Friday, December 15, 2006

Freaks and fetishists

The newest Dan Savage column, Mary's Uterus, begins with the following letter.
I'm a 20-year-old straight girl. For six months, I was dating a guy I thought was nice and normal. One way my boyfriend showed he cared, or so I thought, was by massaging my feet after work (I wait tables to pay my tuition). Then he confessed that he has a foot fetish. He wasn't rubbing my feet to be sweet or tender or considerate, but for his own selfish reasons. I dumped him. He was very upset and is still begging me to take him back.

We had been talking about marriage, but that's over now. I don't want to be with someone who has a fetish. How can I know if he wants me back or just my feet? I know a lot of freaks write to you, and I enjoy reading about freaks, but I don't want to date a freak. Where can I find a normal man?

Freaked Out Girl

To read Dan's advice, just click the link, but I had a couple of things to say that I don't think he said or emphasized enough.

Personally, I don't catch any evidence, aside from her boyfriends choice of words, that he has a fetish rather than simply a predilection. Everyone has sexual predilections. In fact, I'll come right out and say someone who didn't have some tendency to be more attracted to certain parts of other people than others, who considered every body part to be exactly equal in attraction potential, would be the rarest of all freaks.

Imagine how ridiculous this letter would sound if her ex-boyfriend liked to massage her ass or play with her boobs and she freaked out when he informed her that he, in fact, is particularly attracted to asses or boobs. You'd think she was nuts for sure.

Now, maybe there's something more obsessive or kinky about his desire, but not only does she offer no hint of it, the implication is that this is the only expression of his foot attraction, which most certainly not an extraordinarily common predilection is hardly out of the realm of common. Probably more common than most people, such as FOG, imagine, since many people with a predilection toward being attacted to feet keep it quiet for fear that people, such as FOG, will take them to have some more serious or "freaky" issue.

Mind you, my inference from Dan's response is that he understood that, too, but phrased it in a way that was more protective of the so-called freaks, which I understand. I just felt the need to make this point explicitly.

I have another weird tangent, speaking of predilections. People, under various conditions, ask what the first thing one notices on a person you're attracted to. Depending on my mood, mostly on how tactful I want to sound, I answer "eyes" or "boobs". Honestly, thinking about it now, as I have any number of times, I don't think either answer is more or less correct.

The fact is, some of it depends on factors outside my view from the question, how they're made-up or dressed or just if they have a part that's particularly attractive. I may be more inclined to notice eyes, but really sexy lips have caught my notice beforehand. As have really nice legs, shown off, caught my eye before breasts.

I know, there's supposed to be an implicit "all things being equal" in front of that question, and, as such, I can't make either "eyes" or "boobs" more important in my mind.

But I also can't understand people who, seemingly earnestly, say "ass". To me, all things being equal, I'm meeting this person and, as such, are face to face. Yes, "ass" is the answer if I see someone from behind, again all things being equal and they don't have awesome legs or sexy shoulders or something, but it rings like a false answer to the questions intent to me.

Mind you, I'm not sure I understand most people anyway. I get the impression that most people mean something specific by their answer. Big, blue eyes or full lips or big boobs or long legs and not just eyes, lips, boobs or legs that are aesthetically pleasing. I just think variety is the spice of life.

I'm not really trying to put one over the other... well, I mean, I certainly see appreciating more of life's beauty to be better somehow, but I still don't mean to judge. More than that, I just don't understand being the other way.

There are, however, some bi-sexuals glaring at me for my hypocrisy, so I'll shut up.

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