Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Sacramento, CA

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"I'm single right now and looking for a special young lady in my life…"

Robert, 26

Where are you from?
I'm originally from San Francisco, but I've lived in Denver for ten years. I'm out celebrating my birthday and visiting my family.

I've heard Denver dubbed "Menver," because it's supposed to be a place with a lot of attractive men.
I can't speak to that, but I can tell you I'm single right now and looking for a special young lady in my life.

How long have you been single?
Well, going on a year now. It could be a good thing, it could be a bad thing.

How long was your last relationship?
It only lasted a year.

Did it end well?
No, absolutely not. I wouldn't want to get into a whole lot of details, but it was just, I guess you would call it bad chemistry.

Any advice on how to end things?
Honesty would be the best policy, because that's what a lot of it started from. I didn't lie. I was lied to. But it happens, and it's not stopping me from going out and making it happen again — everything from dating online to just saying hello to people at a bus stop or at a bar.

Tell me about your ideal woman.
Someone who's smart, independent, giving. Someone I can give everything I'd want in return.

What attracts you, looks-wise?
I'm not a picky man, as long as they're not super-androgynous. As long as I can tell and others can tell that I'm actually with a woman. That's all right. That's all I can ask for.

Has that ever been an issue?
Well, yeah, it has been. I'm not going to lie about that.

If I were to go on a romantic date with you, what would that look like?
If it was our first date, we might go out for dinner. I might even romance you over a candlelight dinner — something I prepared myself. Depending on how intimate we were getting, I would anything from serenading you with a melody to running you a hot bath with rose petals — all that. It depends how serious I felt about the relationship.

Wow, full volume. Some lucky lady is going to get the whole nine yards. What's the most challenging thing about dating?
Probably being accepted through their friends and families. If you don't pass that test, it's pretty much all down the drain.

Who's harder to pass with — girlfriend's best friend, or girlfriend's mom?
It depends on who influences them the most. If they would rather hang out with their girlfriends than take advice from their family members, I would probably say their girlfirends.

Has anyone ever done anything to offend you in the bedroom?
Yeah — trying to bring in another male partner for some activities. Hey, I don't judge, but that's not for me. They pretty much had another person waiting in the next room and tried to make it go over smoothly. I was pretty calm and cool about it, but I didn't go through with it. I couldn't do it. I love the ladies too much to be cuddling up with some other dude.

Have you ever done anything to offend someone in the bedroom?
I'm sure that I have. I'm probably just a big freak, but that's all right.

Mallory, 25

I see you're a Kings fan. Are you from Sacramento?
I'm actually from Redding. I came down for the Kings/Lakers game.

What's your relationship status right now?
I've been single now for eight months.

Was your last relationship a long-term thing?
It's still kind of off-and-on, but it was about four months total. It ended badly and then I let go of it. It's still sort of in that weird stage.

Was it just a case of bad timing? Do you foresee it working out in the future?
I'd like it to.

Are you dating right now?
Not particularly. I'm a little closed off right now. I'm a bit bitter from past episodes. This was just an add-on to the rest of them that never turn out very well. I think I put myself out there more than many people are willing to.

Are you going to do something differently next time?
Not necessarily. I kind of do the whole "take it or leave it" thing.

Go big or go home.
Exactly. I'd rather go into it wholeheartedly and get messed up than fake it. It's just not worth it to fake it.

What does your ideal man look like?
Probably someone who is smart, driven, motivated, easy-going and nonjudgmental. I don't really have a specific type. All of the guys I've dated have been a complete mish-mash. There are people who go for tall, dark, and handsome, but my boyfriends have all been totally different. The only thing I can say that has been similar is that most of them have blue eyes, but it's been subconscious. I've never made it a point to actually go for that.

What's a dealbreaker for you?
Clinginess is a huge dealbreaker. I can't deal with people who don't give me my own space. I've had a few. I'm a really independent person, so if someone wants to smother me like that, it's game over.

How do you get out if someone becomes uber-clingy?
I'm really blunt, so I'll pretty much tell them to back off. "Hey dude, not working out." I've always been really straightforward and really blunt. Like I said, it's kind of a "what you see is what you get" situation with me.

What are some of the biggest challenges of dating today?
At least where I'm from, everyone has kids. That kind of grosses me out. I don't want to play mommy. And I don't know if guys are just used to girls who have kids, but I don't, so it throws me into a different category.

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
No, not really. I have boundaries that I'll throw down. Anything that's on the verge of being abusive, like guys who are into choking or hitting or slapping, is not okay. Anything violent or scary is not okay.

Have you ever done anything to offend anybody?
Not that I'm aware of. At least, no one has said anything yet, so I'm going to go with no.

Have you successfully had monogamous relationships?
I have on my end. I've been in one serious relationship where I got cheated on a bunch, but I've never crossed that line, and I don't think I ever would.

