Saturday, August 26, 2006

Filthy fetish a-go-go!

Okay, so I’m writing this novel. I don’t want to talk about what it’s about, what it’s like, or what it’s all going to mean when it’s finished—I avoid those subjects because they’re boring and because I honestly don’t know. As I go on with it, however, various motifs and themes necessarily develop. One of these, perhaps the biggest, revolves around the concept of fetishes. It’s a pretty rich vein, actually, both in metaphoric significance and dirty joke potential. When you boil it down, the habit of taking a single preferred detail standing in or substituting for the entire experience is a extremely popular one, especially within the artistic sphere. In this sense, a novel or a play or a piece of music could be understood as a sort of fetish for life itself.

But I don’t want to get too cosmic about it. Recently---and entirely in the interests of advancing literature, of course---I’ve been looking around the internet to learn more about exotic sexual fetishes. And, after a few hours of doing this I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion, as simple as it is profound: people are perverts. Dirty, dirty perverts. Perverts, perverts, perverts. A bunch of...PERVERTS!



(but it’s okay, if that’s your thing)





Anyway, I tend to separate fetishes into one of two categories: the ones I understand and the ones I don’t. The first group, for me, is made up of the kinks that have at least a tangential relationship to human sexuality as I concieve of it. Take someone who gets all horny over feet, for instance. Feet are part of the human body, the human body is a major aspect of sexuality, and therefore I can understand why people fetishize it. I don’t share that particular quirk, but it doesn’t seem entirely out in left field. The same goes for most of the common vanilla fetishes: your panty freaks and your breast-o-philes, your hairy-person lovers and your hairless-person lovers, your leather studs and your rubber vixens. In this group, I also put most of the “BDSM” spectrum, since pain, humiliation, restraint, and dominant/submissive relationships are part of many people’s sexual lives. You can consider it unhealthy and unpleasant, but it’s still there.

Whether extreme or extremely run-of-the-mill, all those fetishes are based on things that are already considered erotic by a large swath of humanity: appearances, clothing, certain emotions, the sensual world in general. The other group, then, strikes me as more strange and ridiculous because the fetishes in it are connected with objects and practices that I consider well beyond the domain of eroticism. Shall we look at a few of these? We shall!


Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I fail to see what’s so sexy about balloons. They stink, they’re scary when they explode in your face, and they remind me of children’s birthday parties. There’s nothing hot there, I’m afraid. Yet according to Wikipedia, there are plenty of people who disagree with me on this. In fact, there’s so many of them that they had to split into two camps: the “poppers”, the sort who “enjoy blow-to-pop, in which the balloon is continually inflated until it ultimately bursts, and is commonly most fully enjoyed when executed by a partner or member of the sex to which the popper is attracted”, and the “non-popper”, who “dislikes (often vehemently) destroying the balloon but instead chooses to admire and interact with it”. I guess there’s something sweet and innocent about all this, but in the end I think even the most avid “looner” has to admit that it’s pretty damn weird.

Still, as a fetish, balloons have their advantages. They’re cheap, they’re abundant, they’re legal, and they’re portable. I mean, think of the longing and frustration someone who’s turned on by nuclear submarines must feel. Or the guy who can’t control himself around wind turbines. Or the lady who feels an irresistible lust for mid-18th century quill pens. Those are the sort who can’t even get an internet support group together.

Anyway, next time you’re on a hot air balloon ride, you might want to take a look at your fellow passengers. Is there one who seems a little too excited during take-off? Is there one who can’t stop looking up, even when all the scenery is down below? If there is, you better hope that they’re a “non-popper”. Otherwise you might be in trouble.


Back when I was a kid, I had a part-time job dressing up as a koala bear at the Minnesota zoo. So I’m in the select group of “non-furries” who knows what it’s like to get up in a big, fuzzy animal costume. And you wanna know what? While it certainly is hot and sweaty, it's hot and sweaty in all the wrong ways. I mean, I was sixteen when I did this, so I was thinking about sex approximately every third millisecond. But when I was “in character” you know how often I thought of it? Not once. You know why? Because I was too busy entertaining children, goddamnit! And, eventually, I was too busy trying to see through the gallons of sweat pouring into my eyes! And, as my shift wore on, I had to devote all my energy to not passing out. If Kevin the Koala passed out, there stood the distinct possibility that some gentle-spirited zoo-going preschooler would be scarred for life. And no one wanted that.

The whole fur-suit thing is just going to be one of those fandom hang-ups I’m never going to understand. And that’s fine. People do all sorts of unusual things, from starting wars for no reason to not flushing the toilet after they shit. Dressing up in squirrel outfits and rolling around on the carpet is less malignant than either of those, I suppose.


I’m sorry, but this is just nasty. There’s no excuse for it. People who are into this should try harder not to be. Throwing up is the least sexy activity the human body is capable of. I don’t care if I’ve got Angelina Jolie herself up in my apartment, if she’s throwing up it’s not something I want to see, listen to, or take part in. If I flout this rule, there’s a very real danger that I could start vomiting myself, thus turning my evening with Angelina—which should have been all about Bordeaux wine, candlelight, and all the reasons why my CD collection is superior to Brad Pitt’s--- into nothing more than a disgusting, disgusting puke fest. No, no, no: the whole “Roman shower” thing is just wrong. Wrong, I say! I’m no puritan by any means, but there comes a time when a responsible citizen has to stand up, put his foot down, and say, with his voice proud and sure, “Throwing up to get your sexual kicks is not the sort of thing I want to be associated with, kindly putting aside the fact that I just wrote about it...”