Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Seattle, WA

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Talking to Strangers: Seattle, WA

Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

BY Marguerite Kennedy

Rain, 22

Based on your accent, I'm guessing you're from Australia.
Yeah, I live back and forth between here and Australia. I work over there and come over here to live.

What do you do for a living?
I'm a tattoo artist and a singer/songwriter/musician. I do country music in Australia, and here, I rap.

Why do you do one style of music there, and another here?
For contractual reasons. If I do country music here, I have to be labeled as an "international artist," so I just branched off into another style of music.

It seems like the majority of songs ever written — regardless of the genre — are love songs. In your songwriting, how much do you draw from your own experiences in love, dating, and the like?
It depends. My country music tends to be about things like heartbreak, love, relationships. When it comes to rap, it's more about my lifestyle, tattooing, money. You know, females. Everything's very real.

Are you in a relationship?
No, I'm single. It's easier that way!

Musicians have a reputation for dating a lot. Does that apply for you?
[laughs] Yes, I can't lie. Can't lie. I've dated a few people in the Seattle communities.

Do you find the dating scene in Seattle very different than in Australia?
Yes. Here, everything is a lot more compact, less spread out — everyone seems to know everyone… sometimes a little too well!

Have you ever dated anyone you've tattooed?
A lot of people, actually. There's someone in the club right now who I'm "talking to" who I just tattooed today.

Tell me about your last relationship.
Actually, earlier tonight I saw the girl I was with on and off for two years.

Are you and she on good terms?
No, not really. My girlfriend left me for my best friend.

Ouch. I can't imagine which would be harder, losing a partner, or losing your best friend.
Losing the best friend was harder. I didn't really care about the girlfriend.

What are some qualities you look for in a woman?
Independent, friendly, smart… faithful.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
Laziness. I don't like laziness. I like to go out and do things all the time; I don't even watch TV. I need someone who likes to stay busy, not someone who just wants to sit around the house all night.

NEXT: "You could say that I met my current girlfriend because I'm in a band…"

Kavan, 26

Are you a Seattle native?
I've been here about five years, but I moved up from Palm Springs, California.

When I hear "Palm Springs," I imagine a lot of retirees and vacationers. What's the dating scene like there?
It's not great. Palm Springs is a nasty, horrible place, with a few resorts and casinos sprinkled in. I compare it to Breaking Bad.

Everyone runs a meth lab?
Pretty much. When I lived there I was too young for the bars, and you wouldn't want to go to them anyway. If you're not a meth head — and I'm not — you would meet people through work, or online, or whatever. Here, it's a lot easier. I'm in a band, so I go out a lot…

Are you in a relationship?
Yes. I moved here with my then-girlfriend, then we broke up, and now I'm with someone someone else.

There's a lot of debate in the music community as to whether being in a band actually helps anyone get laid. Has it ever worked for you?
You could say that I met my current girlfriend because I'm in a band.

I assume she threw her bra onstage during a show. That happens all the time, right?
Not exactly. It was after band practice, and we were checking out a venue we wanted to play at, and I saw her from across the room.

What's the first thing you noticed about her?
She had flowers in her hair. For some reason, I fixated on that. And, she's really gorgeous. And I dropped my glass, and it shattered all over the floor…

She was so beautiful it made you drop your glass?
Well, that, and some guy bumped into me. But she turned, because she heard the glass shattering.

You literally broke the ice.
You could say that. She came over, and we started talking, and…

…the rest is history. Is your girlfriend also in a band?
No, but she's a belly dancer, so she's also a performer.

Performers tend to attract a lot of attention. Does her dancing or your being in a band ever cause any friction between the two of you?
No, not really. People think guys in bands have girls constantly throwing themselves at them, but unless you're in some super-famous band, it's not like that at all. Some of my bandmates have more stories than I do, but there's not that much to be jealous of. As for the belly dancing, it's very artistic, not super-provocative. But that's her thing, her art, and the fact that she expresses herself that way is a big part of who she is. She's very confident and motivated, and I find that really attractive.

And, I bet she has great abs.
She has great… everything.

What's the most romantic thing you've ever done for any woman?
My girlfriend told me how she used to have a ficus tree — she really loved this ficus, but some guy she was going out with stole it.

She was ficus-jacked?
Exactly. So, on Valentine's Day, I got her a new ficus. She was impressed that I remembered the story.

NEXT: "There have been a few guys I've gone out with who I think might've been Republicans, but they didn't tell me if they were…"

Benjamin, 27

Do you live in Seattle?
I grew up not far from here, but I currently live in Washington, D.C. I'm just visiting right now.

Are you in a relationship?
Nope. I'm single.

Is it very different, being single in D.C. versus Seattle?
In D.C., guys are more "put together," but they're a lot more uptight. I really like the laid-back West Coast vibe. And Seattle has a really vibrant gay community, especially around here.

What do you do for a living?
I'm in politics.

You're living in the right city for it! Have you ever dated anyone you worked with?
Um…yeah. [laughs] In D.C., the circles run pretty tight, and it's pretty small, so you end up seeing the same people over and over. If you end up sleeping with somebody, they could end up being your coworker or your boss a few months down the line. It can be pretty awkward.

How important is it that a potential partner shares your political views?
It's pretty important. D.C. is very divisive when it comes to what side of the aisle you're on.

Have you ever you slept with someone, and found out later that they were Republican? Wait! I just made an assumption…I should say, "the opposite of your affiliation."
As a gay, black Republican, I'm very offended by that.

Seriously? You're a Republican?
No, I'm just messing with you. [laughs] There have been a few guys I've gone out with who I think might've been Republicans, but they didn't tell me if they were.

Okay, let's say some guy is really, really hot, but conservative. Can you plot it on a graph how much his political views matter, relative to his attractiveness levels?
I've often thought about that. He would have to be pretty unbelievably hot.

What are some qualities you look for in a guy?
A free spirit. Someone who's not too obsessed with work, climbing the ladder, all that. 

That's surprising, because I always associate D.C. with Type A personalities.
Oh, yeah. That's all it is. It drives me crazy.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
I won't date a Republican; forget what I said before. Any gay guy who's a Republican would have to have some serious issues.

How long was your last long-term relationship?
I haven't had anything really long-term yet.

Why do you think that is?
Don't know. I guess I just haven't met the right guy. I'm not stressed about it. These things fall into place when the time is right.

Speaking of gay celebrities, you must be familiar with Seattle's own Dan Savage. Do you consider yourself GGG — good, giving, and game — and how important is it to you that a partner is GGG as well?
I definitely consider myself GGG. As for a partner, it's absolutely critical. Sometimes I'll throw out my "magic tricks," and sometimes I don't expect reciprocity, because I like giving. It's important to keep an open mind, to be willing to experiment and meet people halfway — within reason, of course!