Do you have any last bits of advice?
I don't think being fake in the beginning is good. If someone doesn't like you for who you are, then they shouldn't be with you and they shouldn't find it out six months down the road. They shouldn't have to find that you were just playing a role to get them to like you. I don't think that ever turns out well for anyone.

Alli, 33

Are you seeing anyone?
I'm single. I've been single for three years

And what do you do for a living?
I'm a food and beverage manager at a local hotel.

Does that score you a lot of dates?
No. There are a lot of very attractive and nice people that come through, but by the rules of my job, you can't go hang out with your customers.

Tell me about the last relationship you had, three years ago.
It was wonderful. It's kind of weird me telling you this — we're getting into something that's very deep. I had a tubular pregnancy, and everything kind of went bad. But we're still friends. We'll still talk weekly. Things just went the wrong way.

Are you actively dating now?
I'm on a dating site, yes.

Make a sweeping generalization about dating in Sacramento.
I'm actually from the Virginia area. I moved here two years ago, so I'm a bit of a Southern gal. I've met a lot of fake people from this area — it's been hard to meet someone who meets my standards.

When was your latest date?
I was actually just… well, I wouldn't say I was dating anybody, because it was only for three weeks, but I was with somebody for three weeks, and I paid for everything. It was always him saying, "Come to my house." I was always packing the bag and going to his place, and he never came to mine. I dealt with that for many years, so I ended it — two days ago, actually.

So you knew from experience that this wasn't going to work?
Right. A relationship is not a one-way street. It's two ways. So if I don't get the respect back…

How did you break it off?
I was nice about it. I told him I couldn't afford it, because I live in Sac and he's in Citrus Heights — and really, it's only thirty minutes away, but he never came my way, so I said I couldn't afford the gas. I made it into a financial situation, which it really wasn't, but that was nicer. He came back and said, "I opened up my heart and I gave everything to you," and totally made me out to be this bad person. I just tried to do the "it's not you, it's me" thing, but really, it was him.

But he took it pretty hard?
Yeah, he seemed to be a bit of an asshole about it.

That's too bad.
Well, get over it, you know? It's not like we'd been together for years.

So what's the best way to meet people here?
I have no idea. I'm thirty-three — I'm only out for this bar crawl. Otherwise, I'm a homebody. I don't like to go out and drink and all that, so I really don't know how. I don't have a big group of friends — all my friends are in the San Francisco area.

What makes a good dating-site profile?
I think short and sweet. You've got to meet face to face. You can write anything that you want, and make you sound like you're the coolest funnest person in the world, but to meet someone face to face, keep it short and sweet.

Tell me about your ideal man.
Well, looks are not everything. Personality is what's attractive to me. They have to enjoy sports. Like playing golf. Like watching movies. You could be Brad Pitt, but if you don't have a good personality, and mutual hobbies…

And what about immediate dealbreakers?
I work in the hotel industry and I have to be sociable, so if you're not able to easily strike up conversations, that would be a dealbreaker, especially in the beginning. If you were very quiet, that would be the biggest dealbreaker for me. And some people when you meet them just want to talk about themselves and don't ask you questions back. That's another.

Jake, 22

Where do you live?
I've lived in Sacramento basically for my whole life.

What do you do for a living?
Currently I'm in the landscaping business.

Does that score you a lot of dates?
No. It does not. It's definitely not like the whole thing where there's a hot lady in the house, and you're working, and she comes out in the yard in a bikini, and you get with her. That's not what it is. And you don't meet a lot of chicks and say, "Oh yeah, I plant trees."

But that's what happens in the movies.
Yup, that's what happens in the movies.

So is it safe to assume that you're single right now?

How do you normally meet people here?
Usually just going out with friends. Friends of friends are who you meet.

If you were to meet a girl you were interested in, how would you approach her?
Approach her would be the wrong word. I'd probably hang out around her. I'm not really the guy to go up and crowd a girl and freak her out. It's not really my thing to care that much.

Tell me about your ideal girl.
I like taller girls who… shape of the girl, is that what we're looking for? Long legs. I like brunettes — I'm not really a blonde fan. Probably because of my sister. She's blonde, so she kind of turned me off of blondes.

What about personality? What tickles your fancy?
Pretty much someone like me. Funny, has a sense of humor, not just boring. Someone you can take out who will hang out with your friends. Someone who's good with friends. Someone who's not the shy type — more out there.

What about dealbreakers?
Well, it's kind of hypocritical, but I don't like girls who smoke. I typically don't smoke myself. I do occasionally, but I'm not a hardcore smoker. If they're smoking cigarettes all the time, it's kind of nasty. I would say also, I don't like a girl that's too out there — who's crazy or gets drunk.

Well, crazy can be a liability, so you're just being smart.
I feel like I'm contradicting myself, but I like a girl who's mellow in certain ways, but bold in others.

