Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Portland, OR

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Talking to Strangers

Brittany, 25

What do you do?
I'm a piercing artist.

Does that help you meet guys?
Not the good ones! There are lots of skeezy people who want to pay me to touch their balls.

When was the last time that happened?
About two years ago, thankfully. This guy had the bottom web of his cock and his balls pierced. He totally popped a chubby. Bad news bears!

This was while you were piercing him?
Oh, yeah. With a ten-gauge needle, too. It was really awkward.

What do you think about piercings on guys' junk? Is it hot, or gross, or what?
When it comes to the cock, I think that it's fine the way it is. When there are about seven rods through it that takes a lot away. The penis isn't a beautiful thing by any means, but piercings take away from what it has. Also, what man wants to sit to piss for the rest of his life? If you get a Prince Albert, you've got to squat. Little-known fact. It goes right through the urethra. I think most guys like the ability to pee standing up.

What do you think of the dating scene in Portland?
Everyone wants to meet on the internet, hook up, fuck, and then walk away.

Has that ever happened to you?
I've got a little more class than that.

Do you have any crazy exes?
Oh yeah. I had one try to hit me with a car because he was more obsessed with Japanese animated porn than with me. I also have the bad habit of turning men gay. Or, at least, they find their inner femme with me around.

How many times has that happened?

Oh, shit.
Makes you doubt, right?

I'm sorry.
Well, what are you going to do? Cock is a wonderful thing, after all.

What's the weirdest place you've ever had sex?
The hood of a car in a retirement community!

How the fuck did that happen?


Talking to Strangers

DJ Kenoy

Does being a DJ help you meet girls?
Of course! I met a couple of girls last night. I met them at my work, Devil's Point, and they were looking for a place to hang out, and we went to a place where I record music at with some guys from Pink Martini. We jammed and hung out until about seven in the morning.

Can you explain what Devil's Point is, to people who are not from Portland?
It's kind of well-known for its stripper-oke night. It's like stripper karaoke, but we do other stuff, too.

What do you think of girls in Portland?
I think that everyone should keep it diverse, and hang out with people not like yourself, necessarily. Mix up your circle a little bit. Things can get kind of stagnant because this place can be a little small. Portland is a small pond with a lot of fish. In bigger cities you don't necessarily run into people you've dated unless it's on purpose. In this town, though, it's sort of a given that you'll run into someone you've dated, or old roommates, or someone who's had sex with someone you've dated, etc., etc. There's a lot of that incestuous sort of vibe.

You mentioned that you like bartenders. Care to elaborate on that?
I like a woman who's in control. Bartenders are masters of their environment, they are able to handle an enormous amount of stuff and have the amazing ability to satisfy a diverse amount of people in a cool way. People like myself, also, who are DJs, aren't so shocking to them. We can converse, have some drinks, go to the carnival, whatever. I'm not so much a foreign personality to them.

So if you're in a bar and you see a cute bartender, what do you do? Do you try to hit on them?
No, I just tip them well.

Does that usually work?
Well, that's out of respect. There's no design or whatever with that. I understand it's a hard job to do. You're having to really gauge people's coolness when they're wasted, and a good bartender can keep that person around all night, regulate situations, and still make it fun.


Talking to Strangers

Sara, 28

What do you do?
I'm a hairdresser. I also model and sing.

Does that ever help you meet guys?

The good ones or the bad ones?
The bad ones. Every single one of them started out good and ended up bad.

What do you think of the dating scene in Portland?
Honestly, it's a little strange. You're stuck between a pool of men who try too hard and men who don't know where they're going. Men who are perpetual college students. Really, unless they're over the age of thirty-five, they probably don't have a stable job, and they probably live with their mom.


Do you have any crazy exes?
I have a lot of weird exes. Some who were in bands, some who are tattoo artists, some who were into weird spirituality and stuff like that.

Were any of them bandmates of yours?
Oh no. You don't screw the help.

Of the tattoo artists, band guys, spirituality guys, etc., which group would you say was the weirdest?
The spirituality ones, definitely. I dated a crazy pagan once. He was really into witchcraft. It was awkward.

Did he ever try to bring that into your sex life?
Yeah. He also did all these weird rituals and such, so he'd always be late for something we were going to do together because he said he was "doing a ritual." That was annoying.

Do you have any good hookup stories?
Oh, yes. I have met a few awesome dudes that I've been on dates with. I've met some great, great men here in Portland. Interesting characters. Everyone has their own story and comes from a different background here, and I think that's what keeps the dating scene around here interesting. As far as longevity and commitment, though, there's none of that.

What is your worst breakup story?
I broke up with my fiance two months before our wedding. It was one of those cases where he was a total liar, a real Jekyll and Hyde. You think you know a person, but eventually their true colors show. He was the kind of guy who'd want to change you, turn you into something else, not appreciate you for who you are.

Any advice for people dating in Portland?
Treat relationships like credit cards. Don't give credit out before it's earned.

Talking to Strangers

Kris, 23

What do you do?
Right now I'm a pharmacy technician, actually.

Does that help you meet girls?
Fuck no. I'll take the cougars but I'm not going to take any GILFs. GILFs are not what I'm going after.

