Bernt Heiberg, 49

W 20th St and Eighth Ave.

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Photograph: Jay Muhlin

I can't believe you just stroked my cheek. [Laughs] My partner always says, "Bernt! You always touch strangers!" It's really in my nature. I feel it's something we should do more of.

You don't ever get punched? No! Never! Not even by the smallest, straightest guy ever. They kind of appreciate it.

You strike me as a partyer. I think I'm more...enjoying life. Like, I love food; I love going out with friends. My partner and I own an interior-design company—it's in Norway and New York. And I'm pretty obsessed with fashion.

So it's all just aesthetics and appearances to you? No, baby, absolutely not. It's all coming from inside. I'm a very person-oriented person. And New York is really about people. People here are great bridge-builders and are open-minded.

How do you feel about being almost 50? I don't feel that old. I feel very blessed. My partner, Bill, is turning 50 this summer.... Just the other day we were saying, "Gosh, what happened to the last 25 years we were together?"

Are you married? We did marry in Norway. In Norway they call it partnership, which I think is very positive, because it doesn't touch any religion.

Is there less homophobia in Norway than in the U.S.? No. I think we've gotten far in New York. I've never had any problem with it.

You must have never been to the South. I have, actually. I was treated with open arms. I'm just very natural about it; you just have to not hide. That's very important.

More from Bernt

"3-D? Wow, that's great. So people will use glasses to look at me? To be honest, I haven't gone to any 3-D movies yet. It's kind of a retro thing."

"Flink [the dog] means 'clever' in Norwegian. He has 1,500 friends on Facebook!"

"I just came back from Africa. I went to Kenya with a very dear friend. Seeing how other cultures and people live was an amazing experience. Everything is different, but the world is also getting smaller: Everyone knows more about each other than you would expect. You fly 15 hours and are in the middle of nowhere, and you meet people who you could meet in Chelsea."

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