Rage Against Suburban Zombie-ism
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Interview with J.C. Davies,
author of I Got The Fever
After I finished reading, J.C. Davies' I Got The Fever, I knew that I had to interview her. Especially considering that her non-PC (thank God) book about interracial dating has garnered so much controversy!
So Ladies (& Gentlemen), if you want to get into Racy JC's head about interracial dating, the hoopla surrounding her book, dating in NYC (& elsewhere), plus some dating tips, check out our interview...
The Book & The Controversy
1. How was the idea for I Got The Fever conceived?
When I lost my job on Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis, I had to decide whether to go back to an industry that was solely about making money or do something that would make a difference in the world. I decided on the latter.
I came up with the idea after a friend read a short story I wrote about an ex-boyfriend. My friend suggested I write a book about “dating black guys.” I didn’t like that idea. In the US, 10% of interracial relationships are black/white, but 95% of the books are written on that narrow topic. But I knew there was something interesting about what he said. Later, I thought, “What if instead I write a book about interracial dating that includes many different cultures?” I Got the Fever was born.
2. How long did it take you to write the book?
It look me a little over a year to do the interviews and write the book; it took another 6 months to go through the editing and layout process to get to a finished product. Close to 2 years, I guess. Damn, has it been that long?
3. What was the most difficult part of writing it? (e.g. concentrating, the actual act of writing, finding subjects to interview, finding a publisher, etc.)
The most difficult part about writing the book was getting people to agree to be interviewed and then actually show up for the interview. People are shy, non-committal, or change their mind at the last minute.
All of the people who were interviewed said they really enjoyed it and felt comfortable about the project after I met with them, but people are so afraid of everything they do any say these days.
Sadly, the writing has become the easy part when it comes to a book, not because it’s easy, but because the marketing is so much harder. That said, concentrating and editing are both tough. You could research, write, and edit forever, but at some point you have to call it and say “It’s done.” That is really hard to do.
4. How the heck did you find the prostitutes, or "pros" as you refer to them, to interview? Were they easy to talk to?
One of the guys I interviewed suggested I talk to The Pros. I thought it was a great idea and was very fortunate to have a good friend in the NYPD. Cops always know hookers. I know it seems counterintuitive, but cops are around all kinds of criminal activity and know people of all walks of life. My cop friend was old friends (from the swinging 70s) of the madame of the cat house I went to, but if you need a pro, trust me—a cop is always your best bet.
The Pros were easy to talk to. They were salt-of-the-earth, nice women—every single one of them. Like I said on my blog in “A Day at the Cat House,” the most notable thing about the visit was that after a while it started to seem like any job.
5. Was there anything that you left out &/or thought was too taboo to talk about in your book? If so, what was it??!! Inquiring minds want to know.
There was a lot that didn’t make it into the book. I interviewed people to come up with the question for each race, then interviewed others to get confirmation. A solid majority of the people interviewed had to agree on a topic for it to be included.
Other topics that came up but didn’t meet that criteria were: Latino guys being show offs and Indian men loving “fat chicks” and anal. Also, The Pros had a big Hasidic Jew customer base and there were some hysterical sexcapades there (like “sex with a Shiksa doesn’t count” as cheating, etc.), but since so many people don’t know much about Jews in general, I didn’t want to confuse the issue.
6. How did you go about finding a publisher? Was the topic of interracial dating a tough/easy sell?
I started DoubleWide Publications for the purpose of publishing I Got the Fever and books like it. I have done everything from idea, development, design, to getting it sold in bookstores. That said, I know lots of publishers have interracial dating books in the works, so it may have been possible to go that route as well.
7. What has the response been, so far, to I Got The Fever? Was there anyone who was upset that you revealed a "secret" that they wished remained untold?
Some of the press has been very fair and positive—especially from the bigger shops like BCC, Fox News, and ABC. Bloggers have chosen to take a negative tack (shocker there, I know), but that is because most of them haven’t actually read the book.
As far as “the secret,” most of the people who belong to one or more of the five cultures discussed in the book were aware that some of these issues were going on; they did not take offense. The most offended group seem to be white women who never dated interracially. Who knows why? I guess it’s because they were brought up never to talk about race and here I am doing it.
From the readers of my book and blog, I think the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. People are glad that someone finally has the balls to talk about a subject that most people want to know about, but most are too afraid to discuss. People really want this information.
Dating in NYC...& Beyond
8. Similar to NYC, interracial dating isn't a "big deal" in major cities in Canada. Why did you feel a need for this story to be told?
This PC denial has really gone global! Believe me, it is still a big deal even in the big cities. Some culture clash or outsider interference is still a natural part of the process. I think my article “Online Dating - The New Jim Crow” shows that, if anything, we are going backward not forward when it comes to interracial dating.
