A couple weeks back, I answered a letter from a guy who was concerned because his friend was having imaginary relationships with women he'd wanked over on porn sites. This concerned fellow wondered how he should go about informing his buddy that he was a great big freako. I told him not to bother—that everyone has their quirks and as long as nobody was getting hurt, he shouldn't worry about it.Apparently this wasn't answer enough for him, so he wrote back with more details:Believe it or not, the same guy does actually meet real women online occasionally. But for some reason he is more obsessed with feet than Quentin Tarantino; instead of showing me pictures of the various women's faces, he keeps showing me pictures of their feet. How can I tell him this isn't normal?David
Ah, David...What is normal, and why are you so concerned that your friend fit that definition? I don't particularly understand the foot fetish, but then again I wouldn't—it's not my thing. I like big noses: huge, honking, sometimes broken, often Mediterranean—the bigger, the better. Sigh.But back to your friend: A few years ago I interviewed Nadia, a woman who rents her feet out for men's pleasure. A foot hooker, I guess you could call her—though she doesn't have sex with her clients. "They sniff my feet and lick toes, and sometimes they'll just hold my foot while they, um, relieve themselves—not on me," she told me over cocktails. "Sometimes they don't even do that. Sometimes they just love sucking on my feet. One guy likes to pat his face with my feet. It's really sweet, actually."Somewhat less sweet was Nadia's trampling story: "My very first experience with this was with this old man. He lay down on the floor and put his hands out, face up, and wanted me to stand on his hands with my stiletto heels on....I stepped on his hands. He starts howling, and so I stopped. He goes, 'No, no, honey, keep doing it!' Then he wanted me to stand on his chest, but he kept making these horrible grunts—not like pleasure, but like he's having a heart attack. I kept thinking I was going to kill him. But he loved it—gave me a big tip."And while that may not sound exciting or fun to you or me, this guy knew what he liked and paid a professional to give it to him. Who are we to judge the old coot? He's certainly more responsible than Polyester's "foot stomper" (if you haven't seen this cinematic classic, rent it immediately) or your garden-variety groper.While Nadia did this for dough, I can see how actually dating someone who's more into your feet than your girlie bits could get annoying, if you weren't similarly inclined. My friend M. eventually broke up with an otherwise great boyfriend because he spent too much time on her toes and not enough between her thighs. She didn't look down on him for his preferences—and indeed, enjoyed many a foot rub—but she needed to be more than the sum of her soles. Certainly I can see that as a dater-dealbreaker, but as far as I can tell you're not swapping spit with this dude. So again, why do you care?A lot of my friends have highly specific likes and dislikes—J. has a penchant for short Jewish men and/or booze-bloated preppy types (either will do). L. has a weakness for blondes, T. an ardor for redheads. R. continually chases Sri Lankan girls, and M. likes his ladies on the large side. Knowing what drives those closest to me crazy with lust just makes it easier to fix them up if need be. You can keep an eye out for ladies with bunion-free, painstakingly pedicured size 10 feet (according to Nadia, the optimal size for the foot freak).Instead of looking at your pal's preference as something to be freaked out by, why don't you instead try seeing it as a charming little quirk that distinguishes him from the pack?Judy McGuire is the author of How Not to Date. Dating dilemmas? Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.