Most American men, judging from the fairly miniscule sample with whom I have enjoyed frank exchanges of views, would punch you in the nose if you described them as fetishists — even while commonly being fixated on breasts. Well, I am who I am, and I am indeed a fetishist. I have always had a slightly-beyond-healthy interest in shoes, and used to buy my groceries at what has since been officially branded the Rock and Roll Ralphs in West Hollywood not only because it was the supermarket nearest me, but because so many of my fellow shoppers wore shoes better suited to standing on Sunset Blvd. looking rentable than grocery shopping. (And you should have seen the women!) It has always been a core belief of mine that a gal who’ll endure the discomfort of high heels to maximize her allure will probably be willing to do things to please her guy that lesser gals might not. Empirically, no such thing has proven to be true to this point, but not all the studies are complete.
I have long been unable to resist a woman in very long gloves, which I think of as stockings for the arms. To this day the sight of Charlotte Rampling on the Night Porter poster makes my heart go all a-flutter. And don’t even mention Hedy Lamarr. When the long gloves are skintight, like Hedy’s, the fluttering is such that I quite nearly faint.
The fresh, wholesome, natural look has never done a thing for me. Give me a defiantly brazen slut every time. I don’t I think the former Priscilla Beaulieu, on the day she wed Elvis, has ever been surpassed cosmetologically. I find extremely sexy Goth done well. (You will live forever in my heart, Kiss of Death Twins.) Without her makeup and hair, Siouxsie of & The Banshees fame would have made no impression at all. With it, she was the most desirable woman in Britain.
Elaborate makeup works for me in the same way high heels do — as an indicator of willingness to go the extra mile. Few things so eloquently say, “I trust you,” as a woman you’re accustomed to seeing in heavy slap, as the Brits call it, showing herself to you unadorned.
While it’s pretty obvious where a breast fetish begins, I have no clue where any of my own fetishes came from. Freud speculated that male sexual fetishism derives from the unconscious fear of castration inspired by the mother's genitals. While I’ve been terrified of a great many things in my life, I can honestly tell you that never crossed my (admittedly, conscious) mind. I do very vaguely remember playing under a table around which a group of women in stockings and high-ish heels were seated when I was maybe three or four, but don’t recall having been especially thrilled. How that, or any other, childhood experience matured into a 40-year love affair with the Night Porter poster I am unable, or at least unwilling, to say.