Talking to Strangers: Chicago, IL

Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we've just met — this week, at SlutWalk Chicago.

By Ruth Tam

Ashley, 26

What do you do?
I'm a writer and a musician.

Do you get a lot of dates?
Not as many as I would hope. I'm a sax player, and I'll play in bands and stuff, and it seems that guys I play with always get a lot of girls, but it might be intimidating to see a girl up there.

Where are you from originally?
Northern California.

How do you think the dating scene here compares?
In school, it was a lot easier, because you're around the same people all the time. In the city, you're around people so much, but you talk to so few of them. I feel like I'm almost more alone in a giant city than I am in a small town.

So do you regret moving?
No, I love Chicago.

What do you look for?
Intelligence, humor, and looks. I'm an atheist and it's important for me to be with someone who has similar spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof.

So when you see a smart, good-looking, funny atheist, how do you go about impressing them?
I just start talking about stuff I've read and try to be funny. I wait 'til they come to me. Actually, I get really nervous. I just like, shut down.

Do you have any funny hookup stories?
One time, I was hooking up with this guy and we were both really drunk, and he went down on me, and I came, and he just, like, kept going. There was just this moment where I was like, uh, do I be polite? What's the thing to do here? And so I said, "Uh, you know I came, right?" and he was just like, "Oh, okay." Of course, I knew all his friends, and so the next day, I'm talking to one of our mutual friends, and he goes, "Uh, you know I came, right?"

Do you have any crazy exes?
Going on with the atheism thing, I'm really into critical thinking. I don't believe anything unless there's good scientific evidence for it. So, I had just started dating this guy, and it was going fine, but every so often he would say things like, "Well, obviously there are aliens on earth." And I thought he was joking, but finally it all came to a head one day when he said 9/11 was actually an inside job. He had talked about UFOs before, but he came out and said, "Yeah, 9/11 was obviously the government attacking its citizens." And I was like, "No." He proceeded to play me all these podcasts and videos he had seen and I just had to get out of there. The problem was, he was gorgeous.

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
There was one guy who as soon as he was done going down on me, he would get up, run to the bathroom and wash his mouth out with Listerine.

What do you wish you could change about the opposite sex?
The opposite sex believes that women need to be coddled and cared for. I prefer a guy who treats me like a friend.

So are you looking for a fuck buddy?
A fuck buddy in a manner of speaking, but still someone who's also my boyfriend. Emotion and love is important, but I don't want to be treated like some sort of doll.


Doug, 28

What do you do?
I work for an online university. I'm an academic advisor.

Where are you from?

How does dating life in Seattle compare?
Seattle guys are weird. I've never met a guy from Seattle who hasn't ended up a total weirdo and kind of a jerk in the end. They're really laid back, but they don't give a shit about you. I love Seattle, but the people can be a little cold.

How many times have you been in love?

Do you have any crazy exes?
The first guy I told I was in love with him. After we had our moment of "I love you," he literally turned around and said, "Okay, I'm gonna act weird around you now," and wouldn't talk to me after that.

Do you think it's better that he acknowledged he was being weird, or was it just horrible?
It was just horrible. Because I was expecting this whole "I love him, he loves me too, and everything will be beautiful!" And that's not what happened.

What did you learn from that?
Don't date guys who are not okay with being gay. Because they're psycho.

Before you met your boyfriend, where would you find guys?
I went online to find dates. I was into meeting them online and then getting to know them in person right away. I prefer to meet people online because if I went to the bars, I wouldn't be able to hear anything, so I wouldn't remember your name.

Do you think people hide their true selves online?
Yes and no. I think people hide their true selves online, but a lot of people do it in really obvious ways, like posting a fake picture of themselves. But people hide themselves in real life, too. You just take your chances.

