In Search Of Pretty Young Black Men
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In Search Of Pretty Young Black Men

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by Stanley Bennett Clay

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Los Angeles has no ghettos, according to some. And that is nearly true. But even behind the sun-kissed façade of privilege in its Black upper middle class is a harsher reality....

So begins the tale of Dorian Moore, a seductive young man who provides comfort to the moneyed, the neglected, the lost, and the lonely in an elegant hilltop community in Southern


Los Angeles has no ghettos, according to some. And that is nearly true. But even behind the sun-kissed façade of privilege in its Black upper middle class is a harsher reality....

So begins the tale of Dorian Moore, a seductive young man who provides comfort to the moneyed, the neglected, the lost, and the lonely in an elegant hilltop community in Southern California -- Maggie Lester Allegro among them.

Disillusioned by a loveless marriage, Maggie finds support in her small circle of women friends, and sexual healing in Dorian's arms. But the blessing brought by this pretty black man soon becomes a fatal curse for Maggie and her husband, Lamont. When Lamont -- the son of an influential member of the Baldwin Hills gentry -- seeks sexual solace outside the marriage, a series of terrible truths come to light...and soon he begins to crumble under the weight of his own family secrets and lies that threaten to shatter his carefully guarded life.

Poetically rendered and provocative, In Search of Pretty Young Black Men is an illuminating novel that challenges our notions of sex, success, prestige, and, most of all, love.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A]n engaging novel...and the erotic scenes are as steamy as they come!"
-- Zane

"[A] sexy tale...[Clay] manages to give this novel the tension of live drama."
-- Time Out

"A lust-laced hallelujah."
-- G. B. Mann, author of Low Hanging Fruit

"A beautifully crafted, irreverent, sometimes wickedly funny look at...Southern California's black elite."
-- Tina Andrews, screenwriter, producer of Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal

"A well-told story that never fails to keep one turning the pages quickly."
-- Frontiers magazine

"[A] provocative -- often shocking -- tale of lost love, good sex, and secret longings told with a poetic boldness...Brilliant and unforgettable!"
-- E. Lynn Harris, bestselling author of What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: A Memoir

Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
0.41(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

She had had her taste of men. In fact, she had had her fill of them. She had been married to the same Lamont Lester-Allegro for some twenty odd years. But her stretch, long and checkered, as a stool warmer at too many hedonistic haunts tailor-made for single black Baldwin Hills bourgies was a smoky testament to her dissatisfaction on the home front. Although her outings usually proved anemic they were frequent enough to cause her older best friend and fellow barfly, Elaine, to jokingly snap-read, "You should get out less."

She couldn't agree more. But she did truly enjoy her addiction to the candy-store view of pretty young black men at bargain time. This was when sophisticated soul sisters — stripped of their ladyisms and armored with their charge cards, condoms, and Slauson Arms motel room keys — pushed and shoved past her to have the dark, fresh, and fleshy goods displayed before them.

It was 1989, spring; maybe summer, and every evening, after her NAACP meetings and Links teas and before her bid whist games with Lydia, Arleta, and Elaine, Maggie Lester-Allegro found herself propped up on her favorite stool at

Nuts 'n' Bolts without any awareness of how she got there and no recollection of any prethought in the matter of the vigil. She only knew that she was in automatic drive.

She licked the chilly salt rim of her double margarita and checked out the dim room full of pirates and treasures.

The incongruity of her physical presence among these "other" sisters — baby sisters, pimpled spinsterettes of the happy hour playing in their mothers' high heels, beads, and lipstick, was not lost on her. She smiled in mock deference for she knew that those who filled her immediate surroundings were classes below her in style, looks, and attitude.

She was reminiscent of Diana Ross — all eyes, shoulders, and a hair-weave cascade — and sometimes she seemed to carry herself like some grand mystic bush queen. But more often than not she would slip loosely from her dark, regal stance, like on this occasion as she licked too desperately at the chilly salt rim of her cocktail.

Maggie Lester-Allegro came across like the kind of woman who should have been called by her formal given slave name, Margaret, as in "Oh, Maaaaaahgret daaaaahling!" and she seemed like someone who should have been a heavy frequenter of the old Perino's on Wilshire Boulevard during its heyday back in the 1930s when it was the sacred trough to platinum stars.

But the new piss-elegant Nuts 'n' Bolts in the Baldwin Hills Plaza was where she hung. Hung. Hung drunkenly and conspicuously like some antique drape in a neon setting. Hung. Hung as in "hung around," as in, "Is it time for me to die?"

