Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Philadelphia, PA

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.



Jessica, 35

There's no way you're thirty-five. How do you look so young?
I do yoga every day. And a few other things.

What other things?
I'm a freelance writer, a TA, and a mom.

So you're married.
Widowed. But it was a long time ago.

Have you been dating since then?
Well, I was single for three years after he died, and then I met this guy online. Our first date was on Valentine's Day, and it lasted twenty-four hours. If he had asked me to marry him the next day, I would have.

That's great!
I thought it was, but as time goes on I'm finding out that maybe he's not that perfect. I mean, I love living in the city, and he wants to live on a farm. That right there tells you a lot. But what really gets me is that I always thought I was so independent, and now it's like I lost some of that.

So you might be looking again soon — what will you be looking for?
Confidence and nice shoulders. You need to look like you can pick stuff up and throw it around. I don't like guys who are too gentle or wishy-washy. I want a guy who's a guy.

Hypothetically, what would make for good sex with this guy?
A real connection. And knowing that he wanted me. If I'm turning him on, it turns me on.



Alessandro, 32

You are clearly not American. Where are you from?

And what do you do?
I'm a research biologist. I work on medicine-type stuff.

Brainy. What attracts you to a girl?
Big eyes. And a good face.

Are you seeing someone?
I've been living with the same girl for ten years. She moved with me over here from Italy.

That's amazing. But you guys aren't married?
No, we're not. I don't give marriage a special meaning. Our relationship is good — it doesn't need a stamp.

So what's the most romantic thing you've done for her?
I took her to Paris.

Classic. How's the sex?
Good. We're on the same level and we want the same thing.

If you were forced to choose between never having sex again, with anyone, ever, or cheating on your girlfriend, which would you choose?
I would have to cheat.



Katie, 23

What's your relationship status?
Single and fucking!

Good for you! Who are you fucking?
Well, mostly I just get really drunk and fuck my friends kinda accidentally.

Does that get awkward?
Sometimes. I'm actually here tonight with a friend I fucked.

Well, was the sex any good?
I don't even know — I was blacked out. My roommate told me it sounded good though.

Don't you ever want to have a more intimate sexual relationship?
I haven't had intimate sex since I broke up with my boyfriend a year and a half ago. It just crashed and burned. So now I'm just staying single and trying to have fun.

If you saw a good-looking guy across the room, how would you approach him?
I wouldn't — I don't have the confidence, and I have trouble trusting people. I don't know.

But you do approach guys, right?
Well, yeah. If I see a guy I like I might go up to him and try to go home with him. And I usually get what I want, which is bad. But the more I know someone, the more I want to fuck them. I'm not really interested in people I don't want to fuck — I have very attractive friends.


Stefany, 21

What do you look for in a guy?
Tolerance. It's about being with someone who can tolerate my interests.

Which are?
Star Wars, N64, stuff like that.

What really turns you off?
I write a lot, so a guy who doesn't read is pointless to me.

How do you let guys know you're interested in them?
Shock value. Once you get someone's attention and catch them off-guard, they're at their most vulnerable.

What's happening in your romantic life right now?
Well, I'm with someone, but we're breaking up.

The guy's no good for you?
No, he's the best guy I've ever met in my life, and I totally support whatever he needs to do. He just doesn't have enough time for a serious relationship.

Are you gonna try to find another guy?
No, I'm not interested in dating.

Where are you from?
I'm from California — Orange County — and I moved across the country two years ago to live here. Philadelphia is right underneath Orange County on Craigslist, so I made a post and someone responded, and I came out here.

That is fearless.
It was kind of scary, but amazing. I'll stay in Philly for another year. Then, I dunno.



Josh, 26

What do you do, Josh?
I'm an AV guy. I work with some pretty geeky people, but they're all very cool.

So I don't gather your job gets you laid.
No, not at all.

Then how do you get laid?
I try confessing my love, but that doesn't always work. Usually I get a "fuck off!" I've tried writing a song, but that definitely doesn't work. Flowers don't work. But foot massages do work. But then I'm always going in for the foot massage, and I get "are you a creep?"

What attracts you to a woman?
I'm attracted to necks. And a certain intensity in the eyes.

What do you do to let a girl know you're into her?



Michelle, 20

What do you do?
I'm a student of multimedia. I'm into motion design and interactivity.

Sex toys?
No! But it's art, so I guess anything is possible.

What do you like in a guy?
Pretty eyes. Blue, nice eyes. I'm really into hands too. They're a really interesting part of the body.

So if you saw your ideal gentleman with fine eyes and nice hands, how would you approach him?
I don't know what I would do…

So you just let him slip away?
Guys just come to me. I'm magnetic in a way. I think it's because I look weird and my hair is too big.

What's the most romantic thing a guy could do for you?
Let's say I mention something, and he remembers it, and does something sweet. Like if I said I really wanted to go see a show in a few months, and the day tickets came on sale he bought us a pair. It shows that he cares.

Guys can be nice like that.
Yes. But sometimes signals get crossed, considering men and women communicate on totally different levels. You have to practice and put the work in. You're always learning something, even after a long time.