I saw her again. And then again.

Regular readers may recall me mentioning a tall, exotic woman with a Mediterranean look last month. She wore the black boots with the S&M-style buckles that run up the outsides. She reminded me of a thinner, more arty Xena, Warrior Princess.

That first sighting was on Wednesday, March 19th. Well, a month later, on Saturday, April 19th, I made another spotting. It was about two in the afternoon. She was leaving a coffee shop but, unfortunately, with a tall masculine guy with a firm jaw and long hair; the kind of čber-hippie that R. Crumb always draws as getting the cool chicks. She was wearing those fabulous boots again, and I actually recognized them first, before looking at her face.

Then on Saturday, April 26th, I saw her again. This time it was around 5:00pm. Bootless, she was wearing black and red stripped stockings under a close-fitting silver satin dress.

Later that night, at the Tiger Bar, I espied a brunette in tight jeans with delightful fashion boots coming out the bottoms; those revived fashion boots from the `60s, worn in a manner I love. Lust filled me, and also the confusion, the ecstatic screaming that fills the mind at the sight of a great pair of boots. It is a lust that can barely be expressed.

What you want is an artist, someone competent to articulate the inchoate feelings that you have, all contained in a book that you can give to a potential fetish mate and say, “Here. Here’s what it’s all about!”

We fanciers of the foot may finally have our Homer. If British comic novelist Geoff Nicholson isn’t a foot fetishist, he does a damn fine impersonation of one. In his novel, Footsucker, published by Overlook Press, he tells the tale of an unnamed shoe and foot fetishist who stumbles into a romance with the perfect pair of feet, attached to a girl named Catherine.

Nicholson chronicles the ecstatic ups and crushing downs of the romance – separations, threats from other guys – before bringing it all together with a happy ending, which is worth mentioning and even spoiling because books from mainstream publishers about perversion usually opt for a grim, defeating climax, one probably written by a self-hating fetishist who hasn’t accepting himself; an ending that assumes that the readers are looking down on the subject rather than joining in and celebrating.

Anyway, a fellow fetishist can identify with much that Nicholson writes: the obsessive self-analysis, the detailed knowledge of bone and musculature in the foot, the preference for Vogue over Playboy because the foot and boot images are better, the collecting of pictures from said magazines (as well as footwear itself) for private purposes. Nicholson even knows about that odd psychological study in 1966 by Rachman and Hogdson in which the two academics tried to create boot fetishists out of innocent college students via behavior modification.

The book is probably meant to be funny, but I didn’t laugh once – because I was enjoying it too much. Nicholson has a fine way with words, a knack for story structure, and is no doubt really a very funny writer when not dealing with foot freaks. But here he hasn’t written a novel – he’s composed a bible. It’s the book I will give that potential boot goddess out there.



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