An Older Man
Sue loved older men of power. Potbellied, balding, limp as a noodle, she
didn't care. In fact, the less adequate in love-making such men seemed,
the better she could manipulate them, playing up to their shaky egos.
She was perpetually on the hunt for professors or graduate students who
she believed could supply her with things she wanted.
Most of the college kids she'd dated lacked many of the essentials she
needed, cars to drive her places in, apartments where she could crash
regularly or hold her parties, or cash she could borrow and not pay
But professors, even better than graduate students, had a place in the
world, a position of authority on campus, and resources she could use.
Part of this change of focus may have also been boredom. Sue likely
didn't get a kick from the boys she dated, most of them falling into the
same, predictable pattern of behavior once she began to wring them dry,
she could use. Part of this change of focus may have also been boredom.
Sue likely didn't get a kick from the boys she dated, most of them
falling into th
And for the most part, securing the affections of her fellow students
seemed no challenge at all, they were already a ball of throbbing
hormones needing very little encouragement. Sex with them -- when she
could not avoid that aspect of her game -- began to take on a sameness
she could no longer stand, each boy's reaction to her largely the same.
She could have made-love to the same man over and over for all the
difference it made, putting a new mask on each. The fun part for Sue
seemed to be the build up, that tension of desire, and how she could
peak it, and -- after having started her seduction practices in high
school -- Sue already knew what to expect from most men. Later in places
like Hellfire (called the Vault when reopened), Sue would later learn to
spice up sex with kinky routines, and in fact, would learn that she
didn't have to put out most of the time at all, teasing men to the point
of madness without ever giving them what they wanted.
Only men with power later got anything out of her, men who could help
her up the ladder of success, giving her the publishing credits she
needed. And even a few of them she would tease to distraction, laughing
over their limp penises the way she laughed over Doug's.
In college, Sue may have begun that climb, clinging to stiff or limp
penis to pull herself up towards some goal only she could envision,
modeling herself after Valerie Solaras and Abbie Hoffman, learning that
as a beautiful woman revolutionary she could achieve more than either.
She once told Nicole that she had "empowered" herself through her
explicit sexuality, and routinely spewed a "crazy feminist rap" about
her sex acts. This rap would later reemerge in "Red Light," as if a sign
of her growing desperation as a go-go dancer, rather than the
well-rehearsed and calculated diatribe. Ron Goldberg saw her as "a sort
of pro-porn feminist" who never got taken too seriously.
"[This had] something to do with being blond and being a bit
exhibitionist," Goldberg told Joel.
Older men, however, were nothing new to Sue. She had dated 40-year-old
men since high school, perhaps earlier, and had certainly accompanied
some of these to classic Manhattan sex clubs such as Plato's Retreat --
one of the man such places to emerge out of the Free Love Sixties where
men and women couldcertainly accompanied some of these to classic
Manhattan sex clubs such as Plato's Retreat -- one of the man such
places to emerge out of the Free Love Sixties where men and women could
meet and fuck in a public forum, often leading to great orgies. While
such places were extremely popular in the early 1970s, time made them
sleazier, and less like public love-making than public prostitution. As
with many of the chat lines now available in the age of AIDS, fewer and
fewer women engaged in this public display. Management, in a panic to
maintain its male clientele, began to hire prostitutes to fill in the
Goldberg erroneously blamed himself for Sue's connection with the New
York sex industry, because after college, he had worked as a production
assistant on a porno film, allowing Sue an opportunity to slip into the
scene. But even he, as close as he was to Sue, did not know Sue had
already a decade's worth of experience by that time, much of that coming
by way of mid-1970s trips to Plato's Retreat and other clubs of that
"She used to tell me about it when she got back to school," one school
chum said. "How when she was in high school, she used to let older men
take her. But she would never tell us what went on there. She would only
tell us how cool it was, but wouldn't speculate. She would go on and one
about how shocked she was."
