Almost four years after I wrote a very controversial essay on sleeping with black men for The New York Press, Alex interviewed me on sex and race on his blog The Zola System.
Here is that interview:
As you all know, I get myself into trouble just by walking down the street. However, when it comes to causing myself mischief, I am not close to my mentor and Auntie Mame, Susan Crain Bakos. I may try to shoot off my toes, but she actually gets death threats.
As we all know, nothing like sells like sex and controversy and I wanted to know how Susan did it.
Q. You wrote an essay for The New York Press three years ago on how you prefer black men in bed—and all hell broke lose. Letters to the editor from white men and black women were vitriolic. I remember that one white guy had to be forcibly restrained from throwing a bar stool at you in a quiet
Gramercy Park pub. And hasn’t an angry black woman blogger gone to the trouble of manipulating search engines to keep her angry tirade against you at the top when your name is googled?
A. Oh, yeah, all that happened and more. On the other hand, I heard from some black women who prefer white men and weren’t upset with me at all. Regarding the woman blogger: I have never read what she had to say. You know how I feel about haters who go for the personal mean-spirited attack rather than taking on ideas. I delete people who can’t be courteous, rational, reasonable and logical when they disagree with me. I’m certainly not seeking out her blog. I’ve heard about it from other people, mostly friends who were offended by what she wrote and black men who still write to tell me that they bought one of my books in support. If she’s that invested in search engine manipulation, that’s her problem, not mine. I have a life. Thank you, she has sold books for me.
Q. What exactly did you say to piss all these people off?
A. I said that middle aged white guys lose their sexual mojo—but black men don’t. Aging Boomer—and now Gen X—white men appear to be conflicted about male sexuality—to the point where they have low sexual energy. Plus, they don’t take very good care of themselves as a group. So many soft and bloated bellies out there! Middle-aged women tend to look much better. I am sure that we white women played a role in the de-sexing of the white American male by focusing on all the negatives of sex: abuse, rape, incest, harassment and admonishing him not to flirt with us as we were serious working women. I caution that this falls under the category of broad general statement but: White culture doesn’t support male sexuality in the same way that African American culture does. (I’m talking about American men; European and Australian white men seem to have it going on.)
Q. Susan, please tell us how you really feel. Was there more?
A. I also stated a physical preference for black skin over white. And I described the rich, lush texture of black skin. A woman who had bragged to me that her face wasn’t aging as fast as white women’s faces because “black don’t crack”—labeled me a “racist” for praising black skin. Really. Can she have it both ways?
By the way, my friend says that the fifty-something men—white guys—that she sees at her husband’s golf club all look alike and project little or no sex appeal
Q. Why do you want to stir things up again?
A. Oh, why not? [Laughing]
Q. You are such a rebel.
A. You know I love to provoke people! Seriously, I dashed that essay off rather flippantly. If I were writing it today, I would be more careful about making, or at least identifying, sweeping generalizations. For example, there must be some middle aged single white guys who are still sexy. And I would certainly take black women’s feelings more into account.
Q. You didn’t realize that black women would take issue with your writing about your passion for black men—and theirs for you?
A. I did not anticipate such rage. An angry and well-educated black woman of a certain age got right in my face at a cocktail party and said, “Your great-great grandfather raped my great-great grandmother; and you have the nerve to talk about sleeping with black men.” That is not appropriate or acceptable social behavior. How the hell does she know what happened in generations past in my family? For the record, a great-great grandfather did own slaves. A great-grandfather was an abolitionist. A great-grandmother was a light-skinned house slave. I was born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois. The first penis I ever saw was black. I did resent the condescending remarks from people who assumed I had emerged from my Ivory Snow background and discovered black men—“gone native” according to some—after age forty because white men didn’t want me any more.
Q. I understand what you mean. After all, weren’t your last two boy toys nice Jewish boys?
A. Exactly! But my background is crazy mixed up enough that I could state any skin color preference and insult someone who may be related to me.
Nonetheless, I would like to say: I did not mean to put black women down. Black women are beautiful. They do age much better than white women. Generalizing again, they have a lot of style. When I moved to
Harlem, I marveled at how they dress for church on Sundays. Magnificent hats, beautiful clothes.
ncreasingly, interracial couples in Harlem are black woman/white man. Good for them! Older black women tell me that they were ostracized by “the brothers” for dating white guys in college, while those same brothers were crossing the race lines themselves. Younger black women feel like they have more options; and they should feel that way because they do.
Q. I get the impression that you are more concerned about explaining yourself to black women than to old white guys. True?
A. (Laughing). True enough. Squidgy—soft and pudgy—old white guys generally think more highly of themselves than the evidence indicates they should. Part of their trouble may be simply this—and it’s an aspect of your Post Urban Culture theory—They grew up entitled and have finally reached an age where they know, or aggressively avoid knowing, that they’re not all that. Black men didn’t grow up with that same unearned sense of entitlement.
Q. It’s going on four years since that essay—so I have to ask: Do you still prefer black men in bed?
A. Generally, yes! Though I am quite fond of Boy Toys in different shades of skin, I still find that white men age out of their sexuality while black men don’t. Black men are very sexy. They do flirt; and they pull it off without making a woman feel she’s the object of licentious leering as, sadly, so many white guys do. Hang out in Harlem and pay attention to how black men treat women. They open doors, they pay compliments. Their eyes light up with appreciation when women pass by; and they respond to a variety of sizes and shapes and colors. They’re not afraid of women.
Q. This is about penis size, right? Are black men bigger?
A. Statistically, black men are something like a fraction of an inch larger on average than white men. That’s a negligible statistic. I’ve known two really large cocks in my lifetime—one white, one black. The race preference is not about penis size. But I do think that a black cock is more aesthetically pleasing. Some white cocks get that mottled red and purple look—which is not so appealing.
Q. You do know that some people reading this are getting very angry with you. They don’t like a woman saying she prefers big cocks or young cocks or black cocks or—
A. Yes, big, young black cocks! My Cougar dream. [Laughing]. Let’s turn this around, Alex. You prefer brunettes with olive skin, very pretty brunettes. You want a woman young enough to have your babies—which is fairly selfish as you’re forty years old and were in no hurry to give someone her baby ten or twelve years ago.
But would anyone have to be restrained from throwing a barstool at you for preferring pretty young olive-skinned brunettes?
Q. If they were throwing a bar stool at me, we can assume I said something to them and they took umbrage. (laughs) No. I’m a guy. I believe in the old saying: Men fall in love through the eyes, women through the ears. We have to have what we have to have.
A. I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Research studies show that women are more visual than men, are aroused more quickly by visual erotic stimuli—and also respond to a greater range of imagery than men do. I have no patience with women who say it’s not about looks and go on to describe their instant deep feelings of love for their “soul mate.” Initially, it was all about the way he looked when she first laid eyes on him. That—and scent. We smell our sex mates. Nerve Zero is an olfactory nerve that transmits sex pheromones straight into the brain (bypassing the nose).
Love at first sight is really lust. Some women just don’t recognize or acknowledge the truth about what attracts and arouses them in a particular man or men.
Q. Hey, hey, I’m just the schmuck. You’re the professional.
In the next interview, Susan and I discuss her Harlem mugging, why I had to go get her and the horrible response when she wrote about it.
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