Fetishes are like taste. There’s no accounting for them. In high school, before I met the little beauty who would become my first girlfriend, I lusted after Joy K—, who sat next to me in Civics, didn’t know I was alive, and crossed her legs in a way that amounted to cruel and unusual punishment for a boy as horny and shy as I. But she wasn’t the only one after whom I lusted. There were also the scary-looking Mexican girls, with their big hair (in which they were said to conceal razor blades), lurid skirts, and black nylons. They looked like trouble to me, and you’re reading it here first: just as some young women find bad boys irresistible, some boys find bad girls the stuff of lurid fantasies.
In my wanton bachelor days, my two best pals were bass players. We would, of course, talk about our preferences in gals. The two bass players liked wholesome, corn-fed natural beauties who looked as though they might be on their way to cheerleader practice. My own taste, though, was epitomized by a pair of twins who one night in the mid-70s strutted leering into the infamous Rainbow Bar and Grill. Years before Elvira, they evoked with their bouffant blank hair, immoderate eyeliner, and fishnet stockings the Ronettes, Morticia Addams, and the more lurid streetwalkers one glimpsed farther east on Sunset. One of the bass players dubbed them The Kiss of Death Twins. For me, it was lust at first sight.
I felt the same sort of attraction to Willy DeVille’s girlfriend Toots, apparently a nice Jewish girl gone (very!) wrong who’s thought to have been a prime inspiration for that more recent Jewish girl gone wrong, Amy Winehouse. ‘Twas Toots, I gather, who worked up her husband’s excellent stage persona. Later, of course, the lapsed Las Vegas showgirl Cassandra Peterson came along and made the look her own. Va-va-voom, thought I, though I could have done without the endless self-mockery.
Said the bass players, “We want a girl we can debauch.” Said I, “I’ll take mine pre-debauched, thank you.” Others may find sexuality-flaunting distasteful. I’ve always found it exciting. Give me a gal whose self-presentation says, “The cheerleaders come near me, I’ll waste the bitches.”
When I lived almost 40 years ago on Sunset Blvd., in what would eventually cease to be a huge dormitory for substance abusers, whores, and wannabe rock stars (can you guess which two groups I belonged to?) and become the swanky Hotel Mondrian, I used to encounter in the elevator an older (possibly 50 — unimaginably ancient!) woman who nearly made me forget the Kiss of Death Twins.
She looked, with her bouffant hair, daggertoed stilettos, and old-fashioned eyebrows, as though she’d just stepped out of 1959. Bouffant hair has always so done it for me, and the stilettos were sublime too. She had a boyfriend — an alarmingly sunburned German alcoholic who on hot days scandalized his fellow restaurants by lounging by the pool in Speedos. But it was much more the fear of What Others Might Think if I showed up to some hotsy-totsy music biz wingding that kept me from revealing to her what was in my heart, and in my trousers.