And why has this story gotten so much negative press? Why do people move to discredit or shut down anyone talking about race and dating? Because most people are still so incredibly uncomfortable about the topic.
Also, many people don’t date interracially because they can’t talk about it, so they continue to perpetuate old-fashioned ideas like “something terrible will happen if you date interracially” or “those relationships never work out.” Trust me—this is still a very big deal.
9. Tell me a bit about what dating is like in NYC. (How do you meet people? Do men approach women? What role, if any does technology play in dating? Is chivalry dead? etc.) And do you think it differs from elsewhere in the US?
Chivalry is alive in NYC. Originally from California, I think it’s been dead there for some time, but in NYC men still let you out of the elevator first, offer to get you a cab, etc. (No surprise to you, I am sure, a lot of that depends on a man’s culture). Men still prefer to approach women and the sex double standard and fears of a “strong” woman still apply here. People meet in bars, bookstores, movies, Home Depot—the usual places.
Dating in NYC is not more glamorous, just more of a hassle, with velvet ropes and last-minute dinner reservations only available at 10pm. Like everywhere else, Facebook, texting, and e-mail play a big role in dating. But I think it provides more drama than actually helping. I say “No texting (unless it’s fun or naughty),” and for god’s sake, never go “Facebook public” with your relationship (unless you are married)! Social media = TMI, which leads to TMD—too much drama!
The main way that NYC differs from other places in the US is the totally noncommittal nature of everyone about everything from lunch to marriage. Lots of no shows, last-minute cancellations, and “Was that for sure, for sure?” But I hear LA is like that too.
10. In I Got The Fever, you focus on five "Fevers": Salsa, Yellow, Jungle, Curry, & Shiksa. In addition, you have 20 years of experience with interracial dating. Have you ever "ruled out" a certain ethnicity after a bad-dating experience?
On Wall Street they call that the Snake Bite Theory. You invested in a stock or a sector that went the wrong way and you say, “Never again!” If anything, this book has caused me to take the opposite tack. People are just too varied to rule out a whole group based on a few experiences. There may be things about a culture you don’t like (I can think of many), but I also know that all cultures and all men have their positives and negatives. You just have to find the combo that works best for you.
11. What are your 3 deal breakers in a relationship?
I try not to have many too deal breakers, ultimatums, or a strict “type” when it comes to a relationship. For me, the key is to find a good guy that respects me and is someone I like to be around; then just see how it goes. It will work out or not. But here are some things that may indicate you need to cut the line sooner than later:
- Lying. This is rule #1 and applies to every relationship. If you get the slightest inkling that he is not being truthful, curb that dog. Immediately. That doesn’t mean you have to know all his business. It means you have to trust him. And you know when you don’t.
- Out the house. This particularly applies to an interracial relationship (but applies to any): you have to go out the house. I think often in an interracial relationship, people are not honest about their own hang ups and feel uncomfortable being out with you in public. If so, he’s gotta go. You want someone to want to go out with you and show you off—not bury you in the closet (no pun intended, but this goes for gay couples too).
- You are a priority. You have to feel like this guy likes to be around you. Otherwise, what is the point? If something else always “comes up,” no need to make a thing about it, but keep it movin’. Buh-bye. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are the only one who wants to be in the relationship. Leave the teeth pulling to the dentists.
12. Aside from reading your book, do you have any other advice for someone who is interested in taking the plunge into interracial dating?
I wrote the book so people could have a basic understanding of some of the norms in each of the five cultures discussed in the book. It is very useful information, but never assume that the person you are dating has chosen to follow the norms of his culture.
When it comes to culture, people pick and choose. Go into interracial dating armed with cultural knowledge, an open mind, and thirst for adventure, but let him tell you who he is. And don’t be afraid to talk about it! If there is something about his family or culture that you don’t understand or are curious about, ask!
The PC mavens have made us believe that asking about one’s culture is a bad thing, but most find your interest the highest of compliments.
The Future - What A Scary Word!
13. What's next for J.C.? Will there be an I Got The Fever: Part Two?
I will continue to write our daily blog, Racy JC (aka Picante JC in Latin America), answering questions and giving advice about interracial relationships.
I also write about interracial dating topics for other publications like DStripped Magazine and Bridge Magazine. And yes, I am also working on a follow-up book, which will include another culture not discussed in the original. There are a lot of cultures and angles to this topic that have yet to be explored.
* * *
Ooo...another culture, I personally can't wait to read the follow-up!
To keep up with JC, visit her blog OR I Got The Fever's website! Currently, I Got The Fever's only available through Amazon.ca via this link.
posted by Stephania at 8:28 pm
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