Any funny or embarrassing hookup stories?
When I was still in Seattle, there was a guy who invited me to come hang out with him and his roommate. So I show up, thinking we're friends, and when I get there, he says, "Oh, my roommate's gone," and that was warning number one. And he said he had to go take a shower and get ready for an evening out. When he came back, he was wearing just a towel, and he turned around, looked at me, dropped the towel, and said, "Do you think I should trim my pubes?" That wasn't very attractive.

So he was coming on to you?
Yeah, he was coming on to me with that line, and it did not work. His pubes were already very clearly trimmed and groomed well, so I was like, "No, I think they're fine." Then I asked to be taken home.

So is that the furthest anyone's gone?
Yes. The most overtly desperate.

What do you look for?
I was closeted and in denial for so long that I wasn't conscious of what my type was. I always fell for the guys who seemed shy and misunderstood. Sometimes it works out and those guys can be really nice, and sometimes they turn out to be total weirdos.


Matt, 26

What do you do?
I'm a FedEx delivery driver.

Do you get a lot of dates with your job?
There's a lot of flirting, but since they're customers, I don't take it further.

There's that delivery-man fantasy, though.
Yeah, it's not as luxurious as the porn industry makes it out to be.

What's the craziest place you've had sex?
Well, I lost my virginity to an older woman. She was a twenty-seven-year-old mom. I was twenty. Her son was watching The Polar Express in her bedroom and she kicked him out and we banged.

So, she rode the Polar Express?

How did you meet?
I was going to college and she was a student too. We met at the student lounge.

What do you look for in a girl?
I'm kind of emotionally bankrupt. I kind of look for relationships that won't work out. I'm afraid of commitment. I honestly go for cougars because I know it won't progress to anything serious.

Is there a place you go to pick up older women?
Just regular bars. Some older women like older karaoke.

Oh, is karaoke your move? Do you have a special song?
I do a Ben Folds Five song, "Song for the Dumped." It goes like [singing] "Well, fuck you, too. Give me my money back, bitch!" So you get 'em laughing and then they ask if someone dumped you and you can play up their sympathy.

Any embarrassing stories?
I got appendicitis. I was bedridden for two days straight, and this cute nurse comes in and she's talking to me, asking me about what I want to do after high school. I thought she was into me; I didn't realize that after two days in a hospital, you look like absolute shit. I don't care who you are, you could be Tyra Banks and... anyway. So, we're talking, and I think, "Maybe when I get out of here, I can get her number." I come to find out that the reason she was trying to earn my trust was that she needed to prep me for surgery. She comes in one day and says, "The doctor wants you to be cleaned." And I'm like, "All right! Sponge bath! This is kinda nice!" And she's like, "I need to give you an enema." So the whole point of chatting me up was so she could inject cold water up my rectal cavity.

So did you ask for her number?
No. But it doesn't end there. An appendectomy is the gift that keeps on giving. Afterwards, I had to go in for a physical, and it was done by this old German lady. I had this type of surgery called a scope, and it doesn't leave scars. I had just done some manscaping. And she's doing the "coughing," where doctors grab your crotch and tell you to cough and she cups my crotch and says, "This is very elegant." I thought she meant my manscaping was elegant and I'm like, "Thank you! I try to keep trim." But it turns out she was talking about my appendectomy procedure. She was admiring the lack of scars.

Any dating dealbreakers?
I don't know. I have pretty low standards. I guess if she's overly religious. I left religion myself, so if someone tried to pull me back in, it's irreconcilable. Oh, once, I took a cougar to a Vietnamese restaurant and she was telling me this story about how she didn't like Purdue because there were "too many Asian people." She was hot, but clearly very stuck up. She tried to get with me later at her place and what she said was still stuck in my head and I just got up and left. That probably the coldest way to break up with someone. But, like I said… I'm emotionally bankrupt.

What would you change about the opposite sex?
I wish they were more aggressive sexually. I think that's why I like cougars. I can be a little shy at times. Even though I told you about shaving my pubes and shit. I'm a weird kind of outgoing and that turns off people.