Her club trips included visits to The Mine Shaft, Club O, the Chateau,
the Castle, LaScenes and numerous other less well-known public sex clubs
throughout Manhattan. But the most famous of these, and the place where
she met many of the contacts that would later plunge her deeper into the
New York sex industry and supply her with the raw material for "Red
Light" was Hellfire, whose name was for a time called the Vault, and
later, when it reopened in the 1990s, was known as the Vault again.
Sue used to say how she had been seduced into going to such places at
16-year-old, how she now -- in 1982 -- couldn't untangle herself from
By the end of college, Sue had already met Dave Nesor, one of the
principle figures in the 1980s sex scene, the publisher of numerous S&M
and Adult publications, using him to swing onto yet more clubs
throughout the city.
"She was well-known as a dominant in that world," Goldberg said of her
later, "and seemed to know everyone."
Sue was also writing for Screw Magazine by this time, as a base of
"She was a hard-edged blonde who feigned a heart of gold," one bitter
By the time she neared graduation, you could see the predatory look in
her eyes, unable to find satisfaction in mere classmates, always hungry
for something, always claiming she was just barely making ends meet.
Glen later claimed Sue struggled with "the nine to five" thing. While
she made good money working temporary office jobs, she would seek the
sex whenever one of those jobs failed, though she wasn't above using sex
to keep jobs or get better treatment from her bosses. At a delicatessen
on Union Avenue in Totowa, she seduced the owner, driving him into
divorce. In Willowbrook Mall, she used her boyfriend, Danny Kling to
keep her job open, even though she often wandered away from it. He would
hire her back each time she requested, much to the rage of others who
had by that time much more seniority. And all the time, she screwed
Danny's boss as well.
While Sue still slept with men for favors, her price rose and so did her
selection of men. She sought older men now, not here students. Dan, the
lawyer, whose Belleville apartment, she trashed with a party, bought her
a car. But she didn't always have to sleep with men to get what she
wanted -- and actually preferred getting what she wanted based on
promises. Nor did she take as many risks as her life-style seemed to
"She was very selective," one friend said. "She would promise you
everything, but keeping you dangling. Sometimes the time wouldn't be
right. Sometimes she would be in one of her fugue states. She was a
mistress of anticipation."
Even when she had sex, it was more performance than any act of love. She
repeated over and over again, the routines she was then performing in
New York at Show World, feeding the dirty old men's fantasy's for a
quarter a minute.
"Her sex was teasing, not sweat," said one friend. "That's how come she
like doing that dominatrix bit. Where else would she get people begging
to touch her and she could tell them: `No way.'"
Glen Kenny told Joel Lewis later that Sue actually "feigned indifference
to sex." Bill Madaras claimed she constantly hit on other men.
Sometimes, she would stall sex by telling a man she still needed to
settle an affair with another man, let her former lover down easy before
she could engage in the act, and yet, each man was filled with "undying
By far, Sue's most dramatic conquest on campus came just before she was
ready to graduate. I had taken a semester off to deal with my own
problems at home, only to return to find Sue hard at work at a most
Many of the professors who taught at William Paterson at that time,
recall it with some fondness.
"Indeed, many WPC professors recall the early 80s as the close of a
tumultuous, but exciting period at the school," wrote Joel Lewis in his
unpublished manuscript. "Once, an almost all-female teacher's college,
it expanded into a multipurpose liberal arts school... As the school
hired its expanded faculty in the late 60s, many of the young professors
were left-wing political and culturally libertine. In 1974, the Student
Center opened and -- with it -- the Billy Pat Pub, which was legally
able to serve 18 year olds at that time. Some people claimed that WPC
stood for We Party Constantly."
"I miss that period," professor Stanley Wertheim told Joel. "Although
Susan and her friend often cut my classes, I gave them good grades for
the times they did show up. They were exceptional students. Now most of
my students are sweet young girls who love children and want to be
teachers. It's boring now."
For Wertheim -- who became one of Sue's most important college victims
-- this was indeed an understatement.