In our series of letters from African-American journalists, novelist and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates looks at the dangers of flour


You can find more on the
dangers of flour here:

When I was in high school, there were a few “crazy” guys roaming around, but
nothing as insane, and I swear, nothing as bad as the guy who would walk up to
you and say, “You are so hot that I want to fuck you, even though we haven’t
been introduced.”

That guy didn’t just want to fuck you, he wanted to fuck you so much that he
couldn’t stop coming up to you to pull you into his apartment where he had a
lawn chair and a fire going, and he said, “I want to fuck you so bad I can’t

And you’d say, “I’ve never been screwed like that in my life!” And he’d say,
“What a fucking liar.”

If you’re wondering how he could know so much about you, you probably have a
good reason.

The man had a huge dick, and his friends would sit outside the apartment and
watch him come on to women. And then they would leave so he could get laid.
Only, of course, all those women would be so intimidated by his gigantic
penetration that they would run away saying, “You’re an ugly fucker.”

I guess they all did run away as soon as the guy left for a second round.

He eventually stopped giving us shit and we stopped calling him out on his
stupid cock. But, still, how could you not have noticed?

He was a real asshole.

And I’m pretty sure, if you asked him, he’d say, “Well, I guess I can’t trust
anyone around me.”

I’m not saying you have to trust everyone like a sieve. And I’m not saying
you should. But, in my opinion, if you are going to be a decent human being,
you should always be on your guard.

You never know when you’ll find a nice guy and he will screw you over. You
never know when you’ll come too close to a nice guy and it’ll go “Whoosh” on
you. I had this lady called Tasha (yes, her real name was Tasha) who I was
dating who had a real sweet smile. She told me a lot of times how grateful she
was for my friendship and my love, and I did my best to show some reciprocity.

But, somewhere along the line, she started saying how she wanted “a better
deal” when we started fucking.

That always got me a little bit defensive. It was because I was scared that
if she found out that I wasn’t really into her or anything, she would dump me
and go back to her boyfriend, and I didn’t know if I wanted to go back to that

I was scared if I said it, she would become very upset and go off on me. And
she did.

It was one of those “Whoosh” incidents, you don’t realize how many people you
screw up until you are right there and they come after you. And they know
whatever you have going on right now you can’t even see it.

Well, they found their man, and he was a douche. And that’s when I knew
really really fucking well that I had been hurt before, and I knew that I did
not want to fuck someone who would leave me for another girl.

So, I said, “Okay.”

To me, it was so much stronger that way. Because I knew if I could just be
open about it, and not hold back, than it would make things so much better for
me. And it did.

So, in my opinion even if you don’t think they are bad, they might actually

And I know when you say, “You can’t be that good,” I just want to say that
sometimes the truth can be as good as it gets.

Don’t feel bad if you know someone that is trying to be one of those
nice boys. They just need to know that sometimes, you just do not trust them
and you will not fucking let them get away with it. Sometimes the best thing
you can do is be real with him.

I’ve been through more heartaches than I could count, and I’ve always done
what I needed to do to keep the pain at bay. I’ve never blamed the person.
Usually, it was the person who thought it was okay to break my heart.

I am not going to tell you how to be. But, even if I told you to run from
them, or to pretend like they don’t exist, then you’d run away and you would
eventually run into them.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe, to you, they are just people trying to make themselves
better. Or maybe, they really are that bad.

You see, I don’t know what’s gonna happen with you, but, if you don’t trust
me, then you don’t deserve to be with me.

So, my opinion is that you have to take the time to really look at the person
and see what it is that is making them feel good. I know when you get in a
relationship, it’s your job to try to make the situation better, but don’t
always try to be perfect and always right.

Because even if you’re really doing the best you can, you’re probably
completely fucked up.

And I know that because I was fucked up too. And even though I know I may be
different than you, and I am not perfect, I do have a good heart.

But, even if I do, then I don’t believe in unconditional love.

I do know one thing that I do believe in.

That’s my belief that no matter what people do to me, I will always love them
more than anything.

I know that there is love in the world, and that, no matter where life takes
you, there is a place for you and a life for you.

So, my advice to you is to find a place for yourself.

I did.

I have friends. I have boyfriends. I have children.

I have many more friends and boyfriends than I can imagine, and each one of
them is like a friend in my heart.

There’s no place for me to be if I am not able to be with all of you.

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