Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Am i a fetishist?

Ed Wood.

J. Edgar Hoover

Fyodor Dostoevski

F. Scott Fitzgerald

What do they all have in common? They are renowned fetishists. The first two being cross-dressers, while the second divided their time between revolutionizing the modern novel and worshiping the female podiatric anatomy. Obviously the former share a somewhat shamed and scarred remembrance for their kink, whereas the reputation of the latter two largely survives any notion of their sexual deviations.

Growing up, i could do little to stop my halt-in-my-place reaction to any flaunting of an ultra-female variety. If i witnessed a lady stopping mid-stride to gaze into a store window to fuss with her beehive hairdo, i could do nothing but gawk. Or should some gal struggle with her makeup compact on account of her 1" long fake nails, i most assuredly had a courtside seat for this event.

When i explored the avenues available to me to satisfy these (what i believed to be) odd appetites, i came across the word "fetish". At first, it presented itself as an exotic term, something to be embraced like "denouement" or "piece de resistance". As i read more on the term, and as i heard those around me dropping it into conversations, it gained a negative reputation with me. I remember a girlfriend of mine at the time referring to fetishes as "freaky, disgusting, and altogether unacceptable." Various definitions (depending on the context of the source) can be attached to the term. A sexual attraction to objects and materials as opposed to persons. The substitution (for social outcast reasons) of things instead of persons as sexual stimuli (Karl Marx famously referred to materialism as a hard-rooted fetish of Capitalism). I heard that someone who had a fetish (God be with them) could not get aroused unless the fetishized object were present. It became something i myself fought to deny as part of my psychosis, that i didn't need the items that struck an immediate reaction from me should i encounter them, which had me quickly leaping over to the judgmental side of the fence that chastised those who were avowed fetishists.

This punitive approach i took got further compounded when i sought out materials that would satisfy my need for sexual (non-fetishistic, i swear!) stimulus. I searched for photos or videos of the use of mummification, breath play/gasmasks/rebreather bags, full latex enclosure (as opposed to simply a pair of panties fashioned out of the pliable material), inflatable gags, head-encasing hoods or masks, chastity belts, and so on. To my horror, the vast majority of the subjects (and the seekers, i found) were male, and a good number of them were transvestites. I WAS NOT A TRANSVESTITE ("The lady doth protest too much, methinks"). I knew i didn't seek to don woman's clothes and develop a feminine side to my personality, but i could clearly see some part of me responded to the matter found in these pigeonholes. And so i pushed myself further away from the possibility that i may have my own landscape of fetishes. For many years, i put this outlet that responded so strongly to this type of stimulus away. It lay dormant. I hoped it would suffocate and die, like an appendage with a rubber band wrapped around it, choking it of any blood flow, soon to rot and fall off. However, this was not the case.

I moved to a city where they practically established cultural institutions that manufactured walking and breathing models for every fetish known to man. Pretty soon, i could no longer ignore the effect the sound of a clapping high heel had on me. Nor could i just pretend that the altered sway a girl has when wearing a pair of these clod-hoppers (what i've come to call the "Lift-Move-Drop" action of the female buttocks when compensating for the shift in her gait a pair of heels causes) didn't make me want to abandon all plans and just follow this beautiful creature.

Still to this day, i cannot get on a train and not notice every gal wearing a skirt, every well-coiffed hairdo, every pristinely manicured hand, and lord i must look ridiculous the way i crane my neck to catch a glimpse of a girl who i sense is wearing a pair of heels. Why i do this, i ultimately do not know. Am i a fetishist? Frankly, i don't care if i'm labelled as one or not, i just know that far too much has been made about it, and i no longer care to weigh in on the issue like i once did.

p.s. I leave it up to the pure psychoanalysts in the crowd to make sense of the mess that is my ultimate fetishistic fantasy, which is turning girls into objects.

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