Commentarium (33 Comments)

Jun 09 11 - 12:09am

I can see it now. "I'm sorry, Aaron, I have my period!" Totally the reason he's a virgin.

KIDDING! He's my favorite!

Jun 10 11 - 1:17am

Uhh, Aaron, why u no recognize you can still totally get it on despite her period?

Jun 17 11 - 4:47am
Sir Alfred

Happy to meet you any time but I do have a personal problem that you have to know about, I have a swollen foot ,sorry I tell a lie it 11 inches.

Jun 23 11 - 2:42am

I'm rather surprised I've gotten laid when I consider my luck.

Jun 09 11 - 12:41am
Robert Paulsen

i want to buy everyone on the first page a drink.

Jun 09 11 - 1:50am

Diana. Obviously.

Jun 10 11 - 2:18am

diana is so fucking hot

Jun 09 11 - 2:07am

The girls in this were phenomenal and ashley is gorgeous

Jun 09 11 - 4:14am

Ashley: atheist, into critical thinking, redhead, and has like a million teeth. SCORE!!!!

Jun 09 11 - 4:19am

Diana OMG bewbs!!!

Jun 09 11 - 10:31pm

Immediately shooting down the mere idea of UFOs or a 9/11 conspiracy: CRITICAL THINKING FAIL.

Jun 09 11 - 4:30am

Matt is cute!! I'd do him. Wish he'd make a FedEx delivery to my house.

Jun 09 11 - 11:59am

His stories were funny, but if he's twenty six then I'm a Vietnamese restauranteur in Purdue.

Jun 09 11 - 4:42pm

Hmm. Don't care how old he is. He's arrestingly handsome.

Jun 09 11 - 10:42pm


He is funny and good looking. Totally fits my delivery guy fantasy!

Jun 09 11 - 7:10am

Diana looks like she smells delicious.

Jun 09 11 - 7:55am

"People think that if they get married, it'll fix everything. And it doesn't. My parents divorced when I was fifteen. They said they stuck together for us kids. My view is that if you're that unhealthy in your relationship, the kids are going to see that. And that's not something I want my kids to see."

Absolutely correct, Diana!

Jun 09 11 - 11:38am

Hell yeah it is! Children have a much better chance of growing up to be well adjusted if their parents divorce than if they come from a home filled with anger & misery.

Jun 09 11 - 9:33am

Sex in a moving car, with the driver! I'm impressed! :)

Jun 10 11 - 5:05pm

I know! Felicia is also beautiful

Jun 09 11 - 9:46am

I feel sorry for Felicia. History major. Wants to be a professor. Not good prospects there. I hope your alternative career path isn't journalism.

Jun 09 11 - 2:45pm
HotPeople in Chitown

Except for the last one, who rather resembles a sheep.

Jun 23 11 - 2:37am

Thank you. I do what I can.

Jun 09 11 - 3:46pm

Matt is hilarious. He can deliver this cougar a Fed Ex any day.

Jun 09 11 - 4:21pm

tyra banks always looks like shit

Jun 09 11 - 5:22pm

I would so try to convert Ashley to the field hockey team... except she's getting to the age where loudly proclaiming that you're a critical thinking atheist just starts sounding annoying, and making her a recently converted lesbian on top of that would create like a perfect storm of self-righteousness...

Also, Diana's delicious bewbs. Ma-ma.

Jun 10 11 - 12:07am

I feel like this interviewer didn't follow up on a few interesting statements...

Jun 10 11 - 1:26pm

Finally some decent photos!

Jun 10 11 - 3:40pm
el profe

Felicia is delicious.

Jun 10 11 - 5:05pm

Matt is so handsome

Jun 11 11 - 2:50pm
There it goes

It's nice to see people in the daytime!

Jun 12 11 - 6:19pm
Secret Character

"Someone serenaded my uterus before. He ended up being gay."


May 10 12 - 2:08am
Message for Diana

Hey, I lost your number and remembered you sending me this page. Text me if you still have my number...