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"What's Race Got To Do With It?"
“Black women don’t suck dick,” Big D often said. “If they deign to suck your dick, they don’t do it long or well—and they don’t swallow.” He spoke so bitterly that I believe this was his experience, not something he was saying to boost the white woman’s sexual ego. (He had little interest in my ego, anyway.) But is his an isolated experience?
In my non-scientific survey of black women, I found that many older black women (over 45) subscribe to the belief that “white women will do anything in bed” while black women under 30 believe that white women aren’t as good/adventurous/hot in bed as they are. In an equally non-scientific survey of white women, I found that white women, older or younger, don’t give much thought to what black women do in bed. The Kinsey surveys and many other polls, surveys and studies report that blacks (men included) are less likely to participate in oral sex, anal sex or use sex toys. [See The Taboo Sex Survey results.]
The ever-outspoken Todd Wooten and I talked about this in what he called “the crux of the matter, the sex” between black men and white women. He says:
“I’ve often been told that white women do things in bed that black women wouldn’t do on their wedding night. I don’t want to get into the whole thing about ‘Black women don’t give head, or black women don’t swallow, or black women don’t do anal.’ “
The real problem for black women, he says, is “the current shortage of black men.“
“Brothers are hittin’ and runnin’ because they can. They’re highly sought after by black and white women alike, and when the numbers are in your favor, why not enjoy? “
He concluded with the hypothesis underlying his book, White Men Can’t Hump (As Good As Black Men Can): Black men are better lovers than white men.
We’ve argued the point—right to the point of no longer speaking—but I hold my ground here: Black men are not better lovers than white men. Some are, some aren’t. That was never my point when I contended American white men lose their sexual mojo after age forty while black men do not. Big D would not make the top five lovers of my life, three out of five white men, one black, one Arab.
Even when I was dick-matized, I recognized his erotic limitations.
One Friday night when our nearly year long string of one night stands (not an affair) was nearing its inevitable end—think a strand of Christmas tree lights with several bulbs out—I went to his jazz bar with V, the classic angry black woman who still held hope in her heart. We were friendly at a distance, which was the best I ever managed with a Harlem sister.
Big D saw us come in, hugged V heartily, feigned interest in her and paid scant attention to me. She blossomed under his attentive gaze. The frown lines seemed to melt into her generous forehead; and she was smiling, smiling. About his age, large and very much resembling a photo of his ex-wife, she couldn’t know how little chance she had with the man. She didn’t know that we were lovers. How could she know? Who did know? He barely acknowledged knowing me inside the jazz bar. I was his ghost lover. We existed alone together in my bed, his bed or his big leather sofa.
Admirers gathered around me; and Big D pretended not to notice. When he was feigning ignoring me, his peripheral vision flashed quickly back and forth like a snake’s tongue. A well-dressed inebriated man at the bar got too close to me for comfort, and V, not my cock man, said, “Step back and leave the lady be. She’s not wanting you that close.” Big D smiled warmly at her as if in admiration for her kindness to a white woman who didn’t know how to handle herself in a Harlem bar.
“I think he’s interested in me,” she whispered. “Help out a girlfriend. Leave us alone here.”
I did. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the stricken look on his face when he realized what was happening. Inside the cab, I laughed. Twenty minutes later he called from his apartment and asked me to come over.
V may have suspected something when he left, shortly behind me. I’m sure he would have preferred giving me the signal while she was in the bathroom or talking to someone else, leaving her with the warm hope of a phone call in her future—and me to figure out a gracious exit. A week later I ran into her at Native restaurant where she was sitting at the bar, sipping a mojito and waiting for a girlfriend. I sat beside her and ordered a glass of white wine and asked for a menu. When I am alone, I eat at the bar.
Apropos of nothing, she said: “Black men like white women because you put up with their shit.”
“Oh, really, they say it’s because y’all don’t perform oral sex and talk too loud,” I replied.
The girlfriend came in. Same age and body type, loud, aggressive talkers. They moved to a nearby table. For at least a half an hour, they talked loudly about white women who go after their men. I don’t know any white women who call white men our men, but most of the black women I know do refer to black men as their men. (And sisters, your men come after me.)
“They talk a good game,” Jose, the bartender, said softly to me, “but they were both with men who abused them.”
Then I glanced over and noticed him, two barstools away. The elegant, lean black man wearing a white shirt, black blazer gray pants—and probably 35 years old. He smiled. I smiled. He moved to the stool next to mine.
“All the haters,” he whispered. “Oy vey!” He thought I was Jewish; a lot of people do. “Look, I have dated woman outside my race, and you are sooooooo right. Black women do not want to hear the truth. And how some people see a black man and white woman together as an insult to black women—or white men for that matter-“ He signaled Jose to refill my wine. Frankly, I do not think many white men care about black men and white women together.—“These women”—nodding slightly, indicating V and her companion—“need to check themselves.” He laid his hand on my arm. “What turns me on the most with a white woman is the contrast of my black skin on her beautiful ivory back drop. That is one of the most beautiful sights, watching that skin intertwine, and become one flesh, such beautiful contrast, you don’t need any light, save the moon light.” Jose rolled his eyes. “It is like this beautiful prism, so erotic, so beautiful…”
“The forbidden fruit,” V said loudly.
“You are one hundred percent right—“ he bowed from the waist in her direction—“it is all about the sex, that forbidden fruit thang,. Being that it’s forbidden makes it that much more erotic. I know you feel where I am coming from,” he said to me.
"Yes,” I said. “Yes, I do.”
He stroked my arm. I thanked him for the wine and engaged Jose in conversation. He got the point.
As he was leaving, he said, “I much respect you for breaking away from the ordinary and the mundane.”
What would Big D have thought about this spirited defense of—whatever it was we had—this connection that V might suspect now—made public as he had not made it? Further uptown in his Sugar Hill bar, I remained a big secret. In Central Harlem, I was out in the open, a white woman who likes black men—hated by the sisters, loved by the brothers. I laughed out loud thinking about it.
I believe the bartender still recounts the story—to the right audience.
But now I ask myself: Why didn’t I tell V the truth that night in the jazz bar? Would I have let a white woman make a fool of herself like that? No. I would have whispered back, “He is my secret lover.” Maybe we would have dished about him and left together, in search of better men.
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