Foot Fetish!

25 08 2009

This evening, I had the pleasure of dining with a really great friend from my days in DC.  She was telling me about a recent date on which she’d been, during which she noticed that her companion was stealing frequent and not-so-furtive looks at her legs.  His boldness seemed to be an invitation to notice his interest, and she was fast becoming anxious, so finally she asked if there was something down there puzzling him.

“No,” he replied, and told her know that he was just admiring her legs and feet, which I will corroborate, are splendid.  He was apparently especially interested in her feet, which he found unendingly beautiful.  She asked whether this was something to which he typically paid attention, and he replied that it was.  He further posited that it was his interest in feet, he believed, that had spoiled his previous relationship of two months.  His jo thought his predilection offputting, and told him so on many occasions before finally breaking it off with him.  At this point, he raised his eyes to hers, and said that he thought it was basically a hangup of his ex’s.  He then inquired of my friend whether she too found it unusual, that he should find such a particular part of anatomy so transfixing.

She thought: “Yes.  That is very creepy and I don’t like the fact that you are spending more time ogling my feet than getting to know me, or even appreciating my sweet rack*.”   But she said:  “I guess not.  It’s kind of flattering that you find them so pleasing.”  Of course, as she was creeped out by him, she did not want to go on a second date with him, but she left him with the impression that she would be interested.  After she’d excused herself from the next handful of his courtship requests, he asked her, on the phone, if it actually was a problem that he was so interested in her feet, if it was a bit of a turn-off, or weird, or creepy, or gross.  She thought:  “Hm.  All of the above?”  She said: “No.  I’m just really busy and don’t have so much time for dating right now.

To which I tsked her. Tsk tsk.  She and I are very similar, and I could have told you before she finished the first part of the story that she would be incredibly put off by his inability to focus on the fact that she is a human person, and that she would never tell him that she was put off by his foot fetish.  But why?  Especially when he so clearly asked her the question to which they both knew the answer, and he was only looking for someone to call him out on his unwelcomed behavior.

She pointed out that I, too, have had my trouble being direct with people when it should be a matter of course, and I couldn’t argue with history, though it had been a while since we’d hung out, and I’m far more direct than once I was.  We both dislike confrontation, we both hate to hurt others’ feelings, it’s true.  Peacemakers we are.

I quickly pointed out that we weren’t talking about me (score!) and asked her if she didn’t agree that she should have been more honest with him.  She said she didn’t want to judge him, even though she kind of did, but her feelings were her feelings and didn’t necessarily need to be withheld.  So she agreed.  I left her with a homework assignment:  to figure out what she feared might occur when she hesitated to be direct with someone.  Was it that they would no longer think she was nice?  Was it that they might get upset?  It could be different things for different situations, and I thought it would be interesting to try to figure out how many different reasons she had for shying away from directness, or honesty, or whatever you’d like to call it.

I think that maybe some of the reasons she’s concerned about being too blunt were folded into her behavior so long ago that she’ll find some of them no longer apply, and she’ll be able to save herself a little annoyance or two by figuring it out.  Of course, I say that because she’s like me, and I think that’s something with which I’ve dealt reasonably successfully in the past couple of years.  Mostly.

A note on the poignancy of our discussion:  I had a really hard time being direct with someone painfully recently!  I had a number of reasons, some of which are still valid, for having a difficult go of it, but I eventually spat it out as anxiously and awkwardly as can be done.  Now, there is certainly something to be said for being able to handle certain situations with a degree of class, ease, and coherency, but the point is that even if you did it with absolutely none of these, still there is something very good about directness.  Even from such a trainwreck of communication, you and the offended (or not so offended) party can venture forth.  Or sally forth.  Is that the phrase?  You can be direct with me if I have used that phrase inadvisedly.

My point is, I guess, that people have to be responsible for their own feelings at some point, and I’ve come to be a fan of full disclosure.  And now apparently I think it’s okay to browbeat others into agreeing with me?  Doesn’t everyone love not having to wonder?  I’m going to end my rambling on this sentence, with the word “MORE.”

*Author admits elaboration of this thought

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