Every now and then Alex Zola annoys the hell out of me. Friday was one of those days. After delighting in the fact that he was recognized on the street as “The Spanking Man,” bragging about his sky-rocketing blog numbers from the interview posts, sending everyone he ever met the link to his chat with Crystal Bougon on Better Sex radio—The Zola said: “I’m not entirely comfortable with my new image.”
Not two minutes later, he was excitedly telling me that my pal Steve Otero at Sexy Spirits wants him to teach a spanking seminar.
“Should I do it?” he asked, that carefully cultivated look of agonized reflection upon his boyish face.
“No,” I said, because I can’t resist letting all the air out of his ego when he gets like this. “You should take down all the interview posts, announce to your readers that you will never discuss your Kinky Decade or answer to Spanking Man again—and go back to being the lone sniper on the bar stool [which is how I characterize his writing when he’s snarky about other people, like the women he’s dated].”
He was crestfallen and soon petulant.
But that was Friday. It’s Monday and we’re friends again. I’ve made him suffer enough. Now it’s your turn. Tell us what you think Alex should do about his new image as the Spanking Man—and should he teach that workshop or not?
SUSAN: Are you really conflicted about becoming known as The Spanking Man? Or were you just trying on an attitude in preparation for your future as a media guest?
ALEX: What? Are you trying to mug me like Mike Wallace? Every now and then I do have a little conflict about what I’m doing. One two-hour incident of corporal punishment—and I’m marked for life. Then somebody passes me on the street, makes that little circular motion with the hand—and I think, "Hmmm, I might just be on to something here."
SUSAN: Admit it: You love the limelight—and stop blaming me for pushing you into it.
ALEX: Okay, from now on, I’ll blame society. I like the limelight I have. I’m grateful I’m not Brad Pitt.
SUSAN: By acknowledging your kinky side, you have moved into new territory with your writing. It takes more courage to put yourself out there than it does to shoot down other people. So much writing on the web is snark—judgment without investigation. Writers cop an attitude . They think of themselves as ironic, but for the most part, they are just snide, mean-spirited little men. Yes, they are typically men. And, yes, I suspect they have small dicks. What do you have to say about this category of blogger now that you’ve taken The Zola System to a more interesting place?
ALEX: Snark has its place if it’s interesting, but most people who are snarking are not interesting. New journalists like Hunter Thompson, Lester Bangs and more recently bloggers like Tucker Max snark in an intriguing way. Most of the imitators don’t have the intellectual discipline or cultural awareness to make snarky comments that resonate with readers.
SUSAN: You are more interesting now that you have a more fully exposed character on the blog. Hasn’t the response to the interviews I did with you been largely positive?
ALEX: With that singular exception, absolutely positive. A lot of my readers are women; and they love the kinky posts. Nobody has asked me to spank them yet, but the persona is young.
SUSAN: Where did you learn how to spank, Alex?
ALEX: A girl told me what to do. The first girl I spanked said, “I like it this way.” Then spanking became trial and error. I realized I had it down properly when spanking sessions became shorter, more focused and rather erotic for both of us.
SUSAN: What’s your secret technique?
ALEX: We’re talking about spanking here; we’re not talking about wine varietals. There aren’t many ways to do this. You can cup the hand or not. You have to slap the buttocks, not the middle. Stay away from the smile; go to the cheeks. It’s about the anticipation of the blow and the sound when it hits, not usually about corporal punishment. My secret is to pay attention and continually figure out what my partner likes—and then see if I can’t push her into another direction that she might enjoy as well.
SUSAN: And what direction would that be, Alex? Are you talking about pushing her limits—or pushing her to give you a blow job?
ALEX: I’d like to think I’m pushing for a blow job, but with my luck, it’s usually her limits we’re pushing. And she wants them pushed. That is the key.
SUSAN: The sex and dating posts are but a part of your blog. What’s the downside to embracing this new image?
ALEX: Thus far, there hasn’t been, but I’m assuming eventually there will be. I’m worried about turning off readers for other posts. The Zola System is becoming a blog-azine, not a blog spot. I cover Detroit and New York City, sports and music, weirder world events, colorful urban characters—and always from a Post Urban Culture perspective. [See interview two for PUC; The Zola Interviews are all categorized under ALEX ZOLA.]
SUSAN: Women get stuck in the sex writer category, but men don’t. When a woman writes about her sex life, she’s discounted as a serious writer. Men, on the other hand, are lauded for the effort. I don’t see how this can damage you. Am I wrong?
ALEX: No, you’re absolutely correct. Upon further review, there isn’t. I’d like to end up like a modern day Henry Miller, like Walter Mosley.
SUSAN: One of my favorite writers! I loved his mysteries and was thrilled when he did an erotic novel. Aim high, Zola.
Write to us and answer the burning questions:
What do you think about The Spanking Man image?
Should Alex teach a spanking workshop? (And do you want a discount if he does?)
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