When was your last relationship?
My last relationship was two days ago. It ended. It was three years long. I've only been in two relationships in my whole life. One was very short. I don't like girls who cheat. That's how that ended. The other one was good, but then it just ended because it was a long relationship and it didn't work out. Nothing bad happened.

Sometimes I talk to people who have trouble breaking things off. It sounds like you managed okay.
Well, it wasn't me, but I was okay with it, I guess. If you're with someone that long, you get to know them and like them, unless they do something terrible. If it ends, it ends. You accept it.

We've met the Dalai Lama of break ups. So, what are you looking for now?
I am not actively looking for anything right now, and I probably won't be for a while. If something crazy happened, like if I was riding on a train, or in a plane and I met a girl that… the mile-high club kind of seems interesting. I've never done that before. I don't know what it would be for a train.

Is there anything that would offend you in the bedroom?
One thing I definitely wouldn't like would be getting other people involved — dudes or even girls. If someone was like, "Hey, my mom's lonely," and brought her in, it probably wouldn't get me any harder. Just the basic offenses.

That seems fair. Any last tips?
Dating is fun, but it's also crappy. Sex is great, but it's also crappy. Love is great, but it's also crappy.

Lars, 33

Where are you from?
I'm from Germany. I'm a researcher at UC Davis. I've been in the States for seven years.

What's your relationship status?

What kind of person are you looking for?
That's a really hard question. I'm not sure there is an ideal person, but it really attracts me if she knows what she wants. Be confident.

What would be a dealbreaker?

What do you think of the dating scene in the U.S. versus in Germany?
I think there are regional differences. I've seen it in California and in Oregon. California is a little bit different than in Germany. I think Germany is a bit more liberal, it's a bit easier. If you want to ask a girl to go for a coffee, you just ask for it. It's more relaxed.

Are you actively dating?
Not right now. I'm actually too busy at work. It's a lame excuse.

When was your last relationship?
It was six months ago, and it was a year-and-a-half relationship. We met through the University.

Did it end well?
Well, no. Otherwise we'd still be dating. But we're still on relatively good terms. I'm not sure there's a diplomatic way to break things off, but there's an honest way. It may hurt more, but in the long run, I think it's better.

Do you have any crazy exes?
No, not crazy in the sense that I'm scared of them, but yes, crazy as in "My God, how could I have dated that girl?" There was this one girl who, after we broke up, I realized she was absolutely not my type. She was very conservative, very into herself, and just not interested in sports. It was totally against everything I like. Bizarre.

Do you prefer dating or being in a relationship?
I think I prefer dating mainly because I'm a researcher and my job can take me anywhere anytime, so I don't want to be tied up anywhere, really. I'm a biologist.

Do the ladies find that attractive? 
Yes and no. They sometimes dig the science nerd in me, sometimes not.

What's the most challenging thing about dating?
Not an easy question. Maybe being honest with yourself. Sometimes I get very excited about someone, and then I realize, wait a minute, this isn't what I want, or I'm not being who I am usually — I'm trying to make something that isn't there.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. There's more to it than just looks. But I don't think I've ever really loved, so it's pretty difficult.

Are you able to have a lot of casual sex because you're not looking for anything serious?
Yes and no, but right now it's winter, and it's more… everyone's cold.

Shortie, 30

How old are you?
I'm thirty, unbelievably.

What's your relationship status right now?

How long have you been in Sacramento?
I just moved here from Reno. That's where my job was.

What do you think of the dating scene in Sacramento so far? Are you meeting a lot of people to flirt with?
Wednesday I came to this club, and not to sound all nasty, but fine women approached me, kissing all over me. I'm like, "Naw, stop."

You had to fight them off you?
Yeah. It feels good to be back on the flirting scene, but when you think about what we're talking about right now, I don't know.

Are you looking for something more?
Yes, I am. A wife.

Who's the ideal woman for you?
Something like a hot model type. Someone who knows how to carry and project herself. Beautiful, intellectual, smart. Someone who handles business and knows how to handle her world properly.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes, I do.

Has it ever happened to you?
Yeah. It was awesome. My true love was Aaliyah, who passed away a long time ago. That was my true woman. To be gay, it was like, "Oh my God, that woman is beautiful." That was my projection of love at first sight, and it still hits me to this day. I still have her name tattooed on me. I got the opportunity to meet her, hold her hand, shake her hand. We had our moment. It was great.

What about romance, what do you do to romance somebody?
I'm old school, so I'd probably do the flower thing. Music, dinner, date. You know, casual. Not try to overdo it, but try to be sensual.

Do you have any crazy exes?
I broke up with one female in my past, back in 2001. We'd been off for a couple months. I moved on with my life, and all of a sudden she popped up in my house, and was kissing at me when I had another lover in the house, and my dad… it was embarrassing. My dad had to take the other girl home. To this day, I keep contact with both females, but it was still crazy.

Are there any immediate dealbreakers for you?
Yeah, but I always give people a second chance.

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