Talking to Strangers: Washington, DC
Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.
by Elissa Gross
Are you from here?
I'm from New York actually, but I go to school in DC. I've been here about a year.
What's your experience with dating in DC been thus far?
Well, coming from New York, this is a smaller city, but it still has a great city vibe. Since I'm in school — I go to Howard University — I've met a lot of people from a lot of different places: people from the South, East Coast, West Coast. Different calibers of individuals, different kinds of mentalities. In New York, you have a lot of people who have stayed there all their lives and are ignorant to anything besides New York City, because they view it as the mecca of all cities. I see that as close-minded. People I've met here seem to think differently.
Interesting. Can you tell us any specific positive experiences you've had?
I went to the movies recently with a young lady. And I was brought up to be a gentleman, so I asked her what she wanted and told her it was on me. And instead, she said, "It's cool," and she paid for her ticket, and she opened my door for me. And I was like, "Wow, this is a new experience!" It was so so nice and so so cool. I'm not really used to that. It felt weird at first, because of the way that I was brought up to be a provider. If I ask her out on a date, I don't mind that it's my treat. But for her to go half and half with me, I respected her a lot more — she's her own individual, she's her own woman, she's not hyped up over my image or something, she can hold her own. She just wants me — she doesn't need me. That was the biggest turn-on right there.
Have you seen her again since?
Yes, I have. And that's been really cool. She bought me some shoes — she helped a dude out when he was in need. And I respect her a whole lot for that. Had to take her out for a nice little dinner in return.
I wouldn't mind somebody buying me some shoes. Have you had any negative experiences with dating?
Once I was trying to get an override into this class — the class was full. This young lady was asking me some questions, and I was trying to engage in conversation with her, but finally I said, "Excuse me, love, I'm really trying to get into this class, I need these four credits, so I really need to focus right now," and she went off on me. "Oh, you're from New York — you New Yorkers are bougie," and so on, all because I didn't want to give her my number because I was trying to be diligent and focus on this class. And I thought she was just playing with me, but the next day she walked in, looked at me, and sat on the other side of the classroom.
That seems a bit excessive.
I just was like "It's not that serious!" I've had a few cases at work — I'm a very nice guy, I smile, I converse — where I sell shirts and ties, and I talk to people a lot. And I had a few females come in and want my information, and I was like, "I'm on the job, I don't really do that. I can't, but thanks for the compliment," and they copped an attitude with me! "Oh, you think you're better than us?" But really, I just didn't want to get fired!
What are you looking for in another person?
Honestly, like I stated before, I want a woman who doesn't need me. I'm attracted to power. I am. A woman who can hold her own, I really respect that. Because I know I'm a handful and I'm a lot of work — I can't lie. I'm a Virgo, I'm very analytical, I'm very diligent, but I have a tendency to always have to be right. Even if I'm right eighty-five percent of the time, that other fifteen percent I'll debate it.
Do you have any crazy exes?
I have a few crazy exes, indeed. But it's cool. I know I'm a lot to handle, but love kept me in check. She was crazy, but she kept me in check.
So you were in love?
I was. It's just, you know, being twenty, my experience was at sixteen or seventeen. I knew what the feeling was, but at the same time maturity and experience is the greatest teacher. I lacked some of the experience that she had, so we kind of clashed from time to time, but it worked. I was getting ready to go to school, and she was staying in New York, so we had to break it off. But she was still calling me. I had a new girlfriend and she was upset about that. The breakup didn't end too well for her. It was a big deal. She got violent — I don't put my hands on a female, but I had to hold her off while she was throwing pots and pans at me. I promised my mother and grandma that I would never lay hands forcibly on a woman. I'm not going to swing at you, but I am going to restrain you.