On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of ""Straight"" Black Men Who Sleep with Men

James L. King, Author, Karen Hunter, Author, J. L. King, Author Broadway Books $21.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1398-0
Black men living""on the down low,"" or DL as they refer to it, don't consider themselves gay; they only""get with"" men from their gym, church or club who, like themselves, lead""normal, straight lives"" with girlfriends or wives in tow. They're so deep in denial of their homosexual desires, King writes, that these men rarely practice safe sex when indulging in a little same-sex""somethin' somethin'.""""To put on a condom is to think about what you are doing,"" explains King, who was on the DL for 25 years.""It stops it from being a thoughtless, lustful act that they have no control over."" King volleys this warning directly at African American women, who may be unknowingly exposed to HIV/AIDs and other diseases by DL husbands and boyfriends. To protect their health and dignity, King offers insight on this closeted culture from his own life experiences (his marriage ended when his wife caught him having an affair with another man), as well as from hundreds of interviews, meetings and panels with other men on the DL. He also includes candid tips on spotting DL behavior and a description of the distinguishing characteristics of five DL""types"" he's identified over the years (Mature Brother, Thug Brother, Professional Brother, I Have a Wife/Girlfriend Brother, and the""I'm Just Curious"" Brother). Urban vernacular generously flecks King's prose (every black woman is referred to as a""sister,"" every black man, a""brother"") and sometimes seems overdone; however, King's street-wise, older brother persona is ultimately a comforting way to address this sensitive and complex subject matter.
Reviewed on: 04/01/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Open Ebook - 90 pages - 978-0-307-41917-0
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-7679-1399-7
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