Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

Pin it

Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Jillian, 24

Where's the craziest place you've hooked up?
It would have to be this one time in my favorite bar, on the sink. Just hanging out, a little random encounter, a special someone. Just a smooch — a bathroom-sink smooch.

I love it. You're a classy lady, just like me. What does a guy have to do to impress you?
Be very smart. I like grammatically correct text messages.

No shit! It drives me crazy when people misspell.
Or when they spell "shit" wrong — that's a dealbreaker.

If a guy wants to impress you, how can he make it happen?
By being a good conversationalist. Just by being interested in what I have to say: asking questions and really caring about the answers.

Have you ever offended anyone in the bedroom?
One time I used the wrong name!

Oh man, what did he do?
He forgave me.

Probably because he was in bed with you. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Absolutely. Sure, why not?

What do you look for in a guy?
Physically? Taller than me, dark features, and a nice smile.

What's the hottest thing someone's ever done for you?
I was having a really bad day. I lived in another state and the person I was dating called the city I was in. He ordered a pizza and a container of ice cream and had them delivered to me so I didn't have to worry about dinner. Being truly thoughtful is the hottest thing a man can do.

Adam, 28

What was your most recent hook-up?
It was this stewardess from American Airlines.

Wow, did you join the mile-high club?
No, I was on a bicycle tour in Paris and she was part of the group.

How do you let a girl know that you like her?
There are some small ways: the 101s of romance. But hooking up is different from romance. I had a romance recently, with a woman who was from Vancouver but whom I met in Berlin.

You're a worldly dude. How did you meet her?
I met her at a film festival. She made a film about Iranian bloggers — the population there is all under thirty-five, they're all computer-literate, and the whole government is trying to censor them. Anyway, I made love — sweet, beautiful love — to this woman. But, I was still in love with a different woman at this time.

Okay, so you're also a busy dude. Two women — what's the story?
The woman I was in love with was twenty-eight and going through a divorce. You can't hit on a woman who's twenty-eight and going through a divorce because that's sleazy. I'm not a sleazy guy. I'm not gonna do it. This woman stole my heart, my breath. Get this: everyday that I've been away from her, I've written her a letter that's at least six-hundred words. Two pages. Two full pages of writing every day, because she's awesome. Who does that? I'm totally compelled by this woman.

I'm kind of compelled by you right now.
And I haven't kissed her, I haven't had sex with her! I haven't gotten with her in any way and I just think she's awesome. That, to me, says something great. I told my best friend, "This girl, she's wonderful, I'm madly in love with her." And she's Australian. I hate Australian people as a rule, and she's Australian — what's the difference between a cup of yogurt and an Australian? If you take a cup of yogurt around the world, it will be cultured! I love that one. But she's Australian and she's been around the world. She's cultured. I can't believe it, I can't believe it with my own two eyes. She's amazing.


Liza, 22

How do you meet men?
I go up to boys in bars and say, "You look familiar."

Are you serious?
Well, once I went up to a guy at a bar — we were looking at each other, he was so cute — and I was interning at a production company in this high-rise. I was pretty sure I'd seen him in the lobby, so I asked if he worked in that building. And he goes, "No, but I used to." And then we started talking. I said, "I'm so sorry. I was staring at you because you looked familiar." And he said, "I was staring at you because you're beautiful."

Did you hook up with him?
We gave each other our numbers. I didn't hook up with him because I met someone else that night! An old flame called me.

So a guy wants to get with you — what does he need to do?
He needs to compliment me on my fantastic humor and wit. And he needs to have good shoes on.

Any dealbreakers?
No beards! And I don't like guys that are too self-deprecating.

What's the best date you've been on?
I haven't been on that many fantastic dates. There was this one guy who was crazy about me. Every time he wanted to see me, he said, "Hey, I'm in your neighborhood." Asshole, you live in my neighborhood! So he texted me that night — after that adorable guy told me I was beautiful. We took a cab back from Brooklyn together and he was like, "Let's go to your place." I was like, "I'm not going to sleep with you!" And he was like, "Let's go to Daddy's." And I was like, "No." And he was like, "Let me make a martini for you at my place." And I was like, "Okay." I think we had a fantastic evening.

Anytime a man has ever made a drink for me, it's always a better night.
It's always a better night. I love drinks and I love boys who know their drinks. It's just a hotter time.

Melissa, 26

Where's the craziest place you've had sex?
In the middle of the street. It was a bet.