You see, Maggie Lester-Allegro had long ago resigned herself to her husband's neglect, knowing that she was merely one of his many trophies acquired seasons ago and left upon a dusty mantel of prominence. After all, Lamont Lester-Allegro had family legacy to live up to and personal demons to live down. Lester-Allegros were known for being the first black everything that could be distinguished by being the first black anything in a world that relished firsts. Doctor Lamont Lester-Allegro, a third-generation Lester-Allegro, was known for only that: being a Lester-Allegro, one of no particular distinction, merely a hanger-on by blood.

As Maggie sat at the bar perusing the trade, she recalled with liquor-heavy smirks and moans the night Queen of Outer Space played on the Z channel and Lamont insisted on watching it even though HBO was airing Lady Sings the Blues. Zsa Zsa over Miss Ross? Oh please! Maggie could only credit the choice to her husband's sense of taste when faced with camp, and yet...

"Now that's a real woman!" Lamont had said ogling the TV monitor while a young Zsa Zsa broke English and his proper Negro heart.

Maggie fluffed it off — or seemed to — especially in light of the fact that he had confessed after a night of too much Courvoisier and cocaine that he once let a gorgeous brickhouse, during his cum-too-quick college youth, suck him off like some rimmed Tootsie Roll pop. But the drop-dead brickhouse turned out to be a drop-dead drag queen with enough dick of her own to hog-tie a judge. So what did he, Lamont, know about a real woman, much less appreciating one? Alas, this was how Miss Maggie Arial Lester-Allegro justified her more-than-occasional pilgrimage to the bar called Nuts 'n' Bolts.

She had ordered another double margarita. Just as Shabaka-Letrice, the waitress, set it down in front of her, she thought she saw Dorian Moore — beautiful Dorian Moore — reflected in the mirror behind the bar. She held back her startle when she realized that the only face staring back at her that she even remotely found of sentimental interest was her own. What she had thought was him was only the recollection of him, a recollection that flashed brightly in her lazy bloodshot eyes.

He was just a boy, a black-as-midnight boy with black-as-midnight eyes surrounded by thick black lashes languid enough and groomed enough to sweep stardust aside. He had sparkling white teeth framed by lips made full enough to tell a thousand lies.

She sipped at her drink and felt a warmth deep down inside that place that made her blank to all that surrounded her vintage self, blank to the music and the madness, the hustlers and the hustled.

She remembered when they first saw each other in the crowded room, like in the song. Lunch hour at Serenity. It was almost a year ago to the day. There he was. Right where Elaine had said he would be. Maggie had been sitting at a preferred table, picking over hot duck salad and dishing the dirt with Elaine, when she looked up and saw him at the bar, his smiling, dimpled blackness sucking her into his unknown. He quite literally took her breath away. She gasped — a tiny little gasp. He saw her see him and he laughed, suddenly, kindly — one of those silent, private laughs. His eyes sparkled with new mystery.

"Well, I think I've stayed too long at the fair," Elaine said with a naughty little victory smile. Then she got up and left, giving the beautiful young man a nod of approval as she passed his way.

Maggie had guessed him to be twenty-one. Maybe. There or about. So she felt flattered and confident in her goods, knowing that she was still lovely and shapely enough for hearty young men half her age. With eyes smiling at her, he got up from the bar and walked slowly toward her table. Her eyes smiled back and invited him to sit.

Magnanimously she allowed him to speak his sweetness and buy her a drink. She pretended to blush when he gave her the detailed directions to his place, which was not far at all, just up Mount Vernon Drive.

She even pretended not to know why she so readily accepted this new chance and adventure, but accept she did. She left the bar ahead of him and pulled herself together with each step; the Diana Ross eyes and shoulders and the hair-weave cascade. By the time the attendant had brought her Mercedes around she was feeling better having pulled it together, knowing that the kindness of a child was hers to do with as she pleased.

Copyright © 2001, 2005 by Stanley Bennett Clay

Meet the Author

Stanley Bennett Clay has received three NAACP Theatre Awards for
writing, directing, and coproducing the critically acclaimed play
Ritual, as well as a Pan African Film Festival Jury Award for the film
adaptation. The author of Diva and In Search of Pretty Young Black
, he lives in Los Angeles.

