Freaked-out and hot-footed

Dec 20, 2006 at 12:00 am
I thought your response to FOG was spot-on. The fact that she dumped a guy whom she had contemplated marrying over a foot fetish (of all things) was bad enough — from what we can infer, the guy was never overbearing about his kink, and rubbed FOG’s feet for her pleasure (relief after a hard day of waiting tables) as much as his own.

But what I think is worse about FOG was revealed in her letter: "I know a lot of freaks write to you, and I enjoy reading about freaks, but I don’t want to date a freak." So she wants to read about the problems of "freaks" but not have to deal with "freaks" on a personal level. As long as the freaks remain the other in the paper and outside her personal realm, it’s OK; when she has to deal with a sicko that likes to rub feet in her own life, then it gets way too real.

It seems like FOG is unaware that all guys bring some idiosyncrasies with them — whether it’s feet or pegging or calling you Mommy during sex, or a host of other non-sex-related baggage. She should have counted herself lucky to find a guy with such a mild fetish (she reads the letters in your column, after all, and gets freaked out by a foot fetishist?) and lived happily ever after. Hopefully karma does exist and the next guy she dates will dump her flat for a more tolerant girl. —On Your Side

Just wanted to offer a little support to FOG — this sort of weird fetishy stuff is even more common than you think. I used to date this girl who I thought was normal, and who would give me blowjobs (sometimes I get erections). One day she tells me she enjoys doing it, so of course I broke up with her! I was like, "They don’t call it a ‘job’ for nothing, freak!" Then there was this other girl I liked to have sex on, but one time she started making this, like, pleasurable moaning sound and I realized she was really into it! Fuck that. I don’t need that sort of weirdness in my life.

But keep the faith, FOG, there are normal people like us out there. I finally met a girl who is disgusted by physical contact, and who I get my own selfish pleasures out of by telling her no one will ever love her. See, stories like ours can have happy endings! —Seriously Another Dumbfuck

I think you went a little hard on Freaked Out Girl.

Yes, she’s naive and selfish and has probably had her concept of masculinity formed by watching Hugh Grant vehicles. However, what I don’t think you took into consideration was that she was being involved in sexual behavior without her knowing and therefore, without her consent. Had these foot rubs occurred in the context of sexual behavior, you would be 100 percent right. But the behavior was occurring in a nonsexual context. I would react differently if someone asked to take my Polaroid to take it home and shit on it and masturbate versus adding it to their men-with-mustaches scrapbook. What he did was wrong, even if he’s probably much less of an asshole than she is. —A. J.

Hey, FOG? How can you be so quick to judge someone? Did you in fact enjoy the foot rubs? Of course you did! Not very many boyfriends will rub their girlfriend’s feet every night after work! Who freaking cares if he enjoyed it as much or more than you did? Did you ever feel threatened while he was rubbing your feet? I’m guessing no since you let him do it so often.

Having a foot fetish is so innocent! I am a 28-year-old female and I love feet! I love rubbing feet! I love it when my feet are rubbed! Toe sucking is fucking awesome! Even people who don’t expect it to be think so once they experience it!

I’m glad that Dan has been using you as a shining example of sexual immaturity and selfishness! You deserve every lashing he’s given you! It’s girls like you that give us straight girls a bad rap! —Foot Lover For Life

Your response to Freaked Out Girl was a little harsh, Dan, in that it ignored a pretty fundamental part of the equation: Her boyfriend hadn’t been honest with her. He was getting his rocks off by massaging her feet. Sure, she liked the massages, but how does that exempt him from telling her that he’s using her sexually in a way that she is unaware of? Your response to that woman who recorded the noises of men in a nearby public restroom was pretty straight-up — it was wrong. So why does Mr. Foot Fetish get a free pass for lying about using his girlfriend sexually in a way that, while without harm, is unacknowledged? FOG is definitely an intolerant asshole, but her boyfriend was using her feet without telling her. She’s got some right to be pissed. —Katie

This girl had a man who would massage her feet when she got off work? Most women can’t find a man who will pick up their underwear! Why the hell does she care why he did it? He did it! I am a male and do not have a foot fetish, but I would love to date somebody who would massage my feet all the time. They could be as sexually excited as they wanted as long as they kept rubbing.

You are right, FOG is going to regret breaking up with the guy. It will be when she is married to some ass who won’t help around the house much less massage her feet, while she spends much of her day chasing kids around. She will think back to the guy who would sit and massage her feet for her. She will think how she could have been saying, "Sure, you can rub my feet right after you finish the dishes." Boy, she is going to regret this. —T.

Dan, your analysis of FOG was close, but not quite on. Her issue wasn’t that he derived pleasure from it too. Her issue was the broader, crippling female life traps of expectation and validation. Her expectation was that this act was purely selfless because he loved her. Selfless, like all those times she did things for him — not necessarily of a sexual nature, without ever mentioning that it bothered her or that she’d rather not or any other self-denying actions that so many women put up with without ever expressing their own preferences. (Hi Mom, how ya doin’?)

To have someone rub her feet, just for her, was a true indication of how he must feel. It validated her worthiness to him by his acting the same way she acts. When that bubble got popped — through honest, good-faith communication — she recoiled from that activity because her expectation that he was doing it just for her.

