Celebrating Our Culture
Catching Southerners with Their Pants Down
An Interview with Suzi Parker
by Joyce Dixon
A couple of years ago, the name "Suzi Parker" was being whispered under dryers in beauty salons or during cocktails at the country club. Her article "Genie in the Bottle: The Sex Drink Thatís Rocking Little Rock" for Nerve.com had been picked up by the wire services, and every woman was dying to get their hands on Niagara, the blue aphrodisiac bottled drink. The exposure had negative and positive effects on freelance writer Suzi Parker. The one clear conclusion was that Suzi has a talent for uncovering the hidden kinky side of "the nation's premier sexual hothouse."
A writer and editor from her youth, Suzi Parker holds a journalism major/English minor from Arkansas State University and a masterís degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas. She worked for a major Arkansas daily newspaper and as editor with a Little Rock publishing house, before becoming a freelance journalist covering politics and sex. Natural topics for an Arkansas native, you think?
Suzi frequently covers Southern politics in Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia. Some of her noteworthy coverage includes: an expose on John McCainís slave-owning ancestors for Salon during her time traveling with the 2000 presidential candidate; an exclusive post-acquittal interview with Susan McDougal for The New York Times Magazine; and covering President Bill Clinton come rain or come shine. Suzi Parker admits to being obsessed with the Clinton Presidential Library, which opens in 2004 in Little Rock.
Suzi won a Society of Professional Journalist Award in 1999 for her story about tainted prison plasma. She was recently named the International Journalist of the Year by the Cowboy Church of Hot Springs for a story she wrote about the church for the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Today, Suzi Parker regularly contributes to a number of national and international publications, including: The Economist, US News & World Report, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
For those of us of a
certain age, we may be doing a double take with the name "Suzi Parker" --
it's familiar and brings up images of the 1950-60s supermodel Suzy Parker.
Could this Suzi be writing about sexuality as the other Suzy oozed it in
front of a camera? When asked, Suzi Parker replied, "Nope, I was named after my mom's favorite dog who was poisoned before I was
born. How's that for Southern gothic?"
As a freelance journalist covering politics and sex, how are the two subjects alike? How are they different?
Politics and sex are
two topics that people are taught never to discuss at the dinner table.
People are either obsessed with the subject of politics or sex and they
can't stop talking about them, or they avoid them like the plague. If you
are going to be successful in politics or sex, you have to have confidence,
charm and the innate ability to think on the fly.
The Niagara fall-out is
the perfect example of the double-life led by the average Southerner when it
comes to sex. Bottles of Niagara were flying off the shelf and were
presumably being consumed by Arkansans but the state had a collective gasp
of disapproval when a single girl wrote about her experience with the
popular drink. Everybody does it, but nobody talks about it. In Arkansas, I
can't think of a male reporter with the balls to write what I wrote, even if
he drank a case of the blue potion.
Only once, but we
won't talk about him.
It's Trigger, the
human equine. Trigger is a man whose desire is to be a horse. He likes to be
ridden by women and even wears a bit, reins, and stirrups as women get on
his shoulders and go for a ride. I met Trigger in a mainstream hotel in
Nashville on a Saturday afternoon where he gave demonstrations. Nearby? An
Go Bama! No doubt, it's
Alabama. I think it's because the state lies in the buckle of the Bible
belt. The politics in the state are so dominated by church and God that it's
hard to get away from the repression that holds that state hostage. But
right underneath the surface of the holier-than-thou attitudes bubbles a
world filled with eroticism.
Southern women have
mastered the art of double life. To uphold the prim exterior, the southern
woman has to have some sort of outlet to let out the repression or she will
go crazy. Not every southern woman is swinging from the chandelier in a
leather catsuit but every southern woman has to find an escape from the good
girl world. For some, it may be something as benign as a night of
scrapbooking. For others, more than you think, it's the retractable stripper
pole in the basement or the hot pink dildo under the bed. It doesn't matter
if it is a southern, western, northern or mid-western woman, women can be
powerful if they choose to use the power. Southern women are just raised to
be more prim and not really discuss sex. They let men rule especially in the
bedroom. Southern women just need to be more aggressive and go for what they
want. Southern men appear to dominate and have control sexually and that's
because a lot of southern women let them.
I think it's both. The
region with a church on every corner leads natives to extreme obsessions
with sex. But this is nothing new. I think the South has always been a randy
region ever since the British colonized it and the mint julep was created.
Southern belles have always had secrets hidden under their hoop skirts.
I reached my word
limit and found way too many tantalizing tales in Alabama. You can bet your
Mama's fine china that Kentucky and Virginia are hotbeds of erotic
The project is still optioned. Since Julia Roberts was initially interested, I'd say Julia. She's Southern, so it seems natural. Adam Sandler was also mentioned in the early days of the option. But if I had my say: George Clooney.
Can readers look forward to future sequels to Sex in the South?
I have enough material left over to definitely get a good start on a sequel. The sex spy in me has been unleashed so who knows what's next? Definitely something sexy.
Selected Sites Mentioned in Sex in the South
© 2003, Joyce Dixon, All Rights Reserved