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In Search of Pretty Young Black Men 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stanley Bennett Clay is one fine writer! Not only does he have the ability to create an intensely fascinating story, he does so within an arena of Black culture that has neither been tapped or portrayed with such insight as in this revelation of a book seductively and successfully titled IN SEARCH OF PRETTY YOUNG BLACK MEN. From the cover jacket art to the rollercoaster ending, this short novel is on fire with passion, lust, pansexuality, atmosphere, mystery and just plain superb interaction of story and technique that may just be the crowning example of 'new Black literature', while simultaneously standing strongly on its own as simply exquisite contemporary writing without the need of the sobriquet of 'Black literature'. Though woven like a fine loom of dazzling threads that ultimately bind together the lives of every character depicted in this story, the main character is one Pretty Young Black Man named Dorian Moore who lives among the wealthy Black community of the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles and makes the most of his inordinately perfect physical charms by providing sexual pleasure for both men and women. The setting is 1989 and for the first half of the book we see the exploits of Dorian through the eyes of a disillusioned housewife Maggie Lester-Allegro and her quartet of friends, one of whom is a 'Madame' who sets Dorian up with her clients (including Maggie), promising these rich ladies of the suburbs the perfect joys Dorian always delivers. Maggie's husband Lamont Lester-Allegro is distant emotionally but provides Maggie with the accoutrements of superficial happiness while tending to his own diverse needs elsewhere. Events unfold revealing secrets and crimes that bind this section into a cohesive and fascinating series of twists and turns. The second half of the novel is devoted to Lamont Lester-Allegro and how his relationship to the proper family expectations governed by his powerful father contrast to his own inner life secrets: Lamont, too, has fallen under the spell of Dorian Moore. Again, Lamont's story takes as many twist and turns as Maggie's and while it is obvious that the common denominator of these life altering experiences is the ubiquitous Dorian Moore, the core of the story reveals just how compounded are the vagaries of fate. Clay's means of relating this tightly cohesive drama is the poetry that is his gift. He is at once able to integrate the cultural idiosyncrasies of Black phraseology with this perspective of the moneyed Black community in a way that updates Faulkner and Baldwin. He is able to write as through a woman's sensory perceptions as easily as he is able to describe the wholeness of the male sensory responses to both women and men. If ever there was a writer who could define bisexuality, Clay is the man. Here is some of the most erotic writing available and its presence has poetic significance to drive this unique story to an unrivalled conclusion. This is simply great story telling by a man with a secure future in literature. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, January 2005
harstan More than 1 year ago
Baldwin Hills is the nouveau rich black person¿s enclave just as Beverly Hills is the white¿s prestigious addresses in 1989. Maggie Lester Allegro trapped in a bittersweet loveless marriage, drinks and plays cards to ease her emotional pain. Her marriage never had a chance because on her honeymoon, she was pregnant with another man¿s child. With her husband's assent, she gave the baby up for adoption but the marriage disintegrated anyway...................... Enter Dorian Moore, a young black stud who she has a one night stand with, a hunk who has women pay him for sex. She never forgets him and when she learns who he really is, she does something drastic. Maggie¿s husband Lamont is a closet gay and he knew that when he married his wife; he abstained from giving in to his urges, because he didn¿t want to disobey God¿s law but when he met Dorian Moore, he fell in love with him and wanted an exclusive relationship with him. Dorian never wanted that. When Dorian was killed Lamont broke down and was institutionalized. When he comes out, he also comes out of the closet and has a second chance at love..................... Stanley Bennett Clay, author of Diva has written a characters study about blacks who have it all yet feel they have nothing. Lamont has to hide his true self in the1980¿s or face being ostracized and Maggie gave up the love of her life¿s child and found him again in very ugly circumstances. THE SECRET OF PRETTY BLACK MEN is a fascinating reading experience due to Dorian an enigmatic man who feels his calling is to satisfy the sexual needs of Baldwin Hills rich blacks...................... Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing writer!!!! The book will keep you in suspense and wanting to know more. You can follow the story very well from begining to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very strange book, but very sexy and well-written about a handsome young man who sexes down the well-to-do black people of Baldwin Hills. Very Hot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 2 days. I found it very suspenseful and it kept my attention. Well written short book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dorian Moore, a mysterious and seductive young man provides comfort to the moneyed, the neglected, the lost, and the lonely, in an elegant hilltop community in Southern California. Lester and Maggie Lester-Allegro look for comfort outside of their loveless marriage, unaware of a shocking link they share in their quest for love. The prologue draws the reader in to the story but the first fourteen chapters are filled with over-the-top shock drivel that doesn¿t take advantage of the strong concept of this story. Clay¿s writing is melodic and he has a talent but it¿s overshadowed by the lack of character and story development. The female characters were too flamboyant and their voices didn¿t ring true. They should have been a footnote rather than filling chapter after chapter. There was much more depth in the male characters. The scenes between Dorian and Lester, Raymond Harris and Lester and Larry Grayson and Lester make the readers feel these men. The impact was strong but their scenes were too short. Though there is a murder this isn¿t a mystery in the traditional sense. The author makes mention of a Rashomon-esque quality about one character's murder. If this was the goal the mark was missed