Clearly FOG has never spent much time in her head wondering about what makes her tick, otherwise she’d have figured out that there is simply nothing wrong with him getting off on rubbing her feet. If you both benefit, isn’t that an ideal model? —Psychologist in Action

Your vitriolic response to Freaked Out Girl was childish and unprofessional. I would expect a decent advice columnist to be quite a bit more detached and objective, focusing on delivering actual advice instead of spewing your whiny invective. It seems to me that Freaked Out Girl struck a chord with you on a personal level. I suspect that as a homosexual, you identify in some way, whether conscious of it or not, with "freaks" and "weirdoes." And you obviously are very defensive of these freaks. Clearly, it serves you to claim you’ve never met a "normal man," although you contradict yourself in the very next sentence: "… kink and variance seem to be a natural, intrinsic aspect of male sexuality."

Care to back that up with evidence? Can you cite any legitimate study that demonstrates that kink is the norm among men?

Just because Freaked Out Girl doesn’t want to be with a freak that gets off on feet doesn’t make her selfish. There are plenty of men out there capable of engaging in "normal," healthy relationships who don’t feel the need to spank their partners, get peed on, or obsess about feet. —R. L.

I can’t help but feel that you’ve seriously dropped the ball on your "advice" to Freaked Out Girl, the girl who reacted badly on finding out the foot massages her boyfriend gave her were actually a fetishistic turn-on for him.

First, when somebody uses you as a tool for his own sexual arousal without telling you, no matter how mild it may be or how little you know about it, it’s a bad thing. Just ask any woman who’s sick and tired of being ogled by strangers on the street, or anyone who’s ever found out their photo is being used by strangers on the Internet to wank off to. It is not an irrational or selfish reaction to object to the idea that someone is not only doing something more for their pleasure than yours, but being dishonest about why they’re doing it.

Second, when you realize that somebody’s attraction to you lies overpoweringly in one particular aspect of your physiology rather than in the total package, it is neither irrational nor selfish to be afraid that you’re being objectified — just ask any woman with significantly bigger breasts than average. Plenty of women have asked with perfect legitimacy of their boyfriends, "Is he interested in me, or only in my ass/breasts/lips?"

Third, by her own admission FOG is only 20 years old. There are plenty of people at that age, Dan, who through no fault of their own are "sexually immature" by the definition you seem to imply (I myself didn’t lose my virginity until I was 23). It is neither irrational nor selfish to be freaked out by a fetish you haven’t encountered before, especially if you don’t know much about fetishes at all to begin with. —S. J. B.

The fact that FOG dumped her boyfriend because he received any pleasure from rubbing her feet at all revealed not just some innate selfishness, but that she is as kinky as he is, only in the dominatrix sort of way, whether she realizes it, admits it, or not. You could have used her as an example to show your readers that we are ALL kinky — not just straight guys. —E. H.

FOG mentioned that one of her "concerns" with having a foot fetishist for a husband is that she is unsure if he is marrying her or her feet. When she finds her mythical fetishless mate, will she feel more certain that he is marrying her and not her vagina? (Why can’t he marry both? It’s a package deal, really.) FOG’s ex is certainly one lucky man to be rid of an unappreciative bitch like her. Hope he finds a woman who knows how lucky she is to have a man that actually wants to rub her feet. —D. K.

OK, seriously, that’s some powerful hypocrisy you’re peddling there, Dan.

Sexual preferences, whether learned or innate, are things we don’t have a lot of control over — agreed? And even if they aren’t, it’s only in very rare cases that a "fetish" is genuinely worthy of universal disgust. So why is the same not true for sexual dislikes? If FOG finds foot fetishism repugnant, why does this make her worthy of such disdain? Is this not how she’s wired? Or is that not her choice? Isn’t it possible to have a "no-fetish" fetish?

FOG wasn’t saying she thought foot fetishists were bad people; she just said she didn’t like it. I’m sorry, but it’s really, really hard to fuck or get foot massaged by somebody who’s getting a hard-on or a clit-on by something you find intolerable, and for some (not all) no amount of sexual charity will ever remove this disgust. Did FOG try? Maybe not. But why does FOG’s boyfriend’s pleasure automatically trump her displeasure? You’ll say, I guess, that a foot fetish is a harmless kink and, since everybody ought to be GGG and sexually unselfish, she’s a real jerk. OK, true, her definition of "normal" is narrow and she’ll likely have dull sex the rest of her life. So? Let her find a picket-fence salesman named Vanilla Jim, set up permanent residence in the missionary position and live boringly ever after.

Toleration does not require participation. Since when did sexual liberation become "being OK with just about everything" and not "being OK with what you like — even if what you like is dull sex?" —Tyranny of the Fetish

Out of all the crappy girlfriends or boyfriends I’ve read about in Savage Love, FOG was the crappiest yet. You just were not harsh enough on this chick. She’s insane.

To FOG: I’m exactly your age and even I can tell you it’s things like this that relationships are all about: meeting each other’s needs. You need foot rubs … and he wants to give them to you. In fact, he really likes giving them. What’s the problem? And what’s so wrong about a foot fetish? If you are familiar enough with Savage Love to be writing in then you know that there is a lot worse out there. —Fetish-Free Young Dude Send letters to [email protected]