and he was the kind of person that, when he goes out, it's a "Let's order every appetizer on the menu!" kind of thing. I guess my worst first date was when I thought it was a platonic thing, and after we ate he got up to go to the bathroom and picked up the check, and I was so irritated by that. I was like, "I... didn't know this was a date," and that made it really awkward. I just feel like dating in New York is so difficult, you know? [laughs] Honestly, in my time here, there haven't been that many first dates. Maybe three first dates, literally. In three years, three first dates.

Only three?
Maybe it's just because I'm an actor and I'm always working, or in classes or at auditions, and I'm constantly surrounded by women and gay men. The guys who you meet in bars come up to you — like, you'll be out with your group of girlfriends, and the most annoying guy will just come up and interrupt and try to attach himself to your whole night. And they have the weirdest pickup lines — I remember I was out with some friends and these guys came over and they're like, "Hey, have you seen our friend? Isn't his mustache gross? You guys wouldn't date him, right?" And I was like, "You're downplaying your friend, to try to pick us up?" And another time, a guy said, "Well, you're the shortest one, and your tall friends are probably going to go home with the other guys. You should probably just go home with me now." What — you're trying to make me feel bad about myself, to go out with you? [laughs] What kind of logic is that?

Have you ever used a pickup line?
I am so old-fashioned. I would never have the nerve to ask a guy out. Like, I do that shy flirting, standing there talking, and then as soon as anything happens I just run off into the other room, like "Oh my God, I can't." I haven't been able to break out. Maybe with acting and waitressing and the promo stuff, I just feel like I face enough rejection with all of that, and I don't want to take it to an even more personal level. [laughs]

So, when was your last relationship?
This last summer, so it ended a couple months ago. I ended it. We were in a show together. It was a "showmance," if you will. I just didn't like him as much as he liked me, but I kept thinking, "He's so cute, he's so nice. What's wrong with me? Maybe if I just keep going out with him, I'll eventually like him." And then it just got to the point where I started to dislike him as a person, because I felt so much pressure on myself. The whole relationship lasted about three months. I broke up with him by text message. I wrote something along the lines of, "I can't do this anymore. Now that I'm in New York again, I'm very busy." I made the horrible, terrible move of breaking up with someone by text message.

What do you look for that he didn't have?
I want somebody who's just really driven. That doesn't even mean that you're successful or wealthy right now, but that you have a huge work ethic and are really working on something. And he was younger than me, and I just felt like I needed somebody a little bit more mature. And confident. He would always be like, "You're not saying enough nice things about me." He would always compliment me, and then want compliments back. We were out in the rural part of the country and he would be like, "Do you even want to go on this date with me? Do you want to be going out with me?" and I'd be like, "I'm in the car with you. We're going! I got all dressed up. Why are you questioning me so much?" Really sweet, really nice, really funny, but just not enough self-confidence. I wear my heart on my sleeve and talk a lot, so I'm pretty sure I've said things that just ended up sounding so silly or so stupid, or just so weirdly intense that the guy lost interest in me. And even on a first date, I just imagine our whole potential future life together. I just see myself with every single person. But then when it comes at me from the other side, I start to think, "What is this? Please stop."

Have you ever held out for someone who you thought would come around?
There was a guy who I went to visit on my birthday. I flew many states away and visited him, and I thought it was so serious, and it just all crashed and fell apart right in my face. I had built this person up in my head so much that when I actually went and spent those three days, I realized — I guess we realized — we weren't who we thought we were, and we were both looking for different things. It ended in tears and a hundred-dollar cab ride [laughs].

What led up to the tears?
I just realized he didn't like me as much as I liked him. I thought it was something different, and he was a lot more indifferent to me. It was funny this summer when the tables were turned on me. After I texted him ending it, he had the sweetest response, and I felt like a terrible person. First he wrote, "Hmm, interesting," and after that he wrote, "Okay. Well... whenever you're ready to talk, you have my number and you know how to get a hold of me." And part of the whole reason I was dumping him was because I felt he was so immature, and then I got that response, and I was like, "Well, look who's immature now. The person who dumped someone in a text message. The person who couldn't see him face to face or even talk to him on the phone." [laughs] So, that would be me.

NEXT: "No, I was on drugs. I was on drugs, definitely."


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