My best friend once told me that feet, eyeballs and armpits were in the top 10 of sexual fetishes. She told me this during a particularly hilarious conversation where she relayed her latest flame’s armpit licking fetish. I had never heard of this before. Of course I’d heard of a foot fetish. I’ve seen Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy. Strangely, I had also heard of eyeball licking way back when I was 19 as my then boyfriend’s younger brother was fascinated by the practice, although not in a sexual way.
The first time I ever danced for a guy with a fetish was when I was about 7 months into my illustrious new career. My ex was being a full on mother fucker but I kept going back to him. In much the same way that female viewers continually punish themselves by watching Ashton Kutcher movies. In an effort to show me that I didn’t need him anyways, my girlfriend Lucy took me to a Club X store on Swanston Street in downtown Melbourne to buy me my very first vibrator. I was embarrassed as hell but everyone else in there seemed fine with it all. Titles like “Pakistan Poonani” and “Lawrence of a Labia” sprung from the covers of dvd’s and magazines to my wide green eyes. The comedy of it all seemed wasted on these people. I marvelled that they were not snickering in the aisles at “Big Trouble in Little Vagina”. They seemed desensitised to both the humour and the sex. Could this stuff really be a turn on? The covers did not look promising. I tried to ACT NATURALLLL while my friend purchased the potentially vibrating fake penis and handed the bag over to me with a packet of batteries, a smile and a flourish. The cashier was chatty. Chatty chat chat. La la la. On the inside I withered in my boots.
I can’t say how long we were all talking for but it became clear we had been talking for too long when he showed up at my work on the weekend and asked me to take him down to the private rooms for a dance.
“Oh god. Is this guy stalking me?!” Is what I thought.
“Ok sure.” Is what I said.
He was quite a sweet guy. Aesthetically horrifying, creepy, but sweet. I was too green to turn down sweet creeps back then. I was a much nicer person. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or to say that I thought he was one of the most hideous people I’d ever seen and that that in itself made me very uncomfortable. I didn’t understand the concept of self preservation. Keeping the mind safe so that memories of grim and yukky customers don’t lurk in your subconscious, waiting til your head hits the pillow, before they hit you in the face. These memories can become a perpetual nightmare that plays over and over in your head, becoming the sheep that lure you downward into a disturbing slumber drenched with cold sweats and nightmares.
So, down to the school room we went. I did my dance. I strung it out for 15 minutes but he booked me for 40. His manner was weird, as though he was waiting for something to happen. I felt he was bored, uncomfortable, dissatisfied.
Eventually, he said, “I want to ask you something. But I’m scared to cause you’re gonna think I’m really weird.”
Nice me circa 2006 said, “Really? Why? It’s ok babe. Just ask, what is it?”
“Well…..would you…would you take off your shoes?”
“My shoes? If you want me to. My feet are pretty sore, new shoes. Blisters.”
“I have a foot fetish.” He spat out.
“Oh. Oh, ok. Really? Alright.”
So I took off my brand new shoes and pretty much did my same dance in a different sequence so he wouldn’t notice my limited vocabulary of movement. I felt so unbelievably awkward. I sat on the chair opposite and tried to think of attractive and dainty ways to flaunt my size 9’s in front of the sweet creep. I was not confident. I was mortified. I am 5 ft 3″ and my disproportionate feet have been the subject of decades of ridicule. Even now, friends will see them, as if for the first time and be like, “Oh my GOD! Your feet are ENORMOUS!”
“Yes, yes they are. Fuck you frenemy.” Is what I’m thinking.
“Ha ha, yeh, I knowwwww.” Is what I say.
I had no idea what the fuck to do with the feet. My feet. All of a sudden they seemed separate to me, threatening, hovering life forms with five long and skinny appendages each. I had an inkling that I was still supposed to give a sexy dance, just like any other. But I really couldn’t figure out how to improvise a sexy foot dance. I stood on one foot and pointed the toes on the other as I made what I believed to be a Mae West-esque circular movement with my battleship. It clearly didn’t cut the mustard as he began to be quite assertive with what he wanted me to do.
“Put them near my face.”
“What?” Not only did I not want to put my feet near his face, but the logistics of this task were near impossible if I were to maintain my balance.
“Can you please put them near my face?”
“WHAT THE FUCKING HELL??????” Is what I thought.
“Ummmm…..my feet have been in these shoes for about 8 hours now…I don’t think you want me putting them near your face. They’re probably really stinky by now………..And I have blisters…” Is what I said.
He replied testily, “Oh, I hate it when people say that.” He then relaxed and took a deep breath. “Feet don’t stink. They don’t have an odour, they have a fragrance.” He drew out the word ‘fragrance’ like an English aristocrat, “I love the smell of a woman’s feet. That’s one of the things I love most in the world. Just sit down. Sit down and put them so they touch near my face.”
I remember his words, expression and posture so clearly. I remember the red glow of the downstairs dungeons meeting the blue tones that the UV light threw across the school room, creating a spooky glow.
This was not the Cinderella tale I had been told. This was not a scene from Boomerang starring me and Eddie Murphy. This shit was real and it was grossing me out. My circa 2006 lovely self made no objection though. I put my foot near his face.
“Yeh, rest it on my shoulder and touch my neck with it.” He closed his eyes, savouring the smell of my foot. I remember clenching my jaw, looking at the ceiling and thinking, “I’m gonna spew on his face…” I was utterly grossed out by the obvious waves of pleasure that were washing over him with each deep inhalation of foot fragrance. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Okay! That’s the end! Thanks heaps babe.” I fastened my shoes up but tried to ACT NATURAL at the same time. A casual lean here, a casual lean there.
He tried to get me to stay longer but I said I was busy. He came back 2 weeks later. I looked past him in the club and pretended I’d seen someone I knew across the room, flashed a golden smile and pursued the wave I’d just thrown to my imaginary friend. Then I hid out the back.
He returned three years later with a new bleached blonde hair-do that glowed disgustingly under the UV lights. He remembered me and asked again if I would dance for him. Babe in the woods was long gone by then.
“Sorry mate. I don’t do fetishes anymore!”
Not to my knowledge anyways.