Fair enough. What do you think of the dating scene in Portland?
It's good! I've met a few floozies here, had some fun times. I haven't been really looking for love, I've been looking for lust. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think that if a man wants to dip his tip, he has to go into the ink wherever he finds it.

So you're pro-floozy?
I am. Come to me. I'm open. I don't think it has a negative connotation. Being a floozy is great! They're good people! You've got to find them, got to do them, got to have sex with their orifices. Yeah. It's good.

Do you have any good hookup stories?
I don't know, man. I don't know if this is good or bad or whatever, but I met this chick at a pub one night and she was about ten years older than me. She was a lesbian who had just broken up with her girlfriend and wanted someone to fuck. I said, "Yeah, I'm down." So, she took me back to her place, and when we get there her fucking ex-girlfriend is still there. Apparently they were living together. Anyway, her ex-girlfriend ends up beating on the locked door, and I guess I was drunk and ended up saying "I love and I'll protect you" and shit like that after I fucked her. She went crazy-ass on me, thinking that I loved her and shit like that. She got this damn obsession with me, which I only found out about later, and this is all after I ran out after a one-night stand with her ex-girlfriend beating on the door.

Do you have a sexual to-do list?
I wouldn't mind doing two girls at once. I don't know if I've got the stamina to keep up with the ladies, though. Some guys want to do three or four, but, honestly, what kind of man has enough stamina to pleasure three different women? I don't. Two would be fine.


Talking to Strangers

Ajah, 22

What do you do?
I am sales associate. A porn clerk.

When you're meeting someone, how long does it take for that to come up, that you're a porn clerk?
Oh, God. Usually right away. It depends who I'm talking to, but it usually comes out as "I work at a boutique downtown" or "I'm a porn clerk." Most people get excited and some people don't believe me, but oftentimes they ask, "Do you get a discount?" That's the question I get the most, I'd say.

Do you get a discount?
I do get a discount!

Do have any good anecdotes from working in the store?
God, yeah. I guess my favorite is Lube Guy, as we call him. He's a fellow that comes in every now and then… We have a lube testing kiosk, obviously for your hands. He's gone a little bit further a couple of times, different samples, different varieties, proceeding to rub it all over his body…

Did clothes come off?
No, clothes stayed on, but there was a lot of lifting and shifting of them. It was pretty bad, I've had to eighty-six him from the store a few times. He's banned outright, but he didn't get the memo.

Have customers ever tried to hit on you in the store?
It happens occasionally, but not too often. It happens to some employees pretty often, but I guess I haven't been lucky enough.

Would that actually be lucky?
Well… no.

Do you have anything that you consistently recommend to customers?
Everyone has their favorites. I recommend some vegan lubes that aren't tested on animals, they're really good, especially for women. I like Fun Factory vibrators. Stuff that's well made. You get what you pay for.

Has your job as a porn-store clerk bequeathed you with any special wisdom with regards to sex or relationships?
I don't know about dating, but there are definite moments when I feel enlightened in comparison to other people. A lot of the times we'll have women in their late forties come in who have never touched on any of the subjects that I feel like I have a pretty good background in at this point. It makes me feel grateful that I'm comfortable enough to handle these topics, I guess. Some people go their whole life without touching on half the shit that we do. I definitely feel like it's been a good experience. It's helped shape my sexual identity, and my own willingness to accept other people's sexual identities.


Talking to Strangers

James, 27

Are you from Portland?
No, I'm from Los Angeles.

Do you have any good hookup stories!
Oh yeah! Here's one from last night: I was playing a show with my band, Puke N Rally, and I'm standing at the bar and I hand one drink ticket to the girl bartender and I get two White Russians for that. Score! I'm sitting there, and another girl walks up and she hands me a vibrator.

Out of nowhere?
Out of nowhere! It's got these bristles on it. Like, it's a brush or something. It's a contoured, sensual vibrator with bristles on it. She asks me "What do you think these bristles are for?" and I say "That's for cleaning up when I'm done with you!" True story! Happened last night!

Do you have any crazy exes?
I had a stalker for years. It was pretty crazy. She, somehow, someway, found the number of every girl I was ever with. So, check this out — I'm banging this girl and my phone rings. I took a look at my phone, while I was fucking her, and think, "Oh shit, it's my stalker girlfriend." Then the girl I'm fucking grabs the phone and answers it.

While she's getting fucked?
Yeah. She answers it and my stalker says "Who is this, bitch?" The girl I'm with says "He's kind of busy, as he's fucking me in the ass right now!" And she hung up. It was awesome! She was seriously amazing. This total skater girl and she had a cast on her arm at the time. She was really fucking cool.

What's the weirdest place you've ever had sex?
Pocatello, Idaho, on a billboard. We were on the steel grate thing in front of it. It was this really tall steel grate and you had to climb a ladder to get up, this huge ladder right by the railroad tracks. You could totally see us. This was with the same girl, by the way, the same cool skater girl. She's my ex-fiance. We happened to magically finish right before a van rode by. It was in broad daylight, there were people around, and we finished just before this van saw us. I guess I can be kind of an exhibitionist, but I've gotten really lucky.

Do you have a sexual to-do list?
I had a foursome with three girls. That was pretty much all I could handle. You never know, though.