What was the bet?
It was with my long-time boyfriend. He said that I was too pussy to have public sex in the middle of the street. And I was like, "Oh, really?" Bam.

What did you win?
Well, you know, it was a pride thing.

If you're interested in a guy, how do you let him know?
I'll probably talk to him. I don't know. It's been a long time since I've pursued. I'm just getting out of a five-year relationship, so it's been a long time.

Dating sucks. Can I just say — this is totally inappropriate — my boyfriend dumped me this morning.
I'm so sorry!

It's okay. I've been single twelve hours.
I've been single for seven months now. It's really bad. I'm still miserable and in love with him —

It sucks, doesn't it?
Yeah, I'm trying to avoid the dating thing.

Fair enough. What's the craziest thing you've done to get laid? Have you ever gone the distance to get laid?
No, I've usually been pursued. I mean, I haven't been in a lot of relationships, and I'm emotionally connected to sex, so I haven't had a lot of promiscuous encounters.

What's the craziest thing a guy's done to get with you?
Maybe driven ten hours, from Maine to New York. And he didn't know he was going to get it, either!

What's a good pickup line?
I just like being flattered. Anything that makes me feel pretty or smart or special. When you make someone feel pretty or smart or special, it works. I mean, the really easy one is complimenting how a girl looks. Say something really specific that not everyone might think of, like compliment her feet or say, "You have really nice bone structure."


Marc, 30

What do you do for a living?
I'm a lighting technician.

Have you ever hooked up on the job?
Maybe once. Maybe twice. There was one time where I was working in the casting office, actually, and I was casting people for a terrible movie and did start sort of making out with — seeing, partially — some terrible girl who had a "Remember Our Troops" stamp on her car.

I thought you were going to say she had a tramp stamp.
She might have. She had a bad butterfly tattoo.

If you want to impress a girl, what do you do?
I cook really good food. My great-uncle, who's a genius, he asked me, "What do you do for adulation?" And I was like, "I don't know." He told me, "Somebody asked me what I do for adulation and I said I cook." Cooking is a very good way to get adulation.

Have you gotten a lot of "adulation" for your cooking?
Are you talking about sex?

No, actually — no innuendo, I just get appreciated.

I appreciate that. So besides cooking, what do you do to woo the ladies?
I'm like a born-again virgin. I am so pathetic as far as love goes. There needs to be a group effort in getting me laid. Like, "Hey Marc, you really need to go over to this girl right here because she's totally horny."

Do you believe in true love?
I believe in genetic attraction and pheromones.

What are your dealbreakers with women?
Well, my biggest dealbreaker is the girl being a Republican. I don't like fundamentalist Christians very much, either. I actually broke up with a girl once because she wore too much lip gloss.

Really? What's wrong with lip gloss?
It's like kissing a Slip 'N Slide. It's like bluuuuuaaaahhhhhhh.

Oh my God, you're making me very self-conscious.
Yeah, just don't cake it on. If it looks like you just made out with my armpit — because I am sweaty right now — it's probably not a good idea.


Christina, 27

How do you show a guy that you like him?
If I actually like a guy, I get goofy. I don't really know what to say. So whenever I'm stumbling over myself and not acting very smooth, it's because I'm attracted to a guy. I don't really do anything except get giggly and get girly.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
I'm not sure about that. If you had asked me when I was younger, I would have said yes.

What changed?
I think I've become cynical in my age, or I just haven't experienced love in a long time. But I have hope for it.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
One time I was starting to hook up with this guy. He was from out of town and we were hanging out in his hotel room in Times Square. We're obviously there so we can hook up, and we were making out and stuff, but I wasn't feeling it. It was a really weird situation. I was like, "I don't know even this person." So I pulled away for a moment — and he was so immature and stupid he said, "Don't worry, you're not fat." I was like, "That wasn't even what I was thinking, dick. But now it is!" Then I left.

Sounds like a good idea. Do you think it's a good idea to date in the workplace?
I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but for some reason I find people to date there. I can't help it, it just happens.

Have you ever hooked up at work?
Yes. My last real relationship was with a guy I met when I was an intern.

Was he in a position of power?
We worked in different departments, but it was still known that he was an employee and I was an intern. We didn't actually hook up until the end of my internship. And when I would come around with him, people were like, "Oh, that's the intern girl." But when I worked in restaurants, I had boyfriends all the time. Restaurants are hook-up city. If you can't find a date, work in a restaurant.

Interviews by Meghan Pleticha. Photography by Sean McGurn.